After eliminating the Phoenix Suns in a stunning Game 7 victory, the Dallas Mavericks are decided underdogs in the 2022 Western Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors have been pegged as the betting favorites in the upcoming playoff series against Luka Doncic and Co.

The Warriors are given -220 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook to defeat the Mavericks in the best-of-seven series. The Mavericks have +185 odds to pull off a third straight upset.

Dallas continues to overcome the odds in the West playoffs. In the first round, the Mavericks upset the Utah Jazz in six games, despite missing Doncic in the first half of the series because of a calf injury. Dallas fell behind Phoenix 2-0 in the second round, only to win four of the next five games against the team with the best record in the NBA.

The Mavericks embarrassed the Suns 123-90 in Game 7 on Phoenix’s homecourt. Doncic had 27 points in the first half of the elimination game, matching the entire Suns’ team.

Golden State avoided a Game 7 in the second round by taking care of the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. The Warriors easily dismissed back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in a first-round series.

It’s easy to see why the Warriors are such heavy favorites. Golden State has home-court advantage, going 6-0 at Chase Center this postseason. Golden State’s 31-10 home record in the regular season was the NBA’s second-best mark.

The Warriors dwarf the Mavericks in championship experience. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and head coach Steve Kerr are in the West Finals for the sixth time since 2015. None of Dallas’ starters have ever played a game beyond the second round of the playoffs.

The Mavericks have arguably been the more impressive team this postseason. The Warriors were nearly pushed to a Game 7, even though Ja Morant didn’t play for the Grizzlies in the final three contests of the second-round series. Golden State was blown out 134-95 in Game 4, and the team had a 99.7 offensive rating in Games 4-6.

Dallas’ 114.5 offensive rating in the playoffs is slightly better than Golden State’s 114.3 rating. The two teams have the same exact defensive rating this postseason, giving up 110.5 points per 100 possessions.

The Mavericks shut down Devin Booker and Chris Paul at the end of their second-round series. It’s hard to believe that Dallas could do the same to Curry, though the team did limit the two-time MVP to 20 points per game on 38.8% field-goal shooting in four regular-season matchups.

Dallas won the regular-season series with Golden State 3-1. Draymond Green missed three of those games.

Even with Green in the lineup, the Warriors don’t have anyone that can contain Doncic. Dallas’ superstar averaged 31.5 points per game against Golden State in the regular season. Doncic has matched that scoring average in 10 games this postseason.

 

 

In just his third postseason, Doncic has already proven himself to be one of the greatest playoff performers in NBA history. Doncic is averaging 32.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists on 48.6% shooting in 23 career playoff games. Only Michael Jordan has a higher playoff scoring average.

Doncic might be able to steal a game or two by himself, but he can’t win the entire series alone. He’ll need his teammates to hit open shots and play great defense, which they’ve done for much of the last month.

The Mavericks lead all playoff teams with 15.5 three-pointers made per game. Dallas’ 38.5% shooting from three-point range is the best of any team that made it out of the first round. 

Jalen Brunson has scored more than 20 points in nine of 13 playoff games. Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and and Maxi Kleber have been terrific complementary pieces to Dallas’ scoring guards

The Warriors have the ability to match the Mavericks’ shooting. Thompson came alive in Golden State’s last two games, hitting 11 of 20 three-point attempts. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins are shooting around 40% from behind the arc in the playoffs. Curry, of course, is the best shooter in NBA history.

This should be a close series, much closer than the betting odds would indicate. With the way Doncic and his supporting cast are playing, the Mavericks will be difficult to keep out of the NBA Finals.

Series Prediction: Mavericks in seven

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks leaves the court after defeating the Phoenix Suns 123-90 in Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at Footprint Center on May 15, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images