Fresh off a pair of convincing victories at home, the Phoenix Suns have a chance to take a commanding lead when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Friday in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal matchup. The Suns had their way with the Nuggets in the first two games in Phoenix, pulling away in the second half of the series opener before turning in a overwhelming performance in a 123-98 romp on Wednesday night. Denver is accustomed to being in such a predicament, facing 3-1 series deficits in the opening two rounds of the postseason a year ago before rallying to win both.
Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET from Ball Arena. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Nuggets as two-point favorites, while the over-under for total points scored is 223 in the latest Suns vs. Nuggets odds. Before you make any Nuggets vs. Suns picks, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $900 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 100-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Suns vs. Nuggets spread: Nuggets -2
- Suns vs. Nuggets over-under: 223 points
- Suns vs. Nuggets money line: Nuggets -130; Suns +110
- PHO: The Suns are 5-0 in their last five against the spread
- DEN: G P.J. Dozier (adductor) was ruled out for Friday
Why the Suns can cover
Chris Paul scored in single digits in five of six games vs. the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening round but he has been a dominant force against the Nuggets. Showing no ill effects of his shoulder injury, Paul had 17 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers in Game 2 to become the first player with at least three playoff games of 15 assists and no turnovers. Over the last three games, Paul has handed out 38 assists and committed just two turnovers.
Fellow guard Devin Booker, who did the heavy lifting by averaging 29.2 points against the Lakers, had a double-double in Game 2 (18 points, 10 rebounds) after scoring 21 to go with eight assists in the series opener. Center Deandre Ayton has not shied away from the matchup with Nikola Jokic and has posted double-doubles in all five meetings vs. Denver this season. Forwards Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder have combined for 31 3-pointers in the last five games.
Why the Nuggets can cover
Jokic was named league MVP on Tuesday and was the lone Denver player to show up with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Game 2. However, his numbers are well below that of the first-round series vs. Portland, when he scored at least 34 points in five of the six contests. The problem for both the Nuggets and Jokic is another consistent scoring option after Michael Porter Jr. tweaked his back in the opener and was held to 11 points in Game 2.
Porter is listed as probable for Friday but his movement was clearly limited and he struggled with his shot in Game 2, hitting only 3-of-13 overall and 2-of-9 from 3-point range. One boost for Denver was the return of starting guard Will Barton, who played for the first time since April 23 and scored 10 points off the bench.
How to make Nuggets vs. Suns picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting 221 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time. You can only get this pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Suns vs. Nuggets? And which side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.