The Dallas Mavericks will face elimination for the third time tonight. They won both of their elimination games against the Phoenix Suns, and I expect them to put up a similar fight in the Western Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors will probably advance, but they’re likelier to do so on their home court than in the American Airlines Center.
1. Mavericks -1 | -105 (.5u) at DraftKings Sportsbook
The Mavericks haven’t given us much to like this series, but they came close enough to winning Game 3 that I feel comfortable about betting on them here. Some analysts may argue that Dallas’ spirit has been broken, but this team just dug out of a two-game hole against the Suns. This is still the same Luka Doncic that yelled “everybody acts tough when they’re up” in the tunnel while leaving Dallas’ Game 5 loss in that series.
Sure, no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 series deficit. I don’t expect the Mavericks to do so, either. However, they have enough fight left in them to bring this series back to San Francisco. They should also benefit from some positive regression following their disastrous Game 3 performance. Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber, who are usually solid shooters, just couldn’t get anything to land that game. They scored a combined 0 points on 0-for-15 from the field and 0-for-12 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, ShotQuality expected them to combine for 16 points.
The Mavericks just need their threes to start falling. As long as Jason Kidd doesn’t overreact and sticks to his game plan, Dallas should secure a Game 4 victory against an overperforming Warriors team. Golden State hasn’t shown the appetite for securing early ends to its playoff series on the road, either—the team had a chance to best Denver in four and Memphis in five but passed up both opportunities.
2. Mavericks 1H -0.5 | -110 (.5u) at FanDuel Sportsbook
Even if the Mavericks don’t win the game, they should at least win the first half. Dallas has been one of the association’s best first-half teams this year. They won their regular-season first halves by an average margin of +2.2. Golden State did so by a margin of only +1.3. Further, the Warriors routinely stunk up first quarters and usually escaped them by a margin of only +0.4. That ranked 14th.
The Mavericks will have every incentive to start off well. Their season is on the line, and they’ll want to get the home crowd involved early. In contrast, the Warriors know they can lose this game and still get two chances to close out the Mavericks in San Francisco. That comfort could breed complacency and contribute to a slow start.
Golden State’s opening performances in other teams’ first elimination games also support this play. The Denver Nuggets got out to an 11-point first-half lead in their Game 4, and the Memphis Grizzlies got out to a 28-point first-half in their Game 5.
3. PPD: Reggie Bullock 12+ PTS/Dallas to Win | +270 (.5u) at FanDuel Sportsbook
We’ll use our last half-unit on an aggressive player-performance double. Bullock dropped a goose egg in Game 3. However, he scored at least 12 points in both Games 1 and 2, and positive regression should get him back over the 12-point hump we need him to clear.
Bullock isn’t the most enticing Maverick to wager on, but he actually leads the team in playoff minutes and has routinely gotten more action than Luka Doncic. Sure, minutes don’t automatically translate into shots, but Bullock has double-digit shot attempts in four of his last five contests. He went over this number in all but one of those games.
Bullock has exceeded this number in seven of Dallas’ playoff games. The books have his standard total set at 10.5, which means we only need him to beat that number by an extra point. A same-game parlay of these lines would yield odds of +253, so we’re getting a decent chunk of extra value by buying the player-performance double at FanDuel Sportsbook.
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