The New Orleans Pelicans travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks for the third time this season on Wednesday night. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Pelicans-Mavericks prediction and pick.
The Pelicans hold an overall record of 31-38, and they are 34-35 against the spread. New Orleans is coming off a close loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Mavericks stand at 40-29 overall but are 34-35 against the spread. Like the Pels, Dallas is coming off a loss to the Grizzlies last night.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Pelicans-Mavericks odds.
NBA Odds: Pelicans-Mavericks Odds
Dallas Mavericks -9 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans +9 (-110)
Over 223.5 Points (-110)
Under 223.5 Points (-110)
Why The Pelicans Could Cover The Spread
Statistically, the Mavericks have performed poorly in spots like this all year. Dallas is significantly worse against the spread both at home (14-20) than on the road (20-15), and as a favorite (20-24) rather than an underdog (14-11).
Their record as large favorites is not inspiring either. Dallas is only 3-4 ATS when favored by nine or more points.
On the flip side, the Pelicans have been covering at a high rate lately. They’ve covered in four straight now and eight of their last nine matchups.
New Orleans has been doing all this without the services of three starters. They’ve played their last three contests without Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, or Steven Adams.
Surprisingly, it’s been the Pels work on the defensive end that’s kept them close in contests with next to no star power on the floor. New Orleans defense has been a sieve all year, but they’ve looked serviceable lately. The Pels have held their opponents under their scoring average in six out of ten of their last games.
This is a great sign for Pelicans fans and bettors. The season might be over for New Orleans in a few days, but if this defensive effort can roll over, the Pelicans can make some noise next season thanks to their explosive offense paired with a serviceable defense.
Stan Van Gundy’s group rarely struggle to get points on the board. The Pelicans average the eighth most points in the league, the seventh highest field goal percentage, and the second most free throws in the NBA.
Against a Dallas team that allows the eleventh most free throws per contest, the Pels will have to milk the free throw line and the painted area to stay alive in this one without their stars.
Expect Eric Bledsoe and Lonzo Ball to charge the paint tonight in an effort to muster enough buckets to survive a Dallas team that is desperate for a win.
Why The Mavericks Could Cover The Spread
Unlike the Pelicans, the Mavericks actually have something to play for tonight.
The Mavs would love to jump the Blazers and move in to ownership of the fifth seed, further distancing themselves from the play-in tournament.
The biggest question for Dallas tonight is the availability of Kristaps Porzingis, who is currently listed as questionable on the injury report.
With Steven Adams likely to miss tonight’s game, this would be a perfect game for Porzingis to feast on the interior. The Mavs would also love to have their unicorns three-point shooting against a team that allows the fourth most three-pointers in the league.
Regardless of Porzingis’ availability, this is a huge mismatch on paper. The Pelicans are starting only two players who are true starter quality, and the Mavericks have an All-Star and some very capable role players ready to defend their home floor.
As long as Luka Doncic can bounce back from last night’s horror show, the Mavs should cruise tonight. A Dallas defense that is one of the best in the league in opponent points allowed and opponent field goal percentage should be able to handle a squad who’s best scorer is Eric Bledsoe.
Final Pelicans-Mavericks Prediction & Pick
The personnel advantage for the Mavericks is just too big tonight against a Pelicans teams that is ready to get on a flight to Cancun. It would take a collapse of epic proportions for the Mavs to lose this game, and everyone in the organization knows it. The one saving grace for Dallas’ loss last night was that Doncic didn’t have to play too many minutes and should be rested and ready for tonight. I’ll take the Mavs to get a double digit win and make a statement tonight.
FINAL PELICANS-MAVERICKS PREDICTION: DAL 121, NOP 108 (DAL -9)