Mavericks vs. Suns Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
What should be a matchup of Western Conference titans lost its luster this week as Luka Doncic will miss the Wednesday night battle between the 9-4 Dallas Mavericks and the 10-3 Phoenix Suns. Doncic is out with an ankle injury, and as such the Suns are heavy favorites with the opening line of Suns -5.5 ballooning to -8.5 as of this writing.
Can the Mavs hang? Is there value on the total? Is this a spot to fade the line movement? Let’s find out.
So, Are the Mavericks Good?
Funny story: the Mavericks are 9-4 and have lost the Luka Doncic minutes this season.
That’s right, the Mavs are -86 in 452 minutes with the All-NBA star on the floor, roughly a -10 per 100 possessions. They’re not just losing Doncic’s minutes, they’re getting killed in them.
Even in the Mavericks wins, the Mavs are only +3 in 321 minutes (+0.5 per 100 possessions) with Doncic on the floor.
The Mavericks ‘ expected win rate only puts them at 6-7 this season. They’ve overperformed considerably. Dallas is 15th in adjusted offense and defense per DunksAndThrees.com.
So the question here is if the loss of Doncic, given how the Mavericks have played with him on the floor, justifies a line that’s moved two points from 6.5 to 8.5 after Doncic was announced out and the market hammered the Suns.
Much of the way the Mavericks have managed to win is Jalen Brunson. He’s been terrific, scoring 15 points per game while shooting 50% from the field and 37% from 3-point land along with four rebounds and five assists per game. The Mavericks have outscored opponents by nearly 10 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
The bench has carried the Mavs. When you swap out Kristaps Porzingis for Brunson, the starters go from -14.6 to +13.
The one advantage here might be that the Mavericks’ offense is cooking after a slow start, and they are doing well vs. what Phoenix runs. The Mavs have the 11th-best offense vs. drop coverage which is what Phoenix runs vs. pick and roll most consistently. It will take big games from Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. and especially Kristaps Porzingis for Dallas to hang without Doncic.
Suns Have Bounced Back From Slow Start
Phoenix very quietly has won nine in a row. They stumbled a bit out of the gate but have righted the ship quickly and are back to cruising.
Those nine wins have come vs. projected lottery teams or playoff teams currently struggling (Atlanta, Memphis). But this was the only knock on Phoenix last year, it wasn’t consistent vs. the bad teams. The Suns have been so this year.
Chris Paul leads the league in assists again, and Mikal Bridges is shooting 40% from 3-point land along with 50% from the field. Their bigs have stepped up when Deandre Ayton (who returned over the weekend) was out.
The Suns’ offense has still lagged a bit behind; Phoenix is 19th in adjusted offensive rating at DunksAndThrees.com, but its defense (10th in adjusted defensive rating) has been rock solid.
The Suns aren’t as spectacular as last season, but they are more consistent.
Using half-court and transition data, I have this Suns -11.5, so I show an edge to Phoenix even before factoring in the Doncic absence.
I go against a lot of sharp thinking when it comes to injuries. Star players being out tends to rally the team in the short-term, especially in the first game after. Players play harder with a rare chance at more opportunity and to help pick up their teammate who is out.
Doncic being a negative so far this season doesn’t help, either. If they’ve lost his minutes so far this season, does him being out alter that? I don’t think the Mavericks are better without Doncic, I think they haven’t won those minutes for whatever reason.
The Suns are also on their third game in four nights, which is baked into the number, but not a great spot to jump on a team with a motivational edge.
I don’t think the side is playable, ultimately, even with my projection safely beyond.
I do like the under, however. The Mavericks have been surprisingly stout defensively, and the Suns are rock solid there. Dallas’ offense has been much better the last three games, but without Doncic, they’re down to essentially one creator in Brunson.
Dallas games are 7-4-2 to the under, and Phoenix 9-4. I have this projected at 207 so I’ll play the total here.
Pick: Under 213 (play to 210)