Mavericks vs. Rockets NBA Pick Worthy of One Unit

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 22, 2014 1:02 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 1:02 PM UTC

The Battle of Texas resumes Saturday night with the Houston Rockets hosting the Dallas Mavericks, but the NBA odds were on hold until recently. It’s all about Dwight Howard’s knee at this point.

Jason’s record as of Nov. 21: 10-7 ATS

Profit: plus-6.43 units

Maybe someday, we’ll all be able to get plasma-rich injections, in the comfort of our own homes. But for now, those procedures are reserved for professional athletes like Dwight Howard. He missed Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers with a strained right knee, and it’s looking doubtful that he’ll be ready in time for Saturday’s tilt (8:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) with the Dallas Mavericks.

Because Howard’s status is still up in the air at press time, the basketball odds were released late, but we forged ahead and added the Mavericks to our NBA picks anyway. They’re off to a hot start at 10-3 SU and ATS, while Houston (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) has dropped the cash in four straight. Let’s hallelujah this county.


Black Ops
We can use the Transitive Law of Betting to support our choice. The Mavericks humiliated the Lakers (+11 away) 140-106 on Friday night; the Lakers beat the Rockets (–11.5 at home) 98-92 after Howard was made a late scratch. Houston doesn’t have much depth at center this year without Omer Asik or newly-minted Maverick Greg Smith. And starting PF Terrence Jones (leg) isn’t expected back for another month.

That leaves undrafted rookie PF Tarik Black (minus-4.5 BPM) to fill in at center for Howard (minus-0.4 BPM). Black shares some similarities with Howard, in that they’re both tall, and they’re both defensive specialists. Otherwise, it’s not much of a comparison. It’s a huge downgrade for a Rockets team that leads the league in defensive efficiency at 94.6 points allowed per 100 possessions.


The Good Kind of Money Mark
At the other extreme, you have the Mavericks, who led the NBA in offensive efficiency at 114.9 points/100 going into Friday’s action. There was some concern that Dirk Nowtizki (plus-3.9 BPM) wouldn’t be able to suit up against Los Angeles because of a sprained ankle, but he ended up scoring 23 points in 21 minutes before calling it an early night. The blowout win ensured that no single Mav had to play more than 29 minutes. Even Charlie Villanueva (minus-9.6 BPM) got eight minutes of floor time.

Over the past few years, the Mavericks have faced the kind of problem that most teams would love to have: staying competitive while building around Nowitzki in the twilight of his remarkable career. Fortunately, owner Mark Cuban has made Dallas a premium free-agent destination, and GM Donnie Nelson is one of the brightest minds in the business. Their 2014-15 model looks better than ever. Nowitzki is playing like an MVP again, Tyson Chandler (plus-6.3 BPM) has been even more valuable than during his first tour of duty in Big D, and Chandler Parsons (plus-2.2 BPM) has been a very useful glue guy since coming over from the Rockets.


Brandan Awareness
You have to be doubly impressed with the Mavs when you look at how deep they are. Of course, you have “stealth MVP” Brandan Wright (plus-6.8 BPM) coming off the bench – alas, if only he didn’t turn back into a pumpkin after more than 20 minutes of use. You also have the triple-headed monster of Jameer Nelson (minus-0.3 BPM), Devin Harris (plus-3.6 BPM) and the returning J.J. Barea (plus-2.3 BPM) at point guard. And Al-Farouq Aminu (plus-2.6 BPM) has been very strong on defense, as expected.

Given Houston’s depth issues with or without Howard, we’re content to make the Mavericks one of our NBA picks for Saturday, even after they played Friday night. Keep an eye on the injury newswires as always, and may the sphere be with you.


The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: ???
Defense: HOU
Coaching: DAL
Market Bias: EVEN
Betting Line Value: ???
Verdict: Minimum bet on DAL

Free NBA Pick: Bet one unit on the Mavericks at Betonline

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