Free NBA Picks: Mavericks at Thunder Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/5/2013
The Dallas Mavericks were at the top of the NBA after winning the NBA Finals in 2011. Where were they at the end of 2013? Dallas was sitting at home watching the playoffs after finishing the season at 41-41. It was the first time in 12 years that Dallas wasn’t a part of the playoffs.
Oklahoma City made it into the playoffs as the team to beat in the Western Conference last year. Then Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury in the first round against the Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City’s fortunes went south in a hurry. They struggled past Houston before falling to Memphis in the next round.
Both of these teams have started the season with two wins in their first three games overall. Dallas is third in the NBA in points per game at 111.3 per contest through their first three games. Oklahoma City is surprisingly only averaging 95 points per game, but with only three games under their belt this number will certainly change in a big way in the near future. Dallas hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, while the Thunder have a day off before this matchup.
Mavericks at Thunder Betting Story Lines
The biggest story line in this game is the return of Westbrook. Many thought it was going to be several weeks until Westbrook got back on the court, but he was in the lineup for Monday’s 103-96 win over the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook went just 5-for-16 from the floor, but he had seven assists. It will likely take a little while for Westbrook to get comfortable once again, but I’m confident that he’ll be back at 100 percent by the end of the regular season.
For quite a while there were a lot of Westbrook haters out there who somehow thought that the Thunder would be a better team without him because of the number of shots he takes. There is no doubt that he is different than your prototypical point guard, but he is vital to this team’s success. If that wasn’t evident before, it should be evident to everyone after the Thunder struggled so much in his absence. With him back in the lineup, Oklahoma City instantly becomes the favorite to come out of the West this season.
Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki are both averaging 23.3 points per game so far this year for Dallas. Ellis is an interesting fit for the Mavericks. He is a guy who has always been able to score almost at will, and his speed and athleticism is a huge asset. Look for the Mavericks to run the floor more with a guy like Ellis in the backcourt. Dallas fans have to be encouraged by the fact that Nowitzki’s shooting numbers are way up from last year so far this season. There’s no doubt that this team isn’t capable of making a serious run without Nowitzki being better than he was last year. Jose Calderon isn’t shooting it well early this year, but he is averaging 7.3 assists per game. Calderon is a great ball-handler, and his ability to find the open shooter should help this offense.
Does Dallas have enough defense? The Mavericks struggled defensively all year last season. Sameul Dalembert was a good addition to help the interior defense of this team, but there aren’t any lock-down defenders on the perimeter. Dallas won’t be able to outscore everyone, so they’ll have to improve defensively.
Mavericks at Thunder NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline lists the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 7.5 point home favorite in this one. The posted total is set at 207.5 points. Dallas won’t have any rest before this game, but that might not hurt them after all. The Mavericks are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following zero days of rest. The underdog is 22-7-1 ATS in the last 30 meetings between these two teams. The “over” is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings as well.
Free NBA Picks: Mavericks at Thunder Betting Predictions
Dallas likes to outscore the opposition, but Oklahoma City has more firepower than the Mavericks now that Westbrook is back in the lineup. The Thunder clearly have the better defense thanks to guys like Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. The trends support the Mavericks in this game, but I’m going to go the other way. Oklahoma City is a completely different team with Westbrook on the floor, and I think that starts showing up right away. The Mavericks have a late game in Los Angeles on Tuesday night as well, and that could leave them with tired legs.
Look for the Thunder to roll to a comfortable win in this one. Lay the points with Oklahoma City in this matchup. If you are looking to bet the total as well, the over should be the way to go there with both of these teams looking to get out in transition.
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