Sunday NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions for Suns vs. Nets: Bet On Brooklyn With Kevin Durant Back (April 25)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant.
- In a matchup of NBA title contenders, the Nets host the Suns on Sunday afternoon.
- Brooklyn gets Kevin Durant back against a Suns team that is in the midst of a long, tough East Coast trip.
- Raheem Palmer breaks down the matchup and why he's backing Brooklyn.
Suns vs. Nets Odds
|Moneyline||+115 / -140|
|Time||Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM|
In one of the premier matchups on the Sunday NBA slate, the Phoenix Suns continue their East Coast road trip against the Brooklyn Nets.
The last time these two teams met on Feb. 17, we got an unexpected thriller. James Harden and the Nets erased a 24-point deficit to defeat the Suns 128-124 without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Now they meet again, this time without Harden who has missed the last nine games with a hamstring injury and is out indefinitely after a setback in rehab.
The Nets will have Durant and Irving for this matchup as they chase the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
So where’s the betting value in this game? Let’s find out!
Although Denver’s Nikola Jokic is the clear favorite to be the NBA’s MVP, it’s pretty clear that Chris Paul isn’t getting enough credit.
Although Paul isn’t putting up the monster numbers of Jokic or Joel Embiid, he’s been the best player on a team that is 42-17 and just two games behind the Utah Jazz for the top seed in the Western Conference. At 16.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.8 assists, Paul’s numbers are on par with Steve Nash’s numbers during his two MVP seasons and we’ve seen the Suns improve by eight wins despite playing 24 less games thus far.
It speaks to Paul’s impact that he’s improved the win total of every team he’s joined in his first season, including the New Orleans Hornets, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder and Suns.
Of course, it’s not just Paul who makes this Suns team so good. They are absolutely stacked with talent.
Devin Booker is one of the league’s premier shoot guards, averaging 25.1 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 48.2% shooting. The Suns also have an up-and-coming center in Deandre Ayton and wings in Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder who can defend and are shooting 40% from 3-point range. They’re a big reason the Suns are 10th in 3-point shooting percentage (37.9%).
Crowder is out with an ankle injury, so that’s one less player to defend Durant.
Despite not generating the attention of the Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Jazz, Sixers and Bucks, this is a legitimate championship contender. Phoenix is seventh in Offensive Rating (116.4) and fifth in Defensive Rating (110) in non-garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Most impressive is this team’s 22-8 record against teams over .500. The Suns have wins over the Lakers, Nuggets, Jazz and Celtics while sweeping the 76ers and Bucks. They’ve also won 19 games by 10 or more points while only losing six by double digits.
When you’re facing a floor general like Paul and a scorer like Booker, beating the Suns in a close game is difficult. That’s evident by their 19-11 record in clutch games.
The Suns are sixth in midrange shooting frequency (35.5%) and first in midrange shooting percentage (49%). Booker is in the 98th percentile in midrange shooting percentage while Paul is the 95th. With the Nets struggling to defend midrange jumpers, I expect solid games from both Booker and Paul.
I would be remiss to mention that this team has been struggling defensively, sitting 12th in Defensive Rating (112.2) over the past two weeks. The Suns are on a long road trip and have played a ton of games over the past few weeks, so it’s no surprise to see this team struggle to maintain a high intensity.
Despite a 99-86 loss against the Celtics on Thursday during a stretch of three games in four nights, this Suns team hasn’t hit many bumps. They’ re 7-3 in their last 10 games and are 16-4 in their last 20.
This is one of the best teams in the NBA this season and without many serious injuries, they’re trying to win on a nightly basis without load managing their stars like other contenders.
The Nets are redefining what we thought we knew about regular-season basketball.
If they win the championship, it will further devalue the season as the Nets are 40-20, holding the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference despite their three stars in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden playing just seven games together. Although they’re 5-2 in those games, there is concern from some that this team will not build the necessary chemistry.
I’m not sure if I share that same concern. When you have Durant, Irving and James surrounded by solid role players like Jeff Green, Bruce Brown, Nicholas Claxton and Joe Harris, who is shooting 48.3% from behind the arc on 6.6 attempts a game, you’d be hard pressed to find many teams who can keep up with you offensively.
You add a post-prime Blake Griffin to the mix in a limited role and you can feel like there’s a sense of inevitability in regards to the Nets winning the East.
Harden is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. On any given night, we might not know if Durant or Irving will play but as long as one of the big three is in the lineup, the Nets can beat anyone.
They’ve essentially altered wins and losses over the last week but are coming off a 109-104 victory over the Celtics in a game in which they’ve had control of for most of the game. Durant is probable after missing that one, so we should see a boost in Brooklyn’s scoring output.
With the Suns defense slipping in recent games, the Nets should have no problems scoring, particularly at the rim, where the Suns are 18th in opponent field goal percentage (64.5%) and in the midrange where they’re 17th in opponent field goal percentage (42.3%).
Of course, with Durant in the lineup, the Suns will be tasked with stopping a midrange scorer who is shooting 51% and is in the 92nd percentile. Irving is also in the 96th percentile shooting 54% from midrange.
The Nets are second in Offensive Rating, scoring 118.9 points per 100 possessions this season in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
Of course the weakness of this Nets team is on defense. They’re allowing teams to score 113.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass. The only area of the floor where the Nets rank in the top 10 in opponent field goal percentage is the rim (63.3%). The Nets give up the sixth-highest percentage on midrange jumpers (43.4%) which isn’t ideal against Booker and Paul.
If there’s one positive we can say about the Nets, it’s that they’re best at defending the two areas of the floor that analytically minded teams want to stop: the rim and the 3-point line.
I’m not crazy about fading this Suns team since it has been downright dominant this season, but this feels like yet another spot to fade them as we did on Thursday against the Celtics.
Although they’ve had a couple days off since their game against the Celtics after playing three games in four nights and seven in 11 days, this East Coast road trip has been long and against teams like the Bucks, 76ers and Celtics.
The Bucks led the Suns by double digits in the fourth quarter before blowing the lead in a game that the Suns should have lost. If they did lose, this line could be different today.
Nonetheless, at Nets -1.5 I think this line is cheap for Brooklyn, which will get Durant back against a Suns team missing Crowder. I’ll lay the points with the Nets as I think they win this game in what shapes up to be a shootout.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets -1.5
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