Phoenix Suns (39-18) +3, 212 at New Orleans Hornets (37-18), 8 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com
Two teams in the thick of the Western Conference playoff situation meet when the Phoenix Suns visit the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night.
NBA Basketball Sportsbooks list New Orleans as a three-point home favorite for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 212. Also, the Hornets are giving around -160 on various Vegas moneylines, with Phoenix getting +145 as road underdogs.
The Suns are just 3-3 over their last six games after winning at Memphis Tuesday 127-113. And Phoenix is just 2-2 with Shaquille O’Neal in the lineup. So going into Wednesday’s action, the Suns sit in second place in the Pacific Division, one game back of the first-place Los Angeles Lakers, and hold down the third seed in the West standings.
On the other side of this match-up, New Orleans, which had led the West for much of the season, has lost three games in a row and has fallen out of the lead in both the Southwest Division and the conference race. Monday night, the Hornets lost at the buzzer to Washington 95-92. So in the course of just a few days, New Orleans went from first in the Southwest to second, a game back of the San Antonio Spurs, and from the one spot to the five spot in the West, just two games from first but also only 3 games from eighth.
The Hornets have already beaten Phoenix three times this season, by scores of 101-98, 118-113 and 132-130 in OT. But the Suns swept three games from New Orleans last season, although the Hornets covered the spread in two of those games. So over the last two seasons, these two teams have split six games, but New Orleans is 5-1 ATS. Also, the o/u is 2-4 in those last six meetings between these two teams, which have averaged excluding that overtime period they played three weeks ago 205 total points.
This season, the Suns are 26-30 against the spread, but 18-10 straight up and 15-12 vs. the numbers on the road.
Meanwhile, the Hornets are a profitable 32-22 ATS this season, 18-10 SU and 15-13 vs. the numbers at home.
Statistically speaking, Phoenix ranks 6th in the league in point differential at +5.1 per game, New Orleans 7th at +4.9.
The Suns are shooting 49% from the field as a team this season, 38% from beyond the arc and 79% from the free-throw line.
At the other end of the court, the Hornets are shooting 46% from the floor, 36% from long range and 78% from the stripe.
But while New Orleans ranks 10th in the league in rebounding at +1.5 boards per game, Phoenix ranks dead last at -5.4.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Hornets 6th at 95.0, the Suns 7th at 94.9. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.2.
The o/u is 32-25 in Phoenix games this season, which are averaging 214 total points, while the totals are 26-29 in New Orleans games, which are averaging 195 points.
Zman’s Pick: Hornets -3.