The surging Dallas Mavericks take on the slumping Los Angeles Clippers in a superstar-laden Western Conference battle. The Clippers, losers of four of their past five, will be looking to avenge the 124-73 drumming they took at the hands of the Mavs earlier this season. After last season's catastrophic ending, the Clippers still haven't been able to separate themselves from the rest of the contenders.

The Mavs, on the other hand, seem to be hitting a stride. Winners of seven of their past ten including impressive victories against the Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics, the Mavericks are looking to clear themselves of any potential play-in tournament scruffle.

Let's continue our NBA Odds series and make a Clippers-Mavericks prediction and pick.

This is how the sportsbooks are lining up Monday's contest:

NBA Odds: Clippers at Mavericks

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Los Angeles Clippers: -1.5 (-125)

Dallas Mavericks: +1.5 (+105)

Over/Under: 227.5 (-110)

How the Clippers Cover

Despite their recent shortcomings, the Clippers are still one of the most loaded teams in the league. With arguably the best wing combo in the NBA, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard should be able to punish the Dallas wing rotation of  Josh Richardson, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dorian Finney-Smith. In spite of the criticism, the combo averages 49.8 PPG, 10.1 APG, and 12.3 RBG a game on damn near 50/40/90 splits. Even league-average level help from the Clippers periphery players should be enough to tip the scales in their favor and cover such a narrow spread.

The challenge will be made all the more difficult as Clips' starting guard Patrick Beverly is set to miss at least the next three games with right knee soreness. That puts even more pressure on the struggling Reggie Jackson, who's having his worst statistical campaign since his sophomore season in Oklahoma City, and Luke Kennard, who has yet to justify his 4 yr/$64 million contracts.

On the gambling side, Clipper's bettors have seen the team perform admirably ATS until the past seven games, where they've only covered once–a blowout win over Golden State. When the team ripped off an 11-6 ATS month between January and February, the defense was their calling card, allowing above 115 points on only three occasions. To regain that form, containing Luke Doncic and the Mavericks has to be their number one priority.

How the Mavericks Cover

Speaking of Luka Doncic, it appears he's shed that weight that accumulated during the offseason he spent in his native Slovenia. He's been as brilliant as ever in the Mavericks' last 16 games, leading them to 12 wins in that time. But this hasn't translated into ATS success. In fact, the Mavs have been somewhere between middling and outright bad ATS this season, a 17-20 record good for 21st in the Association.

But in a game with as tight a spread as this one, betting records can be thrown out the window. Coming off of a dominant win against the Nuggets, the Mavericks look like the team they were promised to be coming into 2021. Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson are beginning to find their range while Maxi Kleber returns to health. It's also worth noting that the Mavs were among the teams hardest hit by COVID-19 protocol and are just now showing what they look like as a cohesive unit.

Final Clippers Prediction and Pick

For the Mavs to beat the spread or win outright, the formula is simple: Let Luka cook and make your three-point shots. With Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac down low, and Leonard and George patrolling the wings, it'll be tough to craft out enough room in the paint for Luka to pull off his usual 1-on-1 theatrics. As has been the story all season for the Mavs, when Richardson, Hardaway Jr., and Porzingis are hitting their shots, they become unstoppable. I expect they will take advantage of a struggling LA team and pull out a victory here.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION & PICK for Clippers-Mavericks: 120-127, Mavs ATS +1.5