Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets Prediction, Preview, and Odds
Phoenix Suns (19-14) vs Denver Nuggets (20-11)
The NBA betting action continues with five games on Christmas Day including the marquee Western Conference matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, with the tip-off at 10:30 PM ET.
Phoenix and Denver start their four-game regular-season series, and the Nuggets open as 4.5-point home favorites with a total of 231.0 points. The Suns miss Cameron Johnson (knee), while Devin Booker (groin) and Cameron Payne (foot) are listed as questionable to play. The Nuggets, on the other side, are coming in full strength.
The injury-depleted Suns lost two straight contests
The Phoenix Suns (19-14; 17-16 ATS) are coming off Friday’s heavy 125-100 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies. They wrapped up a four-game homestand with the second straight loss, as the Suns suffered a surprising 113-110 defeat against the Washington Wizards this past Tuesday.
With Devin Booker on the sidelines for the third straight game, the Suns failed to cope with the Grizzlies on both sides of the ball. Phoenix trailed wire-to-wire and by as many as 34 points, making 43.7% of its field goals (9-for-35 from deep) and just 15 of its 26 attempts from the foul line. The Suns yielded a staggering 72 points in the paint and turned the ball over 15 times.
“We got to get back chasing something and right now I feel like the prey,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I don’t like that feeling. I told our guys the same thing. We got to get our edge back right from the jump. They just put their hands on us. Their mentality was we may lose the game, but we are not going to lose the fight and they won both tonight.”
CP3 with the behind-the-back look.
🌟 All-Star vote: https://t.co/RrQOCvZdGS pic.twitter.com/u0iQTrcP38
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 24, 2022
Deandre Ayton led the way for the Suns last Friday, notching 18 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field. Chris Paul had ten points and just three assists, Landry Shamet accounted for 15 points and five rebounds, while Duane Washington Jr. added 14 points and five assists off the bench.
The Nuggets aim for their fourth consecutive victory
The Denver Nuggets (20-11; 14-17 ATS) extended their winning streak to three games this past Friday. They comfortably defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 120-107, covering a 5.5-point spread in front of the home fans.
The Nuggets made 58.0% of their field goals (10-for-21 from deep) while holding the Trail Blazers to 44.8% shooting from the field (9-for-35 from deep). Denver missed ten of its 26 free-throw attempts and allowed 13 offensive rebounds, but the Nuggets scored 66 points in the paint and posted an excellent 31/11 assist-to-turnover ratio. The entire starting lineup scored in double digits, and Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 54 points and 23 assists.
“The scoring, Jamal does that in his sleep. The rebounding, eight boards tonight, the playmaking, 12 assists, three turnovers — that’s outstanding,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “When you score like that, you rebound, your playmaking, you defend, that makes you a hell of a player on a really good team.”
“I get so excited when I see five guys locked in”
Malone after the win 🎙 pic.twitter.com/ItAHYMYjnZ
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 24, 2022
The Nuggets have won six of their last seven games, but they’ve covered just three times in that stretch. Nikola Jokic continues to dominate, and the reigning MVP has recorded three triple-doubles over his last six appearances. Michael Porter Jr. returned from a heel injury against Portland and went for 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field.
Best bets for this game
Full game side bet
If Devin Booker remains on the shelf, go with the nuggets to win and cover. Even if Booker suits up, I would take the hosts because they’ve played very well lately. The Nuggets can score a ton of points against any team in the league, and they’ve improved a bit defensively-wise over their last few games.
The Suns miss Booker a lot. Devin hasn’t played in five of Phoenix’s previous seven outings, and the Suns are only 3-7 ATS in the last ten games overall. Also, the Suns have covered the spread once in their previous five showings on the road.
Prediction: Denver Nuggets -4.5 (-110)
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Full game total pick
The Suns have to bring their best defense in order to upset the Nuggets at Ball Arena, especially if Devin Booker doesn’t suit up. Also, Phoenix has to slow things down and try to take full advantage of Denver’s defensive flaws. The Nuggets’ interior defense is far away from an elite level, and Denver surrenders 114.7 points per 100 possessions (tied-24th in the NBA) on 57.0% shooting from inside the arc (28th).
The under is 4-2 in the Suns’ last six games overall, and it is 5-1 in the Nuggets’ previous six. Also, the total has gone under in four of Denver’s last five tilts versus the Western Conference.
Prediction: Go under 231.0 points (-110)
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