NBA Betting Odds & Picks for Thursday: Our Two Best Plays for Suns vs. Clippers (April 8)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images. pictured: Phoenix Suns stars Devin Booker, left, and Chris Paul.
- Seven games line the NBA slate on Thursday, but our experts are zeroing in on only one.
- The Suns vs. Clippers game pits two of the best teams in the West against one another at 10 p.m. ET.
- See what betting angle to take in the game, below.
There is a decent slate of NBA games on Thursday’s card, headlined by two intriguing matchups airing on TNT: Lakers vs. Heat (7:30 p.m. ET) and Suns vs. Clippers, which is scheduled for a 10 p.m. ET tip.
Our NBA analysts have targeted the latter of those two affairs, with one loving the road underdog and the other setting his sights on the game total.
Let’s take a look their in-depth analysis and top picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Suns at Clippers
Brandon Anderson: The Phoenix Suns are having a moment.
They have been scorching hot for two months now, and folks are finally starting to take notice after they got their biggest win of the season in overtime Wednesday against the Jazz.
Phoenix has won seven games in a row, plus it has been victorious in 19 of its last 24. The Suns are now just 1.5 games back from the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed after their latest victory.
Now, it’s a grueling back-to-back set with the Clippers less than 24 hours after that tough win, but I’m not willing to just give this one to Los Angeles. The Clippers are great when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both play, but this is still very much a jump shooting team. That makes the Clippers very high variance in this big games.
Against lesser teams, the Clippers just have too much goodness and can get by with an off-shooting night, but against the league’s best, it makes them vulnerable when the shots don’t fall. We saw it happen last year against Denver in the playoffs, and it still feels like Los Angeles’ ultimate kryptonite.
The downside of betting against the Clippers is that, if the shots do fall, they can always drop 130 without breaking a sweat and coast to victory. However, Phoenix is really good and firing on all facets of the ball. If this stays close late, Chris Paul has yet again become one of the league’s great clutch scorers.
My colleague, Matt Moore, always says to bet the narrative. Well, I think this is the Suns’ moment. Wins over the Jazz and Clippers on consecutive nights would put them right into the national conversation at last.
And at +210 odds via the moneyline, Phoenix simply isn’t getting enough respect here.
There’s really less than a 1-in-3 chance that a team this good can’t beat any other team in the NBA right now? I don’t buy it. I have to give the Suns their due and give them a chance in this spot.
Suns at Clippers
Raheem Palmer: Since their 8-0 run in the bubble, the Suns have been one of the best teams in the league. They traded for Chris Paul and have shown the world they’re a legitimate championship contender. Phoenix currently holds the No. 2 in the West, with a 36-14 record, and are equally dominant against the spread, going a league-leading 33-17 against the number.
The most impressive thing about the Suns is that they.re not just beating up on the league’s bottom feeders. They’re beating everyone. The Suns are 18-6 against teams above .500 this season and 18-8 against teams below .500.
They’ve swept the Lakers and Jazz. They’ve beaten the 76ers, Bucks and Nuggets, who are all championship contenders. Phoenix comes off an 117-113 overtime win over Utah, and finds itself in a less-than-ideal spot against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are one of the few contenders the Suns haven’t defeated this season.
These teams have met just once so far, with the Clippers earning a 112-107 victory in Phoenix in one of the slowest-paced games of the year at just 91.5 possessions. Both teams were efficient offensively, but this game feels like a matchup in which we see an equally slow pace while being less efficient. The Clippers are 27th in pace (98.15), and the Suns are 23rd (98.15), so we have two slow-paced teams who should play even slower.
Oddsmakers opened this total at 224 points, and we’ve seen some steam down to 223 within the market for a reason. The Suns are fifth in Defensive Rating, allowing 109.3 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes this season.
Although the Suns are seventh in Offensive Rating (116.9) they’re facing a Clippers team which has the pieces to slow them down. The Clippers have struggled defensively this year, ranking just 12th in Defensive Rating, holding opponents to 112.2 points per 100 possessions.
However, we’re seeing some improvement from this team, as they’re fifth in Defensive Rating over the past two weeks, holding teams to 105.8 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers have Patrick Beverley back for this contest, which should be tough for Paul and/or Devin Booker to deal with after playing a high-intensity overtime game against Utah.
My model makes this game at 221 points, but when you account for the back-to-back, I think this total could be lower than that. Fan Duel has this under 223, so go ahead and grab it before it moves.
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