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Player props to target for Mavs-Wolves Game 1

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The Mavericks and Timberwolves weren't close to the preseason favorites to win the West. However, both groups used last season's failures to improve internally and through trades. Now, they're one series win away from competing for a championship.

You can find a complete series preview here. For Wednesday's Game 1, we have two player props.

Luka Doncic: Over 28.5 points

After a mostly inefficient and poor start to the playoffs, Doncic finally turned a corner in the final two games against the Thunder. He averaged 24 points in the second round but poured in 31 and 29 in Games 5 and 6, respectively.

The Slovenian dealt with knee and ankle issues that hindered his movement and performance. He should be well-rested and healthy after three days off.

Jaden McDaniels, an All-NBA defensive team selection, will start as the primary defender on Doncic. However, the Mavs will use various tactics to force weaker defenders such as Mike Conley to switch on to him.

Dallas will also force Rudy Gobert to the perimeter by running an abundance of ball screens. Doncic will torch Gobert if he sits in drop coverage and doesn't get to the level of the screen.

The Mavs' stars must play like ones to pull off the upset in this series. That starts with their MVP finalist.

Odds: -105

Daniel Gafford: Under 6.5 rebounds

Gafford has been a welcomed deadline addition to the Mavs this season. He's helped Dallas improve its rebounding woes and provided stellar rim protection throughout the playoffs, particularly against the Thunder.

The center grabbed 7.5 rebounds per game against Oklahoma City and took advantage of the Thunder's weak frontcourt. But the Wolves are a different beast. Gafford will be undersized against Minnesota's towering frontcourt.

The 25-year-old big man has only played around 20 minutes per game this postseason as he splits time at center with Dereck Lively. Dallas needs Gafford to compete among the trees in the Wolves' frontcourt, but grabbing seven boards will be challenging.

Odds: -135

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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