Suns vs. Clippers Prediction: Deandre Ayton Returns for Phoenix

Deandre Ayton Suns Suspension

Getty Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns will get back former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton on Tuesday night as they play the second game of a back-to-back at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ayton was suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a diuretic. He hasn’t played since recording 18 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks in Phoenix’s 124-95 win over the Kings on the opening night of the regular season.

The Suns (11-15) lost a heartbreaker on Monday night falling victim to the heroics of Damian Lillard. The star guard converted a three-point play in the final seconds propelling Portland to a 111-110 victory in Phoenix. The Suns were without Devin Booker who missed the game with a right forearm injury. Booker is officially listed as day-to-day and is questionable to suit up on Tuesday.

The Clippers (20-8) could be without Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly, who have missed the past two games with injuries. JaMychal Green has already been ruled out on Tuesday with a back injury. Williams is nursing a calf injury and Beverly is still recovering from a concussion.  Los Angeles is coming off a 124-117 win over the Timberwolves as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 86 points in the absence of Williams and Beverly.

ESPN’s FPI gives the Clippers an 85.8% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Tuesday’s matchup between the Suns and Clippers.

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Suns vs. Clippers Game Details

Date: Tuesday, December 17
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center (Los Angeles, California)
TV: FS Arizona, Prime Ticket
Clippers -12.5
Total: 227

*All lines, odds, and trends are courtesy of Covers & The Action Network

Line Movement

This line opened at Clippers -12.5 and has held firm at most books despite the action being split with most of the bets on Los Angeles and the majority of the money coming in on the Suns.

Betting Trends

  • Suns are 11-15 SU and 15-10-1 ATS this season
  • Clippers are 20-8 SU and 16-12 ATS this season
  • Over is 15-11 in Suns games this season
  • Under is 16-12 in Clippers games this season

Analysis & Picks

This is a tough spot for the Suns. Coming off the second game of a back-to-back and likely without star Devin Booker, I’m not sure Phoenix can keep up with the dynamic duo of Kawhi and PG. The Clippers stars are starting to find their groove and have posted a 7-2 record with both of them in the lineup since George has returned from his injury. The Suns will get a boost from the return of Deandre Ayton, but I’m expecting there to be some rust after missing the past 25 games with a suspension. This is a big number and the percentage of Suns money coming in is alarming, so the backdoor will most likely be open. I’ll bypass the full game number and nibble on the first half. Take the favorite.

PICK: Clippers -7.5 1st half (-108)

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Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith