NBA Playoffs Betting Preview: Suns vs Nuggets Odds, Pick, Game 5 Prediction
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic.
- The Denver Nuggets host the Phoenix Suns in a crucial Game 5.
- The series is knotted up, and Brandon Anderson sees this as a big spot to back the Nuggets.
- Continue reading for his Suns vs. Nuggets Game 5 preview, plus his pick on the spread and futures bets.
Suns vs. Nuggets Odds
|Over/Under||227.5 (-112 / -108)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
If you haven’t been following this NBA playoff series between the Suns and Nuggets, you’re missing out. Game 4 in Phoenix was basketball nirvana.
Devin Booker scored 36 points and shot 14-of-18 mostly on jumpers. Nikola Jokic had 53 on 30 shots. Those two stars added 23 assists too, so supernova that Kevin Durant’s 36/11/6 was a red dwarf by comparison. It was a spectacular, dazzling constellation of basketball that ended with a 129-124 Suns win that knotted up the series at 2-2.
The home side remains undefeated, and we’re now down to a best of three. Chris Paul will not suit up for Game 5, but thankfully Jokic will play after avoiding suspension for his altercation with Suns governor Mat Ishbia.
The winner moves one game away from the NBA Western Conference Finals. The loser moves one game from elimination. It’s a huge spot — and one I’ve been eyeing for Denver since the series schedule came out.
The Suns entered the series as a four-man team lacking depth, and they’re down to two men now. Paul is injured and Deandre Ayton has been small, both in minutes and on-court play.
Paul’s injury may be a blessing in disguise. His absence has quickened the pace and given Phoenix easy scoring opportunities; it’s also put the ball in the hands of the two brightest Suns more often.
Booker is averaging 36.8 PPG on — not a typo — 62/51/87 shooting. He’s also diming teammates up at 8.8 APG for the series, including 20 potential assists in Game 4. His points + assists over continues to be money. Durant also had 14 dimes over the two Paul-less games as well.
Ayton’s role continues to dwindle. After averaging 15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds over the first seven games of the playoffs, he had just 12 points and 17 rebounds in the last two combined. His minutes are down to around 26 per game, and he looks passive and lost … even more than usual. He’s cruising under his 20.5 points + rebounds line lately, and under 7.5 points (+265, Bet365) is tempting.
Instead, it’s apparently Jock Landale’s job to slow Jokic down. That’s pretty much all you need to know about how that’s going, but at least Landale is playing hard.
The Suns continue to shuffle their bench and appear to have settled on going all-in on shooters. Landry Shamet hit five 3-pointers in Game 4, all but one in the final stanza, and T.J. Warren and Terrence Ross got major run while Josh Okogie and Torrey Craig shrunk in the rotation.
We’ll see if Denver can punish those weak links defensively, or if this series continues to tilt toward offense and overs.
As awesome as Booker has been, Jokic somehow leads the series in scoring. He’s also the series leader in rebounds and assists, of course.
Jokic had 53 points and 11 assists in Game 4. He had a 30/17/17 triple-double in Game 3. He’s basically making up stat lines at this point, dominating the game like no one else in league history.
Michael Jordan’s career Box Plus-Minus is 11.1, ahead of LeBron James’s 10.1. Devin Booker is at 12.8 BPM this postseason. Jokic, over the past three games, is a staggering 17.5 — he is breaking basketball.
The problem is he hasn’t been getting much help.
Jamal Murray has decided this is a 2-on-2 battle: him and Jokic vs. Booker and Durant. Murray has not been up to the task. He’s scored 30 PPG the last two games, but needed 27 shots per game to get there. A better Nuggets result probably means less Murray shots and more from Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr., both of whom were quiet in Phoenix.
Denver will also need a better bench effort. The Nuggets had actually been pretty good in the non-Jokic minutes up until getting blasted the last couple games. Role players play better at home. Just staying near even in those non-Jokic minutes would be huge.
This is a spot I’ve had circled since the series schedule came out. I love Denver here.
The Nuggets are a different animal at home. They went 34-7 at Ball Arena in the regular season and are 5-0 in the playoffs, all but one win by at least nine points.
Denver had a +9.6 Net Rating at home this season versus -3.0 on the road. The defense ranked sixth at home, 22nd on the road. The Suns were just 17-24 on the road.
Part of Denver’s home advantage comes by way of location. The Nuggets play at elevation, which is tough on visitors’ conditioning. This is a third game in five days with both Durant and Booker playing 42 MPG. That duo is doing almost everything for Phoenix, and this is the game where that wear and tear catches up.
Denver has been elite in the fourth quarter this season while Phoenix struggled there and in the clutch — even if the Suns hang around, the Nuggets should pull away late.
Despite stellar performances from Booker and Durant, plus off-nights from the non-Jokic Nuggets, Denver still had a shot to tie late in both losses. The Nuggets have been the better team through four games. The deeper, fresher team will get more from its role players at home and retake control.
I grabbed Nuggets -3.5 at open on the app for multiple units and still love them at -5.
Pick: Nuggets -5
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I’m also betting Nuggets futures.
They’ll control the series up 3-2 and be in a great position to win the West. This team is better and more consistent than the Lakers or Warriors.
I love Denver at +210 to win the West (Bet365), an implied 32% when I have them closer to 50%. I’ll also play the Nuggets to win the series (-162; FanDuel), or more aggressively to do so in six games (+260; DraftKings). This is the perfect buy-low spot.
It all starts with this home Game 5 in elevation. Expect the better team to take advantage.
Picks: Nuggets -5; Denver futures (Nuggets in 6 +260; to win the West +210)
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