The Suns are looking for their third win this season against the Mavericks. Phoenix has been phenomenal on the road and Dallas is the hottest team in the league—something has to give.
Out west, the Warriors are going for the season sweep against the Pacers, having beaten Indiana on the road earlier this season. The Pacers beat the Lakers Wednesday night and have a quick turnaround against the best home team in the NBA.
Today’s guest picker is SI writer Wilton Jackson.
Season record: 74-73-1
Guest pickers: 57-85
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
Spread: Suns -2.5 (-118) | Mavericks +2.5 (+100)
Moneyline: Suns (-150) | Mavericks (+125)
Total: Under 216.5 (-110) | Over 216.5 (-110)
Injuries: Suns C Deandre Ayton—Out; Mavericks F Sterling Brown—Out
Record Over Last 10 Games: 8-2
ATS Record: 24-19
O/U Record: 20-23
Points Per Game/Rank: 112.5/3
Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 104.6/6
Phoenix is on a four-game winning streak, with each victory coming on the road. The Suns are 17-4 in away games, the best mark in the league, and have won six consecutive road games. Devin Booker is on a tear over the last three games. Phoenix’s leading scorer has 30 or more points in three straight games and went for a season-high 48 points on Monday against the Spurs. Center Deandre Ayton missed that game, his 11th this season, and won’t play Thursday against Dallas.
Record Over Last 10 Games: 9-1
ATS Record: 23-21
O/U Record: 13-30-2
Points Per Game/Rank: 105.5/25
Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 102.6/2
January has been a very good month for Dallas, which is 9-1 so far in 2022. The Mavericks are winners of four in a row and won their last six games at home. Thursday brings a difficult challenge on the second night of a back-to-back against the top team in the league, though it comes on the heels of Luka Doncic pouring in 41 points against the Raptors. Dallas beat the Warriors and Bulls and ended the Grizzlies’ win streak during its recent stretch of phenomenal play.
Kyle Wood’s bets:
Spread pick: Mavericks +2.5
Doncic did not play the first two times these teams met in November and Ayton did. Those games, both played in Phoenix, were still decided by less than 10 points. Dallas’ recent performances against some of the league’s best teams gives me confidence that it can at least keep things close with the Suns, if not win outright. Ayton destroyed the Mavericks on the glass in the first two matchups—that won’t be the case on Thursday when he’s on the bench and Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are better able to finish possessions on both sides of the ball.
Over/Under pick: Under 216.5
Beyond Doncic’s individual greatness, Dallas’ defense deserves credit for the team’s surge. The Mavericks are the second-best scoring defense in basketball, often holding opponents below 100 points. Phoenix isn’t far behind defensively, with enough lengthy wings to chase shooters off their spots and disrupt passing lanes. The Suns put up huge point totals in their last two games, albeit against lesser competition. I think the Mavericks slow them down and neither team breaks 110.
Prop: Devin Booker Under 26.5
I don’t love betting against a hot scorer like this, but I think this is the game Booker’s scoring tear ends. This pick is in tandem with me taking the under. If Booker gets up into the 30s, Phoenix wins and this game goes over. I can see Dallas forcing the ball out of his hand—he’s taken 76 shots over his last three games. In the previous two meetings between these teams, Booker went under this total both times despite hoisting 20 shots in each game.
Guest picker Wilton Jackson’s bets:
Spread pick: Suns -2.5
The Suns have already defeated the Mavericks twice this season and have won 14 of the last 17 meetings between the two teams. Both teams have played well in their last 10 games. While this game is in Dallas and Dončić—who did not play in the first two meetings due to left knee and ankle sprains—will be playing in Thursday’s game, I still like the Suns to cover, even with the absence of DeAndre Ayton in the lineup.
Over/Under pick: Over 216.5
The Mavericks enter this game having won 10 of their last 11 games by holding their opponents to under 100 points in eight of those games and limiting their opponents to under 50% shooting in 21 consecutive games. I don’t see that being the case on Thursday night. Phoenix has averaged just over 115 points in their last 10 games. One may look at the first two meetings between the two teams and notice that only one—the Nov. 19 contest—of those matchups came close to the over/under for this game, which was 216. With Dončic playing in this game against Phoenix—the only franchise he has recorded multiple 40-point games against during the regular season of his career—I think this will be a high-scoring affair. Don’t forget Devin Booker is also coming off a season-high, 48-point performance.
Prop: Devin Booker Over 26.5 Points
Booker is coming off a monster 48-point performance against the Spurs. A big piece of the Suns’ success last season and this season is the play of Ayton, who the Suns will be without on Thursday. Booker is currently averaging 24.6 points per game just one point shy of his average last season. I see him scoring more than 26.5 against Dallas. He has recorded 17 games where he scored more than 25 points this season. Not to mention, in clutch-game situations, Booker is shooting more than 60% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc.
