Our last second round matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns brings a plethora of star power. The Suns trio of Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and Devin Booker all have the ability to take this series over. Booker returned after suffering a hamstring injury and didn’t miss a beat, scoring 13 points including the go-ahead 3P with 1:42 left in Game 6 against New Orleans. The Mavericks really impressed in defeating the Utah Jazz even with Luka Doncic missing the first two games of the series with a calf strain. Doncic returned in Game 3 and led Dallas to a Game 6 road win as the No. 4 seeded Mavericks held serve and earned the right to play the defending Western Conference Champions.
Both of these teams are elite defensively, meaning possessions will be limited and variance will be high. Can the Mavericks get hot from 3P range and find a way to defend the mismatch with Ayton, or will the Suns continue their two-year dominance in the Western Conference, and get one step closer to returning to the NBA Finals and getting Chris Paul that elusive championship ring?
Best Bets for Suns vs. Mavericks
Series Leader [Total Rebounds] Luka Doncic +275
There are only two current options on DraftKings for the series leader in total rebounds, and betting Deandre Ayton at -380 is too much juice for me. However, there is definitely value on Doncic, who could certainly grab 10 rebounds per game and challenge for the series lead.
Doncic averaged 9.1 rebounds per game in the regular season, which is just slightly less than Ayton at 10.2 In the two games against Dallas this year, Ayton averaged a monstrous 15.0 rebounds per game. However, both games were earlier in the year and neither had Doncic on the floor.
I expect Doncic to take a much larger role on the boards given the obvious deficiency against Ayton. The 23-year-old star point guard averaged 10.7 rebounds in their first-round victory over Utah, needing to battle a similar disadvantage against Rudy Gobert.
This is certainly a long shot, but certainly more likely than the odds would indicate.
Series Leader [Total 3P Made] Luka Doncic +175
I was surprised to see this prop listed at +175, especially given the usage that Luka Doncic gets each game. On the season, the Mavericks point guard is averaging 3.1 3PM per game, the highest of any player on this list. The second betting favorite is Phoenix’s Devin Booker at +225, but his 2.7 3PM are less than Doncic and his hamstring injury could linger into this series.
The Mavericks led the league in 3P defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 33.5% from deep this season. Dallas was even better against Utah in the opening round of the playoffs, keeping the Jazz to a microscopic 22% from beyond the arc.
Phoenix is also elite at limiting opponents from 3P range, ranking third-best in the league at defending beyond the arc. However, the other options such as Reggie Bullock (+600), Cameron Johnson (+850), or Dorian Finney-Smith (+1000) just don’t provide enough consistency.
It’s not often we can get Doncic in any prop at plus-money, so this is a nice opportunity to make a profit on an All-NBA player.
Series Correct Score Phoenix [4-2] +400
Winning a road Game 6 has not proved difficult in these playoffs, especially for the Suns. Phoenix won Game 6 at New Orleans, to wrap up their opening round series. The Suns finished 3-0 against the Mavericks this year, including a 109-101 win at Dallas. I believe in the Dallas defense and certainly think they can win the same two games that the Pelicans did in the first round. Strong defensive teams limit possessions and increase variance. At +400 odds, that implies that there is only a 20% chance Dallas makes it to a Game 6. Given Doncic’s dominance, the Mavericks defense, and Booker’s injury, the probability is certainly higher. I’ll grab this number at 4 to 1 with the underdog Mavericks.
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