Can the Luka Doncic train keep rolling?
Dallas is the surprise team of the playoffs, reaching the Western Conference Finals after a shocking 123-90 Game 7 destruction on the road against No. 1 Phoenix. Doncic totaled 27 points at the half, the same amount as the entire Phoenix team. Brilliant throughout the series, Doncic also helped us cash our pre-series prop bet as most 3Ps made.
The Mavericks must now regroup and face an even bigger challenge, the No. 3 seeded Golden State Warriors. With the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all finally healthy, the Warriors have the look of the team that has five straight trips to the finals and three NBA titles from 2015-2019. Golden State even has their head coach, Steve Kerr, back on the sidelines after missing two games due to COVID protocols.
Golden State is the clear favorite, but this Dallas team brings a strong defensive presence, slow pace, and has a star player equal to the status of Curry in Doncic. Do the Mavericks have yet another upset in mind, or will Golden State’s championship pedigree be too much for Dallas to overcome.
Here are my best bets for an drama-filled Western Conference Finals between Dallas and Golden State.
Best Bets for Warriors vs. Mavericks
Stephen Curry Series Leader [3P Made] (+115 DraftKings)
Any time we can get plus money on Stephen Curry, it’s almost an automatic bet. Curry worked himself back from a late-season knee injury, starting the playoffs coming off the bench. Despite playing reduced minutes in his opening round against Denver, Curry has still averaged 3.8 3PM throughout the playoffs. He is also seeing tremendous volume, averaging 11.8 attempts per game.
While we hit on Luka Doncic leading in three-pointers against the Suns, I expect the Mavericks star to attack the basket much more, trying to control the pace against an explosive Golden State offense. Long rebounds lead to outlet passes, which leads to transition scoring, something Dallas will want to avoid at all cost. Doncic is averaging 3.1 3PM on 9.3 3PA, both falling well below Curry’s averages last series.
For the season, Curry is averaging 4.5 made three-pointers on 11.7 attempts, and 4.4 3PM in 37 home games this season. With Golden State having home court advantage, I’m taking Curry at +115 to lead this series in long-distance production.
Jalen Brunson Points Per Game Under 19.3 (-115 DraftKings)
Simple play on math for this prop, as Brunson averaged just 15.1 PPG in 62 games with Doncic this season. Brunson had a very strong series against Phoenix, but still fell short of this number at just 18.7 PPG. That was also boosted by a 24-point Game 7, which was greatly aided by the Mavericks shocking blowout win.
The Warriors have solid perimeter defenders that can handle the diminutive Brunson. Golden State is also hopeful to get Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodola back later in the series, which should solidify their assignments and allow for better overall defensive containment. Brunson only averaged 12 PPG in 32 MPG overall four regular season games this season, and I project this number to be one or two points too high.
Series Winner Dallas Mavericks (+185 DraftKings)
I was very concerned by what I saw from Golden State against Memphis. The Warriors struggled in three games against the Grizzlies without Ja Morant. The absence of both Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodola severely limits their defensive effectiveness, while the Mavericks are coming off a series where they stifled the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns.
The Warriors will have no answer for Doncic, who presents huge challenges with his size on the perimeter. While Golden State certainly has one of the most explosive offenses in the league, the Mavericks perimeter defenders are exactly the type of players needed to contain Curry, Thompson, and Poole. Dallas should deploy Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock on the Warriors’ guards, which should prevent an extended Warriors run.
There is a huge difference in the odds between Dallas at +185 to win the series and Dallas at -135 (+1.5 games). The Mavericks stunned the Suns in Round 2 after losing the first two games by convincing margins. Phoenix actually had an elite defender in Mikal Bridges, which Golden State does not have. I’m grabbing the Mavericks at +185 to upset the Warriors, even without home court advantage. The public is backing Golden State, but are too dismissive of the problems shown in the series against the Grizzlies.
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