Phoenix Suns (35-29) at Dallas Mavericks (33-31)
Game Info: Sunday, March 5, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. EST (American Airlines Center)
Betting Odds: Mavericks (-1.5) / Over/Under (232.5)
Pick: Suns (+1.5)
Sunday gives us a tantalizing battle between two Western Conference foes that have Finals aspirations when the Phoenix Suns head into the American Airlines Center to face off with the Dallas Mavericks.
Phoenix has looked mighty impressive since Kevin Durant has been introduced into the lineup, as they have won their first 2 games with him active by a score of 35 points combined (2-0 ATS in that stretch). If they can stay fully healthy and deploy Durant, Devin Booker, Chis Paul, and Deandre Ayton on the same floor in crunch time, I find it hard to see any team in the league stopping that. In saying that though, there have been a plethora of super teams in the past that have not lived up to their hopes, so they will need to go out on the court and prove it to make it a reality. One area that has seemed to get weaker after their acquisitions at the deadlines nonetheless is their bench. For sure, when the game comes down to the wire, they will have better options on the floor against practically every opposing team in the league. But we all know that during the middle quarters, you need a bench that can produce and keep your squad afloat while your stars are getting a rest on the bench. If the Suns plan to cash in on their league shocking trades, they will need their bench to step up in a big way late in the season.
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Dallas has been inconsistent as ever since partnering Kyrie Irving with Luka Doncic in the frontcourt. Since his debut with the team, they are 4-5 SU and ATS, showing flashes of brilliance and gloom in various parts of the games. As they welcome the surging Suns into their home arena, we shall see if they can gain on the momentum that they built after securing a huge win over the Philadelphia 76ers last time out, where Irving and Doncic were able to combine for an outstanding 82 points. Even though their offense can click with the best of them in the league, where they stand come Playoff time will be decided away from their basket. Head Coach Jason Kidd has always prioritized defense in the teams that he has had the chance to look over, but this year they only rank 24th in Defensive Rating. The trade for Irving will not help that statistic at all as he is a below-par defender, so Kidd will have to sure up that end of the court elsewhere if they are to shock the West.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Dallas is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games
- The Mavericks are 1-9-2 ATS when playing on 2-3 days' rest
- The over has hit in 22 of 37 games that the Suns have played in Conference
I am going to take the bait here. You may ask, how in the world are the Suns underdog to a squad that they are much better than on paper... but this is the NBA, and on a night-to-night basis in the regular season anything can happen. Despite this, I am still going to back my gut and pick the Suns to steal one on the road. They look utterly dominant with KD in the lineup, and I fully expect it to continue here against a porous defense.
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