The Phoenix Suns walked into Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Dallas Mavericks as the clear favorites on AZ betting apps. Then the game started.
Dallas dominated play from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Suns fans headed for the exits early as the Mavs destroyed Phoenix in a 123-90 blowout. Frankly, it wasn’t even that close.
It was a devastating and embarrassing loss for the Suns team. However, AZ Sportsbooks came away as big winners along with the Dallas Mavericks. The final result gave Suns fans two reasons to walk out of the Footprint Center disappointed.
Suns were AZ Sportsbooks biggest liability
Suns fans in Arizona did not get the chance to place wagers on their favorite team last season during their run to an NBA Finals appearance. Meaning once sports betting became legal in the state in September 2021, folks were chomping at the bit to put some money down on Phoenix to win the NBA championship for the 2021-2022 season.
From the outside looking in, it seemed like a good bet at the start of the season. Many of the same players who were a part of that team that made it to the Finals returned. Couple that with the valuable playoff experience, and you have the makings of a team that is seemingly destined to win it all.
Faith in the Suns was felt at betting windows and on sports betting apps in Arizona and across the U.S. According to BetMGM Sportsbook, Phoenix was the most bet team and biggest liability in Arizona and nationally.
BetMGM NBA Championship betting (all states)
- Highest Ticket%
- Suns 23.1%
- Warriors 12.8%
- Bucks 11.7%
- Highest Handle%
- Suns 25.9%
- Warriors 15.3%
- Bucks 11.3%
- Biggest Liabilities
WynnBet Sportsbook saw similar numbers on the Suns. Nationally, Phoenix was the operator’s No. 1 liability to win the title among the playoff teams. The Suns had 19.5% of WynnBet’s tickets to win the title and 21.9% of the handle nationally.
Phoenix was also WynnBet’s No. 1 liability in Arizona among the playoff teams. Here in the Grand Canyon State, the Suns had 43.8% of the tickets and 48.4% of the handle on WynnBet Arizona.
The Suns’ loss is a massive gain for sports betting sites in Arizona. It is an ironic turn of events, to say the least.
Phoenix falls flat in Game 7
Luka Dončić nailed the game’s first shot for those that have bought into the First Basket betting craze. Little did we know it was a sign of things to come.
Dončić came out of the gates in attack mode and set the tone early. The Mavs had a 10-point lead after the 1st quarter, and moneyline betting was a pick-em at that point in time on AZ Sportsbooks. Suns then went from favorites to underdogs in the blink of an eye.
The Suns scored 27 points in the first half and went into the locker room down by 30. Dončić scored 27 points in the first half by himself. According to NBA.com, Phoenix’s 27 first-half points are the fewest in NBA history by a home team in a Game 7. 30 points is also the largest Game 7 halftime deficit in NBA history.
Live betting lines at halftime:
- Suns against the spread: +18.5
- Suns Moneyline: +1200
The second half was more of the same. Dončić finished with 35 points and didn’t play in the 4th quarter. The Mavs star single-handedly outscored the Suns ‘Big 3.’ Devin Booker scored 11 points, Chris Paul scored 10 and Deandre Ayton scored 5. Under, under, under.
It was an embarrassing night on the Phoenix franchise. Now, questions are swirling about the future of the team.
Suns 2021-2022 season recap
The Phoenix Suns won franchise-record 64 games this season. It is the perfect way to respond to last season’s NBA Finals loss. Phoenix had the best record in the league during the regular season.
Head coach Monty Williams won the Coach of the Year award. Mikal Bridges finished 2nd in Defensive Player of the year voting and Devin Booker finished fourth in the MVP race. However, the 2022 NBA Playoffs may have revealed several flaws in this team than previously thought.
The Suns struggled with the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round. Devin Booker missed most of that series, so we can take that with a grain of salt. But they also gave a blueprint to the Mavericks on how to attack Phoenix on offense and defense.
The Suns’ defense had no answers for Dončić’s size and strength. And the team’s offensive scheme was exposed. Among the 16 playoff teams, the Suns ranked 15th in three-pointers and free throws. Both Booker and Paul rely heavily on shooting mid-range two-point jumpers. The Suns will need to bring in more reliable three-point shooting help moving forward.
Will the Suns be a contender next season?
The biggest question is, “what happens with Deandre Ayton?” The Suns No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is a restricted free agent. Meaning, that Phoenix can match any contract offer another team gives him. The Suns can offer Ayton a max contract of $177 million over five years.
A max contract for Ayton from another team would be $131.1 million over four years. If a team were to make that offer, the Suns would have two days to match. Phoenix has $128.8 million already committed in salary for the 2022-2023 season.
Do the Suns give Ayton the money and “run it back?” Do they make Ayton a part of a sign and trade and bring in another piece to match with Booker and CP3? It’s unclear what the future holds.
However, Dallas isn’t going anywhere. Denver will be in the mix. Memphis is a contender. Veteran teams like the Warriors and the Clippers will be in the way. The NBA’s Western Conference is as strong as ever. Phoenix will have a lot of competition if they want to make another run at the NBA Finals. Can they do it? Yes. Will they do it? To be continued.