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Nuggets @ Suns Prediction: Take Suns to win series and Game 1

Chris Paul Phoenix Suns
By Zachary Rainey

I’ve written before how I love two games per night. I’m also on the east coast and am a night owl, so the 10 p.m. start times suit me really well.

I think a lot of people had a vastly different idea of what this series would look like, as almost everyone in the media had the Los Angeles Lakers winning, while a lot of people also had Portland edging out the Jamal Murray-less Denver Nuggets.

But instead, we have this matchup and I’m just as happy, but I think playoff ratings will take a nosedive.

Portland had a great backcourt to challenge Denver’s biggest weakness, but the fact remains that Portland was one of the worst defensive teams in the league this year and that allowed the likely MVP to help propel his team to the second round.

I think that Denver’s injuries in their backcourt catch up to them tonight when they take on one of the smartest players in the league in Chris Paul, as well as Devin Booker, who is coming off a great confidence-building game when he eliminated King James and the Lakers.

Expect Phoenix to go after Jokic more often than Portland did too. Portland wasn’t about to change up their game and run the offense through Jusuf Nurkic, but we did see Phoenix get Deandre Ayton heavily involved once Paul sniffed out LA’s defense in that area in the last series.

Ayton averaged 14.4 points per game and 10 rebounds in the regular season, but saw some of his better games come against Denver. Ayton had 22 points 11 rebounds and two blocks against Jokic in their first meeting. Jokic edged Ayton in points in the second meeting with a 31-10-8 stat line, but Ayton had 27 himself. Jokic had the far better game in the final meeting with 29-22-6, but Ayton still had above his season average with 17-13 and two blocks.

The Suns are -220 to win the series and I think I’m going to take that.

The line has moved a full point from Phoenix -4 to -5, but that’s not enough to scare me off of them, so I’ll gladly take the -5.

For our prop, I’m taking Ayton over 14.5 points. He’s averaging 15.8 ppg in these playoffs. I know some might be concerned that Ayton cooled off after his first three games of the LA series, scoring 14, eight and eight in the final three games, respectively.

But that was mostly because Ayton was outplaying his matchup Andre Drummond so bad that they elected to just take Drummond off the floor entirely which limited the types of lineups Ayton could be out there for. Denver’s best player plays the center position, so they can’t afford to do that.

You can get Ayton over 14.5 at even odds at both BetMGM and PointsBet. At 888Sport, BetRivers and Unibet the price sits at -106.

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