Time: 10 p.m. ET | TNT
Spread: Pacers +11.5 (-110) | Warriors -11.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Pacers (+550) | Warriors (-800)
Total: Under 217.5 (-110) | Over 217.5 (-110)
Injuries: Pacers C Myles Turner—Out; Pacers F T.J. Warren—Out; Warriors F Otto Porter Jr.—Out; Warriors F Draymond Green—Out
Record Over Last 10 Games: 2-8
ATS Record: 21-22-1
O/U Record: 21-24
Points Per Game/Rank: 107.9/18
Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 108.8/16
Indiana was five games under .500 just under a month ago and has quickly fallen to 13 games under. The Pacers scored a win Wednesday night against the Lakers and beat the Jazz at home last week, but otherwise they are piling up losses at an alarming rate with Myles Turner, one of their best players, sidelined. Caris LeVert has been a welcome addition back to the lineup—he scored 30 points in just 27 minutes against the Lakers in his third game back. Malcolm Brogdon also returned against L.A. and will be active against the Warriors.
Record Over Last 10 Games: 5-5
ATS Record: 25-17-2
O/U Record: 15-27-2
Points Per Game/Rank: 109.7/12
Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 101.6/1
The Warriors have not won back-to-back games since Jan. 3. Their 5-5 record this month has allowed teams like the Grizzlies and Mavericks to begin to catch up in the standings. Golden State still isn’t at full health with Draymond Green and James Wiseman out of the lineup, but Klay Thompson, who scored 21 points Tuesday in a win against the Pistons, is steadily finding his way back. Steph Curry’s shooting struggles have persisted—he’s averaging less than 20 points per game in January on 37% shooting.
Kyle Wood’s bets:
Spread pick: Warriors -11.5
The Pacers are visiting the toughest team at home in the league—Golden State is 19-3 at the Chase Center. Despite their recent struggles, the Warriors just keep winning at home and that will continue Thursday against a lesser, tired Pacers team. Short-handed or not, Golden State wins this game by double-digits on the backs of a rotating cast of scorers—Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga—who can lead the team in scoring when Curry’s shot isn’t falling.
Over/Under pick: Under 217.5
The Warriors’ strength this season is their defense, not their offense, and I like them to limit the Pacers to under 100 points, just as they’ve done to seven of their last 10 visiting opponents. Indiana is a slightly below-average defense, but Golden State hasn’t been one for running up the score in the last few weeks. I can see the Warriors cracking 110 against Indiana, especially at home, but the Pacers will be severely limited on offense and keep this game under.
Prop: Steph Curry Over 23.5 Points
This pick is going a bit against the grain considering Curry’s recent performances. He’s failed to score 20 in three straight games. However, his attempts in those three games were down to 11, 15 and 11—he averages 20 attempts per game this season. I think this could be a get-right game for Curry at home. His three-point shot began to fall again over his last two games (8-18) and if he gets hot from outside in the way that only he can, he can smash this total.
Guest picker Wilton Jackson’s bets:
Spread pick: Warriors -11.5
Golden State sits second in the Western Conference right now despite the Warriors going 5-5 in their last 10 and three of their last five losses against the Timberwolves, the Bucks and the Grizzlies. The Warriors are still figuring some things out from a personnel standpoint with the return of Thompson but without Green, who suffered a left L5-S1 disc injury and has not played in a game since the Warriors played the Pelicans on Jan. 6. However, something to consider, Kuminga—who was in the starting lineup for the Warriors on Tuesday—recorded his first double-double against the Pistons. Golden State is 19-3 against Eastern Conference opponents this season and a perfect 9-0 at home. Between Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Kuminga specifically, I like the Warriors to cover.
Over/Under pick: Under 217.5
The Warriors enter Thursday’s game as the league’s top defensive rated team. Indiana, however, is near the bottom at No. 22 when it comes to defensive rating. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Warriors won the game by two points, 102-100. But, Thompson was not back yet. The Pacers have not been that good defensively, meaning the Golden State could be up for a high-scoring point total if the Warriors come out shooting the ball. Wiggins is shooting a career-best from the field (.491 FG%) and from three-point range (.423). Let’s not forget what Thompson did to the Pacers in December 2016, scoring a career-high 60 points in 29 minutes and becoming the first player in the shot clock era to score 60 points in a game with fewer than 30 minutes played. I’ll take the under in this one.
Prop: Klay Thompson Over 15.5 Points
I may be having a little nostalgic moment of the dominance that Thompson gave us before the two big injuries. However, in the five games he has played since his return, he is averaging just over 15 points per game. If anyone can score against the Pacers, it is Thompson. In his five games—in which the Warriors suffered losses in three of those games, Thompson finished with less than 15 points. But, in Golden State’s wins where Thompson played, he averaged 19 points between the two games. I like Thompson to record more than 15 points on Thursday.
DFS Value Plays
(Prices based on 7:30 p.m. main slate)
PG Chris Paul, Suns (FD: $7,800 | DK: $7,500)
PG/SG Jalen Brunson, Mavericks ($7,100 | $6,500)
SG/SF Josh Hart, Pelicans ($6,500 | $6,300)
C/PF Kevon Looney, Warriors ($4,900 | $4,500)
C Jonas Valanciunas, Pelicans ($7,300 | $7,700)