Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#15467 Phoenix Suns vs.
#15466 Oklahoma City Thunder
Sunday, March 19, 2023 at 3:40pm EDT
Chesapeake Enery Arena, Oklahoma City
Written by Blake V.


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Phoenix will be looking to win consecutive games when it travels to Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon. The Suns had lost three straight games prior to their win over Orlando on Thursday. Oklahoma City had its three-game winning streak snapped in a 128-111 loss at Toronto its last time out.

Payne finding his groove

Phoenix was ice-cold from the end of December to the middle of January, losing 12 out of 14 games. The Suns have been playing winning basketball since then, with their only real rough stretch coming during a three-game skid last week. They lost to three elite opponents in Sacramento, Golden State and Milwaukee before bouncing back with a 116-113 win against Orlando on Thursday. The Suns are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, sitting 1.5 games ahead of Los Angeles. They are going to be without big man Deandre Ayton, who suffered a groin injury in the win over Orlando.

He is going to miss his first game since Jan. 23, giving Jock Landale, Bismack Biyombo and Darius Bazley a chance to get extra minutes. Ayton is averaging 18.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, so he is a big absence in the lineup. However, guard Cameron Payne, who missed nearly two full months of action, is shooting 53.1% in his last 32 shots. He is averaging 15.5 points per game and is coming off an 18-point outing. Star Kevin Durant is set to miss his sixth straight game after suffering a sprained ankle on March 8. Phoenix has been disappointing offensively, ranked No. 20 in points per game (113.3). It is facing an Oklahoma City defense that is No. 20, allowing 116.3 points per contest.

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Thunder making playoff push

Oklahoma City went on a five-game losing streak beginning at the end of February, but it has found its best form of the season since then. The Thunder won six of their following seven games, with the lone loss during that stretch coming at Phoenix earlier this month. They had their hot stretch snapped in a 128-111 loss at Toronto on March 16. Tre Mann played more than 21 minutes after not playing in five of the team’s previous six games. Shooting guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with a team-high 29 points on 12 of 19 shooting. He grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists as well.

Gilgeous-Alexander leads Oklahoma City with 31.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. The Thunder have relied on their offense throughout the season, ranked third in the NBA in scoring (117.8). Josh Giddey has been impactful as well, averaging 16.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Luguentz Dort (13.9) and Jalen Williams (13.6) join them in double figures. They are facing an elite defensive team on Sunday afternoon, as Phoenix ranks fourth in the league in points allowed per game (111.4).  The Thunder have not had any recent injuries pop up, and they are a half-game ahead of the Lakers and Jazz for ninth place in the Western Conference.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Oklahoma City has been one of the most profitable teams in the NBA in recent weeks, covering the spread in six of its last eight games. The Thunder have been a team that I have been backing for several years, as they are continuously underrated by the betting market. They have been dominant against Phoenix at home, winning 17 of the last 19 meetings. The Suns have been trending in the opposite direction, only covering once in their last five games. They are going to be a contender when Durant returns, but they are a team to fade right now.

Prediction: Oklahoma City -1

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Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Oklahoma City is an exciting team to watch due to its pace and offense, as it ranks third in the NBA in average possession length and fourth in scoring. The Thunder have struggled on the other end of the court, but their offense has been particularly good in recent weeks. They have gone over in seven of their last 10 games, including five of their last six at home. Phoenix has improved offensively with Payne’s return, going over in six of its last seven games. This should be an exciting game that has value on the Thunder and the over.

Prediction: Over 235

Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen