Anderson: The Mavericks’ Odds to Win the Western Conference Are Too Good to Pass On

Anderson: The Mavericks’ Odds to Win the Western Conference Are Too Good to Pass On article feature image
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Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

On Thursday, I made the case for the Phoenix Suns winning the Western Conference.

My logic? The Suns needed just one win in two games to escape their first-round series against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers to set themselves up for a potentially juicy second-round matchup and put them one series win away from cashing the bet.

We see how the first part of that one worked out. The Suns stormed the Lakers in the first quarter and held on to win, and they now advance to face the Jamal Murray-less Denver Nuggets in the Conference Semifinals as favorites in the series.

When I recommended betting Phoenix to win the West, the Suns were at +500. Those odds have been sliced in half and then some, sitting at +225 or worse at every book.

Well, I’m running back that same logic with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs need to win just once in two games against the mighty L.A. Clippers — a team that is supposed to be better but has only looked the part at times.

Dallas had the best player on the court three times in five games so far, and Luka Doncic sure seems to be making his claim as the best basketball player alive. He looks mostly healthy again too, and if he has another game like Game 5 tonight or Sunday, the Mavs have an excellent chance of moving on.

If Dallas does get through, that matchup against the Utah Jazz is suddenly pretty intriguing. Are we sure the Jazz have an answer for Doncic?

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

If you close your eyes and imagine that series, can’t you envision a world where Doncic puts Rudy Gobert in the torture chamber, running pick-and-roll plays at him over and over again while the beleaguered Defensive Player of the Year gets lost in space?

It’s at least possible, and if it happens, Dallas might well be favored in the next round against either a shorthanded Nuggets team or against the Suns, the team that famously drafted Deandre Ayton with the number one pick in Doncic’s draft.

The logic is similar here. At 13-1 on DraftKings, these odds are simply too long on Dallas. The Mavs’ path isn’t anywhere near as tidy as the Suns’, but that’s why the odds are longer.

It has to start with a win either tonight or in Game 7. And at this point, I think we have to say that getting one of two wins is more likely than not for Dallas. Shooting variance has been so key in this series, and all it takes is one more hot night from the Mavericks supporting cast, or one more extended cold stretch from the Clippers, and this thing is a wrap.

These teams feel pretty evenly matched; the Dallas zone pushed the Clippers back into jump shooting mode and got them away from the rim-attacking advantage the Clippers had developed. I think these games are a coin flip, and if they’re around that coin flip odds, then L.A. has around a 25% chance of winning the series because the Clips have to land on heads twice in a row.

If you wait this one out and Dallas wins tonight, these odds will be sliced dramatically tomorrow. Not quite as far as Phoenix, but we’re probably looking at something like +700 or +800 at best in that scenario.

I’m going to bet the Mavs to win the West now because I think they might well have the best player still playing in the conference.

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