The 2022 Western Conference Finals begin on Wednesday night. Below is my NBA betting plan for Warriors-Mavericks — from a single-game and series perspective. Click the odds below to place a bet.
NBA Betting: Warriors-Mavs’ Series Odds
Although the news surrounding Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (COVID-19) may alter my Heat-Celtics series approach, I’m expecting a similar to start to the Western Conference finals. Keep in mind, teams coming off a Game 7 win are 32-50 straight-up (39.0%) in the first matchup of the following series.
Despite Dallas’ blowout win over Phoenix in their finale of the semifinals, along with an extra day of rest in comparison to Boston, there were still a handful of physical games overall. Therefore, Luka Doncic & Co. could undergo a slow start offensively, especially from behind the arc.
The Suns primarily run a drop pick-and-roll coverage, allowing the Mavs’ perimeter attack to space the floor to the tune of a blistering 40.0% clip in the series. In particular, Doncic’s prowess for creating off of the bounce was the difference.
Nevertheless, the Warriors exhibit a switching defense — especially with their small-ball lineup — which won’t produce nearly as many clean looks for Doncic’s running mates. They’ve even yielded the league’s lowest open 3-point rate (via ShotQuality).
While Dallas’ offense efficiency in the postseason (1.15 points per possession) sits a tick above Golden State, Steve Kerr and his staff will likely be the first take away the 3-point line. With that said, there isn’t enough value in the Game 1 spread to bet on the home favorite.
- TheLines’ NBA Finals Odds Comparison Tool
Why Dallas Could Pull Off NBA Betting Upset
Expect Jason Kidd’s ball pressure-packed defense to give the Warriors issues over the course of the series, though. In the regular season, Golden State tallied the second-highest turnover rate (15.0%) — behind only the Rockets — and it’s increased by almost a full percentage point in the playoffs.
A perfect example of that is Memphis, as its swarming coverage improved significantly against Kerr’s offense in the Western Conference semifinals after Ja Morant (knee) went down.
Dallas should also pre-switch Doncic before Steph Curry and his fellow shooters expose him with their ball-screen sets, employing them at the most frequent rate in the NBA. On the flip side, the Mavs could unmask Curry’s susceptible defense in the same fashion as they did with Chris Paul. That was a constant factor in Paul wearing down in a few of their second halves.
Arguably the most critical factor will be Dallas’ transition defense, which is surrendering the lowest fast-break scoring frequency in the postseason (41.7%). A key to that success has been their ability to slow down the overall tempo. Look for the Mavs to establish just that as the series moves along, assuming they turn the Warriors over enough.
In the end, my NBA betting card will include a Game 2 spread bet on Dallas, as long as it falls behind, and a likely a series wager too. I’ll take my shot with Doncic asserting himself if the proper adjustments are made.