Dallas Mavericks are down 0-2 in the first round series with the Houston Rockets. Can they turn get back into the series with a home win, thereby turning the NBA odds in their favor? Find out as we preview this game and serve up our NBA picks.
Dallas Mavericks MUST WIN
These are desperate times. Dallas Mavericks are in danger of dropping out of the NBA Playoffs without so much as a whimper. They are down 0-2 to the Rockets, returning home for game 3 where they are faced with a must win game. As it is, the NBA odds are up in the air with the Mavericks and Rockets trading on a pick' em line at some sportsbooks. Shockingly, some sportsbooks are trading the Rockets as the 1-point underdogs.
If the Mavericks were thought to have a chance in the NBA Playoffs, it's clear now that they absolutely don't. It was wishful thinking, spurred along by optimistic reasoning and the idea (somehow surprisingly so) that the Houston Rockets would be a good matchup. Back-to-back doubled-digit wins by the Rockets, with offense in spades, has put paid on that notion.
Houston won the opening game 118-108, all while covering as the 5.5-point home chalk. In game 2, they crushed the Mavs 111-99, all while covering as the 6.5-point home chalk. Granted it's one thing to win at home and another to win on the road. The drive and intensity the Rockets have put on display however doesn't look to be in danger of petering out does it?
Given the Rockets' convincing form, it's somewhat surprising that the NBA betting line is a pick 'em at this point. What's more, the Mavs are even more hobbled by injuries than they were when the NBA playoffs started and the ins-and-outs between their personnel isn't encouraging. Reports are that Chandler Parson's playoffs are over (injured). And Rajon Rondo's is done and done after being benched in Tuesday's loss for committing too many fouls.
Compounding matters further for the Mavs is the fact that they aren't getting the kind of production they need from their core players. Of the lot, which includes Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Rajon Rondo and Monta Elis, only the latter is producing respectably. The rest really need to step it up or else their summer holidays will begin sooner rather than later.
Houston's NBA playoffs have started perfectly. They are up 2-0, doing the job at home as is expected in the postseason of teams that secure home advantage. For NBA bettors, they've come through both SU and ATS as well.
Inspired by James Harden, Dwight Howard and an overall solid bench, the Rockets are in prime position to sweep the series with the Mavs. Harden and Howard have combined sublimely together to lead the Rockets into game 3 brimming with confidence. Harden scored 24 points in game 2 while Howard finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
The most encouraging bit for the Rockets is that their reserves are contributing to the play as well –most notably Josh Smith, who had 15 points – and their offensive rating is a staggering 123.0 when Howard and Harden combine on court.
NBA Betting Verdict:
The Houston Rockets have to be the smart NBA pick in this game, espcially at those sportsbooks where they are trading as the 1-point underdogs they are the value NBA pick.
The Dallas Mavericks look to be coming apart, both on court and off court. It may appear premature to write them off, but based on the first two games of the series they don't appear to be relevant in the postseason at all.
The Rockets have now won five games in a row, which includes a 4-1 ATS mark. Houston Rockets are 21-19 ATS as the away team this season with a 1.1-point margin of victory. In these playoffs though are having their way with the Mavs and it wouldn't surprise us if they deposit another convincing win. Take the Rockets as the 1-point road dogs.
NBA Picks: Rockets +1.0 at BetOnline