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|Mavericks Win Percentage||39.1%|
|Suns Win Percentage||60.1%|
|Mavericks-Suns Over / Under||205|
|Game Date & Time||May 15, 8:00 p.m. ET|
Going into Game 7, this series has already stretched further more than many people (myself included) thought it would. I’ve been saying all series that the Mavericks had a lower-quality roster, with the exception of Luka Doncic. And even if that may be true, saying that definitely didn’t account for just how much “with the exception of Luka Doncic” matters when the game slows down in the playoffs and ISO ball reigns supreme.
Against the Suns, Doncic is averaging 32.2/9.8/7.5 with 4.3 turnovers per game – and he’s doing it 45/30/76 shooting splits. While it’s not quite the same as doing it in the Finals, there are more than a few comparisons to LeBron that we can start leaning into when it comes to Doncic. On the other side of the match-up, the Suns have disappointed in many ways, and, in particular, Chris Paul has looked increasingly pedestrian with every match-up.
This was always a risk for the Suns, with their primary ball-handler being a guy on the wrong side of 35, but the speed at which CP3 has dropped off in the past few games has to be concerning if you’re the Suns.
When it comes down to it, the talent disparity isn’t as significant as originally thought, and the coaching & experience disparity hasn’t reared it’s head much in this series. That said, one thing has been true throughout 6 games: each team has been noticeably, concretely better on their home court. In 3 games in Phoenix, the Mavericks are averaging 101 PPG and the Suns a blistering 120 PPG, while in Dallas, the Mavs are averaging 109 PPG and the Suns a paltry 93.7 PPG.
The differences in the home/away splits for both team are very real, and while there are obviously a lot of factors at play here, it’s absolutely worth acknowledging that neither team is playing well on the road.
The biggest question for Game 7: which Chris Paul are we going to see? While Devin Booker may have been the lowlight for Game 6, CP3 has been largely responsible for the Suns’ struggles in this series against the Mavericks. In 6 games against the Pelicans in Round 1, Paul averaged 22.3 points, 11.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds on otherworldly efficiency (57/31/96).
Against the Mavericks, those averages have fallen to 14.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds, on 56/50/100 shooting. The efficiency is still there, but he’s taking fewer shots, setting up teammates at a far lesser rate, and rebounding the ball to the same degree. These playoffs have been a tail of two Chris Paul’s, so Game 7 will likely come down to which one shows up.
For the Suns to win this series, they’ll need to adjust the Doncic & Jalen Brunson targeting CP3 – likely by getting the ball to Ayton more and letting him work inside. For the Mavericks to win this, they’ll need to continue forcing turnovers and bad fouls, and pushing the Suns into costly errors that Doncic can punish on the other end of the court.
As the higher seeded team, and with the knowledge that the home team has won each match-up so far this season, we’ll be taking the Suns to win this series and move on to the Western Conference Finals. I personally don’t think there’s a ton of value on the spread or the moneyline for either team, but I like the Over for the Total Score – the mainline is set at 205 points, so we’ll be taking the over on that, available for -110 at Caesars.
We’ve also had a ton of success hitting the Over on Luka Doncic’s PRA – for this game, it’s set at 53.5, and we’ll be again taking the Over as our bonus bet for this game 7. You can find Doncic o53.5 PRA for +104 at FanDuel.
My official pick for Game 7 of Suns/Mavericks is the Over on the Total Score, set at 205 points – this is available for -110 with Caesars.
Pick: Total Score o205 | -110 at Caesars
Bonus Pick: Luka Doncic o53.5 PRA | +104 at FanDuel
I’m taking the Suns to win this Game 7 and the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals, with a final score of 108 – 102.