Suns vs. Clippers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
We’re getting an early season rematch of the 2021 Western Conference Finals tonight, but this Clippers team is seemingly much improved from the roster they rolled out against the Suns in that playoff series. The Suns obviously won that series in six games, but since then, the Clippers have added tons of talent to their roster while the Suns have kept their core intact.
Will the Suns Bounce Back After an Overtime Loss?
The Suns are entering the 2022-2023 season with more question marks than we are accustomed to with this team. Yes, they have managed to keep their roster intact, but whether or not the current roster has the requisite talent necessary to compete for an NBA title has become a question following the embarrassing 50-point blowout they suffered against the Mavericks in the playoffs.
Deandre Ayton’s motivation is another major cloud looming over this team. It was no secret that Ayton wanted max-contract-level money and that the suns were hesitant to give it to him. The Suns ultimately ended up matching a four-year, $133 million max offer from the Indiana Pacers, but that didn’t fully end the drama between Ayton and the franchise.
It will be interesting to see if Ayton remains effective this year given the obvious strife between him, Monty Williams, and the franchise as a whole.
The biggest cloud hanging over this team involves their owner Robert Sarver, who has announced he is selling the team after an investigation found that he consistently used racist language in the workplace.
All of these clouds may not affect the Suns’ level of play on the court, but it certainly casts some doubt on the team entering 2022-2023. The Suns have started the regular season 1-1 SU but 0-2 ATS as they failed to cover -4.5 in their comeback win in the opener against the Dallas Mavericks.
They come to LA off a tough 113-111 overtime loss against an improved Portland Trail Blazers team on Friday. In that game, Devin Booker logged 44 minutes and Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Chris Paul all exceeded 35 minutes. That shouldn’t be much of a factor this early in the season, but it’s still something to keep an eye on to see if Williams is slightly hesitant to play his starters massive minutes again.
Clippers at Full Strength on Back-to-Back
The Clippers had none of the offseason drama that the Suns had, but they have managed to significantly improve the roster since the last time these teams matched up in the playoffs.
Since that 4-2 defeat to the Suns, the Clippers have added John Wall, Norman Powell, Robert Covington and return Kawhi Leonard from injury. This team is significantly improved, and this is reflected in the betting markets as most sportsbooks have them as the favorites to win the NBA Finals this year.
This team is loaded with talented “3 and D” wings, and they certainly deserve to be considered championship contenders. They have started off the season 2-0 SU and ATS with solid wins over the Lakers and Kings. The Clippers rested Leonard and Wall in their win over the Kings last night so that they could play tonight at home against the Suns.
Their absence was felt as all of the offensive scoring load was placed on Paul George’s shoulders. George finished the game with an astonishing 41.9% Usage Rate but remained efficient as he posted 40 props/points”>points on 16/31 shooting. George was the only Clipper to exceed 15 points in the game but won’t be asked to do as much with Leonard and Wall back in the lineup tonight.
I lean towards the Clippers here despite them being on a back-to-back. The Clippers should play small and go five-out to force Ayton and these Suns bigs into tough defensive rotations consistently. The Clippers legitimately have six or seven guys who can put up 20 points on any given night, and that is what makes them so scary. We saw George carry the load last night, but tonight it could be Leonard, Wall, Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, Norman Powell, or even Luke Kennard.
This is so important for me in regular season play because your stars aren’t always going to have it every night. I emphasize this for the Suns matchup because I fear that the Suns don’t really have that same depth of talent currently. With Jae Crowder and Landry Shamet out with injuries, they have resorted to playing guys like Josh Okogie, Jock Landale, and Damion Lee.
They got away with those rotations against teams like Portland and Dallas because they don’t have deep benches themselves, but the Clippers are a different story.
Another issue for the Suns is that the Clippers will be able to switch most screens. We saw how switching caused the Suns issues in that Mavericks series, and the Mavs didn’t even have a ton of elite wing defenders. Between PG, Leonard, Covington, Powell and Terance Mann, the Clippers have a ton of players capable of matching up with Devin Booker.
Chris Paul is clearly not the same caliber of player that he was two years ago when this team won the Western Conference Finals. He had an awful series vs the Mavericks last season, and he has begun this season averaging 8.0 PPG on 37.5% shooting from the field. Maybe he starts getting back into form as the season goes on, but I personally don’t see it here against a stout, switchable Clippers defense.
If Booker and Paul don’t play lights out, the Suns probably have no chance, whereas if a few of the Clippers struggle, they have plenty of depth. It is clear to me that the Clippers are prioritizing this game given that they rested Leonard and Wall last night, and this is not a team I want to fade when they are at full strength. Back the Clippers to win their home opener on Sunday night.
Pick: Clippers Moneyline (-104) FanDuel
Click here to add Clippers ML to your FanDuel Quickslip.