Big Dogs Lakers, Mavericks Worth a Look in Thursday NBA action

Los Angeles Lakers Player Kyle Kuzma

Charles Stark

Thursday, December 14, 2017 2:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 2:55 PM UTC

In the NBA on Thursday night there are quite a few heavy favorites on tap, and we’re going to take a look at two of those matchups. Can the underdog Lakers and Mavericks hang with the big favorites?

Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers

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Over the past month Cleveland has been one of the hottest teams in basketball, so it makes sense for them to be a strong favorite in this spot. Oddsmakers have them as a -9.5 favorite, but I’m to take a shot with Los Angeles to cover the number. The Lakers, led by rookie Kyle Kuzma, are getting more competitive every week and are starting to show they could be a team to reckon with in the future. The Lakers rank fifth in opponent shooting efficiency and, more importantly, are allowing opponents to shoot just 33.8 percent from distance, which ranks second in the NBA. These are important statistics that match up well with Cleveland, one of the best teams in the league, shooting 48 percent from the floor. On the other side of the ball, although Los Angeles has not been shooting from distance very well, they are shooting more than 45 percent as a team and Cleveland is far from perfect defensively, allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the floor. Cleveland should definitely win this game, but I like for Luke Walton and the Lakers to stay within single digits.

Free NBA Pick: Los Angeles +9.5Best Line Offered: At Heritage

Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors

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Without Steph Curry it just doesn’t matter that much with this Golden State team, as they are flat-out loaded, and oddsmakers have made them a -11.5 favorite in this spot. The line makes sense, but again I’m going to back the underdog in Dallas and grabbing the points. Over their past 10 games they have not been getting blown out and have actually put up some good wins and numbers since mid-November. What should help them tonight is the fact they are playing some decent defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 45.4 percent from the floor, which ranks them 13th in the NBA. More importantly, opponents are getting just 81.8 attempts per game and dropping 37.2 of those, ranking them fifth and sixth in the league, respectively. Of course, this will be a difficult matchup and Dallas does not have great offensive numbers, but with the pace not getting up and down and the Mavericks actually playing some good ball recently I expect them to hang within the number.

Free NBA Pick: Dallas +11.5Best Line Offered: At Heritage
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