Monday’s 120-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets was the most fun we, as fans, and the team has had this season. Josh Green defied gravity and threw down an electric alley-oop. Tim Hardaway Jr. looked like the flamethrower we all knew and loved. Porzingis continued to do good Porzingis things. It was a great team effort and a much-needed win. It was also a timely win considering the upcoming scheduled and the fact that Luka is still dealing with a nagging ankle injury.
After back-to-back wins, the Mavs have just two games in the next 5 days. The Mavs can afford to let Luka rest tonight against the Lakers and give him a full 10 days off. Hopefully the time off will get Luka and, by extension, the team back on track. With that being said, let’s examine tonight’s matchup against the Lakers from a gambling perspective.
Spread: Mavs +1.5 (-105)
Moneyline: Mavs +100
This line opened as a pick-em last night. The current line shows that a majority of the wagers and money coming in is on the Lakers. Initially, the fear was that Talen Horton-Tucker may not have been the only player to enter Covid-19 protocol. We’ve since learned that Malik Monk and Dwight Howard will also miss tonight’s game. The pick-em may have been a hedge against one of the Laker’s big 3 being out. As of now, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and Lebron James are on track to play. If all 3 play, they should be able to withstand the loss of 3 rotation players against a Mavs team that is still without Luka.
ADVICE: Stay away for now. If the spread increases closer to game time, there may be value to be had.
The logical pick is the under. The Laker offense has a tendency to become stagnant at times. The Mavs are playing without their best player. Seems like an easy pick, right? Not quite. You have to account for a potential blowout. Russell Westbrook is among the league’s best front runners and his energy and explosiveness in the open court can cause problems for the Mavs. Our ability to contain Westbrook will come down to two things: hitting shots and getting back on defense.
Hitting shots is key for obvious reasons but it also allows you to set your defense on the other end. Missing threes can result in long rebounds and easy points for the opposition. Secondly, the Mavs will need to play with the same level of effort we’ve seen the past few games. Coach Kidd deserves credit for having the team ready to play. If that continues tonight, we have a puncher's chance.
ADVICE- Take the under. Effort alone should keep this game manageable and within striking distance.
Two-Team Moneyline Parlay
Mavs and Blazers +370
The Blazers are coming off a tough loss against the Suns but have looked better since inserting Larry Nance Jr. into the starting lineup. They are due. There is no basketball analysis beyond that. Funky things happen in the NBA on a nightly basis and if you hope to nearly quadruple your money, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.
Advice: Let go and let God.