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It has been a while since the Phoenix Suns were profitable for bettors.
The Suns haven't been to the playoffs since 2010, and it's hard to go that long between postseason appearances in the NBA. The fun Amar'e Stoudemire/Steve Nash teams that couldn't get over the hump to the NBA Finals were a long, long time ago.
There's a resurgence for the Suns, and sharp bettors were profiting off it long before everyone caught on. Starting on Jan. 28, the Suns have been a machine against the spread. Phoenix is on a 15-3 tear against the spread. The Suns were somehow 1.5-point underdogs Tuesday night against a Los Angeles Lakers team struggling a bit without Anthony Davis, and Phoenix won 114-104.
No team's betting hot streak lasts forever because sportsbooks adjust. But maybe Phoenix can keep cashing tickets for a while.
Suns are NBA's second-best team for bettors
The Utah Jazz are the NBA's best team against the spread this season, at 25-10. Most fans who even casually follow the NBA know how hot the Jazz have been. But the second-best team might be a surprise. It's the Suns at 23-11, according to Action Network's standings. You might win some bar bets on that bit of trivia. No other NBA team is more than five games over .500 against the spread.
The Suns' fine season seems legit. It goes back to the bubble in Orlando, when the Suns went 8-0. Phoenix didn't make the playoff field despite that run, but the momentum has carried over. Adding future Hall-of-Fame point guard Chris Paul certainly helped.
The Suns haven't been particularly lucky. They're 3-2 in games decided by 3 points or fewer, meaning most of their wins have been decisive. The Suns are third in the NBA in margin of victory. They're 0-3 in overtime games, an unlucky number. There's no real reason to believe the Suns' 23-11 straight-up record has been fluky.
The Suns' net rating — taking the offensive rating and subtracting the defensive rating — third-best in the NBA at 6.0, behind the Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks. Their rating is better than the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and most other teams who are considered title contenders. This is a good team, and a profitable one for bettors.
Suns have been a fantastic all-around team
The Suns are playing well without any one player dominating. Paul, who made the All-Star Game, is the top Suns player in ESPN.com's PER efficiency rating at No. 40. No other Suns player is in the top 54. Devin Booker, an All-Star Game replacement, is 59th.
The Suns have taken a big leap thanks to an improvement in offense and a much bigger improvement on defense. Phoenix ranks eighth in offensive efficiency rating and sixth in defense. It's a balanced team in all ways.
The futures market isn't buying in. The Suns have the 10th-best odds to win the NBA Finals at BetMGM, checking in at +3300. That's fine for bettors who have been riding one of the two hottest team in the NBA for a little over a month.
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