Wednesday’s game between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz is missing a few big men. You might want to put the Over in your NBA picks.
Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Vivint Arena
If health is a skill, the Phoenix Suns (37-9 SU, 25-21 ATS) are one of the most skillful teams in the NBA. Or at least they were; since January 15, the Suns have seen five players hit the injured list, for a total of eight heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Utah Jazz (30-18 SU, 21-25-2 ATS). Centers Deandre Ayton (ankle) and JaVale McGee (knee) have both been ruled out for this contest, alongside power forward Jae Crowder (wrist).
That’s not ideal when you’re about to face 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert, the three-time and reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Except the Suns won’t have to deal with Gobert; he’s out with a strained left calf. Donovan Mitchell (concussion) is also a no-go for Wednesday. There are other question marks for both teams, enough to keep the NBA odds on hold as we go to press, but with all these bigs on the sidelines, the Over might be the right call when the lines come out.
As fate would have it, these same two teams were in action Monday night, and with both Ayton and Gobert out of commission, Phoenix prevailed 115-109 (Over 220.5) as 12-point home faves. The Suns won’t have McGee this time around; Mike Conley (rest), Bojan Bogdanovic (finger) and Joe Ingles (ankle) could all be back for Utah.
This should tilt the floor even more toward offense. Conley is one of the better point guards in the Western Conference, and both Bogdanovic (38.7% from downtown) and Ingles (a surprisingly low 35.2% that will likely improve through sheer regression) are snipers from behind the arc. If Bogdanovic plays Wednesday, his lack of defensive prowess will make the Over an even stronger choice for your NBA picks.
Or the Jazz could just feed the ball down low to Hassan Whiteside all night long. However, even with Ayton, McGee and Crawford out of the lineup, Whiteside will still have to deal with Bismack Biyombo, who has played the best basketball of his career since Phoenix signed him to a 10-day contract on January 1. Biyombo parlayed that into a sweet $3.5-million deal for the rest of the season.
The Suns do have a way of bringing out the best in their players. But once you get past Biyombo, the next big on their depth chart is 6-foot-6 rookie Isaiah Wainwright, who’s on a two-way contract and hasn’t shown all that much in his 133 minutes at the NBA level – aside from his defense, that is.
Given the specific players Phoenix have behind their top two centers, maybe the Over isn’t that more likely to cash in just because Ayton and McGee aren’t in the mix. This pick is more about the potential return of Conley, Bogey and Jingles. Bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Over 220.5 (-110) at FanDuel