NBA Picks for Mavericks vs. Spurs

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

The Battle of Texas resumes Wednesday night when the Dallas Mavericks visit the San Antonio Spurs as 7.5-point puppies on the NBA lines.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 7 inclusive:

38-31-1 ATS

10-7 Totals

The San Antonio Spurs are stuck in a loop. The San Antonio Spurs are stuck in a loop. It’s been 10 games now since the reigning Western Conference champions fell into this zigzag pattern, beating the NBA odds one day and coughing up the cash the next. The pattern continued Tuesday night when the Spurs rode into Memphis (+6) and edged by the Grizzlies 110-108 in overtime. We’re waiting for verification that Bill Murray was in attendance.

San Antonio supporters will be happy to know that the zigzag’s next stop is at the pay window. If they believe in the pattern, that is. The Spurs (27-8 SU, 18-17 ATS) are in action Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks (20-15 SU, 19-16 ATS), who just finished beating the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers 110-97 to cash in as 10-point home favorites. The NBA lines for the latest Battle of Texas have San Antonio favored by 7.5 points at home with a total of 209.

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Consistent Inconsistency

Like most NBA trends, the zigzag pattern makes a lot of sense in retrospect, when the pattern has already been laid down. But I think it’s bollocks – except maybe in the playoffs, when two teams play each other repeatedly and make adjustments and counteradjustments. The only thing I see with this particular pattern is a maddeningly inconsistent NBA betting market. The Spurs are winning basketball games just fine – five of their last six, in fact.

It would be nice, though, if the Spurs could keep the same starting five together from day to day. But that’s just not going to happen much anymore with any NBA team in the modern game. Center Tiago Splitter (17.6 PER) has been knocked out of commission for the next 3-5 weeks with a sprained right shoulder; on top of that, center Boris Diaw (15.5 PER) has a case of strep throat, although he was able to play 26 effective minutes against Memphis.

The Matrix Unloaded

Good thing, too, because San Antonio needs as many big men as it can get – even if Diaw isn’t your prototypical center at 6-foot-8. The Grizzlies are soft in the middle right now without Marc Gasol, but the Mavericks are fully loaded with Sam Dalembert (15.7 PER), DeJaun Blair (18.6 PER) and the X-Factor that is Brandan Wright (25.7 PER). Blair and Wright cut through the Lakers like a hot knife through butter Tuesday night, combining for 23 points and 12 boards in 45 minutes.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Dallas, though. SF Shawn Marion (14.9 PER) suffered a shoulder contusion after just 15 minutes of action and did not return to the floor. Marion’s X-rays came up negative, but he won’t travel with the team to San Antonio. It’s not the end of the world for the Mavs, who also have Vince Carter (14.6 PER) and Jae Crowder (11.4 PER) on the wing. However, Marion’s defense and endless motor will be missed.

Be Sure to Loop

Given the way the Spurs are messing things up against the NBA spreads, taking the side road with the total might be the smarter choice. The OVER is 23-11-1 for the Spurs this year and a very tasty 13-4-1 at the Phone Booth. Things are less clear with the Mavericks, though; the OVER is 18-17 on the season, 8-9 on the road, and just 1-5 in their last six games.

If that weren’t bad enough, the total in the Battle of Texas is also stuck in a zigzag pattern that’s lasted for seven games. But the Spurs have owned this rivalry of late at 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS, and considering how often these two teams play each other, I think that’s the NBA betting trend we should focus on. And I think that’s the NBA betting trend we should focus on.

NBA Pick: Take the Spurs –7.5 (+100) at Marathon

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