The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks for the second time this season on Thursday night. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Lakers-Mavericks prediction and pick.
The Lakers hold an overall record of 35-23, and they are 28-30 against the spread. Los Angeles is coming off of a loss to the Utah Jazz.
The Mavericks stand at 31-26 overall but are 26-31 against the spread. Dallas is coming off a win over the Detroit Pistons.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Lakers-Mavericks odds.
NBA Odds: Lakers-Mavericks Odds
Dallas Mavericks -3 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers +3 (-110)
Over 216 Points (-110)
Under 216 Points (-110)
Why The Lakers Could Cover The Spread
Obviously, the biggest news for today’s game is the return of Anthony Davis.
Davis hasn’t seen the court for nearly 70 days as the Lakers were cautious with his achilles injury, attempting to ensure the star is healthy for the postseason.
Los Angeles is a completely different team with the Brow on the floor and the NBA odds for this game reflect that. When AD plays, the purple and gold hold a record of 17-6, beating opponents by an average of seven points. When Davis sits, they are 18-17, winning by an average of 1.5 points.
The Lakers should get a huge boost on both ends of the floor in AD’s limited minutes. L.A. badly missed Davis (and still miss LeBron) on the offensive end, but their defense has remained remarkably consistent.
The Lakers still allow the second least amount of points in the league, only trailing Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks. Los Angeles has been particularly adept at guarding the three-point line, holding opponents to just 34.8% from deep, the fourth lowest figure in the NBA.
Against a Mavericks team that is already streaky from deep (19th in 3P%), the Mavs could struggle to put up points tonight.
On the offensive end, the Lakers have used a group effort in the absence of their stars. In their last five games, they’ve had four different leading scorers (Talen Horton-Tucker (twice), Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, and Dennis Schroder).
If the Lakers can get some offensive spark from Davis tonight, they can put up enough points to keep this close in Dallas.
Why The Mavericks Could Cover The Spread
While the Davis return is daunting, Frank Vogel said he should only see the floor for 15 minutes tonight. The Lakers will ease him back in to game form and shouldn’t stretch him too far past that limit.
Davis hasn’t seen the court in months, and it’s likely he’ll be a little rusty to start. It’s doubtful he’ll be able to swing the outcome of a game with only a few minutes of playing time.
Another factor that could cause Davis to struggle is the Mavericks dominant interior defense. Dallas allows the fifth least amount of paint points in the game, and hold opponents to the eight lowest field goal percentage.
Of course, Davis is a multi-level scorer, but it’s unlikely he comes out with a perfect jumper after so much time off. The Mavs should be able to contain him in limited minutes.
On the offensive end, the Mavericks could be missing one of their key scorers in Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is not on the injury report, but on the second night of a back-to-back there is always a chance the big man sits.
Still, Dallas has their main man healthy and ready to go, and that’s Luka Doncic. Luka has been one of the Dallas’ only consistent producers on the offensive end of late. In his last five matchups, the young star is averaging 30.0 points, 9.0 assists, and 7.1 rebounds on 48.6% shooting.
Luka should be the best player on the floor tonight as AD finds his way back, and he’s more than capable of closing out a game that should be close.
Final Lakers-Mavericks Prediction & Pick
Neither of these teams have been consistently lighting up the scoreboard. In a matchup between two of the top defenses in the league, I expect both of these teams to struggle to score. Davis’ return should have more impact on the defensive end than the offensive end as he works to find his touch. Porzingis’ possible absence is also hugely beneficial to the under. This should be a fairly close game, and I’m much more comfortable laying a wager on the total than the outcome. I’ll take the under here.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: DAL 106, LAL 103 (UNDER 216)