Tuesday's Top ATS Play: Pick Spurs to Cover -3.5 vs. Mavericks

David Lawrence

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 1:15 PM GMT

Can the Dallas Mavericks change things for the better in this game against the San Antonio Spurs, covering the NBA betting spread? These teams are moving in opposite directions.

The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
They are once again playing the way they expect to play, favored by NBA odds point spread of 3.5. The Spurs have admittedly been something of a tease this season. There have been a few segments of the regular season in which the Spurs would win three straight games or four out of five and give the impression that they were ready to take off and go on one of those stretches where they’d win 14 out of 16 games or 18 out of 21, but that kind of month-long surge has never quite happened. Some bettors have certainly been frustrated by the stop-and-start quality of the Spurs’ season. However, this team is once again in a groove. It is not only playing well; it is playing well against good teams. This past Sunday’s 114-95 win in Atlanta against the Hawks is proof that the Spurs are rounding into form.

San Antonio could not have played much better than it did against the Hawks, giving this team a three-game winning streak late in March. The Spurs hit 56 percent of their shots against Atlanta, and what was especially impressive is that four of five starters hit at least 50 percent of their shots, with the fifth player (Danny Green) hitting 5 of 11 shots and 3 of 5 three-pointers. No one had a bad game. Tony Parker did score only eight points, but he committed only two turnovers in 30 minutes and did a great job of facilitating the offense. Two Spurs hit at least 70 percent of their shots and attempted a minimum of 10 field goals: Tiago Splitter was 10 of 14, and Boris Diaw was 8 of 10. Six different San Antonio players scored in double figures, and the team combined for 30 assists, with three different players compiling at least five assists. That kind of shared ball movement makes this team hard to beat. If San Antonio continues to play like this, Dallas and many other opponents won’t have much of a shot. Only Golden State would still be expected to beat the Spurs.

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The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They still can play well at home as long as the matchup works for them. Dallas recently lost at home to Memphis but the Grizzlies got Mike Conley back for that game, so the Grizzlies looked a lot better than they had been in previous games. With their bruising front line, the Grizzlies are a tough matchup for Dallas, but the Mavericks matched up a lot better with other teams such as the Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder – teams that can throw only one nasty big man at them and not two. The Clippers only had DeAndre Jordan when the Mavericks played them, and the Thunder only had Enes Kanter and not the injured Serge Ibaka. When Dallas played the Clippers and the Thunder just one week ago, they scored at least 119 against both of them and averaged 124 points per game. San Antonio is not a power team. The Spurs win with their floor spacing and their smarts. Dallas’ Tyson Chandler can bully Tiago Splitter in the paint. Monta Ellis, who was such a matchup problem for the Spurs in last year’s playoffs, is certain to shoot better than the 4-of-22 line he put up against the Suns this past Sunday. Dallas can manage the matchups in this game. San Antonio will not be physical enough to disrupt the Mavericks’ offense.

 

Outlook
The fact that the Spurs are playing well is no guarantee that they’ll win. The better indicator when placing NBA picks that they’ll win is that Dallas has lost two straight games and is not getting the very best level of play out of its starting five. San Antonio is more likely to get its starting five to perform well as a collective whole.

NBA Pick: San Antonio -3.5 at BookMaker