Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/25/22)

It’s Christmas day and what more could we ask for than a full day of NBA for our betting pleasure. While chalk full of intriguing matchups, we cap the night off with a potential Western Conference Final preview as the Phoenix Suns take on the Denver Nuggets. The Suns offense have looked every bit of their elite selves while the Nuggets Nikola Jokic has run the show in the midst of another MVP campaign. In a battle of star power, who will come out on top?

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets Betting Odds

Oddsmakers believe that the victor will be the Nuggets, opening them up as a -2.5 favorite. Bettors are in agreement, taking them up to as high as -4.5. The Suns have underwhelmed in their last few outings, narrowly losing to the Wizards and getting manhandled by the feisty Grizzlies. They have lacked physicality down low and now get one of the best big men in basketball.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches by these two high powered offenses with oddsmakers opening the total at 232.5. Bettors are in disagreement, hitting the under down to as low as 230. Both offenses operate in different schemes with the Suns excelling in facilitating at the guard position while Jokic runs the show in the middle. With contrasting styles, it will be interesting to see how they limit each other’s scoring output.

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets Prediction

The Pick: Nuggets -4

In a battle of two contrasting styles, I will take the Nuggets at no higher than -4 as they possess a higher probability of consistent scoring success. Jokic will be running the show as usual and will have a sizable advantage in a gross mismatch against the disinterested Deandre Ayton. Ayton was just recently manhandled by Steven Adams, a far inferior offensive weapon. 

Should Jokic control the paint as expected, this will command the Suns defensive attention to crash down low. This is exactly what the Nuggets will want to accomplish as Jokic can use his masterful facilitation to hit his weapons at the perimeter as one of the best three-point shooting units in basketball.

Jokic has also excelled at rebounding and can either lead as the outlet man or bring the ball up himself. He truly is a point guard in a big man’s body and will be the key factor in the Nuggets success. When Jokic is playing at an elite level, this raises the floor for everyone else around him as he can thread the ball into any passing lane. Should his help connect on their high quality looks then the Nuggets scoring pace may be too much for the Suns to keep up with.

Betting Trends

  • Suns are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss
  • Suns are 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games vs a team with a home winning percentage of over 0.600

Key Matchups

Can the Nuggets guards limit the Suns scoring production?

Suns scoring production vs Nuggets guards defensive play

While the Nuggets rely on a brunt of their production from their big man Jokic, the Suns will look to set the scoring pace with their perimeter play. Mainly with Chris Paul’s facilitation and Devin Booker hovering in the mid range to draw out the Nuggets and stretch out their defense.

They also throw out elite complimentary role players to also deal damage with Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton being capable scorers as well. This offense is nearly top-5 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and one of the deepest scoring units in basketball.

The Nuggets are around the middle of the nation in defense, ranking 17th in points given up per game while nearly dead last in total field goal percentage. The Nuggets defense will need to step up in smother opposing looks to get the Suns out of rhythm early. When Booker and company are cooking then they are tough to deal with as they can burn you from the perimeter and the mid-range and force the opposing defense to constantly scramble. 

Verdict

Take the Nuggets at no higher than -4 in what will be a thrilling main event for the Christmas day slate.

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Torrey Craig
C: Deandre Ayton

(Team Callout)

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineups

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

(Team Callout)

Key Injuries

Phoenix Suns Injuries: Josh Okogie (P), Devin Booker (Q)

Denver Nuggets Injuries: Peyton Watson (P), Jeff Green (P)

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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