Chris Paul is OUT for the Suns who head back to Denver to take on the Nuggets for Game 5 of the Western Conference second-round. The game is expected to tip-off at 10:00 PM ET, Tuesday, May 9th, 2023.
Given the Suns are on the road and are without Chris Paul, its no surprise they come into Game 5 a 5.5 point underdog, with many expecting the Nuggets to take a 3-2 series lead.
After dominating two home games, the Nuggets had a chance to sweep the Suns in the Western Conference semifinals. However, their hopes were dampened as they suffered two losses in Phoenix, turning the series into a real battle.
In Game 4, the Suns managed to tie the series with a 129-124 victory, thanks to outstanding performances by Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. The Suns will carry this momentum into Game 5, set to take place in Denver. The winner of Game 5 will be just one game away from reaching the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets are expected to have all their players available, which was uncertain after Game 4.
There was a possibility that Nikola Jokic could be suspended by the league office for his nudge on Phoenix owner Matt Ishbia during Game 4. However, the NBA decided to let the technical foul called on Jokic serve as his punishment, along with a $25,000 fine.
This news came as a relief to Denver, who almost clinched a victory on Sunday night thanks to Jokic’s career-high 53 points. However, apart from Jamal Murray’s 28 points, the rest of the Nuggets’ lineup struggled to contribute. Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. each scored 11 points, but Phoenix’s bench outscored Denver’s bench 40-11.
Even Jokic’s outstanding performance couldn’t overcome the impact of the Suns’ role players. Landry Shamet of the Suns scored 19 points, including four crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when Phoenix took the lead for good. While Booker and Durant both scored 36 points, Shamet played a pivotal role in their victory.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
The Nuggets have been impressive in their last seven home games, going 6-1 against the spread (ATS). They boasted the highest winning percentage (64.4%) ATS at home in the entire NBA this season and had a solid 25-16-1 ATS record as home favorites.
On the other hand, the Phoenix Suns have struggled on the road, going 1-4 ATS in their last five away games. Additionally, they have struggled to cover the spread after a previous ATS win, going 1-4 ATS in their last five games in such situations. Moreover, they have a subpar 2-5 ATS record in their last seven games against the Nuggets.
Considering these trends and the absence of Chris Paul, it’s recommended to bet on the Nuggets as 5.5-point spread favorites for Game 5. They have been a stronger team at home throughout the series, just as they were in the regular season, and will be highly motivated to regain control of the series in this crucial fifth game. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that the Nuggets will be able to stop the likes of Booker and Durant. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: Nuggets -5.5
Moneyline: Nuggets -215, Suns +180
Pick: Nuggets -5.5
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