Free NBA Picks for Short-Handed Spurs vs. Mavericks

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:29 AM GMT

The San Antonio Spurs will raise the fifth NBA title banner in franchise history on Tuesday night as they face the Dallas Mavericks as the NBA betting odds faves even though 2 key Spurs won't play.

New-Look Mavericks
Dallas barely snuck into the Western Conference playoffs last year as the No. 8 seed. Its 49 wins would have been good for the third seed in the East. The team was very active this offseason. In late June, Dallas traded point guard Jose Calderon, center Samuel Dalembert, youngsters Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and two second-round draft picks to the New York Knicks for center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton. Chandler was a key member of the Mavericks' 2011 NBA championship team. He then was lured to New York on a $60 million free agent deal. The Mavs never really tried to keep him, instead hoping to use the money saved on Deron Williams or Dwight Howard. We all know how that turned out.

Chandler, the 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, certainly upgrades the Mavs' defense and rebounding. That's if he can stay on the court. The 32-year-old played just 55 games last year and 66 the season before. Chandler averaged 8.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in 2013-14. He has been a big scorer with a limited offensive arsenal. Felton probably will start when healthy. He's not right now. Felton is dealing with a high ankle sprain and likely misses another week. He must serve a four-game suspension whenever he's healthy for an offseason arrest. Felton is currently on the inactive list. Thus Jameer Nelson, acquired as a free agent from Orlando, will start for the time being.

The Mavericks also helped weaken Southwest Division rival Houston by singing Chandler Parsons to a three-year, $45 million deal that the Rockets for some reason chose not to match. Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. He will start at small forward. Thus the only returning starters are the ageless Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Monta Ellis at shooting guard. Dallas did say goodbye to two prominent contributors in Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, but it looks like a better team on paper.

Dallas has a wins total of 50 on Bovada's NBA odds with the 'over' a -130 favorite and under at even money.  Nowitzki has season totals of 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds at sportsbooks. Now 36, the lock Hall of Famer averaged 21.7 points and 6.2 boards last year.

 

Spurs Battling Injuries
San Antonio is pretty much back intact from last year's 62-win team that surprisingly easily beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in five games, essentially ending the LeBron James Era in south Florida. In a recent survey on NBA.com of the league's general managers, San Antonio was the overwhelming choice to repeat this season. The Spurs got 46.2 of the vote. LeBron's Cleveland Cavaliers were second at 15.4 percent.

Kawhi Leonard was the breakout star of the 2014 NBA Finals and was named series MVP. The team is hoping to sign him to a contract extension by the Oct. 31 deadline. If not, Leonard would become a restricted free agent next summer. No way the Spurs wouldn't match any offer. Leonard averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals a game in 29 minutes in the 2013-14 season (no Spur averaged 30). In the Finals, Leonard averaged 17.8 points on 61 percent shooting and played very good defense on James. Leonard was the youngest Finals MVP since the Spurs' Tim Duncan in 1999.

Leonard will not play Tuesday. He has an infection in his right eye that kept him out of most of training camp. Also out is starting center Tiago Splitter with a right calf strain. Splitter averaged 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.

Before placing your NBA pick tonight, keep in mind that San Antonio is the +375 second-favorite to win the title on Bovada's NBA odds. It has a wins total of 57, with over a -120 favorite. Only Cleveland has a higher total at sportsbooks.

 

Last Season
San Antonio has really had the Mavericks' number in the regular season of late and swept all four meetings last year. Each win was by at least six points. Tony Parker averaged 23.3 points against Dallas for the Spurs in three games. Duncan averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. Ellis led the Mavs in averaging 21.3 points vs. San Antonio. Nowitzki 18.5 points. Dallas then really gave the Spurs fits in the first round of the playoffs, forcing the series to seven games. The Spurs rolled in that one, 119-96. It was San Antonio's only elimination game of those playoffs.

Missing Leonard and Splitter does hurt San Antonio The Spurs also didn't look great this preseason at 2-5. The underdog has covered eight of the past nine meetings. The 'over' is 5-1 on NBA odds in the past six. 

NBA Free Picks: Take the points on Dallas at sportsbooks and the 'over' at The Greek 

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