Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns (1/26 @ 10:00 PM EST)
Spread: Suns -1.5
Money Line: Mavericks +103/ Suns -123
Overview and Betting Info
The Dallas Mavericks (25-24) while head to Phoenix to take on the Suns (25-24) on Thursday
night. These teams have met twice, with the home team winning each game. They are currently
tied in the standings, with the Mavericks owning the tiebreaker.
The Mavericks are 16-31-2 against the spread but have covered just one of their last six games.
They’ve gone over the total 28 times and have done so in four of their last six games.
The Suns are 26-23 versus the spread and have covered five of their last six games. They have
gone over the total 23 times, including in four of their last six games.
2023 has not been kind to the Mavericks as they are 4-8 in the new year. This is highlighted by
their losing seven of their last nine games. A big reason for their struggles has been their
inability to get rebounds, with just 38.6 per game. Their offensive stats are primarily in the
bottom 15 in the league, but one thing they’ve done well is protect the ball. They are second in
the NBA with just 12.3 turnovers per game and have a defense that lands in the top half of the
league, leading them to stay about .500. They have two road wins this month, but they came
against last-place Houston and a struggling Lakers team.
The Mavs are led by another MVP-level season from Luka Doncic. The guard is averaging 33.8
points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.5 steals. He leads the league in scoring, is fourth in
assists, and tenth in steals. He scored 68 points in his first two games against the Suns, shooting
60% from the field and 44% from three in their last game. Luka has been a rebounding machine
recently, averaging 12.3 rebounds over his previous three games, and has double-doubles in
eight of his ten games this month.
One reason for the Mavs’ recent struggles has been the loss of Christian Wood (18.4 PPG, 8.4
RPG), who is expected to miss at least another week with a fractured thumb. With Wood out,
Dwight Powell (6.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG) is again filling in. The center has played decently well in a
reserve role, but he has big shoes to fill as Wood is the team’s second-leading scorer and
rebounder. He’s their only other true big man, as the Mavs have chosen to play smaller with
Wood out. That means Wood’s scoring will need to be made up by Spencer Dinwiddie (16.9 PPG, 5.3 APG, 39.9 3PT%) and Tim Hardaway Jr (13.9 PPG, 35.9 3PT%). Dinwiddie has been on
fire lately, averaging 22.2 PPG and making 39% of his threes over the last six games. In his two
games against the Suns this season, he has made 62% of his threes. Hardaway is a pure three-
point shooter hitting 35% of his attempts, despite shooting 38.4% from the field.
After losing Devin Booker (27.1 PPG, 5.6 APG) early in their Christmas day game, the Suns have
gone 6-10. That includes a streak where they lost nine of their ten games. Fortunately, things
have turned around recently, as they now find themselves on a four-game win streak. The
streak includes impressive wins against the Nets, Grizzlies and a 31-point beat down of the
Hornets. The Suns already had a down year offensively before Booker went out and are now
20th in the league with 113.0 PPG, despite being fifth in the league in assists (27.0) and third in
three-point percentage (38.8). Their defense has also been among the top 10 in the league,
keeping them around the .500 mark as they await Booker’s return.
With Booker out, the Suns are led by a trio of Deandre Ayton (17.5 PPG, 9.9 RPG), Mikal Bridges
(16.4 PPG, 1.2 SPG), and Chris Paul (13.4 PPG, 8.5 APG, 1.5 SPG). Ayton is an elite big man but
struggles when he’s been the team’s top-scoring option. He played well against the Mavs this
season and should be in for an easier night with Wood’s injury forcing Dallas to play small ball.
Bridges improved shooting has been key to the Suns’ turnaround, averaging 23.0 PPG during
their four-game win streak. Bridges have also been a defensive force, with six steals and two
blocks over their last three games. Paul is still good when he’s healthy, but he’s played in just
five games this month. As limited as he has been, he returned to action on Sunday and has 36
points and 22 assists in his two games since. The veteran is also making over 40.4% of his threes
since December 1st.
While the Suns lost a key role player in Cameron Payne (12.1 PPG, 5.3 APG, 37 3PT%), they now
have Cameron Johnson (14.1 PPG, 44.1 3PT%) back from injury. Johnson has only played in 11
games this season but appears to be getting back into form by averaging 17 PPG in the three
games since his return. That includes a 24 points performance in their last game, making six of
his seven three-point attempts. The Suns recently had two big weapons emerge from their
bench in Dario Saric (5.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG) and Jock Landale (7.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG). Both have 12 or
more points in their last two games. Landale has had issues with fouls, with five last games and
fouling out the game before. Given the role he is now playing for the Suns, that will be an issue
to watch on Thursday.
Free Pick: Suns -1.5
Without Christian Wood, the Mavs have a severe issue with their frontcourt. While Powell plays
his role well, he’ll be tasked with stopping one of the better big men in the NBA. What’s worse
for Dallas is that the Suns have two more big men making contributions in Saric and Landale. We aren’t sold that either will continue their current production for the foreseeable future, but
the matchup against a depleted Mavs’ frontcourt will allow their hot streaks to continue.
We also look at both defenses and see another considerable advantage for the Suns. They’re
only allowing 106.5 PPG over their last four games, while the Mavs’ have allowed 114.7. The
Suns’ scoring is down, but their defense has been good enough to contain the firepower of
Memphis and Brooklyn. The Mavs have been able to score recently, but it’s been against some
Lastly, we point to the Mavs’ recent struggles on the road. They dropped four of the five games
against Portland (twice), Clippers, and Thunder on their previous road trip. The lone win came
against a bad Lakers team.
We’re giving up the point and a half to take the Suns at home.