Phoenix Suns Odds Show Rare 6-Seed Favored Over 3-Seed In NBA Playoff History

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Suns Odds

As NBA playoff odds take shape in each conference, bettors may find it perplexing that Suns odds are shorter than Timberwolves odds in their first-round series, even with Phoenix as the No. 6 seed and Minnesota as the No. 3 seed. For one, the T’Wolves own the league’s best defensive rating. Nevertheless, NBA betting history proves this scenario isn’t very surprising. Let’s dive in.

timberwolves vs. Suns series odds

Click anywhere below to wager on Timberwolves vs. Suns odds. These prices are the best available in your state.

Historical Context

If we ignore the 4-5 seed series, there have only been seven instances when the worse seed without home-court advantage was favored to win a first-round series. Only two emerged victorious. The sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors accomplished this feat just last year before the Sacramento Kings exacted revenge in this season’s play-in matchup. The only other instance was the first, with the Kings upending the third-seeded Supersonics in 2005.

Interestingly, the Suns are the fourth No. 6 or No. 7 seed to be favored since 2021, during the “load management era” in NBA history. After the Kings were the first case in 2005, another did not occur until 2014.

YearFavoriteSeries PriceUnderdogSeries PriceResult
2023No. 6 Golden State Warriors-265No. 3 Sacramento Kings+225Warriors (4-3)
2021No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers-175No. 2 Phoenix Suns+155Suns (4-2)
2021No. 6 Portland Trailblazers-130No. 3 Denver Nuggets+110Nuggets (4-2)
2019No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder-130No. 3 Portland Trailblazers+145Trailblazers (4-1)
2015No. 6 San Antonio Spurs-180No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers+160Clippers (4-3)
2014No. 6 Brooklyn Nets-130No. 3 Toronto Raptors+110Nets (4-3)
2005No. 6 Sacramento Kings-120No. 3 Seattle Supersonics+100Supersonics (4-1)
via Sports Odds History

T’Wolves Vs. Suns Odds Movement

Entering the regular-season finale, Minnesota was in the mix for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed. However, Phoenix spoiled its plans with a 125-106 victory on Sunday. Thus, the Timberwolves dropped to the No. 3 seed, setting up this first-round series. The Suns went 3-0 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) versus Minnesota in the regular season, winning all three by double digits.

Bettors steamed Phoenix from -115 to -140 to win the series. To a certain degree, it’s warranted. Roughly two-thirds of the Suns’ regular-season games didn’t feature Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal in action together. In fact, they are one of five teams that have been most devastated by injuries. The Suns begin the postseason with their big three healthy.

But their fourth-quarter defense has been less than desirable, with opponents outscoring them by 11.6 points per 100 possessions. That ranked dead last across the league. Phoenix also finished No. 19 in clutch net rating, often blowing sizeable leads while failing to execute down the stretch.

Like the Suns’ series odds, the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks opened as underdogs against the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers. But money has come pouring in on Luka Doncic & Co. They’re the consensus favorite at the best sports betting sites. If we include five seeds favored over four seeds, we now have 15 instances of the lower seed being favored in the first round.

The same can’t be said for the seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers after opening as a short favorite for their first-round series against the second-seeded New York Knicks. As of this publishing, it’s priced as a pick’em.

Suns at Timberwolves game 1 odds

Click on any odds below to place a wager on Minnesota vs. Phoenix Game 1 odds. It tips off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.

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