Leaning ‘Under’ With Mavs-Cavs on Saturday's NBA Odds Board

Friday, February 1, 2019 7:24 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 7:24 PM UTC

After the big Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Dallas Mavericks make the ‘under’ a viable NBA pick for Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Jan. 31: 12-9 ATS, 0-1 ML (minus-1.15 units), 13-6 Totals

Dallas (23-28 SU, 31-19-1 ATS) vs Cleveland (11-41 SU, 23-28-1 ATS)Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It was maybe an hour or two after we finished up our preview of Friday’s game between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks that the news came down the wire: New York was going to trade Kristaps Porzingis – and several other players – to the Dallas Mavericks. Good thing we put the ‘under’ in our NBA picks; the total for that game has fallen from 218 at the open to 215.5 as we go to press.

Deal or no deal, we probably would have recommended the ‘under’ for Saturday’s game between the Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, too. But we’re even more interested in the ‘under’ now that all these players are changing hands. Let’s see if we can untangle this trade and figure out who will be with Dallas at The Q.

Leaving New York

First, here are the particulars for Thursday’s internet-melting trade:

To New York: PG Dennis Smith Jr., SG Wesley Matthews, C DeAndre Jordan, two first-rounders
To Dallas: PG Trey Burke, SG Tim Hardaway Jr., SG Courtney Lee, PF Kristaps Porzingis

The Knicks got raked over the coals in the media for this deal, and perhaps they deserve it – if you only look at the personnel involved. Smith (minus-1.9 BPM) wasn’t performing too well next to Luka Doncic (plus-3.7 BPM). Matthews (minus-0.8 BPM) was a bad signing from the get-go. Jordan (plus-2.7 BPM) still has defensive chops, and leads the league with a 67.2 true shooting percentage, but he’s only on a one-year deal.

Aside from Porzingis, who is still recovering from a torn ACL, what did the Knicks give up here? Hardaway (minus-1.9 BPM) and Burke (minus-3.2 BPM) are both inefficient volume scorers who can’t or won’t play defense. Lee (minus-1.0 BPM) is a competent veteran glue guy who’s played just 160 minutes this year. This trade isn’t going to make Dallas better in the short term – not that it’s supposed to. It’s all about Porzingis, who may or may not sit out the entire season.

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Porzingis arriving at Dallas.... pic.twitter.com/WfFsngzoZ8

— Chad (@ChadBlue83) January 31, 2019
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Tristan by the Pool

It’s tempting to bet the Cavaliers ATS once the first lines hit the NBA odds board, but the Cavs are on a tanking mission of their own at 3-12 SU and 5-9-1 ATS since New Year’s Day. So we’re riding the ‘under’ in this matchup; it’s 3-2 in Cleveland’s last five games, thanks in part to the absence of Tristan Thompson (plus-0.5 OBPM, plus-0.1 DBPM) and his sore left foot. Even better, the ‘under’ is 12-3 for Dallas in 2019.

We’re ultimately counting on Hardaway and Burke to have some trouble integrating themselves into the Mavs offense at first – if they even play Saturday, which is still a mystery at press time. You know the drill: Keep an eye on the shoot-around, bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

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