Mark Cuban says his Dallas Mavericks should keep losing for the rest of the season. Will they fulfill his wishes this weekend and take a dive against the basketball odds?
You can always count on Mark Cuban to speak his mind. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks went on Julius “Dr. J” Erving’s podcast during NBA All-Star Weekend and said what few of his colleagues would admit: He told his team to tank the rest of the regular season. “Losing is our best option,” Cuban said. “Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them.”
It’s not like the Mavericks (18-40 SU, 29-28-1 ATS) haven’t been doing a very good job of losing up to this point. But up until now, they’ve had a nasty habit of playing too well to fade. Will Cuban’s directive give the Mavs the extra push they need to get this tank moving? Or will we have to look elsewhere for our NBA picks?
Let’s start by looking at some fairly recent history. The Mavericks were in much the same position last year; Cuban admitted in May that Dallas went in the tank once they were eliminated from playoff contention – except that didn’t happen until April 1. Then the Mavs went 2-5 SU and 2-4-1 ATS to close out the regular season.
At press time, Dallas is still technically in the Western Conference playoff hunt. But they’re 13.5 games behind the eighth-place New Orleans Pelicans with 24 games left to play – and at 18 wins, Dallas is tied with five other teams for the fewest wins in the league. Given the NBA’s perverse incentive structure that rewards losing with a better chance of landing a high draft pick, of course Cuban is ready to drive that tank straight up Victory Avenue. And yes, they own their first-round pick in 2018.
If the Mavericks are going to start mailing it in early, we have two opportunities this weekend to take advantage of the NBA odds: Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Saturday night (9:00 p.m. ET) on the road against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz (30-28 SU, 31-27 ATS) are the hottest team in the league right now, winning 11 straight games at 8-3 ATS. Let’s target that game for fading Big D. Keep a close eye on the Mavs and what kind of effort they deliver in Los Angeles, and may the sphere be with you.