Parker/Duncan matchup issues
The NBA odds have the Spurs as -8 favorites tonight before they head on the road for Game 3, and the total sits at 198 points, five points less than their previous total against the Mavs of 203 in Game 1.
While I do think the spread could have some value on the Spurs, I am not risking it, as both of these teams have the ability to either blow out, or keep the game close throughout. However the total of 198 looks to be a severe market overreaction from Game 1, when the final score ended at 90-85. Even though the low scoring game led to the total going way under in Game 1, I doubt we see as defensive of a battle in Game 2.
Both Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis were way off in Game 1, as was most of the Mavs team not named Devin Harris. If Harris is the Mavs’ best player throughout this series, San Antonio will likely win in a sweep. Ellis and Dirk have to shoot well if the Mavs want to stay competitive, because even though they fought back in Game 1, things might not go as smoothly in Game 2.
Another reason why I think the total may be undervalued is the fact that the Mavs have absolutely no answer for Tony Parker or Tim Duncan. The two Spurs’ stars combined for 58% shooting from the floor and over half of the Spurs’ total points for Game 1.
Dallas’ Jose Calderon cannot stop Parker from getting into the lane, while Dallas has no one big enough to combat Duncan in the post on offense or defense. If the Mavs can’t find a way to neutralize one of these Spurs during the game, it’s going to be a quick series.
The Sharp Pick
Before the game a few nights ago, the over had cashed in three of the last four times these two played one another in the regular season. Obviously the defense is going to be ramped up more at the beginning of the playoffs than the regular season, but 90-85 is not going to happen again. Both teams shot under 44% from the floor for the game, and with the wealth of offensive talent on both ends, I doubt they get into that kind of game again.
I expect at least Nowitzki to turn his game up in Game 2, and make it so the Spurs will have to game plan even more for him. Throughout his career, from his first playoffs to just last season, Nowitzki is a consistent 25 points per game scorer in the playoffs, and during his career 129-playoff games, he has shot the ball at over 46%.
Assuming Dirk has well over 11 points again for the game, I think the 'over' is the most valuable play on this game. The score will be higher, and given that the score was extra low in Game 1, I think it’s giving us a nice value on 198 in Game 2. Take the 'over' and add it to your NBA picks.
My NBA Pick: OVER 198