Mavericks vs. Suns Odds, Game 7 Pick & Preview: Back Luka Doncic & Co. on the Road (May 15)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured (From left): Davis Bertans #41, Reggie Bullock #25, Spencer Dinwiddie #26, Luka Doncic #77, Maxi Kleber #42.
- The Dallas Mavericks head back to Phoenix for the seventh and final game of a wild second round series with the Suns.
- Neither team has been able to pick up a road win in this series and the Suns are 6.5-point favorites entering Game 7.
- Raheem Palmer explains why he expects the Mavs to buck the road trend and get a win.
Mavericks vs. Suns Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The two most exciting words in sports: Game 7. It’s where legends are made and legacies are either defined or broken.
That’s what the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks will face on Sunday night in a series deciding do-or-die matchup for the chance to head to the Western Conference finals to take on the Golden State Warriors.
The Mavericks held serve to tie the series in Game 6 and now hope become the first team in this series to win a road game. So where’s the betting value for tonight’s winner-take-all game?
Let’s analyze both sides and find out.
Mavericks Need Elite Shooting and Defense
After going down 0-2, the Dallas Mavericks stormed back to win three out of the last four games to force a Game 7.
The biggest difference has been their defense, which gave up a whopping 125 points on 1.32 points per possession throughout the first two games of this series. Since then, they’ve given up just 90 points per game on just 1.05 points per possession.
The Mavericks’ game-by-game Defensive Rating is telling.
- Game 1: 130.1
- Game 2: 134.4
- Game 3: 105.6
- Game 4: 108.6
- Game 5: 117.0
- Game 6: 91.5
Much of this can be attributed to how well the Mavericks have done at hiding Luka Doncic on defense, avoiding scenarios where been switched on Devin Booker and Chris Paul. They’re also winning the turnover battle against the Suns who ranked third in Turnover Rate (12.6%) during the regular season. In Game 6, they blitzed pick-and-rolls involving Booker and held him to just 19 points on 35.3% shooting with eight turnovers.
They also have the advantage of having the best player in the series in Doncic who is averaging 32.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the series. His combination of scoring and playmaking makes the Mavericks’ offense difficult to stop.
The Mavs have a math advantage in this series given their volume of 3-point attempts compared to the Suns. The Mavericks are taking the highest percentage of 3s this postseason (46.2%) while the Suns rank 15th among all playoff teams at (30.7%). With the Mavericks shooting nearly 39% from behind the arc, they’ve made 26 more 3-pointers, outscoring the Suns by 78 points from behind the arc in this series.
In the Mavericks’ Game 6 win, they outscored the Suns by 30 points from 3-point range in a game they won by 27 points. The Mavericks shot 25% from behind the arc in their Game 5 loss, but that feels like an outlier performance at the bottom of their range.
The Mavericks are live to win this series, but without home court advantage, they’ll have to bring their defense and shooting on the road where they’ve yet to prove they can replicate that success.
Have the Suns Plateaued in the Series?
In their home games in this series, the Suns have scored 120 points per game on 1.17 points per possession while scoring just 93 points per game and 1.0 point per possession in their road games. Their Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde home/road performances have pushed this series to the brink and there are some troubling trends from this team.
We’ve spent much of the last four games asking if the real Chris Paul can please stand up. After two great games to ope the series, Paul has looked every bit of 37 years old. He is averaging 9.3 points per game with 6.3 assists to 4.5 turnovers.
Much of his performance coincides with defensive adjustments from the Mavericks and even Devin Booker has had his issues with this defense. While Booker has averaged 25.5 points on 45.9% shooting along with 5.7 rebounds and five assists in this series, he struggle mightily in Game 6 with eight turnovers. Both Paul (3.7) and Booker (3.8) are turning the ball over at will in this series. In a Game 7 where the pace slows down and every possession matters, ball security could easily be the deciding factor.
With so many blowouts in the series, we’ve yet to see any clutch minutes through six games. As I’ve stated before, the Suns win with their ability to remain balanced and out-execute their opponents. You have to blow out the Suns in order to beat them because they are by far the best clutch team (33-9) in the league. In clutch situations, the Suns have a +33.4 Net Rating, a 131.6 Offensive Rating and a 98.2 Defensive Rating, however with the way the Suns have turned the ball over in this series, I get the sense that we won’t be seeing the same clutch team we’ve seen all year.
I never fully believed the Suns had another gear to reach from their regular season form, they’re not scoring from the spots on the floor that analytically sound teams often target. The Suns were first in mid-range shooting frequency (41.7%) and 25th in 3-point frequency (33.1%) during the regular season and they’re not dominant inside, even against the Mavs who lacks traditional bigs.
The Suns are being outscored by 78 points from behind the arc in this series so they’ll need to be hyper-efficient on twos. That’s something they’ve done throughout the course of this series with Booker dominating.
DeAndre Ayton is the team’s second-leading scorer at 17.5 points per game and they’ll need to continue feeding him to win Game 7. The Suns have the rebounding advantage in this series with a 27.5% offensive rebound rate, so in a slower paced game with less possessions, stealing extra possessions can be the difference in this game.
Still, the Suns will need to Paul to find an extra gear otherwise we could be looking at another disappointing year for perhaps one of the greatest point guards of all time.
Throughout this series, these teams are playing at a Pace of just 92.5 possessions. While I’m inclined to go under, you never want to show up late to the party, especially when the line has already moved five points.
I’m sure you’re also aware that the home team wins Game 7 nearly 80% of the time. In fact, since 2003, home teams are 34-16 (68%), according to our Bet Labs database. However, home teams are just 26-24 (52%) ATS against the spread in Game 7s so these lines have been laser sharp. With 52.38% needed to break even, you wouldn’t be making a profit here betting on home teams to win Game 7 ATS.
All the past data on Game 7s suggests that the Suns will advance, but I’m not buying the Suns here. I’ve said before, the Suns don’t have an extra gear from their regular season form and the Mavericks have the best player in the series.
It’s tough to bet against Doncic and it’s even tougher when he’s surrounded by a team hitting nearly 39% of its 3s. The Suns can’t match the Mavericks point-for-point from behind the arc and it seems like Dallas head coach Jason Kidd has made all the correct chess moves to slow down this Suns offense.
CP3 appears to be knocking on the door of #LarryHolmesStatus over the past four games of this series, I’m not sure we can totally trust him to turn back the clock given Kidd’s adjustment to hide Doncic on defense.
My model makes the Suns 4.5 point favorites for this game and while they should be favored, I think they’re being overvalued.
I’m getting major DeJa Vu vibes here from the Suns: They lost the 1993 NBA Finals in six games to the Chicago Bulls, then lost in seven games the following postseason to the Houston Rockets. I think history repeats itself here with the Suns coming off their Game 6 Finals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and falling short in seven games to Mavericks.
I like the Mavericks to cover at +6.5 and I like them on the moneyline. I’d also recommend adding the Mavericks +850 to win the West to your betting portfolio.
Pick: Mavericks +6.5 | ML +250
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