Suns vs. Warriors Expert NBA Betting Analysis and Free Pick

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Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The Phoenix Suns have all the betting value on Friday’s NBA odds board when they visit the Golden State Warriors – minus Devin Booker.

Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors

Friday, December 3, 2021- 10:00 PM EST at Chase Center

Is Devin Booker a big enough player yet to deserve our “fade/follow” label? We’ve used that strategy to make some good coin in Los Angeles Lakers games this year, fading them when LeBron James plays and following them when he doesn’t. Booker is no LeBron James, but maybe Friday’s game between his Phoenix Suns (19-3 SU, 12-10 ATS) and the Golden Stare Warriors (18-3 SU, 15-5-1 ATS) demands us to put Phoenix in our NBA picks.

Not that we’d auto-bet the Suns if Booker were playing. But since he’s out of the lineup with a sore left hamstring, we might have to throw our money at Phoenix, now that they’ve opened as 6.5-point road dogs at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) . Let’s dig deep, peel back the layers, and get to know the real story behind Booker’s impact on this matchup.

I Respect You, Booker Man

First of all, we should point out that Booker was injured during Tuesday’s game against these very same Warriors, and only managed to play 15:27 before hitting the showers. The Suns prevailed anyway, beating Golden State 104-96 as cashing in as 3.5-point home faves, with Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton holding things together. Second, let’s look at those projections at FiveThirtyEight.

They have the Dubs winning this game by 4.5 points, which gives us the requisite 2-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA lines to throw down a proper-sized bet. The other projections we’re looking at are closer to that original 6.5 points, but maybe there is some special sauce in that RAPTOR formula Nate Silver and his crew are using.


Speaking of which, let’s go straight to the source. Booker checks in with an offensive rating of plus-1.6 and a defensive rating of minus-0.8, which doesn’t seem all that great. It’s hardly ever better than backup guard Landry Shamet, who checks in at plus-0.6 on offense and minus-0.3 on defense.

As you probably know already, we’re more used to the Box Plus/Minus stats at Basketball Reference ‘round these parts. Sure enough, though, Booker’s defense (minus-1.1 DBPM) is poor enough to make him worth just plus-1.1 BPM overall, or 1.9 points per 100 possessions better than Shamet (plus-0.2 OBPM, minus-1.0 DBPM). These are just stats, of course.

Maybe Booker is actually worth more than an extra bucket to the Suns. But if not, the sportsbooks have definitely given us a bargain price on Phoenix. Since they were 3.5-point home faves in Tuesday’s contest, you’d expect them to be somewhere around +1.5 for the rematch in San Fran, given a generic 2.5 points for home-court advantage (Jeff Sagarin has it worth 1.74 points this year). That means the market is way overvaluing Booker’s absence in this situation.

Except for one detail: The Suns also played Thursday night. They beat the Detroit Pistons 114-103 as 11.5-point home faves. So close! Shamet got the start in place of Booker and led the team at plus-12, so at least he did his job.

They’ll be playing on zero days of rest Friday, while Golden State has been off since Tuesday, but let’s take the Suns for a spin anyway, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Suns +6.5 (–108) with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Suns +6.5 (–108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.