Free NBA Picks: Suns at Nuggets Odds
by Aaron Smith - 12/19/2013
The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets enter Friday night’s meeting with identical 14-10 records. Before the season started, many expected the Suns to be among the worst teams in the NBA. Denver had relatively high expectations since they did win 57 games a year ago.
Phoenix has won five of their last six games, while the Nuggets have lost four of their last seven games. The Suns dropped a tough decision Wednesday night against the Spurs, but the Spurs are an elite team, and that was to be expected.
Denver will be playing their fourth straight home game in this one. The Nuggets are just 1-2 in the first three games of this homestand, and one of those losses came against the lowly Utah Jazz. Can Denver get their Mile High magic going again, or will the Suns pull off an upset at the Pepsi Center?
Suns at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
Jeff Hornacek played for the Phoenix Suns between 1986 and 2000. He was named the Suns new coach during the offseason. Expectations were really low for this team, but Hornacek is doing an amazing job with this young team. There hasn’t been a bigger surprise in the NBA so far this season. Based on the early results, there hasn’t been a better offseason coaching hire than Hornacek.
How is Phoenix doing it? There are several reasons for the big turnaround. The Suns have turned into a really scrappy team that gives it their all every night. Phoenix still isn’t an elite defense, but they rank No. 13 in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. That is a huge improvement from the past few years when they had one of the worst defenses in the league each year.
The Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic experiment in the backcourt has worked out as well as anyone could have possibly guessed. Bledsoe is averaging 19.2 points per game to lead the team, and Dragic is just behind, averaging 19.0 points per contest. Bledsoe is averaging 6.4 assists per game, and Dragic is averaging 6.0 assists per game. Having two great distributors on the court at once has led this Suns offense to become much more efficient. The Morris twins have been huge in the low post as well. If they continue to develop, this Suns team could be really dangerous in the future.
Brian Shaw really walked into a difficult coaching position at Denver. Sure, the team did win 57 games a year ago, but look at the changes that occurred since last year. The Nuggets lost Andew Iguodala, who was the team’s most valuable player last season. Danilo Gallinari has been out all year thus far, and Javale McGee has missed the team’s last 19 games. If that wasn’t bad enough, point guard Ty Lawson is now dinged up and listed as “questionable” for this contest. Lawson is trying to get over a hamstring injury, and he apparently now has the flu. Keep a close eye on his status for this game, because he is the one that makes the Nuggets offense run.
Denver has already lost more games at home this season than they did all of last year. The Pepsi Center is typically one of the most difficult environments for visitors, and it’s hard to figure out why this team isn’t getting their normal boost from the home court. Denver is just 4-7 ATS at home so far this year.
Denver’s offensive numbers are way down from a year ago. The Nuggets are shooting only 44.8 percent from the floor and averaging 101.8 points per game. Until this Nuggets offense gets more consistent, they will likely underperform preseason expectations.
Suns at Nuggets NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Bookmaker lists the Denver Nuggets as a five point home favorite in this one. The posted total is set at 207.5. Phoenix is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games. The Suns are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS loss. The Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a loss. Denver is just 1-7 ATS in their last eight Friday games. The Nuggets are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
Free NBA Picks: Suns at Nuggets Betting Predictions
The Phoenix Suns have been covering the number in impressive fashion all year long. The oddsmakers have certainly started to adjust their numbers on the Suns, but I still don’t think they’ve moved the line enough. Denver hasn’t been consistent at all of late, and the Nuggets might not even have the star point guard for this game. Phoenix has been bringing it every night, and getting five points I feel like the Suns are the value play in this one. The Suns have a legitimate shot of winning this game, so grabbing the five points looks like the way to go.
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