Nuggets vs Suns: Bet Jokic & Co. on the Road

Action Network contributor Joe Dellera provides his Nuggets vs. Suns prediction for Friday.

Nuggets vs. Suns Odds

Nuggets Odds -2
Suns Odds +2
Moneyline -126 / +108
Over/Under 225.5
Time Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Nuggets vs. Suns on Friday, Dec. 1 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Nuggets head to Phoenix for a rematch of the Western Conference Semifinals. Can the Nuggets take care of business on the road? Or will the Suns defend home court?

Let’s get to our Nuggets vs. Suns prediction and pick.

Nuggets vs. Suns Prediction

Pick: Nuggets Moneyline

The Nuggets look to continue their success this season, but may be without Aaron Gordon (heel), who is questionable for this contest and missed Denver’s previous game against the Rockets. The Nuggets have also listed Jamal Murray (ankle) as questionable and Peyton Watson (illness) as probable. Gordon and Murray are the concerning ones and if they miss this game, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. will have to handle a greater offensive load.

When Gordon has missed time over the past two seasons, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s scoring has seen a slight uptick, increasing to 12.8 ppg. When Murray has missed this season, Jokic jumps to 29.8 ppg, Gordon to 18.5 ppg and Caldwell-Pope to 12.2.

On the season, Denver has the fourth-best Adjusted Net Rating (+2.1) and the second-best Adjusted Offensive Rating (118.3), per Dunks And Threes. The Nuggets’ defense is about league average, but this team has played bend-don’t-break defense and then destroys teams with their offense.

When these teams played each in the playoffs last season, the matchup was fascinating. Phoenix couldn’t stop the Nuggets’ offense and even though Phoenix shot a blistering 53.5% eFG%, they were at a significant math disadvantage due to their reliance on the mid-range jumper. This season, Denver is shooting a touch worse than it was last season. The eFG% is about 2% worse on the season than it was last season, per Cleaning the Glass. The margins are going to be thinner this season.

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The Phoenix Suns have listed Devin Booker (ankle) as questionable and they will already be without Bradley Beal (back). Phoenix has struggled to maintain any type of continuity this season as a result of injuries to their star players. However, when Booker and Kevin Durant have shared the floor, the Suns have a +9.7 Net Rating with a scorching hot offense — they score 128.7 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.

Although the Suns have improved some of their depth with a variety of sharp shooters, there is a clear delineation between the starters and the bench unit. Booker (+15.6), Durant (+6.7) and Jusuf Nurkic (+5.7) have the three best point differentials on the Suns. After that, there is a noticeable drop across the roster.

Phoenix has run the majority of its offense on spot-up shooting (26.9% of possessions) and scores 1.09 points per possessions, per NBA Advanced Stats. This is an area Denver has defended well, allowing 0.98 points per possession, the sixth-best mark in the league. Denver’s team defense is what has allowed it to have success against this style of offense.

Nuggets vs. Suns Picks, Odds

There is a level of uncertainty on both sides regarding injuries, but Jokic and Durant both seem cleared to play. Jokic has an uncanny ability to elevate the performance of whomever he shares the floor with and although Durant is incredible, he doesn’t elevate his teammates in the same way.

Additionally, if both teams have all of their starters (besides Beal), I’d lean toward Denver. The Nuggets have demonstrated that they are absolutely dominant when healthy and are 7-1 when Murray plays. Additionally, the Jokic minutes are unstoppable. Jokic has a +22.1 Net Rating this season and Phoenix has no answer for him, even with Nurkic playing center.

I’ll trust Denver on the road because it has the ultimate trump card in Jokic.

Pick: Nuggets Moneyline

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