As fans, we tend to make mountains out of molehills. That isn’t the case with today’s game. It’s not hyperbolic to say tonight’s game against the Timberwolves is as close to a must-win game as you can get at this point in the season. Despite going 7-3 in their last ten games, the Mavs actually LOST ground to the T’Wolves who went 9-1 during that same stretch. With two games against Minnesota this week, the Mavs can either cement themselves as a top 5 seed or fall into the play-in tournament. With so much on the line, let’s take a look at the game from a gambling perspective and see if there is a way to monetize all the anxiety we feel leading up to tip-off.
Spread: Mavs -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Mavs -155
This line is surprising for a number of reasons. First, the Mavs have lost two games in a row and looked horrible in both losses. Second, Minnesota is red hot and Karl Anthony-Towns has been playing like a man possessed. Few teams can make the Mavericks pay for going small. It just so happens Minnesota is one of them. Deploying Dwight Powell against KAT gives me the same feeling I had watching them lower the goat into the T-Rex enclosure in Jurassic Park. The return of Marques Chriss should help, some, but I expect KAT lights us up tonight. Despite having some semblance of an argument as the best shooting big man of all time(he actually doesn’t), we may be better off trying to wall off the paint and forcing him to beat us from deep. He’s more than capable of doing so but at that point, we can rely on timely rotations forcing him to make contested 3s with a hand in his face. Allow him to set up shop in the paint and he will get us into the penalty and kill us on the boards with second-chance points.
On the other end of the floor, KAT will play the role of goat and it will be Luka and Dinwiddie playing the role of velociraptor. Expect the Mavs to be patient and hunt Towns in pick and roll actions. As good as KAT is on offense, he is equally terrible on the defensive end. He can’t cover in space and has never been much of a rim protector. It just so happens we have two players capable of getting to the rim at will and putting pressure on opposing defenses.
ADVICE: Bet the Mavs. The atmosphere in the AAC should have a playoff feel to it and Luka will feed off the crowd en route to a 40 point triple-double.
Advice: Stay away. This game could easily go over but 230 is simply too high.
Two-Team Moneyline Parlay
Advice: The Raptors may just be better than the Bulls and will be getting 3.5 points tonight. The Mavs line is low enough to avoid the ML but if you don’t feel comfortable laying the points, you won't do better than betting on the Raptors as underdogs.