The New Orleans Pelicans (26-26) visit the Dallas Mavericks (27-25) on Thursday night. Action tips off at 8:40 p.m. ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Pelicans-Mavericks prediction, pick, and how to watch.
New Orleans has lost nine straight games and has free-fallen into 10th place in the Western Conference. The Pelicans covered 46% of their games while 56% went over the projected point total. Dallas has won two of their last three games and remains in fifth place in the West. The Mavericks covered 34% of their games while 54% went over. This will be the third of four meetings between the two teams. They’ve split the series thus far with each home team coming away with a win.
Here are the Pelicans-Mavericks NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Pelicans-Mavericks Odds
New Orleans Pelicans: +4.5 (-110)
Dallas Mavericks: -4.5 (-110)
Over: 223.5 (-110)
Under: 223.5 (-110)
How To Watch Pelicans vs. Mavericks
TV: Bally New Orleans, Bally Southwest
Stream: NBA League Pass
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET/ 5:30 p.m. PT
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Why The Pelicans Could Cover The Spread
After holding onto first place in the West for a good portion of the beginning of the season, the Pelicans have free-fallen over the last month. Despite losing nine consecutive games, the Pelicans have a good chance to cover tonight thanks to their solid defense. The Pelicans allow 113.7 Opp. PPG for the season, but that number has risen to 115.5 Opp. PPG during their losing streak. That being said, Dallas scores just 112.3 PPG and they have been held under 112 points in each of their last three games.
If the Pelicans are going to cover the spread as road underdogs, they’re going to need to get their offense back on track. New Orleans has been pitiful on that end of the floor during that losing streak, averaging a league-worst 103.7 PPG. However, they can expect that number to climb the more Brandon Ingram gets going. Ingram missed two months with an injury but has since returned. In his three games since returning from injury, Ingram has averaged 17 PPG and 6.0 APG. While he’s shot just 30% and averaged 4.7 turnovers per game, that rust will begin to shake off as he gets readjusted to playing.
With Ingram still shaking off the rust, the Pelicans will need veteran CJ McCollum to continue his strong play tonight. McCollum averages 21.3 PPG and 5.8 APG for the season as he’s taken on a much larger role given New Orleans’ injuries. He’s been incredibly consistent, scoring 20+ points in 12 of his 14 January games.
The X-factor for New Orleans tonight is big man Jonas Valanciunas. The burley center averages 14.5 PPG and 9.6 RPG. He is a double-double machine, doing so in 12 of his 16 January games. Valanciunas has given Dallas fits in two prior meetings this year – most recently scoring 25 points and pulling down 10 rebounds last month. New Orleans has struggled on the glass during their nine-game skid which puts even more importance on Valanciunas to have a big night.
Why The Mavericks Could Cover The Spread
Dallas enters tonight with a narrow grasp on fifth place in a jam-packed Western Conference. The Mavericks play one of the most unique styles in the league and are oftentimes a nightmare for opposing defenses. That is largely due to their incredibly slow pace of play. Dallas averages 97.9 possessions per game – the second-fewest in the league. The Mavericks’ slow tempo and lack of fast break scoring are made up for by their affinity for the outside shot. Dallas averages 14.6 threes per game – third-most in the league. The Mavs also do a great job drawing fouls as they attempt the second-most free throws per game.
Dallas’ unique offense is centered entirely around star Luka Doncic. Luka finds himself in the midst of an incredible season. The Slovenian superstar averages 33.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 8.3 APG. With an incredible 37.5% usage rate, Doncic constantly has the ball in his hands. Yet, he still manages to shoot 50% from the field and 36% from three despite so much defensive pressure. Additionally, he is coming off his highest-scoring output of the season. In their win over Detroit on Monday, Doncic scored 53 points on 17/24 shooting. He dropped a 34-point triple-double in their last meeting with New Orleans and will likely approach those numbers again given his recent performances.
The X-factor for the Mavericks tonight is guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie has been red-hot over his last five games, averaging 24.8 PPG and 6.4 APG. Shooting 40% from beyond the arc this season, don’t be surprised if Dinwiddie torches New Orleans from deep tonight.
Final Pelicans-Mavericks Prediction & Pick
New Orleans can’t seem to get a win, but I’d expect them to keep things tight tonight as Ingram continues to get back into form.
Final Pelicans-Mavericks Prediction & Pick: New Orleans Pelicans +4.5 (-110)