Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns Game 1 Prediction and Odds: 2023 NBA Playoffs

Going into the NBA playoffs, the Denver Nuggets were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but the Phoenix Suns had the best NBA betting odds of reaching the Finals from this side of the bracket. Now, the teams are squaring off in the second round with the Suns a slight favorite to win the series.

These odds from William Hill were correct at the time of writing.

Kevin Durant
(Photo by Pascal Della Zuana/Icon Sport)

Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns – Game Predictions

The Nuggets are a 3-point home favorite with a total of 226.5 points. The Suns beat the short-handed Clippers in five games, but it was a tougher series than the scores suggest. The Nuggets had few problems with the Timberwolves, which was also a 5-game series.

Prediction 1: Denver Nuggets to Cover the Spread (-3)

The Suns were fortunate to draw the Clippers without Paul George, then Kawhi Leonard ended up sitting out the final three games as well. Few thought a team with Russell Westbrook (2023 version) and Norman Powell could push the Suns, who boast three studs, but they did. The Suns had slow starts against LA and were 2-3 ATS in that series. On the season, Denver covers 59% as home favorite (23-16-1) and Phoenix covers 42.9% as road underdog (9-12-1). The Suns are 6-1 in Game 1 in the Monty Williams era, but they did just lose Game 1 at home to the Clippers. Let’s go with Denver to shoot well and make the most of the altitude and home court in this opener to get the cover.

Prediction 2: Nikola Jokic Over 25.5 Points  

Nikola Jokic, the reigning NBA MVP, is likely going to have some big scoring games in this series out of necessity if the Suns can put up numbers with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant like they did against the LA Clippers. Jokic only had one 30-point game against the Timberwolves, and that was the game Denver lost because the supporting cast did not help much. We think Jokic will attack his matchup against Deandre Ayton and want to make his mark as a scorer in Game 1. He had 41 points against the Suns on Christmas this season.

Nuggets vs Suns Preview – Will Denver’s Supporting Cast Deliver?

Jokic came close to winning a third-straight MVP after nearly averaging a triple-double this season, but it could come down to how well his supporting cast plays in this one if he can win this series. We know the Suns can bring it with three probable Hall of Famers and another very good player in Ayton. But the depth of Phoenix may not be as great as past years.

Denver Nuggets News, Injuries, and Starting Lineups

Both teams come in healthy, but it is the role players of Denver having to combat the superstar approach of the Suns. We know Jokic will play very well, but it is up to Jamal Murray to look like a star as he did in the 2020 bubble, and for the occasional hot game by Michael Porter Jr. or Aaron Gordon for this team to overcome those hot nights from the Suns’ stars.

Denver Nuggets Injury Report:

  • No injuries to report ahead of Game 1

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup:

Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Jokic.

Phoenix Suns News, Injuries, and Starting Lineups

The Suns have to look at Denver’s only loss in round 1 to Minnesota as hope that they can do something similar with Booker and Durant being too much of a scoring duo for Jokic and his supporting cast. The Nuggets are going to be hard to beat when Jokic can just facilitate and rack up assists and a triple-double. The depth of the Clippers helped them push the Suns, and Phoenix needs to play better early in games this postseason.

Phoenix Suns Injury Report:

  • No injuries to report ahead of Game 1

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup:

Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Torrey Craig, Kevin Durant, and Deandre Ayton.

Nuggets vs Suns Head to Head Record In 2023

These teams split the regular season series 2-2, but the Nuggets were 2-0 in the games Jokic played and 0-2 without him in more recent matchups. This is obviously the first time we will see Jokic and Durant in a game against each other this year between these teams.

Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns Game Details

Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns Prediction

  • Date & Time: Saturday, April 29, 2023, 08:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Ball Arena – Denver, Colorado
  • Where to watch match in UK: Sky Sports (TV), fuboTV, or other live stream

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