Mavericks at Spurs Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/14/2013
On the surface, one might be inclined to start worrying about the San Antonio Spurs. After all, they have lost two of their past three games, allowing a whopping 136 points in a shocking home blowout loss to Portland and then 107 in a rout at injury-ravaged Minnesota on Tuesday.
Well, don't worry. Yes, the Spurs probably are not going to finish with NBA's best record and potential home-court advantage against rampaging Miami in the NBA Finals, but I can assure you that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich could care less about that. I'm sure he'd prefer to at least have the top seed in the West, which San Antonio holds by 1.5 games over the Thunder.
While I have no explanation for San Antonio's 30-point to the Blazers last Friday -- the team's worst ever since drafting Tim Duncan -- the Spurs showed their championship mettle by bouncing back with a key 105-93 victory over the Thunder on Monday night. That assured San Antonio of no worse than a season split with OKC, with the teams' final meeting April 4 in Oklahoma City, which could have key tiebreaker implications.
Tuesday's loss in Minnesota you could see coming from a mile away. Not only was it the second of a back-to-back on the road and after a big game, but Popovich was up to his old tricks: starters Duncan and Kawhi Leonard didn't even make the trip. Expect both in the lineup for Thursday's game against Dallas.
San Antonio remains without all-star point guard Tony Parker for at least another week with an ankle sprain, with the team hoping he can beat the original four-week prognosis. The Spurs are 3-2 since Parker was injured in a March 1 game.
Mavericks at Spurs Betting Story Lines
The Mavericks have been rather irrelevant all season as they predictably struggled without superstar Dirk Nowitzki for nearly the first two months of the season. I wouldn't go putting down any NBA title futures bets on the Mavs yet as they are still three games under .500, but they are only three games behind the Lakers for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West. Dallas has looked good in March with a 5-1 record and enters this game on a four-game winning streak, the team's longest of the season.
Scoring is no problem for this bunch as it ranks No. 7 in the NBA at 101.4 points and his hit triple-digits in five straight. Defending is another issue as the Mavs rank 27th in allowing 102.3 ppg. It has allowed Houston and Milwaukee 108 points each in this winning streak. Remember Vince Carter? He has been tremendous this month, averaging 17.2 points while shooting 55.5 percent from beyond the arc. Carter hasn't shot under 50 percent from the field overall in any of the six March games and is hitting 95 percent of his free throws.
There are two injury concerns for Dallas in this game. Backup point guard Darren Collison said he had some vision problems after getting poked in the left eye in Tuesday's game against the Bucks. Collison played through it but was just 2-of-8 eight from the field and said "I can barely see" afterward in the locker room. If Collison sits, that means new starter Mike James would play heavy minutes. The big concern is to forward Shawn Marion. He has missed the past three games with a calf injury. Former Marquette star Jae Crowder started again for Marion on Tuesday and was very good with 14 points and eight rebounds in a season-high 36 minutes.
The Spurs have won four straight in this series -- and at home vs. Dallas -- and go for the season sweep. On Dec. 23 in San Antonio the Spurs rolled 129-91 in setting a team record with 20 three-pointers. That was the game in which Nowitzki made his season debut, and he was pretty quiet in limited action. A week later in Dallas, the Spurs rolled again, 111-86, in which they never trailed. Parker had 21 points and nine assists in that one. On Jan. 25 in Dallas, San Antonio won 113-107 behind 23 and 10 from Parker. Duncan didn't play in that one and even Popovich was out.
Mavericks at Spurs Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, San Antonio opened as an eight-point favorite with the total at 208.5. The Mavericks are 37-26 ATS (21-13 on road) and 37-25-1 “over/under” (19-15 on road). The Spurs are 36-27-2 ATS (17-11-2 at home) and 29-34-2 O/U (11-19 at home).
The Mavs have covered 17 of their past 21 against the West. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. San Antonio is 5-0 ATS in its past five after a loss. The Spurs have covered nine of their past 11 after allowing 100 or more points in their previous game. The under is 4-1 in Dallas' past five vs. the West and in San Antonio's past five overall. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in San Antonio. Dallas has failed to cover its past four in San Antonio.
Mavericks at Spurs Picks Betting Predictions
A win here would be huge for Dallas because then eight of its next nine are at home. So the playoff push would have to be made in that stretch, and the team could theoretically get to .500 with a win here, Friday vs. Cleveland and Sunday vs. Oklahoma City (which also will be going for a season sweep). I do think the Mavs will put up quite a fight to avoid an embarrassing sweep to their in-state rival Spurs. Don't see them winning but do see them covering with the Spurs minus Parker. Also take the over between two of the NBA's best offenses.
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