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.
It may be worth staying up late Thursday night as the underdogs seem like they should win outright when the new-look Dallas Mavericks (3-1, 1-1 away) pay a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers (2-2, 2-1 home) at the Moda Center in Portland, OR at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Dallas as a small underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of -103.
One Point from 4-0
We felt before the season that the Mavericks would be the biggest threats to the reigning NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division, and only a one-point opening night loss to those Spurs on the road in ceremonious San Antonio on the night the Spurs lifted the championship banner is standing between Dallas being 4-0 right now as it has since won three straight games.
The Blazers on the other hand continue to trot out the same starting five as last season, and that lineup served them well on the NBA picks as they finished 54-28 last year. Portland was fortunate however to escape any serious injury to a starter all year, and that would be a major concern when and if it happens as the Blazers have some of the worst depth in the league, ranking dead last in the NBA in bench points each of the last two seasons.
Revamped Lineup Working Well
The Mavericks actually gave the Spurs their toughest battle of the way to a championship last season taking San Antonio to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, but to their credit the Mavs did not stand pat and appeared to make themselves better. For starters their defense, which allowed 102.4 points per game last season, received an immediate upgrade by acquiring center Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks.
That was not all though as Dallas also signed away Chandler Parsons from the Houston Rockets, which was a brilliant move as it simultaneously weakened a division rival, and it also added a true point guard in Jameer Nelson. Those three newcomers join long-time stalwart Dirk Nowitzki and shooting guard Monta Ellis to form as formidable a starting five as anyone.
And the Mavericks have proceeded to currently lead the NBA in both scoring with 111.8 points per game and in field goal percentage at a sizzling 52.4 percent overall. Since the opening tough loss to the Spurs, Dallas beat the Jazz by 18 points, won on the road in New Orleans and then probably relaxed too early with a 26-point lead at home over the Celtics on Monday before holding on to win by five. Look for the Mavericks to stay focused all the way through this time.
The Blazers were not off to the best of starts this year as they needed a big fourth quarter to put away the banged up Oklahoma City Thunder on opening night and then lost consecutive games to the Kings at Sacramento and to the Warriors here at home to drop to 1-2. They then played there most complete game of the season though with LeBron James in town on Tuesday as they won handily 101-82.
Portland was obviously shy high for James’s only trip to Portland this entire season, but it may be difficult to duplicate that emotional effort here a few nights later. And the Blazers have still not shot the ball as well as they are probably capable off yet this young season, averaging only 97.8 points on just 43.6 percent shooting overall and 32.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc, an area where they shot 37.2 percent last season.
Tough Venue, but Not for Mavericks
Now, this arena has long been one of the toughest venues for opposing teams in the entire NBA, but the Mavericks have been one team that has not been intimidated by this atmosphere. In fact, Dallas is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven visits to Portland.
Another cover here would in all likelihood mean an outright win given this tiny point spread, and look for Dallas too pull that feat off in Portland in the nightcap of the NBA on TNT doubleheader Thursday.
NBA Pick: Mavericks +2 (-103)