The injury bug continues to pile up for the Phoenix Suns, as another key member will sit out indefinitely due to COVID-19. Three-time all-star Devin Booker, averaging a team-leading 25.6 points to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols after being placed on the COVID-19 list. The loss of the 25-year-old is a further setback for the Suns, already without fellow All-Star guard Chris Paul. Paul’s out for the remainder of the regular season with a fractured thumb.
With 20 games remaining until the playoffs, the 50-12 Suns are comfortably ahead in the race for best record in the league. It’s still a very dangerous roster, with the likes of big man Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. However, without Paul’s leadership and facilitation and the threat of Booker’s lethal scoring, we’re avoiding the Suns against the spread.
In the 2021 Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns, 4-2. The teams meet for the second time since then Sunday afternoon in Wisconsin, Both teams are obvious contenders in 2022, but while Phoenix has the best record, Milwaukee’s a streaky team this season.
Most sportsbooks had the Phoenix Suns listed as the -3 home favorite in their first meeting this season, the Suns blowing out the Bucks 131-107. Considering the Bucks were -4½ point favorites at home against the Miami Heat this past Wednesday (a 120-119 Milwaukee win), we’d expect a similar spread to be similar, if not higher due to the shorthanded Suns.
We wouldn’t shy away from backing the Bucks, despite the perceived higher total on the line. The Bucks edged a Miami team that was flaming hot, and this could be the spark they need to build momentum toward the playoffs. In addition, the win was even more impressive considering they were down by 14 points with just over seven minutes remaining, then limiting Miami to six points the rest of the way.
Milwaukee is one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA, considering they’re fresh off a world championship and hold an MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.3 ppg). At the same time, the Suns play exceptionally well on the road. Phoenix has fewer losses on the road (five) than at home (seven). The floundering Knicks visit Phoenix Friday,
Even without Booker, the Suns posted 130 points on the Blazers. Although this may be true, we like the toughness of this Bucks’ team and their resilience, especially when defending their home court.