Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Phoenix Suns
Betting Pick: Cleveland +8.5 -110 odds (March 12th 2014)
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Both teams are stumbling right now. The Suns have gone 3-6 their last nine to fall out of the playoff picture.
Brutal defensive play is to blame. Phoenix has given up a ghastly 112.1 PPG while letting opponents shoot 52.5 percent during the slide. Eric Bledsoe returns to the line-up (off the bench according to coach Jeff Hornaceck); Bledsoe is a spark-plug that the Suns desperately need to start producing, but I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be far from 100% game shape in his first outing back.
Cleveland has some work ahead of it as well as it sits five games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East. This is a critical stretch for the Cavs, with games at Golden State and the Clippers before then returning home to play Miami, OKC and Houston.
“We need to play well, obviously, with where we’re sitting,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown assessed last night. “So it’ll be good to get out and get on the road and try to come together and get some wins. I’m looking forward to it; I think the guys are too.”
The Cavs have lost four straight, both SU and ATS. They’ve been off since Saturday and also play with the added revenge motivational factor, as the Suns won 99-90 in Cleveland on January 26th.
It was the way the Cavaliers lost that contest as well which won’t be sitting well with them; Cleveland led by as many as 20 points before crashing and burning with a six-point third quarter (note that Cleveland is 9-7 ATS in revenging a home loss vs. an opponent this year).
On the injury front, note that Phoenix will be without the services of starting foward PJ Tucker because of a one game suspension.
The Suns are coming off back-to-back SU road losses, but did manage to cover the spread in each of those contests. However, vs. a highly motivated, revenge minded, rested, focused and frankly desperate Cavs team, I feel this is simply too many points to be giving up here.
Consider a second look at Cleveland in this one.