The Jazz hold the best overall record in the league 38-11, and they are 31-17-1 against the spread. Utah is coming off a blowout win over the Orlando Magic.
The Mavericks stand at 27-21 overall but are only 24-24 against the spread. Dallas has won four straight is coming off a blowout win over the Washington Wizards.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Jazz-Mavericks odds.
NBA Odds: Jazz-Mavericks Odds
Dallas Mavericks +5 (-110)
Utah Jazz -5 (-110)
Over 223 Points (-110)
Under 223 Points (-110)
Why The Mavericks Could Cover The Spread
The Mavs are currently one of the hottest teams in the league, winning four straight road games to close their East Coast road trip.
Recently, Dallas’s strongest trait has been their defense.
After spending most of the first half of the season as one of the worst defensive teams in the league, the Mavs have transformed themselves into a team that has limited opponents significantly since the All-Star break.
The Mavs allow the eighth least points in the league and have guarded both the paint and perimeter adequately. Dallas currently. holds opponents to the ninth-lowest field goal percentage and eleventh lowest three-point percentage.
They’ve been particularly impressive on the defensive end of late. In their last ten games, the Mavs have allowed an opponent to break 110 points just twice. They’ve held the Blazers, Pelicans, and Clippers, all top ten scoring teams in the league, to below their point average along this stretch.
Against the Blazers and the Clippers, the Mavericks held their opponent to below 30% from the three-point line. They’ve repeated the feat in two of their last three matchups. Defending the three-point line will be key against a sharp-shooting Jazz team.
On the offensive end, Dallas has been led by Luka Doncic. In his last four games, Doncic is averaging 28.3 points on 54% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from three.
When Doncic shoots above 50% from the field, the Mavs are 12-3 overall. In a game that should be fairly low scoring, Dallas will need their star to be on his game. Considering the groove he’s in, it’s unlikely he goes cold in one of the biggest games of the year for Dallas.
If the Mavs can continue their lockdown defense and get the usual production from Doncic, they’ll have a great shot at pulling the upset.
Why The Jazz Could Cover The Spread
Utah has faced the Mavs twice this season, and easily won on both occasions.
The Jazz won by double-digits both times on their home floor, using the same ingredients they’ve used all season to win games: lockdown defense and sharp-shooting.
Utah allows the fourth-least points in the league, due to their elite perimeter defense. The Jazz hold opponents to the second-lowest three-point percentage in the NBA and have allowed the fewest three-point makes.
Against a Dallas team that relies on the three-ball to rack up points, this is a great matchup for Utah. The Mavs get 36.4% of their points from beyond the three-point line, the ninth highest percentage of any team. The Jazz are built to topple teams that rely on shooters.
Utah also allows the fourth-least free-throw attempts, ensuring Doncic won’t get too many shots at the charity stripe to find his rhythm if the Jazz can slow him down early.
On offense, Utah does what it stops opponents from doing: Drain three-pointers.
The Jazz attempt and connect on the most three-pointers in the NBA. They trail only the Clippers in three-point percentage.
Utah’s shooters have been on point of late. In their last five games, Utah has topped 40% from deep in three of the matchups.
The Mavericks have been better of late at guarding the perimeter, but they’ve been shown gaps in their three-point defense before. If any team can expose Dallas again, it’s the Jazz.
Final Jazz-Mavericks Prediction & Pick
Too many of Utah’s strengths match up with the Mavs weaknesses. Even if Dallas can make this a low-scoring game, Utah will have a decisive upper hand. The Jazz have proven their defense is legit, and the Mavericks are new to being stoppers. The edge belongs to Utah tonight, and they should get enough stops and make enough threes to cover for the third time this season against the Mavericks.
FINAL PICK: UTAH JAZZ -5