Suns vs. Mavericks Game 4 Betting Preview
Looking at this series so far, a lot of the disparity in game results has come down to whether or not the role players for the Mavericks have been able to show up and play to the same level that they achieved in the regular season. As an example: in Game 1, Jalen Brunson was held to 13 points on 6-of-16 from the field, and in Game 2, he was held to only 9 points on 3-of-12 from the field. For a player averaging 16.3 points on .502 FG% during the 2022 season, those are significant drops in scoring & efficiency that spell doom for a team relying on him as their second option.
In Game 3, he corrected that drop (and prevented the Mavericks from having to be a one-man Luka Doncic show) by scoring 28 points on 10-of-21 from the field. The expectation for Brunson and roleplayers like him isn’t for them to be perfect, but they need to be at least somewhat in line with their seasonal averages to have a chance in this match-up.
On the other side of things, the Suns, as a team with three primary focal points on offense (Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton), don’t need quite the same contributions from their roleplayers and secondary starter, but they do need their starters to maintain consistency from game to game and contribute 60+ points on efficient shooting between themselves. For Game’s 1 and 2, the primary trio combined for 67 points in both games. In Game 3, they combined for only 46 points, while taking a dip in efficiency as well. In particular, Paul had an awful game (by his standards) with 12/7/4 and a game-worst 7 turnovers.
If the Suns want to maintain their lead in this series, they’ll need their star players to continue to step up as they have in the playoffs in all but a couple games, and they’ll need those efficient high scoring nights to go hand-in-hand with low turnovers, or they risk giving Doncic and the Mavericks a number of extra high-value possessions to swing the score.
With all of this in mind, we do feel that the Suns are still the better team and the one more setup for success in this series. Expecting star players to play like stars is a much safer expectation than expecting role players and secondary starters to play like primary options and/or stars themselves. The NBA is a star/superstar driven league, and that doesn’t just apply to the popularity of the players and teams; the reality is that the teams with the most genuine top talent will win the vast majority of match-ups.
While the Mavericks may have the best player in this series in Luka Doncic, the Suns have the next 4 best players, between Paul, Booker, Ayton, and Mikal Bridges. Because of that, we’ll be taking both the Suns to cover the spread at -2.5, available for -106 at FanDuel. None of these games have come down to one or two possessions at the end, so the Suns are a safe bet to win by 3 or more.