The Mavericks and Spurs have been rivals for quite some time, but San Antonio has largely dominated the rivalry in recent years. The tide seems to be turning in the other direction these days, though. The Mavericks are primed to end a 3-year postseason drought, while the Spurs are in danger of missing out on postseason play for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign. The last time the Spurs missed the playoffs was Tim Duncan’s last year of college, for reference. It’s been a very, very long time.
Dallas is currently nestled into the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, though they’re only a game behind Houston for sixth. The Mavs are 10.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Pelicans, so it’s safe to say Dallas isn’t in any real danger of falling out of the top-8. San Antonio, meanwhile, is 12th in the conference and 5 games adrift of the eighth-place Grizzlies entering Tuesday’s action.
Dallas has won each of the first 3 head-to-head meetings this season against San Antonio, though their margin of victory has been no bigger than 7 points in any of those wins. The Mavericks are listed as 4-point favorites on the road on Tuesday in a game with a 227.5 total at Bovada.
Mavericks look to sweep season series vs. Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge not expected to play for Spurs due to right shoulder injury
Luka Doncic questionable for Mavs with right wrist pain
Will Luka Play?
Obviously, plenty of the appeal that comes with betting on the Mavericks involves the availability of Luka Doncic. Doncic has battled a number of minor ailments so far this season, but he hasn’t missed an extended period of time due to any of them. He’s currently dealing with a right wrist injury, apparently, which is why the Mavs have listed him as questionable to play tonight.
The second-year guard has been the lifeblood of the Mavs’ surge so far this season. Luka is averaging a robust 28.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.7 assists so far this season despite the fact that he’s still just 21 years old. Doncic has struggled a little with his 3-point accuracy (31.5 percent), but one would imagine he’ll figure that out before too long, too.
Luka Doncic has formed a natural partnership with Kristaps Porzingis, whose strong season has largely been overshadowed by Luka’s exploits. Porzingis is averaging better than 19 points and 9 rebounds per game, but he has gotten stronger as the season has progressed. The former Knick averaged better than 25 points and 10 rebounds per game in February, and through four games in March he’s up to 26.8 points and 11 boards per game. The numbers would be even more bloated if Porzingis hadn’t endured a 9-point clunker in his last game against Indiana.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Gregg Popovich’s squad so far this season. The Spurs are 10 games under .500, which means they’re on the verge of finishing a season with a losing record for the first time in over two decades. They’re also losers of two straight games with a 4-6 record over their last 10 games, so they’re not playing their best basketball when it matters the most.
The Spurs are now tied with the Kings for the second-worst odds (+15000) to win the Western Conference, so it’s safe to say oddsmakers have all but given up on San Antonio at this point.
The team is also currently playing without LaMarcus Aldridge, who has missed the last several games due to an ailing right shoulder. The Spurs will also be without Jakob Poeltl, while Lonnie Walker is questionable after missing each of the last two games.
The Spurs have really struggled defensively this season. San Antonio is just 26th in the league in defensive rating, allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions. San Antonio just allowed a miserable Cavaliers team to hang 132 points on them over the weekend, right after the Nets put 139 points on the board in the previous game.
Assuming Doncic plays tonight, it’s hard to imagine how the Spurs will deal with a Mavericks team that has been the league’s most prolific offense. Dallas is averaging 113.9 points per 100 possessions, which puts them a ways in front of the Rockets (111) for the best mark in the league. Dallas has scored 117, 102 and 109 in their first three meetings of the season against the Spurs.
Mavericks vs Spurs Pick
The line for this game looks a bit short at Mavericks -4, but I’d assume that has to do with the uncertainty regarding Doncic. If he plays, the line could shift further in Dallas’ direction. The Mavericks haven’t been awful in games Luka has missed this season, though, so betting on Dallas to cover even without Doncic tonight isn’t the worst idea in the world. They’re 6-7 in the 13 games without Luka, which isn’t as bad a record as you might think.
That’s because Porzingis has really upped his game whenever the team needs him to pick up the extra slack. Porzingis has played in 10 of the games Luka has missed, and he’s put up averages of 27.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and more than 2 blocks in those outings.
In case you couldn’t tell, I like the Mavericks against the spread in this one. Dallas is 34-28-3 against the spread on the year, which is the sixth-best mark in the entire NBA. The disappointing Spurs are 24-37-1 ATS, which is the second-worst mark ahead of only Minnesota. Bet on the Mavs to cover the -4 points on Tuesday night, regardless of whether Luka suits up.
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 ...
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