After the Los Angeles Clippers' meltdown on Tuesday night in Game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks, social media had a field day at the franchise's expense. The impact was felt by the Mavericks-Clippers betting odds for the series moving forward, providing an edge if you look closely.
“Clippers” was the number one trend on Twitter all night, fueled by everything from “Pandemic P” memes, Ty Lue bashing, and Skip Bayless having a meltdown of his own as his favorite team crashed and burned on national television.
This is all highly entertaining stuff for pretty much everyone but Clippers fans, but more importantly, the public disdain has pushed the Mavericks-Clippers betting lines more than usual.
Los Angeles began the series against the Mavericks as heavy favorites but saw their stock decline rapidly after two losses on their home floor. Here's are the full series lines and how they have shifted.
Mavericks Clippers Betting Odds
|Round 1 Odds||Clippers Win Series||Mavericks Win Series|
|After Game 1||-165||+135|
|After Game 2||+220||-290|
The Clippers deserve the underdog role that sportsbooks have assigned them, but +220 is too generous of a line. Here are three reasons why the public's vitriol has forced the books to give the Mavs a line that can be exploited.
The first two games of this series have produced some mind-blowing box scores, but one stat stands out.
The Mavericks shot 17-36 (47.2%) from three in Game 1 and 18-34 (52.9%) in Game 2. This means that the Mavs have hit exactly half of their three-pointers in the series.
This is obviously an impossible shooting percentage to sustain, especially considering the Mavs' regular-season shooting and the Clippers' three-point defense.
Dallas shot the ball from deep at a 36.2% clip in the regular season, only 18th highest in the league. The Clippers held opponents to 35.6% shooting from three, the sixth-lowest percentage in the NBA.
At some point, the shots from deep won't keep falling at this rate for the Mavericks. Nearly all of their role players are massively over-producing, and they still only won Games 1 and 2 by an average of eight points. The law of averages should ensure the Mavs go through some cold spells in the remaining games.
As mentioned above, the Mavericks' role players have all been playing out of their minds in this small sample size. But, when you consider how both teams' secondary players fared over the 82-game regular season, the Clippers hold a significant advantage.
The Clippers bench averaged the fourth-most points in the league, while Dallas ranked far lower at 11th. Los Angeles' roster depth was a strong point in the regular season, frequently allowing them to run 12-13 man rotations.
Now that the rotations have tightened up, both the Mavericks and Clippers have played only ten men apiece. If we take the stars (Leonard, George, Doncic, Porzingis) out of the rotation, the Clippers' back-ups look far more impressive.
Looking through the ten-man rotations without the stars mentioned above, Los Angeles has six role-players shooting over 40% from three, and three shooting over 50% from the field. Dallas has two shooting over 40% from three, and only two shooting over 50%.
Just among their role players, the Clippers have a combined 10 appearances on the All-Defensive team. The Mavericks don't have a single one.
Despite this, the Mavericks bench has dominated the series. Like the three-point shooting difference, this gap is bound to close in the ensuing matchups.
After last night, and the way last season ended, the Clippers should be chomping at the bit to prove the world wrong.
Los Angeles came out flat the first two games, as if they thought they'd cruise to a win with minimal effort. Now, with their backs against the wall, we'll get to see what the Clips are made of. Again.
The Clippers and their stars are desperate to show their fans that they want this. They need this series win to keep the franchise from becoming the laughingstock of the NBA (not to mention Leonard's ability to opt out of his contract and sign elsewhere).
That doesn't mean Luka Doncic and company don't care about this series. They do. But the Mavericks are playing with house money at this point. If they win this series, it's a fairytale ending. If they lose, they have plenty of years to chase rings with Luka at the helm.
The Clippers' championship window will close far earlier, and they simply can't sustain another embarrassing exit.
Kawhi Leonard is a two-time NBA champion. Paul George, for all his previous play-off struggles, is averaging 25.5 points a game on 50% shooting. He is not the root of the problem and is leaving it all on the court. Both of them should rise to the occasion to topple an opponent that few really considered to be a threat to the Clips' postseason run.
While I wouldn't put the bank on it, the Clippers' odds to win this series are too juicy to let slide. Their public image has altered the line too negatively, and a small play on the Clips at plus money here is a great move.