New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns Best Bet: Can Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans Force a Game 7?

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns prediction and best bet by handicapper Ben Rajavuori for Game 6. Can the Suns avoid the series reaching a Game 7 or will the Pelicans walk away with another upset win tonight?
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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns Best Bet: Can Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans Force a Game 7?

The Phoenix Suns entered the playoffs as the favorites to win it all, but after an injury to Devin Booker, the Sun's best player, the narrative has shifted. It appeared as if the Suns would make quick work of the Pelicans, and many people predicted a 4-0 sweep for the Suns in the first round in this 1 vs. 8-seed matchup. The Suns took the first game at home and had the lead at halftime against the Pelicans in game two before Booker would injure his hamstring, leaving him out for the remainder of the series and even longer if the Suns advance. The Pelicans have taken advantage. They came back in game two and were able to take game four as well, but face elimination tonight on their own court. Can the Pelicans force game seven, or will the Suns close it out on the road?

Pelicans vs. Suns Game 6 Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: TNT

Click Here for Pelicans vs Suns Game 6 Odds

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Pelicans vs. Suns Game 6 Line Movement

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns Game 6 Prediction

The Suns made it to the NBA Finals last year, ultimately losing to the Bucks, but they picked up right where they left off this season, winning 64 games this year. The Suns are a well-balanced team. They are first in field goal percentage (48.5%) and third in opponent field goal percentage (44.4%). A large part of this success is accredited to Devin Booker. The Sun's offensive rating drops from 116.8 to 109.7 without Booker. Cameron Johnson has been starting in place of Booker, and he's not bad, but he's simply not the same as the superstar. His averages have stayed relatively similar despite a significant increase in playing time.

The Suns have managed to carry a series lead into game six thanks to stellar performances from their main guys. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have both averaged double-doubles over the series and have stepped up more than usual in the absence of Booker. Ayton has held down the paint for the Suns, and Paul has been an assist machine (12 assists per game), feeding Ayton and others. Mikal Bridges also stepped up big in game 5, shooting 100% from three-point range and totaling 31 points. The Suns have done well without Booker, but they will need someone to step up big again to take a tough road game against this hungry Pelicans team.

The Pelicans are playing with house money in this series with nothing to lose. Not a person in the world expected the Pelicans to win, and yet they have an opportunity to force game seven tonight at home. The Pelicans looked excellent in the play-in tournament, especially in the road win against the Clippers. The mid-season addition of CJ McCollum was significant for this team, and he has been playing some of the best basketball of his career. He has been complimented by Brandon Ingram, who is having an exceptional playoff series, averaging 30.8 points on 51.2% shooting.

The Pelicans seem to be clicking right now, and there is no better time to do so than the playoffs. They have also played much better defense behind their young team and a collection of rookies, including Herbert Jones. Jones, when matched up on Chris Paul, has shown to give him fits. His youthful energy has proven to be relentless on Paul, and he has done his best to shut down the veteran guard. Valanciunas has also defended the rim well, pulling down an average of 15.6 rebounds in the series, limiting the Sun's second-chance points.

The Suns were able to take game five almost single-handedly behind Mikal Bridges. He had a near-perfect shooting game, scoring 31 points when his average is 14. The Suns are a deep team, and they have more talent overall when they have Booker, but it feels like another player will need to step up large (perhaps Bridges again) to take this challenging road game. It's never easy to play on the road in the playoffs, but it's even harder without your top scorer. The Pelicans are a hungry team, especially now that they know they can force a game seven tonight and potentially shock the world with a series win. I like how the young guys have been defending for the Pelicans, and McCollum and Ingram have been clicking in the frontcourt. This series would probably be over tonight if Booker were playing, but I like the home team to force game seven.

Pelicans vs. Suns Game 6 Pick

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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