The second round of the NBA Playoffs is officially underway, and we have already had some surprises. Tonight we get a simple single-game slate featuring the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets. Game 1 was an exciting battle and ended with Chris Paul dominating the fourth quarter en route to a Suns victory. Will we see more of the same tonight? Can the Nuggets overcome their injuries to tie it up before the series shifts to the Ball Arena (f.k.a. Pepsi Center)?
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1. Nuggets +6 | -109 at DraftKings Sportsbook
I want to preface this by saying that I fully expect the Phoenix Suns to walk away with the victory tonight. However, ATS betting suggests that Denver is a value at +6. Phoenix has to win by seven or more points to cover, the probability of which comes in a fair bit under 40 percent (36.6%). Denver played well in Game 1 but fell victim to a Suns barrage in the late third and early fourth. The Suns are clearly superior to a banged-up Nuggets team but a poor shooting night from Phoenix that coincides with a strong shooting night from Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. is all it will take for the Nuggets to not only cover but to threaten the road upset. If the Nuggets lose this game, it should not be by double digits again. MPJ is expected to play tonight, and the Nuggets may be getting reinforcements in guard Will Barton. Both players should help keep the game competitive. Hold off on your action until MPJ is confirmed, and tap for one unit when he is.
2. Mikal Bridges Over 12.5 Points | -113 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Mikal Bridges was excellent in Game 1 and has a chance to shine once again against Denver. The Nuggets relinquished the third-most points per game to the small forward position this season, coming in at 22.72 per contest. Bridges’ strong play should come as no surprise to those who have followed the Suns closely this season. He averaged 13.5 points per game during the season and had 10+ games of 20 or more points, including a sensational 34 against Indiana. Bridges is averaging just 11.3 ppg during the postseason, but that is thanks to an uncharacteristically putrid .433 shooting from the floor. The Lakers had his number defensively, but Denver is a different animal. Bridges has shot over .500 since his rookie season and immediately found comfort against the Nuggets after struggling against the Lakers. Expect another high-efficiency outing which leads to a relatively easy click.
3. Nikola Jokic Under 6.5 Assists | -190 at DraftKings Sportsbook
For one reason or another, the early money has poured in on the over for this prop. This is despite Jokic hitting seven or more assists in just one postseason contest. The Joker is averaging a robust 31.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in the playoffs but has managed an average of just 4.3 assists. This is way down from his season average of 8.3. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the injury to Jamal Murray and others, but it should be noted that Jokic saw a sharp dip in his dimes per game in last year’s playoffs as well. He dropped from seven per game during the season to 5.3. Now while this has not been a career-long trend, it does help highlight that when Jokic is forced to shoot more due to injury or the postseason grind, that his assist totals often suffer. He remains the elite passing big in the league, but betting on him to hit seven assists offers negative value. Tap the under for one unit.
NBA Prop Bets
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