The 2023 NBA Western Conference Semifinals matchup has been set. The first-place Denver Nuggets will take on the No. 4 seeded Phoenix Suns in what's perhaps the most highly anticipated series of the 2023 NBA playoffs so far. Will this head-to-head live up to lofty expectations? And equally important: Who will open up the series with a victory?
Before we get to our Suns vs. Nuggets predictions let's explore all the necessary details for when their semifinals showdown tips off:
- What: Nuggets vs. Suns Game 1
- Date: Saturday, April 29
- Time: 10 p.m. EST
- Where: Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado
- Series Score: 0-0
Both the Suns and Nuggets are working off relatively short series and haven't played since Tuesday night. They have both also looked shaky at times since the start of the postseason. Phoenix is clearly still trying to figure out how to best implement Kevin Durant into the offense. Denver, meanwhile, continues to get some inconsistent contributions from certain members of their supporting cast. And yet, though most experts have picked the Suns to beat the Nuggets and make the Western Conference Finals, Denver is actually favored in Game 1, as the latest betting odds on the 2023 NBA playoffs show:
Please remember to keep rechecking these NBA online betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Nuggets vs. Suns Game 1 betting odds are accurate as of Wednesday, April 26. That gives linemakers plenty of time to make adjustments prior to opening tip-off on Saturday, April 29, at 10 p.m. EST. We can't overstate the potential for alterations enough in this case. With these odds available so uncharacteristically far in advance, this gives the best online NBA betting sites even more time than normal to tweak their Game 6 lines. And rest assured, they absolutely will make changes in the coming days.
Of course, this isn't an issue if you're doing business with the right odds provider. That's why we put together extensive reviews of the top online sportsbooks. They have all the information you need to find a linemaker who meets all of your online sports betting needs.
So, what should we expect heading into Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns, not just in Game 1, but for the entire series? And which team has the overall advantage on Saturday? How about for the entire series? Let's dig into all the details.
Are Too Many People Doubting the Denver Nuggets' Chances of Edging Out the Phoenix Suns?
The tactical back-and-forth in the Nuggets-Suns series figures to be the mother of all chess matches. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray spearhead a Denver offense that is able to pick teams apart with ridiculous perimeter shot-making, passing from the free-throw line extended and oodles of off-ball movement. Phoenix's system is stuffed with star power and subsists on detonations from Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, as well as the passing and IQ of Chris Paul.
Many analysts have expressed concern with the Nuggets' ability to defend the Suns' offense. Phoenix can theoretically pick-and-roll Denver to death while catching Jokic in no-man's land. However, the Nuggets have done a better job mixing up their coverages in the playoffs, and the inconsistency of Deandre Ayton whenever he gets on the ball and on the offensive glass could make the Suns easier to defend. There is also still a clear lack of familiarity between Phoenix's four stars, and head coach Monty Williams has struggled on certain nights to stretch his rotation even five dependable players deep.
Make no mistake, the Suns are an incredibly tough challenge for the Nuggets. But Denver's fundamentals are also terrifying. And given how well they play at home, in higher altitudes, they should be able to edge out Phoenix in Game 1.
OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-136)
Top Sportsbooks are Expecting a Closely Contested Game 1 Matchup Between Denver and Phoenix
If you thought the spread for Denver vs. Phoenix would make your decisions any easier, well think again. Here are the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Game 1 between the Nuggets and Suns:
- Denver Nuggets, -2.5 (-110)
- Phoenix Suns, +2.5 (-110)
This isn't a difficult call for us. The Nuggets outscore opponents, on average, by double-digits when playing at home and have battled through very few contests that get determined by one-possession margins.
What's more, Denver has covered the spread 62.6 percent of the time in Ball Arena—the second largest cover ratio at home in the entire league. That number remains largely intact when they're the favorite as well, checking in at 59 percent.
OSB Prediction: Denver Nuggets, -2.5 (-110)
Will Nuggets vs. Suns Live Up to High-Scoring Projections?
The offensive talent on both of these rosters is through the roof. As a result, linemakers and the gambling public have wasted little time deciding that this is going to be a high-scoring and punchy matchup right from the jump. Below you can see the latest over/under betting odds for Suns vs. Nuggets in Game 1:
- Over 225 (-110)
- Under 225 (-110)
Paint us shocked that oddsmakers didn't start this Game 1 over/under at around 235. Indeed, the first tilt of every series is normally a feeling-out process. But we're talking about two of the highest-powered offenses in the league who have the personnel to frustrate even the stingiest defenses.
Phoenix and Denver currently combine to average over 228 points per game. It wouldn't surprise us if that number rises in this series. The Suns have struggled defensively to start the playoffs and don't have the large bodies to throw at the Nuggets that the Minnesota Timberwolves did in Round 1. Feel free to sit out the over/under odds in Game 1 if you're feeling cautious, but get ready for this series to become a shootout before long.
OSB Prediction: Over 225 (-110)
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2023 NBA playoffs betting: