The three Texas teams have been regulars in the NBA playoffs over the past couple of decades, but things may change this year. The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks are both on the fringes of the Western Conference playoff picture, while the Houston Rockets have suddenly turned into one of the worst teams in the entire league.
Houston’s collapse is no big surprise, of course. The Rockets traded James Harden in January, which came on the heels of the departures of Russell Westbrook, Mike D’Antoni, and Daryl Morey. Houston has since parted ways with PJ Tucker and Victor Oladipo, as well. First-year head coach Stephen Silas thought he was preparing to coach a title contender when he took the job late last year. Instead, he’s overseeing a full-on teardown of one of the league’s marquee franchises.
Moneyline Betting Odds: Mavericks at Rockets
Dallas Mavericks (-550)
Houston Rockets (+425)
Spread Betting Odds: Dallas vs Houston
Dallas Mavericks -10 (-110)
Houston Rockets +10 (-110)
Over/Under Betting Odds: Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets
Over 222.5 (-110)
Under 222.5 (-110)
The Rockets will welcome the Mavericks to Houston on Wednesday night. Houston is just a half-game ahead of Minnesota for the worst record in the West. Dallas, meanwhile, is seventh and 2.5 games clear of Memphis for the final playoff spot. The Mavs come into this one as sizable 10-point road favorites at NBA online betting websites in a game with a 222.5 over/under.
Mavs’ Crowded Injury Report
That the Mavericks are double-digit favorites tonight really tells you all you need to know about the state of the Rockets right now. Dallas does come into this game riding a five-game winning streak, but Rick Carlisle may be working with a skeleton crew in this one.
Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber are both listed as questionable to play, while Trey Burke, JJ Redick, and Willie Cauley-Stein are all out. Porzingis and/or Kleber missing this game would leave the Mavericks incredibly thin in the frontcourt. Nicolo Melli, Boban Marjanovic, and Dwight Powell would really be the only true frontcourt options left.
Of course, Dallas also has this guy named Luka Doncic that you may have heard something about. Luka’s MVP odds have tanked since the season began, but the 22-year-old is still putting up his standard stellar numbers. Doncic is averaging 28.6 points, 8.8 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game. Most impressively, he has improved his three-point percentage from 37.6 percent, which is well above his career rate of 33.5.
Shooting was really the only weakness in Luka’s game coming into the season. If he has suddenly turned himself into a reliable threat from long range, there is really nothing opposing defenses can do to slow him down. Tonight, the Rockets will likely just have to hope that he has an off-shooting night, or that his teammates won’t be able to capitalize on the opportunities the Mavs’ All-Star point guard creates.
Dallas finished first in offensive rating last year with an average of 113.7 points per 100 possessions. They have gotten marginally worse in that regard this year (112.1), but they’re still a respectable 10th in offense. The Mavs had hoped to improve upon a defense that finished just 19th in rating a season ago. So far, so good. Dallas is up to 13th, holding their opponents to an average of 109.9 points per 100 possessions.
Rockets’ Dismal Campaign
Nothing has gone right for the Rockets this season. The team’s brass is hopeful that their lost campaign can ultimately result in a top-four pick in this year’s draft, but we’ll see where the lottery balls land. If Houston’s pick falls anywhere outside of the top-four, it will head to Oklahoma City as a part of the ill-fated Chris Paul-for-Russell Westbrook swap.
The Rockets endured a 20-game losing streak earlier this season. Houston has won twice since then, but they do come into tonight’s game riding another five-game skid. The Rockets have actually kept each of the last two games within 10 points, but the previous three defeats all came by at least 10.
Houston’s minus-6.4 point differential is the third-worst in the West. Only the Timberwolves (minus-7.5) and Thunder (minus-7.7) have been worse in that regard. Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. have given the Rockets a little reason for optimism looking ahead to next year, but this otherwise looks like a G League team right now.
Rockets young core tonight
Christian Wood: 23 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST 3-7 3PT, 4-5 FT
Kevin Porter Jr: 20 PTS, 9 REB, 8 AST 5-10 FG, 9-10 FT
The Rockets are relying on the likes of Sterling Brown, Avery Bradley, Jae’Sean Tate, DJ Augustin, and Kelly Olynyk to play heavy minutes as the team plays out the string. Olynyk has been a bright spot since arriving from Miami, but the 29-year-old isn’t exactly a future building block for the franchise, either.
The Mavs and Rockets have split their two meetings so far this season, but the Rockets looked like a vastly different team in each of the previous two games. Harden played 38 minutes in Houston’s 13-point loss back in early January, while Eric Gordon, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, and Tucker all played big roles in Houston’s 133-108 win later that month. Exactly none of those players will be on the floor for the Rockets tonight.
What’s the Best Bet?
Even with the likes of Porzingis and Kleber iffy with injuries, it’s hard to see the Mavs having much trouble in this one. Doncic will be the best player on the floor by a huge margin in this game. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson have picked up the slack whenever Porzingis has missed games so far this season.
The Mavericks should still have enough firepower to easily dispose of the short-handed Rockets tonight. 10 points is a big spread betting option for a road team, but we have seen countless blowouts in recent days as more and more teams begin tanking their way toward the finish line. Houston certainly falls into that category. With Dallas fighting for a playoff spot, this game has a very good chance of getting out of hand.
Take Dallas to roll and easily cover the 10-point margin.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.