NBA Playoffs: Betting Trends, Series Odds & Expert Picks For Warriors-Mavericks Western Conference Finals

Warriors and Mavs Game 1 tips off Wednesday night

The NBA has seen a whole new crop of young teams and stars take leaps this year, and no one has jumped higher than Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

As the Mavs get set for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, there's plenty of well-deserved hype around the growth of Luka, but there's so much more to this series than just that.

It's a battle between an overachieving organization and one that's trying to get back to the top of the mountain, and the storylines seem endless.

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The Golden State Warriors never really went away, they were just retooling so they could torture the NBA all over again. The favorites to win the NBA title look as strong as they did when they made five straight NBA Finals, and they're built like a team that's ready to start another dynasty.

Meanwhile, the Mavs went from a team that "needs more than just Luka" to a team that has suddenly gotten a solid list of contributors besides Doncic, and it's paid off. From Spencer Dinwiddie's 30 points in just 25 minutes to help close out Phoenix in Game 7, or Jalen Brunson's 21.8 points per game over the last five games of that series, they've become more versatile, while Doncic still dominates like he always has (32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists against the Suns).

The Warriors are back in the Western Conference Finals after missing the playoffs altogether the last two years, while Dallas finds itself as an underdog (+185 to win series) in a round they weren't expected to reach. After embarrassing the Suns in Game 7, though, it would be wise for Golden State to not overlook them, something that seemed like a bad habit at moments against the Grizzlies.

Experience has helped the Warriors so far, with their core finally healthy for the first time in two seasons. In fact, Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson only played 11 total minutes during this regular season, and they're expected to have coach Steve Kerr out of the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols after missing Games 4-6 against Memphis. Plus, former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is expected to return after missing seven games with a neck injury.

The whole band will officially be back together for Game 1 against the Mavs.

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Mavs vs. Warriors Best Bets & Expert Picks

Don't forget this year there are Western and Eastern Conference Finals MVP awards, and it should be no surprise that Steph Curry is the heavy favorite to win at -110, with Doncic coming in behind him at +195 on FanDuel.

Curry averaged 26.0 points against Memphis last series, but didn't shoot the ball particularly well. His 32.9 percent from 3 was coupled with just 41.3 percent overall, but he and Thompson (+900 to win WCF MVP) did combine for 59 points in the closeout game against the Grizzlies. If you're thinking about diving into this new prop, you'd be better off looking at someone like Thompson or even Jordan Poole (+2200) if you want some value for the award. Of course, if you think Dallas can move on to the Finals, it's a pretty solid bet that Doncic takes home the award on that side.

In the end, though, Golden State has the depth, firepower and experience to get past the Mavericks. Dallas has played well enough to take a couple games, so I see this going six games (+200), and the Warriors advancing back to the NBA Finals.

Dan Karpuc: Warriors-Mavericks 7 Game Series (+175, DraftKings)
These two teams are just about as different as you can be in the NBA. Dallas plays at an incredibly slow pace and thrives on the shot-making and facilitation of superstar Luka Doncic along with a stifling defensive approach. They’ll be more than happy to get set on both ends of the court and have Luka handle the ball and create. Meanwhile, Golden State plays at a fast tempo, prides itself on ball movement and off-ball screens with constant movement in their half-court offense and loves to get out and run on the fast break. It’s these conflicting styles that make me believe the series will extend to seven games because whoever controls the pace will likely take the other team out of their comfort zone. As seen so far in these playoffs, both teams have raucous crowds on their side, so I can see these teams holding serve at home and having a close-fought, gritty series between two tough squads. Expect a lot of coaching adjustments to be made from both Steve Kerr and Jason Kidd, which will be another fascinating component to watch.

Lucy Burdge: Warriors Western Conference Winner (-230, DraftKings)
The Mavericks were able to outlast the Suns, but the Warriors could be a tougher task for Luka Doncic and this Dallas team. Steve Kerr will be back from health and safety protocols to coach the Warriors and the Splash Brothers in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be seeking revenge from how well the Mavericks played against them during the regular season. The Warriors are the favorite to win the championship at +135 and think they’ll do the expected and win this series against the Mavericks and move on to the Finals.

MORE: BETTING PLAYBOOK FOR THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

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