NBA Picks: Make Awesome Powell & Mavs +5.5 A Lock vs. Rockets

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 14, 2015 8:37 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 8:37 PM GMT

It's been a so-so start to the 2015-16 season for both the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets. Which of these Southwest rivals belongs in Saturday's NBA picks?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 13: 1-4 ATS
 

The last time we checked in on the Houston Rockets, they were down a few good men against the Los Angeles Clippers. But Dwight Howard made his return for the Rockets and reminded everyone he's still an All-Star, dropping 20 points and 20 rebounds on the Clippers (–5.5 at home) in a 109-105 upset at Staples. Well done, sir.

Oh, one other thing: Chris Paul and his tender groin didn't play for Los Angeles. Nor did DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) play for the Sacramento Kings when they fell 116-100 to Houston as 4.5-point home dogs. Hmmmm. The Rockets have lost back-to-back games SU and ATS since beating L.A.; at press time, they're 5.5-point home faves for Saturday's game (8:00 p.m. ET) versus the Dallas Mavericks, with a total of 212 on our NBA Odds Board.

 

Beverley Crusher
Maybe one of these days, we'll get to see a healthy version of the Rockets (4-5 SU, 3-6 ATS). Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones both joined Howard in coming off the injured list this past week, but Beverley might be on his way back after spraining his left ankle in Friday's 107-98 loss to the Denver Nuggets (+6.5 at home). Still on the shelf: Donatas Motiejunas, who is being brought along very slowly after having back surgery in April.

Bench strength is going to be key during Saturday's matchup. Both teams will be playing on zero days of rest; the Mavericks (5-4 SU and ATS) had a better night Friday, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 90-82 as 7.5-point home faves, but it was still a very ugly game from the Mavs. They figure to be short-handed, too, as Chandler Parsons (knee) isn't expected to play after putting in 18 minutes against the Lakers.
 

Awesome Powell
We'd still have to give Dallas the nod when it comes to depth. Dwight Powell (20.7 PER, +2.0 BPM) has been the team's second-best player behind Dirk Nowitzki (26.9 PER, +5.6 BPM). Justin Anderson (18.4 PER, +0.5 BPM) has put in some good minutes at shooting guard. For whatever reason, Jeremy Evans (10.2 PER, –3.5 BPM) has already fallen out of the rotation, but there's enough talent here to overcome the lack of rest between games.

Dallas will also be making the short trip to the Toyota Center for Saturday's game, while the Rockets have to fly in from Denver. I suppose you could call it “altitude training.” Otherwise, the Mavericks appear the have enough of these little advantages to be the right NBA Picks for this situation. By the way, Basketball Reference had Dallas at –2.40 SRS going into Friday's action, well ahead of Houston at –5.43 SRS. Injuries have kept both teams from posting solid numbers, but we're still confident the Mavs are the better team at the moment.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks +5.5 at WagerWeb.

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