We are about a month away from the NBA season. Which means we are about a month away from anxiously watching the final minutes of NBA games imploring Player A to grab one more rebound and Player B to hit one more three to close out your same game parlay (spoiler alert: heartbreak is incoming).
But that does not mean it’s too early to talk gambling. It’s never too early.
So, whether you are a full-fledged degenerate (and I use that term in an endearing way) or you dabble a bit (that’s what we all say) or you’re just bored because it’s September and you are desperate for anything NBA, let’s walk through some of the more intriguing Suns futures that you can find at your favorite online sportsbook.
(As a quick preface for the gambling illiterate, when it comes to odds, +120 means you bet $100, you win $120. Conversely, a -120 means you bet $120 to win $100.)
Phoenix Suns Win Total Over/Under: 52.5 (O +100/U -122 on FanDuel)
The Suns are coming off a 45-win season, so to cover this over, the team will need to improve by eight wins over last season. Can they do that? Absolutely.
Staying healthy will be important to reaching that over. Last season, the Suns were 11-18 in games when Devin Booker did not play and, after he was traded to the Suns from the Brooklyn Nets, the team went 7-11 in games when Kevin Durant did not play. On the other hand, when both of those guys were available during the regular season, the team went 8-0.
We cannot ignore the fact that there has been significant roster turnover in the offseason, but, as a whole, on paper, the team looks to be stronger than it was at any point last season. We also know that guys like Book, KD, Deandre Ayton, and Bradley Beal have been working out together this offseason. Add in a full training camp and preseason, and that should leave little doubt that the team hits the ground running.
If the team remains healthy, an eight-game improvement should surprise no one. Don’t over think this one and hit the over.
And if 53 wins gives you pause, you can head over to DraftKings, which has the Suns’ O/U set at 51.5 - albeit with slightly less favorable odds (O -120/U +100).
Bonus Non-Suns Play: Brooklyn Nets, 37.5 (O -110, U -110 on DraftKings)
This line calls for an eight-game drop off for the Nets (aka, Phoenix Suns East). The team no longer has KD and traded away Joe Harris and Patty Mills this offseason, but also added Dennis Smith, Jr. and Lonnie Walker, IV. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson should continue to improve so, while a falloff is possible, eight games seems too much for me. I’m taking the over.
But if you’re inclined to take the under, do so on FanDuel, where you get slightly better odds for your negativity (O -115/U -105).
Phoenix Suns to Win the NBA In-Season Tournament (+1200 on FanDuel, +1100 on DraftKings)
Both books give the Suns the fourth-best odds to with the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament, and I think there is good value in this pick.
Wins and losses count towards each team’s regular season record, so those games not only count towards the In-Season Tournament, but also matter in the long run. Whether you like the idea of the In-Season Tournament or not, no extra motivation should be needed for Devin Booker and company for these games.
But, if you are looking for extra motivation, let’s not forget that most of the players brought in to help the Suns to its first NBA Title are on minimum contracts. This may create a little more desire from the top of the roster to get the rest of the guys the $500,000 prize each player on the winning team gets.
At 12 to 1 odds, it’s worth a shot - and I think a wise shot to take.
Deandre Ayton to Win NBA Defensive Player of the Year (+10000 on FanDuel, +7500 on DraftKings)
Do I think Deandre Ayton is going to win DPOY? Probably not. Do I think there is incredible value in picking him at 100 to 1 odds? Absolutely.
Deandre Ayton is undoubtedly the Suns’ most polarizing figure. But whether you love the man or (ahem) do not love the man, nobody can deny the physical gifts he has on the defensive end. Nor can anyone deny that we have seen him be a dominating force on the defensive end. At the same time, his defensive lapses and occasional want of effort certainly do not scream DPOY.
Enter Frank Vogel. Vogel is a defensive-minded coach who has repeatedly expressed the excitement he has to work with DA. He has said that he wants to bring Ayton’s game to an All-Star caliber level. Plus, in that context, he specifically referenced DA’s ability to be a deterrent.
The above should be enough to take a shot on DA for DPOY at 100 to 1 odds. But if you also buy into the concept that DA’s falloff was, at least in part, caused by the animosity between him and Monty Williams, it makes this value pick even better.
Eric Gordon to Win NBA Sixth Man of the Year (+5500 on FanDuel, +5000 on DraftKings)
This has to be my favorite line amongst all of the Suns futures. I think these odds for Eric Gordon to win Sixth Man of the Year are wildly low. Especially when you see guys like Caleb Martin, Chris Paul, and Josh Hart sitting above him with better odds. Regardless, there are a couple of factors that make Gordon an great pick here.
First, while he is not expected to start, one has to imagine that Gordon is going to see plenty of time on the court with the likes of Booker and Durant. The gravity that two guys command is certain to create easier shots for their teammates - particularly with a full offseason and training camp under their belts - and that will most certainly apply to Gordon.
Second, I expect that Gordon will be part of the team’s closing lineup, and Eric Gordon is not the type of player that shies away from taking shots. Given those opportunities and the likelihood that opposing defenses will focus a lot of attention on Book and KD at the end of games should create plenty of opportunities for Gordon to make a difference in big moments - which, if he executes, will help his case for Sixth Man of the Year.
I think these odds are going to get cut drastically as the season carries on, so get Eric Gordon at 55 to 1 while you can.
Frank Vogel to Win NBA Coach of the Year (+1400 on FanDuel, +1300 on DraftKings)
Again, we have a good value bet if you are expecting, like I am, for the Suns to have a lot of success this season. What will likely work against Vogel (and perhaps why his odds are so favorable) is the talent level on this team. But if Vogel follows through on his comments about elevating the play of Deandre Ayton, that could be a difference-maker for the Suns’ head coach.
Doing so will, presumably, result in a high number of regular season victories for the Suns. While there is always the surprise candidate that leads a team to unexpected success (see, e.g., Mike Brown last season), elevating DA’s game along with the team’s regular season success could sway the voters in Vogel’s favor.
Other Notable Phoenix Suns Lines
Devin Booker to Win MVP (+1700 on FanDuel, +1800 on DraftKings); Kevin Durant to Win MVP (+1500 on FanDuel; +1300 on DraftKings): Can both Devin Booker and Kevin Durant have MVP-caliber seasons? Most definitely. But that is the problem with picking either of them. Even if they both have a great season, they are sure to take votes away from one another in the process.
Phoenix Suns to Win NBA Championship (+650 on FanDuel and DraftKings): Both books have the Suns with the third best odds in the NBA, so there is not a ton of value here. But I’m staying away from this line only because my superstitious nature requires it. If you don’t share those superstitions, have at it.
There you have it. A preseason Suns futures primer. We’ll see how this all shakes out at the end of the season.
And always remember: bet responsibly!