The Phoenix Suns won Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the Nuggets on Monday and will run it back on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET. No other games are set, so NBA sports bettors will all be looking to place their wagers on the same matchup.
Below is a look at a number of predictions ahead of Wednesday night’s game for the Free $5K DraftKings Pools - Playoff Edition (DEN-PHO).
Which team will cover the spread? Suns -5.5 or Nuggets +5.5
Phoenix easily covered the spread in Game 1 with a 122-105 victory and improved to 17-2 in his last 19 home games. The Suns have won seven of their last 10 games by at least 8 points, and four of their five starters scored at least 20 points on Monday. Things aren’t looking up for Denver following Nikola Jokic’s poor outing earlier this week. The home team should cover for a second straight game.
Total point scored? O/U 222.5
The over has hit in Denver’s last five road games against Phoenix and seven of the Nuggets’ last eight games overall. The visiting side is dynamic when it comes to scoring without Jamal Murray, and Jokic is unlikely to go cold two cold games in a row regardless of how good Phoenix’s defense is. Jokic and MPJ are two of the league’s most efficient scorers, and both had below-average performances earlier this week. If Monday’s point total of 219.5 hit easily without both Denver’s top scorers having off nights, another over is likely in the cards for Wednesday.
Which team will reach 30 points first? Suns or Nuggets
There was no shortage of first-quarter scoring in this series on Monday, as both teams scored 28 points. Denver managed to hit 30 first with an MPJ dunk in the second quarter. Chris Paul’s shoulder is recovering nicely and raises the Suns ceiling on offense, and Phoenix is favored by at least a point in the first and second quarter at DraftKings Sportsbook. If the Suns are going to cover the spread, they’ll likely win the first quarter.
Which team will score the most 3-pointers made? Sun or Nuggets
The Nuggets only sank one more triple than the Suns in Game 1, and both teams averaged around 34 attempts per game from distance during the regular season. Denver is far more dependent on the long ball because of its limited offense, and eight of their players attempted at least three 3-pointers on Monday. Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges unexpectedly accounted for more than half of Phoenix’s makes from beyond the arc. I’m rolling with the Nuggets again because all of the Suns’ top-three scoring options do their best work inside the arc.
Which player will have more points and rebounds? Michael Porter Jr. or Deandre Ayton
This one is tough. Ayton has recorded a double-double five of his seven playoff games this year, but MPJ has more scoring upside and could break this game open by racking up 30 or more points. Ayton is less likely to explode offensively as the Suns’ third option, but his rebounding gives him a better floor and makes him the better bet, in my opinion.
Nikola Jokic points, rebounds, and assists: O/U 47.5
This season’s MVP was quiet in Game 1 with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. He shot worst than 50% from the field for just the second time this postseason. However, no player in the playoffs has accounted for more points than Jokic this year. He averaged nearly 45 points, rebounds, and assists during the regular season, and his workload has increased in the playoffs. I expect Jokic to bounce back with a monster game and hit the over. He averaged 25.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in three matchups against Phoenix during the regular season.
Devin Booker points, rebounds, and assists: O/U 38.5
Booker fell short of this mark in Game 1 and scored 21 points to go along with 8 assists and 4 rebounds. His streak of two straight games with at least 30 points came to an end against a team that’s much worse than the Los Angles Lakers defensively. Phoenix’s unexpected production from role-players affected Booker’s scoring, but it’s hard to see him not bouncing back against the Nuggets’ weak defensive backcourt. Scoring a couple more points should help him hit the over in Game 2.
Which team will win the fourth quarter? Nuggets or Suns
Denver has been the better fourth-quarter team this postseason but wasn’t able to create late-game magic on Monday. Phoenix’s depth helped them tire the Nuggets out down the stretch. The Suns outscored the visitors by 10 points in the third quarter and 8 in the fourth quarter after failing to win the first and second quarters. Home-court advantage should continue to give Phoenix an edge in the clutch.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.