NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions: Thunder vs. Suns (Monday, August 10)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Ricky Rubio.
- The Phoenix Suns are the favorite Monday as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder and seek their sixth straight win in the bubble. The total is set at 224.
- Devin Booker has been playing lights-out basketball as the Suns fight for their playoff lives and the 8th seed in the West.
- Read Troy Haliburton's full betting preview for Suns vs. Thunder below.
Thunder vs. Suns Betting Odds
|Thunder odds||+5 [BET NOW]|
|Suns odds||-5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+180/-215 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||224 [BET NOW]|
|Time||2:30 p.m. ET|
There has not been a more surprising team in the bubble than the Phoenix Suns, who came to Orlando as the last team in the Western Conference field, but now find themselves in prime position to steal a playoff spot. Phoenix came into the seeding games with just a 6% chance of making the playoffs, but after going 5-0 is just one game back in the standings for the 9th seed and could force a play-in game for 8th.
While the Suns are still fighting for their playoff lives, the Thunder are already postseason-bound and are jockeying for seeding position. Coming off of a dominant 121-103 win over the Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City will be looking to improve upon its 3-2 record in the bubble despite being at a slight disadvantage by playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have been playing short-handed for much of their time in Orlando because Sixth Man of the Year finalist, Dennis Schroder, has been away from the team for a week due to the birth of his child. Schroder’s absence is not only a big deal for the Thunder in terms of solidifying their bench unit as the main ball-handler and distributor, but he gives the Thunder one of the better lineups in the NBA this season when he play alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The Thunder have been able to supplement Schroder’s absence by getting more playing time for their young wing players, Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley. Dort is a an undrafted player from Arizona State who has really emerged from the shadows to stake a claim as a starter on a top team. The Montreal product spent the majority of this season playing for the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, and now finds himself guarding NBA superstars like LeBron James. As a bruising wing, Dort’s main purpose in the Thunder lineup is to defend the opposing team’s best wing players, and he has supplanted Terrance Ferguson in the Thunder starting lineup for the foreseeable future.
Bazley is a slashing athletic wing, who the Thunder have been playing more in Orlando as he gains valuable experience that will benefit him immensely going forward. He’s coming off of his best game as a pro after scoring a career-high 23 points in the Thunder’s win against the Wizards.
Injuries have been a factor for the Thunder, who have been without Steven Adams for the last two games due to a left lower leg injury. Adams was slated to play against the Wizards on Sunday, but was a late scratch moments before the game. Oklahoma City was also down backup center Nerlens Noel and wound up having to start Mike Muscala, who filled in admirably with 14 points. Muscala is a shooting big, and will be severely mismatched if he were to defend the Suns’ Deandre Ayton for a full game. If the Thunder are going to be without Steven Adams or Noel again, this could present huge difficulties for them down low.
Phoenix has not only gone undefeated in straight wins and losses, but they have also been favorable to bettors who have backed them to go 5-0 against the spread (ATS). Devin Booker continues to show why he is one of the most talented scorers in the league, as he poured in 35 points in the Suns’ big win against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Booker’s inspired play has allowed the Suns to play with more confidence than they ever have, and that is translating to winning basketball. The Suns had not won more then three games in a row all season and are now riding high on this 5-game winning streak that will need to continue if Phoenix wants to remain in contention for the last playoff spot out West.
Booker isn’t the only Suns player who is playing lights-out basketball in the bubble, as Ayton is showing why so many talent evaluators graded him as the top prospect in the 2018 draft. Ayton had been a very poor defender in college and in his first year and a half as a professional, but something has clicked within his defensive game since he came back from his 25-game suspension, and his engagement is elevating his and the team’s play. Ayton is learning how to be more disciplined and use his length to defend shots at the rim by going straight up vertically instead of chasing after blocks.
The biggest reason why Ayton has shown so much improvement on the defensive end is through recognition of opposing offenses. He is making better reads as the last line of defense and is moving his feet much better to show off his athleticism in defending pick-and-roll coverages and switching on to smaller guards.
Ayton will need to have a big rebounding game against whoever the Thunder put at center, as Phoenix is in the bottom 10 in the NBA in rebounds with only 43.4 boards per game. Luckily for the Suns, the Thunder are even worse, only averaging 42.8 RPG.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Phoenix is 5-0 ATS in the bubble, while the Thunder will potentially be without a few of their key contributors. Oklahoma City still has the best ATS record in the NBA this season at 43-26, so bettors should beware of fading the Suns in this game. The most apparent compromise between these two trending forces is to take the Suns moneyline bet and back Phoenix in a much-needed win. If the Suns’ line were to get to 2 points, then I would feel a lot more comfortable taking them with a smaller margin to cover.
The Pick: Suns moneyline -215 [Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, CO, IN and WV only.]