Sunday NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Heat vs. Knicks, Celtics vs. Suns (Feb. 7)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns.
- The NBA schedule features a five-game slate that sets the table for tonight's big game.
- Our crew is betting two spreads and one prop in two games on today's card.
- Check out their analysis and picks below.
It’s Super Bowl Sunday!
But before you start sweating the coin toss, national anthem and gatorade color, there’s some NBA basketball to tend to. Every game on today’s slate is an early one, but there is still some value to be found, specifically in the NBA TV matchup between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns.
Our staff is playing a side and total in that matchup, plus the spread in one more game. Let’s get to it.
NBA Odds & Picks
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
Malik Smith: The Heat have struggled to get healthy all season but look to be turning a corner now that most of their best players are available to suit up. Because of the inconsistency with their lineups, the Heat have been the least profitable team in the NBA against the spread (7-14-1). If you bet $100 on them to cover every game they’ve played this season, you’d be down $742, according to our Bet Labs database.
More troubling for the Heat is the fact that they haven’t covered on the road as favorites this season (0-3 ATS). They are facing a Knicks team that is playing well at home during this recent stretch — 3-1 ATS in their past four home games — and plays well in early games (3-1 ATS).
The Knicks are a scrappy defensive team and the Heat are still trying to find their footing. I expect we’ll see a close one down the stretch and I’ll back the Knicks to cover.
Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns
Austin Wang: With Chris Paul keeping the pace slow and steady (ranked 27th in Pace at 98.01) and a strong defensive team that ranks fifth in Defensive Rating (107.7), the Phoenix Suns have gone 13-8 to the under this season.
Cameron Payne will be out for his seventh straight game, which leaves them with a void at point guard when Paul is not on the floor. His On/Off numbers show that the Suns are +6.7 points better on offense per 100 possessions, per Basketball Reference. Without a floor general directing traffic, their bench has struggled to put up many points.
The Boston Celtics are in the middle of a five-game road trip and I think fatigue from travel and extended minutes will catch up with them. The Celtics are playing their fourth road game in six days. Since the 2016-2017 season, teams in this situation have gone 104-68-6 (60.5%) to the under, per the SDQL database.
Eastern teams on the road against an opponent in the Pacific or Mountain time zone and are playing in their fourth consecutive road game (or more) have gone 100-63-4 (61.3%) to the under since the 2015-16.
They will still be missing Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart for this game. Brown has been the Celtics’ most valuable player this season, leading the team in Win Shares, per Basketball Reference. Smart is their fourth-leading scorer and has developed a deadly 3-point shot over the years.
Sunday games that start at 2 p.m. ET or earlier have gone 47-32-2 (59.5%) to the under since the 2014-15 season.
With the Celtics ravaged by injuries, fatigue from a road trip and the early start time, I expect the Suns will dictate the pace and keep it slow. They will also focus their strong defense on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker since Brown is out.
Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns
Kenny Ducey: The Suns have really hit their stride following a layoff due to postponements and some injuries, winning four of their last five and covering in all their wins. They enter Sunday’s game against the Celtics in what’s been a favorable spot all season, possessing a clear edge in the paint and the ability to take away Boston’s biggest weapon.
Before breaking down why this matchup would already likely favor the Suns with both teams at full strength, let’s get one thing out of the way: Jaylen Brown will miss this game due to an injured knee, joining Marcus Smart (calf) on the sidelines, according to our Action Labs injury dashboard.
This essentially leaves things up to Jayson Tatum in the scoring department, and he should have an adverse time against a Suns team leading the league in defense against the small forward position, allowing a league-best 17.6 points per game.
To make matters worse, the Suns have absolutely dominated down low over their last five games, ranking seventh in rebounding rate, so they should have the ability with Deandre Ayton to take away one of Boston’s biggest strengths, its ability to control the glass.
When you also consider the fact that the Suns are 5-2 this season against the spread as home favorites, this becomes an even tastier matchup. There’s a reason we’ve signaled sharp money coming in on Phoenix, and have seen 69% of the money come in on the home team despite getting just 36% of the bets.
The Suns are in a fantastic spot as short home favorites against the shorthanded Celtics, and should be able to suffocate what’s left of Boston with their elite defense.