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NBA on ESPN Wednesday Preview: Warriors/Mavericks and Suns/Lakers

The Western Conference playoff race will be on full display as four hopefuls battle it out on ESPN.

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Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The NBA on ESPN is back tonight at 6:30pm CT, as Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors against Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks, before Devin Booker leads the Phoenix Suns into the City of Angels for a matchup with Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 9 PM CT nightcap.

DraftKings Odds

You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Golden State v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Warriors (PK, -110 ML) at Mavericks (PK, -110 ML) | Total: 236

As of writing, 53% of bets are on the Warriors to win outright, while a similar 53% of the handle (money) is coming in on the same side, according to VSiN. In short, public and sharp (professional) bettors are generally in agreement on this one, and they’re not sold either way. As for the total, the public strongly favors the over, as 73% of bets are on over 236 points. Sharps share the same enthusiasm about the over, and are also backing it, as 85% of the handle is on the over.

The Picks: Warriors ML | Over 236

These two teams have different outlooks despite their close proximity (0.5 games) in the Western Conference standings.

Dallas is getting Dončić back tonight after a two-week absence with a left thigh strain, but is likely to be without Kyrie Irving, who re-injured his foot and was seen with a walking boot after the team’s 112-108 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Golden State won its first road game in nearly two months on Monday, and could soon be getting back key trade deadline acquisition and wing stopper Gary Payton II, a core piece of their 2022 title squad.

The Warriors’ defense has been horrendous on the road of late — and the primary reason for them losing three of their last four, all on the road — but they face a Mavericks squad that has really struggled to put up points since Dončić went down on March 8. While getting Luka back is a huge key, Golden State has proven their ability to limit the damage done by Dallas’s role players in recent matchups in the Luka era. He needed a 41-point triple-double to beat the Warriors in Dallas back in November, and will likely need a similar effort tonight while surrounded by players who struggle to create for themselves. With Tim Hardaway Jr. very questionable with a non-COVID illness, the Mavs will have little outside of Dončić by way of shot creation, a tough ask against a dynamic Warriors’ offense.

Give me the Warriors and the over.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Six

Suns (-1, -110 ML) at Lakers (+1.0, -110 ML) | Total: 229.5

As of writing, 54% of bets have been wagered on the Lakers, along with 80% of the money. Both the public and the sharps are aligned here, with professional bettors on L.A. slightly more than the average ticket placer. It’s a must-win for the Lakers, who are sitting outside the Play-In Tournament in the No. 11 spot right now, 0.5 games back of the No. 9 seed Minnesota Timberwolves and No. 10 seed Utah Jazz.

As for the total, 64% of the bets are on the over, while a whopping 89% of the handle is coming in on the under.

The Picks: Lakers ML | Under 229.5

The Suns will be without center Deandre Ayton (right hip contusion) and Kevin Durant (left ankle sprain), which is a massive problem for their hopes of containing AD, who is averaging 26.0 points on 55.1/38.5/74.6 shooting splits, 12.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.6 stocks over his the Lakers’ last 10.

It also makes things difficult for the Suns’ dynamic, screen-centric offense that frequently opens things up for Booker and Chris Paul in the mid-range. Without Ayton and Durant, they’ll have less room to operate without the added scoring punch the duo provides on nights when Booker and Paul aren’t hitting shots at an efficient clip.

Simply put, too much of an offensive burden is being placed on key Suns role players in Josh Okogie, Damion Lee, and Jock Landale for Phoenix to find success against an elite L.A. defense that owns the league’s second-best defense since the All-Star break.

I’ll take the Lakers and the under.

Golden State v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Prop Report

While not the most popular angle for basketball bettors to take, I find it much easier to find an advantage against sportsbooks when researching player props. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one pick for each game that stands out. You can view DraftKings Sportsbook’s player props for each game here.

Warriors at Mavericks

The Pick: Draymond Green over 22.5 points + rebounds + assists (-115)

Green is only averaging 22.3 PRA over his last 10 games, but has found great success against the Mavericks so far this season, averaging 28.5 PRA in two contests. Dallas allows the third-most PRA to opposing power forwards in the league, so it’s a great spot for Draymond to take advantage of a defense that will be hell-bent on slowing down Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson beyond the arc.

Suns at Lakers

The Pick: Anthony Davis over 43.5 points + rebounds + assists (-110)

Davis faces a Suns squad without both of its top rim protectors in Ayton and Durant, and is coming off a poor performance against an Orlando Magic team with plenty of length and height inside. Davis dropped 37 points and 21 rebounds (as well as five steals and five blocks) in his lone matchup with Phoenix this season, so it is a good spot for Davis to have a monster performance with the Lakers season hanging in the balance.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.