Phoenix Suns (45-37) at Denver Nuggets (53-29)
Game Info: Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. EST (Ball Arena)
Betting Odds: Nuggets (-3) / Over/Under (226)
Pick: Nuggets (-3)
Saturday night brings us the first matchup of the Second Round in the NBA Playoffs between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets inside of Ball Arena.
After opening up the First Round with a disappointing loss at home against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Suns were able to string together 4 wins in a row after that to send L.A. packing. Although they were fortunate enough to not have to face Kawhi Leonard or Paul George in the last 3 games of the series, they will not be complaining one bit about the final outcome. In the 5 games played in the First Round, Devin Booker looked like a top-5 player in the league, scoring 186 points on a stellar 60.2% clip from the field. As I previously noted, I am not sure if he would have had that much success if Leonard and George (who are two excellent defenders) were hounding him all game long if they were able to go but that is beside the point at this moment. Heading into the Western Conference Semifinals, we will see if Booker can continue on his scorching scoring streak.
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Although they did suffer at times in their First Round clash with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the final result was a comfortable 4-1 series win. As always Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray led the way for the most part on the offensive side of the ball in crunch time, but I have my eye on Michael Porter Jr. as the X-factor for this upcoming series. The 24-year-old lengthy wing put up about his season average in the First Round against the T-Wolves (16.4 PPG) but will have a bigger role to play versus the Suns as Phoenix Head Coach Monty Williams will certainly force another option to beat his squad than the pick-and-roll that the Nuggets will use consistently down the stretch between Murray and Jokic. Expect Porter Jr. to have a plethora of chances from the outside to knock down crucial buckets off of kick outs when Jokic is getting double-teamed in the paint. Time will tell if he can deliver.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Denver is 27-16-1 ATS when playing as the home team
- The Nuggets are 10-4-1 ATS when playing on 2-3 days of rest
- The Suns are 6-10 ATS when playing on 2-3 days of rest
Denver has fallen short in the last several Playoff runs that they have attempted to make, but this year may be different. The only way that can happen is if they can start hot and punch first in this series matchup against the Suns. You do not want to lose your home-court advantage right off the bat against a vaunted roster like the Suns have and I do not expect the Nuggets to do so. Give me Jokic, Murray, and Porter Jr. to put in over 100+ points combined to take game 1 from the Suns in Saturday night's lone NBA Playoff game.
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