It wouldn’t be the playoffs without Chris Paul getting hurt. Paul injured his groin in Game 2 of this series and is now expected to miss the next few games. Not good news for a Phoenix Suns team that now finds itself down two games to none against the top seed in the West.
Denver is riding high behind two-time MVP Nikola Jokic who is averaging 31.5 points per game, 17.5 rebounds, and five assists in the series. The Nuggets will hit the road for Phoenix to see if they can take a commanding 3-0 lead in this series.
Here’s a preview of this pivotal game in the series, plus some player prop bets suggestions and some wagers to consider.
Nuggets vs. Suns odds
|Nuggets Moneyline Odds||+160|
|Suns Moneyline Odds||-180|
|Over/Under||225 points (over -110, under +110)|
|Spread||Suns -4.5 (-105)|
|Series odds||Nuggets -425, Suns +325|
|Time/Date||Friday, May 5, 10:00 p.m. ET|
Stream: NBA League Pass
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Denver has surprisingly dominated the Suns so far in this series. With the midseason acquisition of Kevin Durant, many had predicted a Suns victory in this second round showdown. Denver handily beat the Suns in Game 1, 125-107. Game 2 was a bit closer, but still saw the Nuggets easily prevail, 97-87.
In Game 1, the Nuggets were led by Canadian point guard Jamal Murray’s 34 points and nine assists. Jokic added 24 points and 19 rebounds while Aaron Gordon added 23 points of his own. Game 2 saw the Joker go off with 39 points and 16 rebounds while Devin Booker had 35 points for the Suns.
|Date||Home Team||Spread Odds||Result||Total|
|May 1||Denver||Nuggets -4||97-87 Nuggets||229 (under)|
|April 29||Denver||Nuggets -4.5||125-107 Nuggets||227.5 (over)|
About the Nuggets (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS, 4-3 o/u)
The Nuggets have lived up to expectations as the No. 1 seed in the West. They beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in Round 1, needing just five games to do so and have jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Suns in this series.
The Nuggets are third in offensive rating and fourth in defensive rating among all teams this postseason. That’s good enough for best overall net rating and legitimizes Denver as a top contender for the title. They’ve been led by Jokic, who’s averaging 27.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game in the playoffs, and Murray with his 25.7 points and seven assists per game.
While several other Western contenders struggled to find their footing all regular season, the Nuggets mostly coasted to the best record in that conference. Behind perhaps the best overall player in the league in Jokic, very solid contributions from Murray, Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. all year have made this team the most formidable out West.
About the Suns (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS, 4-3 o/u)
The Suns shocked the association by trading Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and four first-round draft picks for Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren before the NBA trade deadline in February. They immediately became the biggest title favourites in the West, trailing only Boston in the entire NBA.
Durant was only able to play three games for the Suns, however, before missing significant time with a sprained ankle. Perhaps the only drawback for Phoenix was not having more experience playing together with its new megastar acquisition. Still, the Suns went 8-0 when Durant played in the regular season.
The playoffs, however, have been a different story entirely. Phoenix fairly easily took care of a depleted Los Angeles Clippers team in the first round, but have hit a brick wall with this Denver squad. The Suns will now head home in a 2-0 hole while also being without injured Paul who was struggling in the series already. Game 3 will make or break Phoenix’s season.
Paul (groin) is out. There are no notable injuries for the Nuggets.
- Denver is 5-2 ATS in the postseason this year.
- Both the Nuggets and Suns have played over the total in four of their last six playoff games.
- Phoenix is 2-5 ATS in the postseason this year.
Player prop trends
- The model of consistency, Jokic can always be counted on to show up. While his assists have been down in this series, he’s put up monster rebounding numbers and is shooting more threes. With 16, 19, and 17 rebounds in his last three games respectively, look at the over for Jokic for rebounds (13.5, -135) and 3-pointers (1.5, +120).
- Murray has been picking up the slack as far as the assists numbers go and a good player prop bet would be to take the over 6.5 (-140) assists. The over on threes (2.5, -140) for Murray should also hit as he should rebound from a bad outside shooting game in Game 2 and get closer to the six he hit in Game 1.
- With Paul out, look for Booker to hit his over for assists (7.5, -140) and for Durant to really amp up his scoring. He should reach the over (29.5, -115) for his total points scored.
Wagers to consider
- Phoenix is currently favoured to win Game 3 at -4.5. The o/u is 225. Even without Paul, the Suns still field one of the most talented teams in the NBA and it’s hard to see them going down 3-0 even against a similarly talented Denver team. Taking Phoenix on the moneyline (-180) is the safe play as the team has struggled against the spread recently.
- The last game was a defensive struggle but these are two very strong offensive teams. They rank third and fourth, respectively, in offensive rating this postseason. They should both bounce back in Game 3 and combining for over 225 points (-110) seems likely to happen.