NBA Betting Preview: Denver at Phoenix Suns

By: Brad Young | Wednesday, March 9, 2011

While most of the focus this time of year is on March Madness, there is still plenty of action going on the pro hardwood.  Denver (37-27 straight up, 30-31-3 against the spread) concludes a brief three-game road against Phoenix (33-29 SU, 28-32-2 ATS) trip trying to get back on the winning track.

The Nuggets currently find themselves in second place in the Northwest Division standings.  Denver presently resides in fifth place in the Western Conference, but just a game and a half separates fifth from eighth.

The Suns find themselves a game and a half behind Memphis for the eighth and final postseason slot.  Phoenix remains in second place in the Pacific Division, but a sizeable 11 ½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

Don Best's Real-Time Odds has the Suns 3 ½-point home ‘chalk’ over Denver, with the total set at 214 ½.  Thursday’s contest at Phoenix’s US Airways Center begins at 7:30 p.m. (PT).

Denver was riding a three-game SU winning streak before falling to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday as a two-point road underdog, 100-94.  The combined 194 points never seriously threatened the 208-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the fourth consecutive contest.  The Nuggets had covered seven games in a row before their setback to the Clippers.

Denver outrebounded Los Angeles, 56-37, and forced more turnovers, 16-11, but the Clippers delivered more assists, 25-21.  The Nuggets shot 39 percent (40-of-102) from the field and 21 percent (3-of-14) from behind the arc, but allowed their opponents to shoot 47 percent (35-of-74) from the field.

Center Nene paced the Denver offense with 25 points while tying a season high with 14 rebounds.  Power forward Kenyon Martin had 11 points in the setback, while point guard Ty Lawson added 11 and eight assists.

Phoenix has alternated SU wins and losses its last five games after outlasting Houston Tuesday as a four-point home favorite, 113-110.  The combined 223 points toppled the 218 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 7-2 the previous nine outings.  The Suns had covered back-to-back games before facing the Rockets.

Phoenix prevailed after outscoring Houston in the fourth quarter, 34-28.  The Suns ended the contest with advantages rebounding, 41-36, and assists, 28-21, while shooting a blistering 54 percent (44-of-81) from the field and 54 percent (7-of-13) from 3-point land.

Power forward Hakim Warrick stepped up with 32 points and eight rebounds in the triumph, while guard Vince Carter added 32 and six.  Forward Grant Hill had 19 and four assists, while point guard Steve Nash provided nine and 14.

The home team has won the last five games SU in the Denver-Phoenix series while going 4-0-1 ATS.  The Nuggets won the latest encounter Jan. 11 as a 4 ½-point home ‘chalk,’ 132-98.  The combined 230 points eclipsed the 218 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 3-1 the previous four meetings.

Denver forward Danilo Gallinari (toe) and guard Arron Afflalo (ankle) are expected to be ‘out’ versus the Suns.  The Nuggets host Detroit their next game before embarking on a four-game East Coast road trip.  Denver has seen the ‘over’ go 9-4 its last 13 road games.

Phoenix center Channing Frye is expected to miss the next couple of weeks due to an injured shoulder.  The Suns concludes their three-game homestand with Sunday’s matchup against Orlando.  Phoenix has seen the ‘under’ go 8-1 its past nine Thursday games.

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