NBA Picks: Phoenix Suns Will Cruise to Victory During Kevin Durant Debut

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Feb 21, 2023 07:00 PM
NBA Picks: Phoenix Suns Will Cruise to Victory During Kevin Durant Debut

Are you ready to see Kevin Durant in action for the Phoenix Suns? Well, you're about to get your opportunity. The Suns play host to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, and Durant is widely expected to make his debut in purple and orange.

The consequences of this moment cannot be overstated. Durant is one of the five best basketball players alive. His trade to Phoenix immediately vaulted them up the contender hierarchy. The Suns now have better odds to win the 2023 NBA Finals than all but two teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. That puts a lot of pressure for them to hit the ground running with Durant immediately.

This seems eminently doable on paper. But new superstar arrivals can take time to jell. Just look at Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on the Dallas Mavericks. It has been anything other than smooth sailing between them. Still, entering the Suns' matchup with the Thunder, linemakers don't seem too concerned about Durant's fit in Phoenix. Here are the latest NBA online betting odds for the matchup:

To WinBovadaBetOnlineBetUS
Oklahoma City Thunder+265+300+250
Phoenix Suns-400-450-375

Like usual, you always want to double-check these online NBA betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder betting odds are accurate entering Wednesday, February 22. That gives linemakers plenty of time to make adjustments based on the latest action prior to the game tipping off on Friday, February 24, at 10 p.m. EST.

To this end, we expect some last-minute shifts to the Thunder vs. Suns betting lines. Not only could the numbers move if Durant's status changes, but Oklahoma City will be playing the second end of a back-to-back. Oddsmakers could adjust depending on how they fare Thursday night against the Utah Jazz. However, these changes needn't concern you if you're signed up with the right sportsbook. And fortunately, we're here to help take the work out of that process. Our reviews of the top online sportsbooks should help you spot the best online NBA betting sites in 2023.

Now, let's get to our picks for Suns vs. Thunder!

The Phoenix Suns Should Have No Trouble Picking Up a Victory During Kevin Durant's Debut

Oklahoma City has done a better job picking up victories coming off no rest than many other NBA teams. Head coach Mark Daigneault knows how to change up his rotations, and it helps that the roster skews toward the younger side.

Still, the Thunder are thoroughly outmanned in this one. Durant is joining a lineup that also includes Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. There may not be a better offense in the league. Even if the foursome takes some time to forge chemistry, the one-on-one skill sets of Booker and Durant ensure the intervening period will remain pretty.

Perhaps the Thunder can catch the Suns off-guard with their high-pressure defense. We also don't know how Phoenix will fare defensively themselves. They needed to give up Mikal Bridges, their best defender, as part of the Kevin Durant trade.

That concern isn't enough for us to walk back this pick. Even if Durant doesn't play, the circumstances favor the Suns. They will be far more rested coming out of the All-Star break, and the Jazz will have just traveled from Utah the night before.

OSB Prediction: Phoenix Suns (-400)

Phoenix Suns To beat the Oklahoma City Thunder

Don't Shy Away From Phoenix's Point Spread Against Oklahoma City

Below you can see the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Thunder vs. Suns: 

  • Phoenix Suns, -8 (-119)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder, +8 (-119)

Phoenix has been a rocky point-spread bet all season, but they've actually been exceptional as the home favorite. The Suns are covering the spread as home favorites over 60 percent of the time so far. At the same time, the Thunder have been incredible at putting up a fight when on the road. They have covered as the road underdog in 73.9 percent of all those games—the second-highest mark in the league.

This could be a situation in which the new-look Suns actually struggle to create separation. They will be trying to get a feel for one another at both ends. And if the Thunder weren't coming off no days rest, we might be inclined to go with their side of the spread.

Right now, however, we just can't get there. The rest discrepancy won't allow us. Oklahoma City will also be working Lu Dort back into the lineup after his return from injury, and it isn't yet clear whether he's in line to play both ends of a back-to-back.

OSB Prediction: Phoenix Suns, -8 (-119)

Phoenix Suns To cover the point spread against the Oklahoma City Thunder

Expect an Offensive Learning Curve for the Suns as They Integrate Kevin Durant

Here are the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Suns vs. Thunder:

  • Over 242.5 (-110)
  • Under 242.5 (-110)

We expect most of the early Thunder vs. Suns action to favor the "over." We're going against that grain.

Oklahoma City's offense is prone to droughts—especially when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is off the floor. Their offensive rating ranks 23rd in the league when they're coming off zero days rest, as well.

While the Suns have what could be the league's best offense on paper, the debut of Kevin Durant might work against the final total. Phoenix needs to get more reps with him as part of the system, and until they do, they could struggle to score at a high clip. Even if they don't, we would bet on them playing slower and generating fewer possessions to try diminishing the learning curve. Both teams should still eclipse 100, but this isn't a game we see leaking into the 120 range for either side.

Suns and Thunder To score under 242.5 points combined

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read more here.