The Golden State Warriors (2-1) will travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns (2-1) on Tuesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 10 pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Warriors-Suns prediction and pick.
The Warriors are 2-1 after a strong opening week which saw them win games over the Lakers and Kings but drop a matchup with the Nuggets. Golden State split the season series with Phoenix last year, winning two of four. The Warriors won by 22 and nine-point margins. Golden State is just 1-2 against the spread (ATS) this season. Last year the Warriors were one of the best bets in the league, going 54-46-4 (54%) ATS. All three of their games have gone over this year after just 46% did so last season.
The Suns are 2-1 a week into the season thanks to wins over the Mavericks and Clippers and a loss to the Blazers. Last year, the Suns won two of their matchups against the Warriors by eight and four points. Phoenix is 1-2 ATS this year following last year's 51-44 (53.7%) record ATS. Phoenix has yet to have a game go over this year despite 50.5% of games doing so last season.
Here are the Warriors-Suns NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Warriors-Suns Odds
Golden State Warriors: +1.5 (-110)
Phoenix Suns: -1.5 (-110)
Over: 226.5 (-110)
Under: 226.5 (-110)
Why The Warriors Could Cover The Spread
The defending champs are a machine – plain and simple. The Warriors kicked off the season with a throttling of the Lakers that wasn't nearly as close as the final score made it seem. However, they've been destroyed on the glass in the last two games (a loss to Denver and a win over Sacramento). If they're going to cover against the Suns tonight, it'll come down to their rebounding.
When it comes to rebounding for Golden State, they've left a lot to be desired this season. The Warriors notoriously play small and without the typical bruisers who rack up incredible rebounding statistics, but in the last two games that's really hurt them. That hasn't been for a lack of talent, though. Third-year center James Wiseman has rebounded well when given the opportunity. The former second-overall pick has averaged 5.3 rebounds per game this year but has yet to clear 20 minutes in a game. Against Phoenix's talented center DeAndre Ayton, Wisman may be called on more and will need to battle underneath to keep the rebounding margin under control.
Whether they can out-rebound the Suns or not, we know Golden State will be able to score with them. Star guard Steph Curry has been lights out to start the season. He's shooting 44% from three and has averaged 33 points per game this year. Curry's needed to pick up the slack of his fellow shooters Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson. The sharpshooters have been ice-cold in the first week of the season – shooting 31 and 35 percent from three, respectively. However, it has been forward Andrew Wiggins who's really stepped up. Wiggins was a huge part of Golden State's championship run last summer and has carried that over into the regular season. He's averaging 22 points and is the team's leading rebounder thus far. His ability to contribute across the board is something to keep in mind when making a Warriors-Suns prediction.
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
Phoenix faced major question marks entering the season thanks to last season's surprise playoff exit and the contract status of center DeAndre Ayton. So far, Phoenix has at least quieted the questions. The Suns came back from a 25-point deficit on opening night to take down the Mavericks – the same team who eliminated them from the playoffs last year. Although they dropped a tight game in Portland, DeAndre Ayton's strong play in the game should give Sun's backers confidence moving forward. Ayton had 26 points and six rebounds in the loss. He'll be a major factor in tonight's game given how much Golden State struggles defending big men.
If the Suns are going to cover, though, it'll be because of the strong play of Devin Booker. Booker has carried the load for a team that has just 2 players averaging more than 11 points per game. Through three games, “Dbook” is averaging 32 points and 5 assists while shooting 53% from three. He's playing nearly 40 minutes a game and has become the focal point of the Phoenix offense. While Chris Paul is still a big part of the team, Booker has firmly grasped the reigns as the lead dog on this team. No one in Golden State can match up with Booker so if he continues his strong shooting the Warriors could be in a lot of trouble.
Final Warriors-Suns Prediction & Pick
While Golden State has played at the highest pace in the league thus far, Chris Paul has a way of setting the pace of play regardless of the opponent. I expect the Warriors to tune things up defensively in what should be a hard-fought, low-scoring affair.
Final Warriors-Suns Prediction & Pick: Under 226.5 (-110)