NBA Playoff Betting Odds & Betting Trends: What History Tells Us About the Over/Under for Mavericks-Suns Game 7

NBA Playoff Betting Odds & Betting Trends: What History Tells Us About the Over/Under for Mavericks-Suns Game 7 article feature image

Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77, Head Coach Jason Kidd (center) and Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks.

This Sunday has gotten exponentially better with two Game 7s on the horizon. There are a ton of clichés and thoughts tied to a Game 7 of any series, but every winner-take-all game is not created equal.

In order to get you prepped from a betting perspective, Matt Moore and Austin Wang dig into some recent and historical trends that could provide profitable angles for Sunday's late game between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.

Can Free Throws Predict Over/Under Value?

Free Throw Rate has a strong correlation with the over/under in NBA games, especially in the playoffs. Games with a higher Free Throw Rate have a tendency to go over and ones with a lower Free Throw Rates tend to go under.

While we can't predict how many free throws will be attempted before a given game, it could be useful in live-betting scenarios if you observe the game is being called a certain way. It's also important to look back at previous games to see if there's a pattern developing.

The Mavericks had a 46.8% Free Throw Rate in Game 6, by far their highest mark of the playoffs and their second-highest mark if you include regular season games.

Teams coming off a game where they have a Free Throw Rate of 35% or greater have gone 115-83-8 (58.1%) since the 2014-2015 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog. They have gone 20-8 (71.4%) to the under in this season's playoffs.

In this scenario, the 35% Free Throw Rate marks a significant increase from the 28% average we have observed. Free throws aren't fun to watch and a game with excessive free throws could draw ire from viewers and the opposing team.

Perhaps the referee crew calls the following game with a looser whistle while the players continue to play with the same intensity as the game before. Or perhaps the opposing team recognizes they cannot send a team to the line at such a high rate and makes the proper adjustments.

In addition, Game 7 unders have been prevalent, going 33-21 in the history of the Bet Labs database.

After two high-scoring affairs in Games 1 and 2, Games 3-6 have all gone under as the pace has slowed down and both of these teams have grown accustomed to one another.

The defensive intensity has been high and the fatigue is definitely settling in. Three of those four games failed to break 200 points and based on these trends, it's likely that we see a low-scoring battle Sunday night. — Austin Wang

Team Totals Could Have Value in Game 7

The line has moved down to 205. When a Game 7 total moves at least two points toward the under, the under hits at an even higher rate — 11-5 (68.8%). So there's another indication to the under.

The only trepidation I have is based on how the series has gone in the home-win/road-loss splits for the Suns. In the Suns' three wins at home, they have a 127 Offensive Rating, but that drops to 101 in their three road losses.

What's interesting is looking at the team totals. The under is 4-2 in this series, as Austin noted above, but the Mavericks' team total over is 4-2, while the Suns are 4-2 to the under. In the four games since Phoenix's dominant start, the Suns are 0-4 on their team total over

So for the series, despite the wide variance home/road, the Suns have scored less than expected by the market in four of the six games and the Mavericks have scored more in four of the six. (Notably, the Suns were one point short of their team total in the Game 5 win.)

This has caused me no small amount of trepidation when trying to come to a consensus. The historical trends tell us one thing: under, under, under.

One final note: In the past 60 Game 7s, there has been team total correlation in 45 of those games. By that I mean that in 45 of the 60 games, either both teams have gone over, or both teams have gone under their team total. Only in 15 games has one team gone over and the other gone under its team total.

Based on the trends Austin outlined, I have to agree on the under being the play. — Matt Moore

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