The Suns have dominated the Nuggets through two games and now the series shifts to Denver for a huge Game 3. Can the Nuggets bounce back and protect home court for their squad, or will Phoenix put their foots on the Nuggets’ necks and go up 3-0? Let’s find the value for our bets on the NBA tonight.
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets
Friday, June 11, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Ball Arena
Denver’s Home Court Advantage
I say this every time we talk about the Denver Nuggets, but their defense improves a lot when they go back home. They usually take advantage of teams coming into the altitude and they limit their offense enough to get wins.
However, after getting wiped off the floor in two games against the Suns in Phoenix, it’s definitely not set in stone that the Nuggets win this game. Denver got by the Blazers in the first round by besting them on offense. Defense was not one of the things that helped them advance to the second round.
While their defense could improve tonight when playing at home, without Jamal Murray to steady their offense on the other end, their defense will continue to suffer. That was evident in the first two games of this series where the Nuggets got blitzed in the third quarter of Game 1 and then got utterly dominated in Game 2.
Offense is the only thing that will save this Nuggets squad. They aren’t good enough on defense to stop the Suns from scoring, even at home. However, with roll players usually playing better at home, I think the Nuggets can win this game if they can make some shots, something that has been almost impossible for them over their last six quarters of playoff ball.
Denver has scored only 145 points starting in the second half of Game 1 (outscored 188-145 during that stretch) and going in to Game 2, that trend has to reverse itself if the Nuggets want to win this series.
The Sharp Pick
For these reasons, I’m going after a first half play here between these two NBA teams. I fully expect the Suns defense to take a small step back here, but the main reason for this is I also expect the Nuggets’ offense to bounce back.
During the first round, the Nuggets posted a 127.5 first half offensive rating, which ranked first among first round teams. During the regular season, they also led the league in first half offensive rating with 120.9.
Simply put, I expect the Nuggets to punch the Suns in the mouth. That may not be enough for them to win, or even cover the first half or full game, but at least for the first two quarters, I could see Denver playing well on offense.
So far including three regular season games and two postseason ones, these two are averaging 111.8 points per first half and that includes the last game where Denver only scored 42 first half points.
Denver also broke a trend that was a very successful bet this season in Game 2, but I expect them to bring it back for us here. During the regular and postseason, the Nuggets are 19-9 cashing the over at sportsbooks after a loss.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.