The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets face off in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs on Saturday. The Suns are coming off four straight wins to close out the Clippers in the last round, while the Nuggets are coming off a series win against the Timberwolves. My prediction is that the Suns cover the 2.5-point spread in Game 1. The Suns look unstoppable right now on offense and the Nuggets don’t have the defense to slow him down. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets Prediction
The Pick: Phoenix Suns +2.5
The Phoenix Suns have blossomed into the team we thought they’d be in these playoffs and they’ve looked almost unstoppable on offense mainly after being dominant on defense in the regular season.
Devin Booker has been the best player in these playoffs and it hasn’t been that close after him. In these playoffs, Booker is averaging 37 PPG, which is good for second in the NBA behind only Jimmy Butler. He also has been the Suns’ leader in steals in the playoffs averaging 2.6 per game. Kevin Durant has been dominant too in these playoffs. Durant averages 28 PPG so far in the postseason too. Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul fill out the rest of their “Big Four.” Ayton averages 16 PPG and leads the team in rebounds at 11 per game in the postseason, while Paul averages 14 PPG and leads the Suns in the postseason at assists at 8 per game.
The Suns’ offense has been incredible this postseason. They’re 1st in offensive rating at 122.5, 2nd in scoring at 122 PPG, 2nd in field goal percentage at 51.5%, and 3rd in point differential at +6.4. They’re also 3rd in blocks at 6.2 per game.
On the other side, the Nuggets have been very good so far in the postseason with the gentleman’s sweep they had against the Timberwolves in their last round.
Jamal Murray has taken over in these playoffs for the Nuggets after taking more of a backseat to Nikola Jokic in the regular season, at least scoring-wise. He leads the team in scoring at 27 PPG. Jokic averages 26 PPG, and then leads the team in rebounding at 12 per game and in assists at 9 per game in the postseason. Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon round out Denver’s “Big Four” too. Porter Jr. averages 16 PPG and Gordon averages 13 PPG for the playoffs.
The Nuggets have been a very good all-around team in these playoffs. The Denver Nuggets are 4th in offensive rating at 117.2, they’re 4th in field goal percentage at 48.1%, and are 2nd in point differential at +8.7. They’re also 5th in points allowed at 105 PPG and 6th in defensive rating at 109.6.
The Phoenix Suns have been rolling and while I think this game is going to be close because it’s in Denver, the difference is that the Phoenix Suns have Devin Booker and Kevin Durant and they should take the game over. Phoenix covers and wins a very close game in Denver outright.
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
The Denver Nuggets are 2.5-point home favorites against the Phoenix Suns and are at -140 on the money line. The over/under is also at 226. It makes sense the Nuggets are favored because they’re at home and the No. 1 seed in the West still. The over/under also makes sense because each team has been on fire on offense in these playoffs. This spread could move a bit just because it’s so close.
Suns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Nuggets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Can Kentavious Caldwell-Pope matchup with Devin Booker? Can Chris Paul matchup with Jamal Murray?
Devin Booker vs. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Devin Booker has been unbelievable in these playoffs. He’s averaging 37 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in the postseason. He’ll be matched up against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope most of the game, who averages 10 points, 1 assist, and 3 rebounds in the postseason. Pope is a decent defender, but Booker is on another level and is why the Suns should cover 2.5-points.
Jamal Murray vs. Chris Paul
Jamal Murray has been very good this postseason. He averages 27 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds in the postseason. He’ll be matched up against Chris Paul most of the game, who averages 14 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in the postseason. Paul is very good still at his age, but Murray is a better player right now. Still, Phoenix covers 2.5-points on the road.
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineups
Phoenix Suns Injuries: None
Denver Nuggets Injuries: None