Nuggets vs. Suns Predictions: West Conference Playoff Rematch

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published December 1, 2023
5 min read

The Denver Nuggets (13-6) will take on the Phoenix Suns (11-7) in the desert on Friday night in a rematch of last year’s second-round matchup in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The Nuggets recently welcomed back Jamal Murray from a hamstring injury and are 7-1 on the year with him in the lineup. The Suns were riding a seven-game win streak until they were defeated by the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, 112-105.

As we continue, we will discuss the betting odds and our favorite picks for the Nuggets vs. Suns showdown.

Nuggets vs Suns Predictions

Clippers vs. Warriors Betting Odds for Friday, Dec. 1

Denver is a 2.5-point favorite on the road despite being 4-6 outside of their home arena. Phoenix is 4-4 and won three straight games at home. 

Denver Nuggets-2.5 (-110)-140Over 225.5 (-110)
Phoenix Suns+2.5 (-110)+115Under 225.5 (-110)

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The Nuggets dominated their way to the championship last year. The Suns were the only team to even take them to six games in a series, and they appeared to be just as strong a team in the early days of the new campaign.

Since then, however, Denver has encountered a few problems. Murray’s injury exposed their lack of creativity and secondary creation whenever Jokic didn’t have the ball or wasn’t in the game. Their reshaped bench rotation, now full of young and inexperienced players, also had problems executing the offense despite several players turning in impressive outings.

The Nuggets Friday on a three-game win streak. Their last win came against the Houston Rockets, in which Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. combined for 62 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists. Murray, in his first game back, put up 16 points on 4-14 shooting, six rebounds, and six assists.

The Nuggets are seventh in net rating but have gotten significantly better on defense since last season. However, they’re only 16th in the net on the road and score 14.5 fewer points per game than they do at home. 

Jokic averaged 34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 10.3 assists in the six-game playoff series in April. Although nobody can truly guard him, the Suns need to do a better job to give themselves a fighting chance.

Phoenix was rough around the edges to start the year but began to take shape during its recent wins streak. Although they only beat two quality opponents (the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks) during that run, the vision and ethos of the team were clear.

Frank Vogel tends to put Kevin Durant and Devin Booker one pass away from one another. That means that opponents can’t double or over-help since the other is right there waiting to attack a close-out or defensive rotation, but at the same time, the ball-handler can work their magic in isolation if the defense doesn’t shade in their direction.

While that is going on, the wings are constantly crashing the glass and have the team ranked ninth in rebound rate. They’re also just about average on defense, which is more than enough for a team with this level of offensive firepower. 

The Suns don’t have as much home-away variance as the Nuggets do. Ironically, they’re eighth in overall net rating but only 12th at home, even though their raw home net rating is better than their overall rating. That speaks to their level of consistency and is an admirable quality.

Bradley Beal is out continuing to rehab a back injury. Jamal Murray and Devin Booker are both questionable with ankle issues but both played in their team’s most recent games.

Aaron Gordon is also questionable with a heel issue. He has not played in a week. 

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Nuggets vs. Suns Prediction and Betting Pick

The Suns don’t have anyone to match up with Jokic. Jusuf Nurkic has enough raw mass to body him up and make him work on the boards, but he’s not a known defender and also gets into foul trouble against physical bigs that match his size.

This will be the first time these teams have met this season. Although Denver dominated them in the playoff series as a whole, Phoenix won consecutive home games and had the series tied 2-2 before falling in six games.

There’s a real possibility these teams meet in the upcoming conference finals. Our eyes will be drawn to how the Nuggets diagnose the presence of Booker and Durant without giving too much space to the Suns’ plethora of three-point shooters that fill the rest of the court. We also want to see if the Suns can rebound and run in transition to beat the Nuggets at their own game of creating easy looks.

Although we still think Denver is the better long-term prospect, we’ll take the Suns at +2.5 and to win outright. They’re more consistent across venues and have a unique style that’s hard to account for.

Check the injury report as tip-off approaches, because Booker missing the game would change our pick.

  • Nuggets vs. Suns pick: Suns +2.5 (-110) at BetMGM

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Grant Mitchell

Sports Betting Analyst & On-Air Host

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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field. In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
Favourite Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: FanDuel Casino
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