Mavericks the NBA Pick vs. Possibly Undermanned Thunder

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:48 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Thursday.

 



The road underdogs could gain additional value Thursday night with the home team possibly lacking in depth after this afternoon’s trading deadline when the Dallas Mavericks (36-19, 19-10 away) pay a visit to the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-25, 16-8 home) at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Dallas as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -110.


Looking to Improve Seeding
Dallas closed out the first half of the NBA season by winning three of its last four games and it begins the second half of the year in third place in the best division in the NBA, the Southwest Division where all five teams are over .500, just four games behind the first place Memphis Grizzlies.

The Mavericks are also just one game behind the second place Houston Rockets, which is significant with those teams battling for the fourth seed in the Western Conference and the home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs that comes with it.

The Thunder were also strong going into the All-Star break as the winning NBA picks in their last three games and in five of their last six contests. Oklahoma City has survived a terrible start to the season while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were both out with injuries, although it is not quite in a playoff position just yet sitting one-half game behind the Phoenix Suns for that eighth and final playoff spot.


Undermanned Thunder?
The Thunder even did the Mavericks a favor by knocking off the Grizzlies in the final game before the break, and now Oklahoma City may again be helping Dallas out by being potentially short-handed for this game. And remember that a great road team like Dallas may have already been offering value getting this many points even without the Thunder’s trade situation.

But with today being the trading deadline, it is a near certainty that the Thunder will accommodate the recent request of Reggie Jackson to be traded, and as of this writing, it appeared that Jackson would be going to the Brooklyn Nets with center Brook Lopez coming to Oklahoma City and with other moving parts in that deal that may even involve another team or two.

The problem of course is that the players that the Thunder trade away will obviously not be available tonight, but neither will any players the Thunder get in return. In Jackson, they would be losing a player that has averaged 12.8 points, 4.2 assists and even 4.0 rebounds from the guard spot this season while primarily coming off the bench, except for the games he started in place of the then injured Westbrook.

Thus the Oklahoma City depth would take a hit if the deal goes through just losing Jackson alone, and if there are other players involved, the bench would be that much thinner until the new acquisitions arrive.


Excellent Road Team
Meanwhile there are no major trade rumors swirling around key Mavericks’ personnel, and they in fact did add a piece in the last few days in former Knick Amar’e Stoudemire, although he will not be active for Dallas until maybe Sunday. But Stoudemire’s contribution for the Mavericks will be as a role player, albeit a potentially very good one provided the Mavs monitor his minutes correctly.

Other than that, the current Dallas ensemble is certainly good enough to compete in Oklahoma City, especially considering the Mavericks are one of the better road teams in the NBA at 19-10 straight up and 17-12 ATS. Dallas is third in the NBA in scoring with 106.3 points per game, and while the defense is 23rd in points allowed at 101.0, that is misleading due to the Mavs playing a fast tempo ranking 10th in pace rating.

Dallas is actually in the top half of the league in 13th in field goal percentage allowed at 44.6 percent. Furthermore, the defense has improved as the season has gone on and the absence of Jackson and maybe some other Thunder players here would be an added bonus.


Dallas Won and Covered Last Three Head-to-Head
Finally, the Mavericks have won the last three head-to-head meetings both straight up and ATS, including a 112-107 win in Dallas in the only encounter this season. Dallas also won surprisingly easily 109-86 on its last visit to Oklahoma City last year.

That gives us enough confidence to take Dallas with the points here even if the Oklahoma City trade of Jackson falls through, but our recommendation is to bet the Mavericks as soon as possible in an attempt to be ahead of the likely trade on Thursday.

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NBA Pick: Mavericks +5 (-110)