NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets for Suns vs. Nuggets (Sunday, June 13)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul.
- With Nets vs. Bucks in the books, the NBA world turns its attention to Denver, where the Nuggets look to avoid a sweep.
- The Suns have been stellar in this series, thoroughly beating the Nuggets in the first three games.
- Our staff delivers its best bets for Game 4 below, breaking down where it sees betting value.
We have some big NBA playoff games on deck Sunday, with two series showdowns moving closer to finding a winner.
The Milwaukee Bucks look to even their series with the Brooklyn Nets in the day’s opener, but our Action Network basketball analysts have focused their attention on the nightcap featuring the Phoenix Suns taking on the reeling Denver Nuggets.
Chris Paul and the Suns hold a 3-0 series advantage, which means they’re looking for the series sweep at 3-point road favorites in the Mile High City.
Check out how our handicappers are playing this game, as well as one futures play tied to Phoenix in their stellar postseason run.
NBA Odds & Picks
Suns vs. Nuggets
Brandon Anderson: It feels like we still aren’t giving the Phoenix Suns enough credit.
The Suns gutted out a tough round one win, and all the talk was about the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers bowing out. Now, Phoenix is putting forth a dominant, all-around team performance and is up 3-0 against the Denver Nuggets in the second round. And this time, it’s the Nuggets who aren’t good enough.
They have too many injuries and aren’t getting enough from newly crowned MVP Nikola Jokic, who just became the only player in NBA history not named Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to put up 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a playoff game.
It’s true the Suns have caught some lucky breaks. Anthony Davis was missing in the back half of the Los Angeles series, and Jamal Murray is out now. However, sometimes you have to make your own luck and that’s exactly what Phoenix is doing. Remember, Chris Paul got injured himself in his first playoff game. Yet, Phoenix played on and won that game, and now Paul (and the Suns) look healthy again.
In fact, Phoenix might be the healthiest team left in the postseason. The Suns have looked better than Denver. Paul and Devin Booker are picking apart the Nuggets’ defense with the pick and roll, and Phoenix’s defense has held Jokic mostly in check and taken Denver’s weakened guard rotation out of things.
Phoenix’s starters have dominated this series, and no team in NBA history has lost a series after being up 3-0 on an opponent This is a matter of when, not if, but I can’t bet against Denver in its last home game of the season, with a proud team that fights with its back against the wall.
Instead, let’s look at the bigger picture and bet on Phoenix going forward. You can only play the teams in front of you and the Suns are going to be the healthier team next round as well. The Los Angeles Clippers are missing Serge Ibaka the rest of the playoffs, a presumed playoff starter (or at least closer), and the Utah Jazz are waiting on Mike Conley and dealing with Donovan Mitchell playing through a nagging injury.
Besides, are we sure the Suns aren’t just as good as either of these teams? Phoenix was 3-0 against Utah in the regular season, and it would have home court and a massive rest advantage against the Clippers.
Phoenix has one foot in the Western Conference Finals, and even if it loses Game 4, these numbers aren’t going to get much better. At +195 odds at FanDuel, there’s an implied 34% of hitting this wager.
The Suns will beat the Nuggets, if not now then soon, and have a better than 1-in-3 chance against either the Jazz or Clippers next round. I’m looking ahead and adding to my Phoenix position while the odds are still in my favor.
Suns vs. Nuggets
Roberto Arguello: The Suns have won each of the first three games of this series by at least 14 points. And as just a three-point favorite without Jamal Murray miraculously coming available, the value remains on Phoenix to cover for a fourth consecutive game.
The Suns are simply the better team, as they have significantly more paths to victory with their offense being much less reliant on one or two players having huge games. The Suns’ offense has had better ball movement and better shooters. Not only is Murray’s absence significant, but a hobbled Michael Porter Jr. has also struggled, as he has yet to score more than 15 points in a game and has become a defensive liability.
The Suns’ defense, led by Deandre Ayton, has made scoring tough for Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, while the Suns’ offense has stayed a step ahead of the Nuggets’ defensive adjustments.
No matter what scheme Denver runs in an attempt to limit the damage on Suns pick-and-roll plays, the Suns have shown they can beat any coverage the Nuggets have thrown at them.
Pheonix is the NBA’s most accurate mid-range shooting team (49.1% accuracy, per Cleaning The Glass), and this skillset proved valuable in Game 3 when Denver conceded midrange shots while playing Jokic in a drop. The Nuggets played Jokic more aggressively at the level of screens in pick-and-rolls in the first two games, but the Suns’ quick passes led to open threes.
This was another losing recipe for Denver, with Pheonix shooting the seventh-highest percentage on 3-pointers (38.3%, excluding garbage time) this season.
Expect the Suns’ dynamic offense to finish off the sweep. Take the Suns at -3 odds with the value down to -5 in this spot.
Suns vs. Nuggets
Austin Wang: Nikola Jokic winning the NBA MVP award has been overshadowed by the Phoenix Suns’ dominant play this series. The time is ticking for the Denver Nuggets, who are down 0-3 and are in danger of getting swept at home.
This series has played at the slowest pace in these conference semifinals, clocking in at an average of 96.3 possessions per 48 minutes. Both teams followed this form during the regular season — the Suns and Nuggets were 24th (98) and 27th (97.7) in pace, respectively, per NBA Advanced Stats.
Denver has had had a harder time scoring against the stout Phoenix defense. Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets’ second-best scoring option, has been limited this series with a back injury and has only shot 14 for 39 (35.8%) from the field this series, while guarded by defensive stalwart Mikal Bridges.
The Suns’ offense has looked unstoppable, but I expect the Nuggets to play their best defense to save face at home in an elimination game. I see some shooting regression for Phoenix, which has shot more than 50% from the field this series. I expect the Suns to keep it slow and conservative to finish the series and get ready for the Western Conference Finals.
The total final score has decreased in three consecutive games and I expect that trend to continue in this Game 4 showdown. That said, I’m backing the total to stay under 221.5 points and see value down to 220 as well.
Suns vs. Nuggets
Raheem Palmer: The Denver Nuggets are drawing dead. Nikola Jokić has done everything possible to put the team on his back, including a 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a Friday defeat.
Will Barton also returned to the lineup to provide another scoring threat off the bench, adding 14 points. The truth is, without Jamal Murray, this team just doesn’t have enough scoring to matchup with the Phoenix Suns, who were top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating this year.
The Suns have an Offensive Rating of 120.3 throughout this series, while the Nuggets’ best Offensive Rating came in Game 1, where they put up 111.1 points per 100 possessions and still suffered a 122-105 loss.
Our job as writers is to analyze these series to the most granular level, but sometimes the other team is just better.
Even with the Nuggets changing their pick-and-roll coverages in Game 3 to avoid so many 3-point attempts, the Suns carved this team up. Chris Paul put up 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while hitting his patented mid-range jumper at will. Devin Booker added 28 points on 11-of-23 shooting in the victory.
The Nuggets have no answer for these two, who rank in the 94th and 97th percentile in mid-range shooting accuracy this season. You try and take away the Suns’ 3-point attempts and you have to deal with these two breaking down your defense and scoring.
The Suns are better, deeper and whenever their starting lineup is on the floor, the disparity is glaring, despite how good Jokić (he has -/+ of -13, -14 and -10) has been in the series. Unfortunately, there’s nothing else the MVP can do.
Back the Suns at -3 to sweep the Nuggets, as oddsmakers can’t make this number on the favorites high enough.