The Phoenix Suns will host the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of this highly touted best-of-seven series in the Western Conference. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Nuggets-Suns prediction and pick.
The Nuggets won two of the three head-to-head matches this season. Denver just outlasted the Portland Trail Blazers in six games and now has a tougher test on its hands with Phoenix. The Suns just eliminated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round and have a ton of momentum as they head into this second-round series.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Nuggets-Suns odds.
NBA Odds: Nuggets-Suns Odds
Denver Nuggets +5 (-111)
Phoenix Suns -5 (-109)
Over 220.5 Points (-110)
Under 220.5 Points (-110)
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
The Nuggets are one of those teams that will find ways to win games despite a lack of elite talent. This team has been written off since Jamal Murray’s season-ending injury, and many didn’t expect them to survive the first round against Damian Lillard. Denver’s performance in the first round showed the importance of good coaching and solid bench play.
We can’t forget that the Nuggets will typically have the best player on the floor, regardless of matchup. Nikola Jokic is the favorite to win MVP and was the best player in the series against Portland. Jokic averaged 33.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in the first round. He also shot 42.9% from deep, which is what makes him so hard to defend.
The key to this series for Denver will be the play of the supporting cast. Michael Porter Jr. is certainly the second option on this club, and he played well in the opening round. MPJ averaged 18.8 points on 41.5% shooting from deep and stole the show in the series clincher with 22 points in the opening frame. Denver’s bench outscored Portland’s by 10.7 points per game, which the Nuggets are hoping will carry over into this series as well.
Unfortunately, Will Barton is still out with his injury, so that hurts Denver’s depth a little bit.
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
The Suns silenced all of the doubters in the first round and should now be looked at as a favorite in the Western Conference. The Suns are deep and loaded with talent. Led by Chris Paul and Monty Williams, they now have the necessary experience to make a deep push in the postseason.
Although Paul is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury that impacted his scoring against the Lakers, he found several other ways to impact the game in the first round. CP and Devin Booker make up a tremendous backcourt, which is where Phoenix has a significant edge over Denver. Booker average 29.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in the first round against the defending champions. He shot 42.9% from 3 and went 8-of-10 from deep in Game 6.
The key for the Suns will be the play of Deandre Ayton, especially on the defensive end. We’ve seen Nikola Jokic torment teams time and time again. If Ayton can’t manage to slow him down, Phoenix will have a tough time containing the Nuggets. Ayton did a phenomenal job against Jokic during the regular season, so if he can limit the MVP candidate’s offensive output, the Suns should cruise to a comfortable victory in Game 1 at home.
Final Nuggets-Suns Game Prediction & Pick
I expect this to be an exciting series full of fireworks from both clubs. In the opening game at home, it’s the Phoenix Suns that will have the ultimate edge. The Suns are 25-14 ATS at home and will carry a ton of momentum from a decisive Game 6 victory against the Lakers into this pivotal first game. Chris Paul has had four days to nurse his shoulder injury, which should hopefully allow him to open up his game on the offensive end of the floor. Phoenix has the clear edge on the defensive end, which is why I give them the edge in Game 1 and in this series.
FINAL PICK: Phoenix Suns -5 (-109)