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The best bets and resources to make you more profitable
|Mavericks Win Percentage||24%|
|Suns Win Percentage||76%|
|Game Date & Time||May 2nd, 7:00 p.m. ET|
Heading into Monday’s game between the Mavericks and the Suns, we’re faced with one of the two most interesting teams in the Western Conference – one of whom made it to the Finals last year and have looked even better in the 2021-2022 season, and one of whom is lead by the heir apparent to LeBron James, in Luka Doncic. Both of these teams have a lot to prove in this series, and Game 1 could very well be the game that determines the shape of this series.
Will the Suns stay hot (pun very much intended) and remind everyone that they were a 64-18 powerhouse this season, regardless of their slow start against the Pelicans? Or will the Mavericks show that the oddsmakers and the pundits are counting them out too early, and that anything can happen in the playoffs when you have a genuine superstar?
This is going to be a very fun series, and it all starts with Game 1 – the total has been set at 213 and the overall 1-seed Suns are rightly favored (currently at -230 for the moneyline) so on Monday night, we’ll begin to get answers to these questions about who each of these teams are. Don’t forget to check out our full series preview as well to see who we’re picking to win advance to the Western Conference Finals!
Following the Game 2 injury to Devin Booker, the Suns went from looking like the team to beat this year to a potential first round out. While that ended up being proved false as the Suns won in 6 behind some almost perfect performances from Chris Paul, DeAndre Ayton, and the Suns supporting cast, the Pelicans certainly showed that the Suns are vulnerable to teams who are able to get out and run against them in transition, and teams that have players who can thrive in the paint (for the Pelicans, this was primarily achieved by Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valančiūnas).
That said, the Mavericks don’t truly have that type of player. Following their trade of Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards, in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, the Mavericks leaned hard into taking advantage of multiple ball-handlers and shooters on the court at all time, to open the offense as much as possible for Luka Doncic.
Funnily enough, while many thought that that would lead to a better offensive product and a worse defense, the Mavs finished the season as a middling offense (15th in offensive rating and 24th in PPG) while finishing ahead of almost all teams defensively (6th in defensive rating, 2nd best in opponent PPG). The Mavericks have their flaws, but at the end of the day, they are a well-oiled machine behind the wizardry of Luka Doncic, and there are a not insignificant number of teams that this team, as it’s currently built, should be favored against.
However, the Suns aren’t one of those teams. While they were clearly one of the better teams in the league this season overall, the Mavericks have struggled against the Suns, going 0-3 against them in the 2021-2022 season, with 7 points as the Suns’ lowest margin of victory. Those regular season wins should be fairly indicative of what we’ll see in this first playoff game, particularly as Devin Booker has had additional time to recover from the injury he suffered in Game 2 of the Suns/Pelicans series.
We commented on this at length in our Suns/Pelicans series preview, but the reality is that the Suns are an incredibly well-built team that is at the top of the league both offensively and defensively. They have a deep enough bench that their starters aren’t forced to play overly inflated minutes, they can play both big (helmed by Ayton) & small (with defensive line-ups that include Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges), they can play pass-heavy team ball or revert to ISO ball when needed, and they can throw out consistent different looks & schemes depending on match-up because of the ball-handling and floor general skills of both Booker and CP3.
All in all, the Suns are the rightly favored team here, and the odds reflect that. With that in mind, we’ll look to find value outside of the standard spread or moneyline bets. While we will be picking the Suns to cover the spread (currently -6 at BetRivers for -130), we’ll also be taking Chris Paul over 32.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists.
Paul is a bonafide Game 1 performer, going 15-7 over his career thus far in Game 1’s in the playoffs, and in those games, he’s averaged 22.2 / 5.1 / 8.8. Based on how he has played so far these playoffs, and his historical record & performances, CP3 to hit the over on PRA is a strong bet that we highly recommend.
My official pick for Game 1 of Mavericks/Suns is the Suns to cover -6.
Pick: Suns -6 | -130 at BetRivers
Bonus Pick: Chris Paul o32.5 PRA | -113 at BetRivers
For Game 1, I’m going with the superior team defensively & offensively, and the one that is more well-coached & better constructed. I’m taking the Phoenix Suns 108 – 101.