New Orleans Hornets vs. Phoenix Suns Preview and Pick

New Orleans Hornets (32-15) +4.5, 216 at Phoenix Suns (34-14), 9 pm
Eastern Wednesday

by Zman of

Western Conference division leaders clash when the New Orleans Hornets visit The Valley to take on the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

The sportsbooks opened with Phoenix as six-point home chalk for Wednesday’s game, with a total
of 216. Also, the Suns are posted at around -235 on various Vegas moneylines,
with the Hornets getting +195 as road underdogs.

New Orleans had won nine games in a row recently, but after falling badly at Utah Monday 110-88, the Hornets have lost three straight, allowing 113 points per game in the process. So going into Wednesday’s action, New Orleans is in a tie for first place in the Southwest Division with the Dallas Mavericks, and in a tie for second place with the Mavs in the Western Conference race.

Phoenix beat Charlotte Monday 118-104 for its eighth win in its last 10 games. So heading into Wednesday’s game, the Suns sit atop the Pacific Division, 2 games ahead of the second-place Lakers, and lead the West by a game and a half over the Hornets and Mavericks.

New Orleans has been damn good to its financial backers this season, going 29-16 against the spread. The Hornets are also 16-7 straight up and 15-7-1 vs. the numbers on the road.

Meanwhile, Phoenix is 22-25 ATS this season, 17-5 SU but just 9-12 vs. the numbers at home.

New Orleans has already beaten the Suns twice this season, by scores of 118-113 and 101-98. But last season, Phoenix swept three games from the Hornets. The Suns have been favored in all five of those most recent meetings in this series, but New Orleans has covered the spread in four of those games. And the o/u is 1-4 in those five games, because they’ve averaged just 202 total points.

Statistically speaking, Phoenix ranks 3rd in the league in point differential at +6.1 per game, while the Hornets rank 6th at +5.5.

Both these teams are among the best in the league at putting the ball in the hole. New Orleans is shooting 46% from the field as a team this season, 38% from beyond the arc and 78% from the charity stripe. On the other end of the court, the Suns are leading the league in FG shooting at 49%, and are hitting at 38% from long range and 79% from the line.

Phoenix, with super guard Steve Nash running the show, also leads the league with a 2.09 team assist/turnover ratio, while the Hornets, with budding star Chris Paul handling the rock, rank 4th with a 1.83 A/TO figure.

But while New Orleans ranks 7th in the league in rebounding at +2.0 boards per game, the Suns rank dead last at -6.0 per game.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks the Hornets 5th at 95.5, Phoenix 6th at 95.3. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.1.

The o/u is 21-26 in New Orleans games this season, which are averaging 193 total points, while the totals are 25-23 in Suns games, which are averaging 213 points.

Zman’s Pick: Phoenix Suns -4.5.