Nuggets vs Suns Picks and Predictions: Will Suns Have An NBA Finals Hangover?

Following the Suns' 4-0 sweep of the Nuggets in last year's NBA Playoffs, they matchup tonight to get their seasons underway. Can the Nuggets do enough to keep it within the number? Find out in our Nuggets vs Suns picks and predictions.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2021 9:52 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Nikola Jokic Denver Nuggets NBA
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After meeting in the Western Conference Semifinals back in June, the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets begin the 2021-22 NBA regular season with a matchup at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona at 10:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 20. 

Will Denver go into The Valley and give Phoenix a game in the opener? You’ll want to continue reading our Nuggets vs. Suns picks and predictions to find out. 

Nuggets vs Suns odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Nuggets vs Suns predictions

Predictions made on 10/20/2021 at 12:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Nuggets vs Suns game info

Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Nuggets vs Suns betting preview

Injuries

Nuggets: Jamal Murray G (Out).
Suns: Dario Saric F (Out)
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 7-2 in Denver's last nine games as an underdog. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. Suns.

Nuggets vs Suns picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Nuggets locked in both Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. during the offseason, which means they’re running it back with the same group they had last year. Jamal Murray is out for most of the season, which means the team isn’t truly going to be at full strength until the postseason. However, Denver did well to draft Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland with the 26th pick. 

Hyland averaged 19.5 points per game at VCU last season and gives the Nuggets some much-needed on-ball creation with Murray out. With Hyland in the mix and healthier versions of both Will Barton and PJ Dozier, this Denver team will be better than the one Phoenix saw in the playoffs last year. Also, Gordon has now had some time to get used to his surroundings, meaning he should be more comfortable this season. 

If that’s not enough, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic gets to go to work against Deandre Ayton, who could be frustrated by the fact that the Suns didn’t sign him to a contract extension on Monday. Don’t be surprised if that impacts Ayton’s play a bit early in the season. Ayton is a human being, so it’s understandable that he’d let that get to him for a week or two. 

Phoenix should ultimately win this game, as the Suns did nothing but improve a roster that went all the way to the NBA Finals last season. But this game should be somewhat close, and it might be hard for Monty Williams to get his guys up this quickly after blowing a 2-0 lead in July. 

Prediction: Nuggets +6 (-110)

While Hyland will make the Nuggets a better team, most of that improvement will come on the offensive end. The Suns are in a similar boat, as they added Landry Shamet in a trade on draft night. Shamet is one of the best shooters in basketball, but he isn’t much of a defender on the perimeter. With that in mind, both of these teams should be better offensively than the last time we saw them. 

The last meeting between these teams in the playoffs saw these two combining to score 243 points. Meanwhile, five of the last six games these two have played in Phoenix have gone Over. On top of that, the Over is 131-91 when Denver has played as a road underdog under head coach Mike Malone. 

Prediction: Over 223.5 (-110)

This pick was one of the ones that was featured in our daily player props piece, but Bridges should be in for a big performance in the season opener. In the playoffs last year, Bridges averaged 16.0 points per game in a four-game sweep over the Nuggets. A big part of that was having Porter on him for a majority of the series. Porter isn’t quick enough to keep players in front of him, and he often gets beat by cutters because of his lack of attentiveness on defense. 

Bridges is also in for a bigger role with the Suns this season. Phoenix just paid him extremely well to be a part of the core for a long time. The Suns view him as their potential third option on offense this year, so he’s going to get more on-ball reps than in the past. That will only help him to grow as a scorer. 

Pick: Mikal Bridges Over 11.5 points (-116)

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