The 2021 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals start Monday, June 7, so here’s the best Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns betting pick, as the No. 3 Denver visit the second-seeded Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena.
The Nuggets are +170 underdogs to reach the conference finals, while the Suns sit at -200 to eliminate Denver. Phoenix is a 4.5-point home fave to take the first blood, and the totals are set at 219.5 points on William Hill Sportsbook.
Denver took advantage of Portland’s leaky defense
The Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers in six games to make it to the Western Conference semis, averaging 120.8 points a night on 47.2% shooting from the field and an excellent 40.6% from beyond the 3-point line.
The Nuggets took full advantage of the Trail Blazers’ pathetic defense even though they missed Jamal Murray (knee), Will Barton (hamstring), and P.J. Dozier (groin). While Murray is done for the season, Barton and Dozier could return sometimes during the semifinal series against the Suns.
Nikola Jokic owned the Trail Blazers in the previous round. The Joker had 38 points in Game 5 and 36 in Game 6 while making 52.8% of his field goals and 42.9% of his 3-pointers through the series. In three games against the Suns this past regular season, Jokic has averaged 25.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists while shooting 50.8% from the field and 50.0% from downtown.
Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon played the most minutes alongside Jokic, while Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo started all six games in the backcourt. The Nuggets frequently used nine players in their rotation, and Monte Morris averaged 15.3 points and 5.8 assists coming off the bench.
Phoenix dismantled the shorthanded Lakers
The Phoenix Suns made it to the postseason for the first time in 11 years and were pretty lucky to face off against the injury-depleted Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. They needed six games to eliminate the reigning champions, overcoming a 2-1 deficit, and the Suns were tallying 104.0 points per game while yielding 97.5 in a return.
Devin Booker went off in Game 6 and dropped 47 points on the Lakers. He’s averaging 29.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists on the postseason, while Chris Paul has been quiet in the Lakers series, tallying 9.2 points and 7.7 dimes a night.
The Suns played some good defense in the previous round, limiting the Lakers to just 41.4% shooting from the field and 29.9% from beyond the arc. Also, Phoenix allowed the reigning champs to hand out only 19.3 assists a night while forcing 13.8 turnovers per game.
- 3-6 ATS in the last nine road games as dogs of 4.5 or fewer points
- 7-3 ATS in the last ten games against the Northwest Division
The Nuggets are 17-3 straight up and 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 encounters with the Suns who were one of the worst Western Conference teams in the previous decade. This time, the Suns are favorites to reach the conference finals, and I’m expecting them to satisfy the odds Monday against the Nuggets.
Unlike Portland, Phoenix is a good defensive team, and the Suns posted the ninth-best defensive rating this past regular season, allowing 111.3 points per 100 possessions. They’ll struggle to cope with Nikola Jokic, but the Suns have enough firepower to slow down the rest of the Nuggets’ fluid offense.
On the other side, the Nuggets will certainly have problems on the defensive end. They beat the Suns in two of their three encounters during the regular season, but it was way back in January when Jamal Murray was healthy.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -4.5 at -110
The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the Nuggets and Suns, and five of those six games produced 220 or more points in total. Also, the over is 6-1 in Denver’s last seven games overall, and it is 11-5 in Phoenix’s previous 16 games at any location.
I will stick with the betting trends, though both these teams love to play at a slow pace, averaging below 97.5 possessions per 48 minutes each. Therefore, the hosts to cover are my best pick here.
Pick: Go over 219.5 points at -110