NBA Picks: Mavericks vs. Jazz

Joe Catalano

Monday, January 7, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz meet tonight, as both clubs look for a much needed win. What have the NBA odds makers put on offer for us tonight, and which side should we take?

In a battle of two sub .500 ball clubs that haven't played up to their potential. The Dallas Mavericks travel out west to meet the Utah Jazz. A win against the aging Mavs will put the Jazz at the .500 mark and could possibly be a kickstart for better things to come.

Tip-off is scheduled for Monday at 9:00 pm ET at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Our NBA betting lines show that 5Dimes Sportsbook is listing the Jazz as a 5.5 point betting favorite and the total for this matchup is 197.5.

Can the Jazz secure a victory against a Mavericks team that is reeling from an overtime loss to New Orleans and sooth their ego as a .500 team? Find out where believe the best value lies for our NBA picks tonight.

[gameodds]5/133719/19-43-999996-1096-23-93/us[/gameodds]

A sour note.....

The Utah Jazz are coming off of an embarrassing 110-91 loss to the Denver Nuggets. When you shoot 35.9% from the field while the other team is on fire, you can't possibly expect to win. That was the case and Denver took advantage of the Jazz's poor shooting. All 5 starters for the Jazz shot under 50%, and if they play like this against Dallas, the Mavericks will have a legitimate chance of winning this game.

Lackluster seasons

It's easy to see why the Utah Jazz are considered to be a poorbasketball club. They expected a lot more than they've been getting out of their top players, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, and while both players have protected the glass well, combining for 17.3 rebounds per game, their offensive production has dropped significantly.

Jefferson has seen his seasonal average drop from 19.2 to 16.8 points per game while Millsap has seen his point production drop from 16.6 points to 14.6 points per game. Both have been less efficient shooting-wise. It might not seem significant, but when there's any type of drop-off in production from clearly your top two players, a team is going to win less.

Both leaders are capable of putting together big games against a soft Dallas defense. Monday night will tell the story if the Jazz can recover from such an embarrassing loss to the Nuggets.

He's back!

Even though Dirk Nowitzki has returned to form, the Mavericks were unable to take down the bottom feeding Hornets

Nonetheless, Dirk Nowitzki's increased playing time and production has got to have owner Marc Cuban, coach Rick Carlisle, and the fans excited. There's no harder worker than Dirk.

Dallas has a future hall of famer and champion in Nowitzki, and they need to take advantage of it before it's too late. Expect another solid performance out of Nowitzki as he is getting into shape and has shaken off the rust. Dirk plays best at home, but I don't expect Utah to stop the German on the road.

VC off the bench

Dallas has a nice combination of veterans and rookies coming off of the bench. The team depth is there and it's a good learning experience for rookies such as Jae Crowder.  

Lately, Vince Carter has been a big producer coming off of the bench and playing starter-like minutes. Carter is averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in his last game. Many though that Carter was washed up, but evidently Vince still has some fumes left in the tank.  

Vince Carter and Elton Brand are major assets against a team like the Jazz, as they provide the starters with time to rest while they are able to put up starter-like numbers. Dallas should keep this game close.

Outcome

Both teams are somewhat unpredictable. Even though I think that this can be a close game, I'm going to lean towards the total. 197.5 seem a bit too much for a Jazz team whose stars aren't producing as much as you would expect and an inconsistent Mavericks club with Dirk Nowitzki just starting to get back on track. Take the UNDER.

NBA Picks: Dallas/Utah UNDER 197.5 at 5Dimes

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