Two of the most popular NBA teams meet in prime time on Valentine’s Day when the Dallas Mavericks host the Portland Trail Blazers on ESPN.
The Blazers are 15-10 and have won their last three games, including a 118-114 win over the Sixers, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference.
After a slow start to the 13-14 season, the Mavericks have won their last four games. Guard Luka Doncic scored 46 points in the recent win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Here’s how sportsbooks determine the odds for the Blazers-Mavericks opener.
Paris NBA: Blazers-Mavericks Problems
Dallas Mavericks -5 (-111)
Portland Trail Blazers +5 (-109)
More than 235.5 points (-110)
less than 235.5 points (-110)
Why Mavericks can cover propagation
Since joining the Mavericks for the 2018-19 season, Kristaps Porzingis hasn’t really picked up the momentum in Dallas, in part due to injury problems.
Since Porzingis returned in February, he has seemed as dominant as he was on the bubble. He is averaging 23.4 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game, up from 48.9 from the field in February.
The pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop power of Porzingis and Luka Doncic make them one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the NBA, and as Iztok Franco wrote for Mavs Moneyball, the Mavericks could benefit from the Blazers’ lack of depth at the center position.
Because of his injuries, Enes Kanter is the only real big man in Portland. Kanter is a bad defender, especially in pick and roll, and the Mavericks need to attack him. Dallas very methodically exposed their weaknesses against the Pelicans, and they should do the same against the Trail Blazers.
If Porzingis can keep winning against a weak Blazers defense, the Mavericks should have no problem winning games and covering the broadcast.
Why blazers can cover distribution
C.J. McCollum and Yusuf Nurkic have not played in nearly a month and Zach Collins has not played a single game this season.
Despite these injury problems, the Blazers continue to win and climb to 5th place in a very competitive Western Conference.
Several role players made their appearance for the Blazers, including third-year forward Gary Trent Jr. who gave McCollum the most goals.
Trent Jr. was already on the bubble and has remained so this season. He is shooting 44.2% from three-point range, which ranks him 10th in the league among those who have made at least 100 three-pointers.
Carmelo Anthony, future Hall of Fame member, was a good scorer off the Blazers’ bench, but he was especially good in the closing stages of the game. He scored 11 points in a row in the fourth quarter against Orlando before scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia to help evaporate a six-point lead for the Sixers.
With Trent Jr. and Anthony, Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. as quality goalies at the forward position, and Damian Lillard continuing to dominate at forward, the Blazers have a formidable core that can compete with the best players in the NBA, despite the absence of three key players.
Forecasting and selection of final blazers
Even before the turnaround, the end seems like a good match for today’s game, as the offensive talents of these teams rank 27th and 28th in the championship in terms of defensive efficiency.
Another reason why over is a safe bet for this game is that both teams will be throwing from distance, as the Blazers are shooting 41.9 shots per game and the Mavericks 37.1 shots per game, both stats in the top 10 of the championship.
With all three, it could be a game with a lot of small balls, which is to the Blazers’ advantage and allows them to hide their lack of depth at a central position.
Given Porzingis’ performance this month, and after Luca’s 46 points against the Pelicans, it’s hard to pick against this dominant duo.
But the Blazers are also interesting against the spread because their actors get stronger. Carmelo Anthony’s bench dominates the second unit, giving Portland a big advantage when the stars of the game are out.
And if this becomes a close game, it’s hard to bet against Dame Time, as Lillard has become one of the best “clutch-point keepers” in the NBA in recent years.
I’m betting on the Blazers’ silver line tonight (high value at +175). For a more conservative approach, take Portland against the spread and point for point.