NBA Picks: Back Mavs +1.5 as Blazers Won't Resist Lillard's Absence

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:46 PM GMT

Two of this year's more promising value bets on the NBA odds board clash Tuesday night at Moda Center when the Dallas Mavericks visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 30: 6-8 ATS, 1-0 Total

 

The Dallas Mavericks (10-7 SU, 11-6 ATS) have been a strong NBA pick this year. But they weren't very strong Monday night against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings roared back from a first-quarter deficit to win 112-98, cashing in as 2-point home faves; Sacramento's “Big Three” of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo each hit the 20-point mark, while the top scorer for the Mavs was Chandler Parsons with 14.

Dallas has a relatively short trip to Portland for Tuesday night's matchup with the Trail Blazers (7-11 SU, 9-9 ATS), who were busy themselves on Monday, losing 102-87 to the Los Angeles Clippers (–7 at home). Portland is a 1.5-point home fave on Tuesday's NBA odds board as we go to press, although that line may not be available by the time you read this – more on that later.

 

Good Things Come in Threes
We've already had a couple of opportunities here at the ranch to bet on the Mavericks, and they've done well for us, dusting off the Houston Rockets as 7.5-point road dogs and the Denver Nuggets as 8.5-point home faves. The Mavs aren't among the elite teams in the Western Conference this year, but too many people wrote them off after they failed to sign Clippers center DeAndre Jordan to a contract this summer. Hence their betting value.

Not quite everything is going to plan. Big D. Parsons (11.0 PER, –2.7 BPM) is struggling to find his form after offseason knee surgery; Wesley Matthews (9.5 PER, –1.3 BPM) is in the same boat after blowing out his Achilles last year with the Blazers. Free-agent signee Jeremy Evans (11.3 PER, –1.8 BPM) isn't producing the way he did for the Utah Jazz. J.J. Barea (13.2 PER, –2.5 BPM) is out with a sprained right ankle, leaving Raymond Felton (9.4 PER, –2.3 BPM) to soak up meaningful minutes at point guard. But Dallas has enough working parts to keep the engine rolling regardless.

 

As the Stomach Turns
The Blazers had their own aestas horribilis when LaMarcus Aldridge left for the San Antonio Spurs and Matthews signed with Dallas. Like the Mavs, Portland did a very good job executing Plan B and surrounding Damian Lillard (22.2 PER, +3.9 BPM) with some quality role players. But Lillard had to leave Monday's game against the Clippers with an apparent stomach virus that could keep him out of Tuesday's game (10:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV), as well.

This is kind of important. The Blazers don't have enough talent at point guard to withstand Lillard's absence; C.J. McCollum (18.2 PER, +0.3 BPM) can play the 1 in a pinch, but it's not his natural position, while back-up PG Tim Frazier (8.0 career PER, –7.0 BPM) is strictly for emergency use only. If the books are going to keep these odds up, we're just going to have to recommend the Mavs in this situation – even if Lillard plays, he's not going to be at full strength on zero days of rest with travel thrown in for good measure.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks +1.5 (+100) at Pinnacle

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