Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets Prediction, Preview, and Odds
In the final matchup on Christmas Day, the Phoenix Suns will be traveling to Denver to take on the Nuggets at 10:30 pm EST at the Pepsi Center. The Phoenix Suns are in the top of their division and currently 4th in the Western Conference while the Nuggets are the #1 seed in the West. Denver is favored by four points in this contest while the total is set at 230.5.
Denver football has not been great for Colorado fans, but at least they can have basketball season to look forward to. The Nuggets were able to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in their latest contest by a score of 120-107. As expected, Nikola Jokic was the primary scorer with 29 points and 11 assists while Jamal Murray was right behind him with 25 and 12. They shot incredibly well, including 58% from the floor and 47.6% from three.
See y’all on Christmas pic.twitter.com/AzljEqqEde
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 24, 2022
Nikola Jokic is making his case yet again as an MVP with his consistently great performances. He is currently averaging just a tick under 25 points per game while also managing to earn just under 11 rebounds per game. His 9.3 assists are the only thing keeping him from averaging a triple double. The reason why the Nuggets are doing so well this season is because of their depth. Six other players have averaged at least ten points per game including Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. The Nuggets move the ball well with 28.3 assists to 19.3 turnovers each game on average. As a squad, they are shooting over 50% from the floor and 38.9% from beyond the arc. Whether that is sustainable remains to be seen, but we are a good portion into the season and there are no signs of slowing down. They rank 5th in offensive rating with 115.7.
Defensively, Denver is 17th in the NBA in points against with 113.7 and opponents are shooting 48.6% from the floor and 36% from three-point land. Jokic is the team leader in steals with 1.5 per game and Aaron Gordon is averaging the most blocks per game on the team with .8. They are much more known for their offensive efficiency, but as long as they can hold off their opponents to a manageable number of points, they should be able to beat their opponents when it matters. Murray and Zeke Nnaji are probable for the game on Christmas, but Collin Gillespie and Jeff Green are out with longer-term injuries.
Suns in striking distance
Phoenix is in close competition for supremacy in the West, as they are only two games back from the Nuggets with two teams in between them. The battle could last all season and it will be interesting to see who will pull away with the Western Conference title. The Suns were defeated in their most recent contest to the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 125-100. DeAndre Ayton led the way with 18 points and five rebounds while Landry Shamet added 15 points in the effort.
🌟 ALL STAR VOTING IS LIVE 🌟
Let’s get our Suns to the 2023 NBA All-Star Game!
🗳️ VOTE NOW: https://t.co/RrQOCvZdGS pic.twitter.com/yg4J9svvO5
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 20, 2022
Phoenix’s offensive efficiency is ranked 3rd in the NBA with 116.0. Deviin Booker is the leading scorer on the Suns with 28 points per game while Ayton is second with 17.6 points per game. Chris Paul has taken a step back in scoring, but still leads the team with 8.7 assists per game. Ayton is half a rebound away from a double-double and their assist to turnover ratio is 26.9 to 12.6 per game. As a team, the Suns are shooting 47% from the field and 37.5% from three-point land. They are also shooting 79% from the free throw line.
The defense for Phoenix has surrendered 111.1 points per game, ranking 9th in the NBA. Opponents are shooting 47% from the field and 36.5% from beyond the arc. Mikal Bridges is averaging 1.2 steals per game while Bismack Biyombo has a team high 1.5 blocks per game. Their defensive rating as a whole is ranked 15th in the league, but they are also an offensive team that just needs to hold their opponents to a manageable level. Booker is questionable for this upcoming game with a groin injury and Cameron Payne is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Duane Washington Jr., Cameron Johnson, and Jae Browder are also out with long-term injuries.
Full game side bet
Booker’s injury is concerning, and the Denver Nuggets are 11-3 at home this season. I believe in Denver’s offense slightly more than Phoenix’s and the Suns have lost their past two games in a row. Denver has won six of their last seven games and they have more depth than Phoenix currently. Phoenix is ranked 3rd in terms of strength of schedule, meaning they have not faced as many difficult opponents like Denver. Phoenix is also 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss and 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games vs a team with a home winning percentage greater than .600.
Take Denver -4
Prediction: Denver Nuggets -4
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Full game total pick
The pace of play these two teams play on is ranked 18th and 24th in the league. Phoenix is a top-ten scoring defense in the league, and I believe Booker’s injury will limit him even if he is playing. The two teams combine to average just over 230.5 points, but I don’t see either team hitting their average in this game. Since this is an important game, both squads will try to emphasize their defensive efforts and they will try to hold on to their possessions more. This limits the number of possessions each team will have and therefore more opportunities for them to score. Denver has hit the under in their last four overall and four games played on only one day of rest. The Suns have hit the under in four of their last five after allowing more than 100 points in their previous game.
Take the under.
Prediction: Under 230.5