The Phoenix Suns have all the right tools to beat the NBA odds this Thursday when they host the wayward Washington Wizards.
Washington Wizards vs. Phoenix Suns
Thursday, December 16, 2021- 9:00 PM EST at Footprint Center
I love it when a plan comes together. If only they could feel the same love in Portland; we faded the Trail Blazers real hard this past Tuesday, based primarily on their internal strife, and the Phoenix Suns did the rest, winning 111-107 as 1.5-point road faves. They had to go to overtime to get it done, though.
Always a sweat. Next up for the Suns (22-5 SU, 14-13 ATS) is another team that’s been going through some turbulence, the Washington Wizards (15-14 SU, 12-16-1 ATS). They’ll meet Thursday night in the desert, with the Wizards opening as 9-point road dogs on the overseas NBA odds board – that’s a lot of points.
But FiveThirtyEight has Phoenix winning by 11, and the Wiz are on zero days of rest, playing at elevation, after losing 119-105 to the Sacramento Kings (+2 at home). Betting on the Suns is a moral imperative.
This is the Phoenix Suns we’re dealing with, so there’s one big question that needs answering: Is Devin Booker (hamstring) ready to play yet? Apparently not. Jared Greenberg at TNT says that Booker is targeting December 21 as his return date. That’s not... ideal.
Even with their win over Portland, the Suns are now 4-2 SU and 2-4 ATS this year when Booker sits out. That’s a small sample size, though, and Booker (plus-1.1 BPM at Basketball Reference) isn’t the be-all and end-all of this team. He’s definitely an improvement over Landry Shamet (minus-1.9 BPM), but at this point, maybe not by as much as the betting public thinks.
Cameron Payne (minus-2.4 BPM) is also starting to show signs of what made him such a great redemption story last year. All in all, Phoenix has enough talent in the cupboard to make do while Booker gets healthy.
Can we say the same for Washington? They started the season on fire, winning 10 of their first 13 games at 9-4 ATS; the August five-team Russell Westbrook trade that netted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie, Aaron Holiday, and Isaiah Todd (while also costing them Chandler Hutchison and some second-round draft picks) was an absolute stroke of genius. This is a much more viable team now, rich and full-bodied.
At the same time, Bradley Beal (minus-0.8 BPM) is nowhere near the All-Star he was last season. His defense is just as bad (minus-1.7 DBPM), but his offense isn’t making up for it anymore. Some of that may be variance, of course – Beal’s 26.8-percent rate from downtown is just abnormal. But maybe he’s not capable of being all that he can be without someone like Westbrook (or, say, John Wall) by his side.
Basketball is a team sport. Whatever’s going on, the Wizards have won just four games (at a disastrous 3-12-1 ATS) since that amazing start. We’re not going to step in front of that bus. Put those Suns in our NBA picks, and may the sphere be with you.
*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.