Having straightened things out, the Dallas Mavericks will head into a matchup with the mighty Utah Jazz at home with some hope, which is a complete 180 from where they were the last time they faced this team. Utah took two from Dallas in January as part of what was a season-worst six-game losing streak. Now Rick Carlisle’s squad will look to avenge those with a much more efficient offense, testing out where it is against perhaps the league’s top defense.
Will the third time be the charm? Or, will the Jazz continue to dominate? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks
Monday, April 5, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at American Airlines Center
It’s hard to say a bad word about the Jazz. After hitting a bit of a mid-season snag, they’ve won nine in a row, and can make it 10 here in Dallas. Over that span, though, they really haven’t faced anyone who will come close to the level of the Mavericks.
Utah picked up a win over Brooklyn, but that was against its B-team, if you will; it didn’t have any of its starters playing. What’s more, the Jazz have only covered in five of those nine. That said, Utah’s been a heavy favorite for most of the past month, and was asked to cover six points against Memphis without Donovan Mitchell, which it almost did.
That’s really all we can say at this point. Of course the Jazz have been battle tested, but it hasn’t been recently. And, it’s not like they’ve pulled away from too many teams. The fact remains, though, that over the past nine games, no team has been better. The Jazz have ranked atop the NBA over that span with a 120.2 offensive rating, and also lead the way with a ridiculous 100.8 defensive rating. That means, yes, they’re outscoring opponents b7 19.4 points per 100 possessions over the past nine games. They’ve also shot the three at a 40.3% clip, which ranks third in the NBA.
No wonder they’re favored by six points against one of the big risers in the NBA this month. It also wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest to see a cover. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the Jazz are just 13-12 against the spread on the road this season, which has been just about the only time it hasn’t been too fun to back them.
Finding a Groove
The Mavs, to their credit, have tried to match the Jazz move for move, at least over the four games. They’ve won four straight, covering the spread in each game and even getting past some decent competition in Boston and New York. Over the last 10 games as a whole, while the results haven’t always been there, a story has begun to be told about the steps forward this team is taking.
Dallas ranks all the way up in fourth over the last 10 contests in offensive rating at 116.8 points per 100 possessions, just 2.7 points off the pace set by the Jazz. Its defense has also been much improved, ranking fifth in efficiency over that span, again just 2.4 points off the mark set by Utah. Leading the way on the defensive side has been Kristaps Porzingis, who has seemed to be the common denominator with a 100 defensive rating in 31.5 minutes per game. On the other side, both Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic rank one and two in offensive efficiency, and the Mavericks have been unquestionably better when all three of these players have shared the floor.
The only thing that can stop the Mavericks? Well, it might just be playing at home, where they’re just 8-13 against the spread this year. The Jazz, too, could obviously stop them for sure.
Given how good Dallas has been lately, I’m inclined to take the Mavericks in what should be a measuring-stick game for them. The Jazz should also be on their heels here against a team that’s significantly better than the ones they’ve been beating up on during their winning streak. I am not quite sure the Mavericks win this game, but for my NBA picks I sure do like them to cover the six points.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.