Friday is the first in a two game set between the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns in which the Suns will play host. This game is a story of two teams that have been on a bit of a roller coaster in the 2020-2021 campaign. Both have lofty playoff aspirations, which is the first time that could be said of the Suns in quite a while, and are anxious to steady their respective ships amongst the waves they have been enduring of late.
Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns
at Phoenix Suns Arena
Can The Nuggets Stop The Suns?
Denver’s offense is humming along quite nicely thus far in the season. Denver is scoring the fifth most points in the NBA on average, at just over 115 points per night. The problem is that their defense is so atrocious, they usually need almost every one of those points as they are surrendering over 111 points per game. The defensive effort from the Nuggets has been non-existent at stages in games this year and that could pose a very serious problem for them in this contest. The Suns are a dangerous team,that if given free reign, can score points from anywhere on the floor. Denver will have to tighten up their defensive efficiency in order to make a serious playoff run, and this Suns team may well be a good test of where they stand at this point in a season in which they find themselves 7-7.
The Nuggets are an interesting team when it comes to sports betting. According to Oddstrader, they are the sixth choice to win the 2021 NBA championship.
Will Phoenix Find Consistency?
The Suns are a complete team for the first time in a long time. The offseason additions of Chris Paul and Jae Crowder were perfect fits for a young, explosive Phoenix team. Monty Williams has done a very good job at getting the Suns to engage defensively as well. But yet, they still have been up and down. They started the year very hot, and they faded a bit, had a COVID-19 slowdown for a week, and in total have lost three of their last five and two of the last three. If this team has legitimate playoff aspirations, they need to be able to defend their home court against teams such as the Nuggets.
While Phoenix is young and does not have playoff experience, that could be a team that provides value in sports betting. According to Oddstrader, they are the eleventh choice to win the 2021 NBA championship.
I am very much looking forward to this matchup of what will, in all likelihood, be two Western Conference playoff teams. Phoenix came into the year off their 8-0 bubble run of last season, known for Devin Booker and their offensive prowess. Yet, the addition of Chris Paul and Head Coach Monty Williams, has them team playing solid defense more nights than not. Make no mistake, the offensive firepower is still there and can come out at any time, such as when they recently scored 125 against the Pacers.
Denver is a team headlined by stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Jokic has been fantastic this year, but Murray has been up and down. There’s still plenty of time for the Nuggets to find that consistency they’ve been lacking, but if you recall last year’s bubble, it was an issue then as well, as Denver found themselves in 3-1 playoff series holes, not once but twice. This is a talented and resilient team, but they must find their defensive intensity sooner rather than later.
I think this game sets up best for a play on the total. It would not surprise me if either team won the game, but it would surprise me if we saw a defensive struggle. Denver’s defense is abjectly bad at this point and Phoenix, with that sort of leeway, will score points. The Suns play good defense, but Denver’s stars will still get theirs. This total is set at a reasonable number and I’ll gladly take a play on it.
NBA Pick: Over 218.5 (-110) at BetMGM