The Phoenix Suns (38-9) are the hottest team in the NBA right now, riding an eight-game winning streak thanks to Devin Booker, who unleashed 78 points in back-to-back victories against the Utah Jazz this week.
The Suns occupy the #1 seed in the Western Conference and opened a 3.5-game lead over the slumping Golden State Warriors in the #2 seed. The sizzling Suns are on the verge of becoming the first team in the NBA to hit 40 wins.
You can back the Suns at +600 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship. They were +1700 odds in the preseason when bookies and bettors didn’t think they could replicate their success from last season.
A lot of people thought the Suns were a fluke last season even though they went 51-21, earned the #2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
The Suns had an easy path to the NBA Finals because they took advantage of injuries to key opponents, including Anthony Davis from the LA Lakers, Jamal Murray from the Denver Nuggets, and Kawhi Leonard from the LA Clippers.
The Suns are on a mission to prove last year’s run wasn’t an aberration after they jumped out to the franchise’s best start in team history.
Booker: Senor El Fuego
Booker leads the Suns with 25.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game this season. Over his last seven games, Booker averaged 32.6 ppg.
Booker erupted for a season-high 48 points against the San Antonio Spurs last week in an easy victory for the Suns. The Jazz couldn’t stop Booker this week after he dropped 43 points on Wednesday night, and 33 points on Tuesday night. He also set a career-high last night with 12 rebounds.
“It’s the benefit of having Chris Paul,” explained Suns head coach Monty Williams. “Chris can read the game. Chris, when he reads it, he’ll just run certain sets that we have to get Book the ball in certain spots. When a guy is rolling like that, you just kind of let him have the ball and space the floor properly.”
“It’s a good feeling now, but it came with a learning curve,” added Booker. “There was a lot of trial and error, but now we’ve been in enough situations where we know what to expect.”
Paul averages 14.5 points, 10.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. The veteran point guard picks his spots on offense, but has the most fun when he’s feeding the rock to Booker or big man Deandre Ayton (16.8 points and 10.6 rebounds).
The Suns are ranked #3 in offense and #6 in defense. They generate 112.4 ppg for the third-best offense in the NBA, and are the top shooting team in the NBA knocking down 47.6% of their shots from the floor.
The Suns allow 104.4 ppg this season for the sixth-best defense in the NBA. During their eight-game winning streak, opponents are averaging only 101.7 ppg against them.
In the modern NBA, you need stellar 3-point shooting but it’s even more important to defend the perimeter. The Suns connect on 36.3% of their 3-pointers, which is sixth-best in the league. On defense, they allow opponents to connect on only 33% of their treys, which is ranked #4 in the NBA.
This is an unusual stat, but opponents are only hitting 74.4% of their free throws against the Suns, which is ranked #1 in the league. It might seem like an innocuous stat, but missed free throws are often what determines a victory in a close game. Bettors will also preach about how free throws are the bane of their existence. On offense, the Suns are ranked #7 in free throws with a 79.7% success rate.
Betting the Suns
At 19-5, the Suns hold the second-best home record in the NBA at Footprint Arena in downtown Phoenix. They only trail the Warriors (22-4) as the squad with the best home-court advantage.
The Suns also boast the NBA’s best road record at 19-4, showing that they’re equally tough to beat away from Phoenix.
With numerous postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks, the second half of the season has more back-to-back games than usual. That scheduling situation hasn’t fazed the Suns, who have the best B2B record in the NBA at 5-2.
Betting-wise, the Suns are only 26-21 against the spread, but they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. The under is 6-2 in their last eight games thanks to some stellar defense by holding three opponents to under 94 points.
The Suns saw their championship odds gradually improve throughout the season. By early December, they jumped from +1700 odds to +1100 on the NBA futures board. By Christmas, the Suns were +750 odds to win the title. Over the last week, the Suns saw their championship odds move from +700 to +600.
The Suns are +270 odds to win the Western Conference for the second season in a row.
On Deck: Timberwolves, Spurs, Nets
The Suns look to extend their winning streak during a three-game homestand in Phoenix. They host the Minnesota Timberwolves (24-23) and San Antonio Spurs (18-31) this weekend, before the Brooklyn Nets (29-18) come to visit next Tuesday.
Next week, the Suns leave Arizona for a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. Within a six-day span, the Suns will face the Atlanta Hawks (22-25), Washington Wizards (23-25), Chicago Bulls (30-17), and Philadelphia 76ers (28-19).
The Suns return home to Phoenix in mid-February for four home games prior to the All-Star Break. They’ll play two tough games against the Milwaukee Bucks (30-20) and LA Clippers (25-25), but also square off against two of the worst teams in the NBA when the Orlando Magic (9-40) and Houston Rockets (14-34) visit Phoenix.