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Wizards vs. Suns Odds, Pick & Preview: Expect Early Dominance From Phoenix (December 16)

Wizards vs. Suns Odds, Pick & Preview: Expect Early Dominance From Phoenix (December 16) article feature image
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Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns.

  • The Washington Wizards, on the second night of a back-to-back, face the Suns in Phoenix Thursday night.
  • The Suns are nearly double-digit favorites vs. the Wizards who have dropped in the standings after a hot start.
  • Jacob McKenna explains why he expects a fast start for the Suns and details how to bet the matchup below.

Wizards vs. Suns Odds

Wizards Odds +8
Suns Odds -8
Over/Under 214.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Bradley Beal and the Wizards make their way over to Phoenix to face the Suns in the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights.

Washington has struggled recently and can’t seem to get over the hump, losing six of its last seven games. Meanwhile, Phoenix is 8-2 in its last 10 games and looks as good as ever.

Can Washington turn things around on Thursday, or will Phoenix continue to assert their dominance and walk away with their 23rd win of the season?

Wizards Reeling After Hot Start

After making several offseason acquisitions, which included Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell, the Wizards appeared to be a real threat in the Eastern Conference.

However, this unit has begun to fall in the standings after winning 10 of their first 13 games. Washington is now 15-14 overall, and as previously mentioned has lost six of their last seven games.

A significant part of their recent downfall has been because of their play on the defensive end of the floor. According to NBA Advanced Stats, Washington has the second-worst Defensive Rating in the NBA over their last 10 games, as they are surrendering 118.4 points per 100 possessions.

Furthermore, they’ve struggled to find a rhythm in the first quarter recently, and as a result have often dug themselves into deep holes early in games. Over the course of their last seven games, Washington has a Net Rating of-19.4 in the first quarter, which is the fifth-worst mark in the NBA in that span.

The Wizards did manage to give the Kings a run for their money on Wednesday, but were outscored 35-16 in the fourth quarter, which led to a 119-105 loss. It appeared that they finally corrected some of their early game issues, but this time they ran into problems in the late stages of the game.


Suns Cruising in Home Games

The Suns are still without Devin Booker, Dario Saric, Abdel Nader, and Frank Kaminsky, but not having those guys on the floor hasn’t appeared to be much of an issue.

Booker has missed Phoenix’s last six games after injuring his hamstring on Nov. 30 against the Warriors, but in that six game span they have managed to put together a Net Rating of +0.5. It’s not very flashy, but it shows that the Suns have enough reinforcements to hold their ground and remain competitive without their brightest star.

Booker will continue to sit on the sidelines for this matchup, but the Suns recently got Deandre Ayton back on the floor after he dealt with an illness for a few games. Ayton returned with a vengeance on Tuesday, scoring 28 points and shooting 71% from the floor while playing a total of 44 minutes.

Another thing that is leaning in Phoenix’s favor is that they return to their home floor after a short two-game road trip. The Suns have been dominant while in their home stadium this season, posting an overall record of 12-2 and a Net Rating of +8.2 according to NBA Advanced Stats.

Wizards-Suns Pick

The Wizards are in the midst of a brutal stretch of basketball, and having to be on the road for a significant period of time only makes the situation worse in my eyes.

Washington simply can’t stay within reach in the early stages of the game recently, giving up an average of 55 points in the first half in their last three games while only managing to score an average 49.7 points in that same span.

Meanwhile, the Suns have scored an average of 57 points in the first half this season on their home floor, and they should have no problems putting up a similar number against a team that is ranked 18th overall in Defensive Rating.

I believe Phoenix is going to be able to jump on Washington early on and open up a lead, even though they will be missing some key rotational pieces once again. I like their first half line at -4.5 (Caesars) and would bet up to -5.5.

Pick: Phoenix 1H -4.5 (-110)

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