Two Western Conference contenders will have at it tonight, with the Mavericks taking up the position as the NBA odds-on favorites. Who should we be backing?
At the moment, the NBA odds board shows the Mavericks favored by 3.5 points. Keep checking back with SBRodds in order to see if there's any movement to the lines, as you're not going to want to miss out on some extra value.
A total had yet to have been released at time of writing, but it's safe to assume we'll see a high number, considering both teams are ranked in the top 10 this season in points per game.
The consistency just hasn't been there for the Mavericks recently. They haven't won consecutive games since back in late February and will come into tonight's contest having alternated losses and wins over their last four. Overall they're at 42-25, which has them dead even with both the Clippers and Spurs, though Dallas is in the seventh seed right because of tiebreakers.
As you can see, it hasn't exactly been the dominant season some were expecting out of the Mavs, especially after Rajon Rondo was brought to town. This is one of the most talented teams out there, but the results haven't been there. We'll have to see how Dallas closes out the regular season and if they're able to find their groove at the right time. Getting Chandler Parsons back is certainly going to help.
We last saw the Mavs take the court Friday in an easy 129-99 home win over the Clippers. Parsons had a 22/5/4 line, Tyson Chandler posted a double-double, and Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Charlie Villanueva, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris all hit double figures too in the rout. It was one of Dallas' most impressive wins of the season, and they'll be eager to build off of it.
Oklahoma City Thunder
With Russell Westbrook carrying them on his back, the Thunder have managed to win two in a row and five of their last seven, thus improving to 37-29. They're in the eighth spot in the West right now and are looking to hold off the likes of New Orleans and Phoenix in hopes of making the playoffs.
Kevin Durant remains out, though he is nearing a return, so Westbrook has continued to play at an MVP-caliber level for OKC. He's thrown up triple-doubles in six of his last nine games and is averaging a ridiculous 35.2 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 9.8 APG so far in the month of March. Yeah, he's been pretty good.
Westbrook was the catalyst in recent wins over Chicago and Minnesota and will look to inflict similar pain on the Mavericks tonight. Oklahoma City, however, has had their fair share of struggles out on the road this season, so it's going to take a big-time performance for them to get a win in Dallas here. It remains to be seen whether or not Serge Ibaka (knee) will be available after he had to sit out against the Bulls.
As tough as it is to fade Westbrook with the way he's been playing, one man can only do so much, and we think this value on the Mavericks at home is a little too good to pass up.
Given their level of talent, Dallas has been disappointing, but they're still firmly in the playoff picture and they can beat anyone on their day. The Mavericks are a solid 22-11 at home this season and take on an Oklahoma City squad that hasn't been nearly as scary when playing on the road. Coming in, Westbrook and company are just 14-20 outside of OKC.
So, for our NBA pick for this matchup we feel good about Dallas winning by at least four at home. The Mavericks just had Saturday and Sunday off after annihilating the Clippers, and we expect them to keep the momentum going with another win over a conference foe. Back Dallas.
Free NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks -3.5 at Bookmaker.