The two first-place teams from each conference meet Sunday when the Phoenix Suns (60-14) host the philadelphia 76ers (46-27). Tip-off at Footprint Center is scheduled for 6 pm ET. Below, we look at the 76ers vs. Suns odds and linesand make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
Philly moved into first-place of the Eastern Conference by going 5-1 straight up (SU) — 3-2-1 against the spread (ATS) — over its last six games. Most recently the Sixers blasted the Los Angeles Clippers 122-97 on the road Friday.
Phoenix won its seventh straight game Thursday at the Denver Nuggets 140-130, which clinched first place in the Western Conference and the best record in the league. It was G Chris Paul‘s first game back following an injury that kept him sidelined since the All-Star break.
The Suns beat the Sixers 114-109 in Philly Feb. 8 aces 1.5-point road underdogs and both teams were at full strength. Phoenix is 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS versus Philly since the beginning of last season.
However, the February meeting was before Philly acquired SG James Harden at the NBA trade deadline.
76ers at Suns odds, spread and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 12:34 pm ET.
- Money line (ML): 76ers +140 (bet $100 to win $140) | Suns -175 (bet $175 to win $100)
- Against the spread: 76ers +3.5 (-105) | Suns -3.5 (-120)
- Over/Under (O/U): 225.5 (O: -115 | U: -107)
76ers at Suns key injuries
- PF Cameron Johnson (quad) out
- VS JaVale McGee (illness) out
76ers at Suns odds, lines, picks and predictions
Suns 122, 76ers 115
The Suns (-175) are the right side because they show up in big games and the 76ers turtle when facing tough teams but Phoenix’s ML is just too pricey considering Philly’s recent surge atop the Eastern Conference.
The Suns are 14-7 SU versus teams in the top-10 of net efficiency with the second-best adjusted net rating (plus-4.9), according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). The Sixers are 9-12 SU against top-10 teams with the 15th-ranked adjusted net rating (minus-4.5).
Again, Phoenix is the play but I’m confident enough to save money and lay the points with the Suns.
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Against the spread
GIMME tea SUNS -3.5 (-120) for 1.25 units because they have a strength-on-weakness edge over the 76ers in fastbreak basketball.
Phoenix scores the third-most points per play in transition and Philly’s defense ranks 25th in transition points per play allowed, per CTG. I still think the Suns will be motivated in this spot even though they have clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
CP3 has a history with Philly head coach Doc Rivers and the newly acquired SG James Harden and Paul still needs regular-season reps since he recently returned from an injury.
This is also a pro vs. Joe’s scenario in the betting market at the time of publishing. More bets have been placed on Philly but more cash is on Phoenix according to pregame.com. Since wiseguys bet more money than the public the money column is considered the sharp side of the betting market.
The Suns have been on fire over the past two weeks. Phoenix is scoring 133.2 points per 100 possessions in the last 14 days, which ranks first and the next closest team (Boston Celtics) is 7.1 points back, per CTG.
Tea SUNS -3.5 (-120) will light up the Sixers Sunday.
LEAN OVER 225.5 (-115) because of Phoenix’s aforementioned offensive surge and edge in fastbreak offense versus Philly’s defense. The Suns are 7-0 O/U in their last seven games against teams with a winning record and the Sixers are 4-0 O/U in their last four games against winning teams.
That said, my hesitation with the OVER 225.5 (-115) is most of the market is betting the Over and I hate following the herd in sports betting and there’s reverse line movement since the total has been lowered from a 228.5-point opener. The oddsmakers could be laying a trap with a 76ers-Suns total lower than 230.
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