Dallas Mavericks (35-23) at San Antonio Spurs (24-32)
NBA: Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 at 8:30 pm ET (AT&T Center)
Line and Odds: Dallas Mavericks -5 Over/Under: 232.5
Free ESPN NBA Picks San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
It appears as though the Dallas Mavericks will make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Dallas has a record of 35-23, which is good for 7th in the Western Conference. There is a significant gap between the 7th and 8th spot in the West. Dallas’ strong record has them 6.5 games ahead of the 8th-place Memphis Grizzlies, and 9.5 games ahead of the 9th-place Portland Trail Blazers. They are 2.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for 1st-place in the Southwest Division. If they could take over the top spot from the Rockets, it would potentially pave the way for them to get a top 4 seed in the West. Dallas hasn’t played particularly well in recent contests, going 8-8 in their last 16 games. However, much of that was played without their star guard Luka Doncic. Luka missed 8 of their last 11 games because of injury, so the fact that they were able to tread water could be seen as a positive.
Dallas ranks 5th in the NBA in net rating, outscoring opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions. Their strong net rating can be mostly attributed to their strong offensive performance. The Mavericks score 117.6 points per 100 possessions, ranking 1st in the NBA in offensive rating. They are top 5 in the league in terms of effective field goal percentage, offensive turnover percentage, and offensive rebound percentage. On the other end of the floor, the Mavs have been slightly below average defensively. Dallas ranks 19th in defensive rating, allowing 111.4 points per 100 possessions.
Even though this is just his 2nd year in the NBA, Luka Doncic has established himself as one of the best players in the world. Doncic has averaged 28.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game. The 20-year-old has developed a complete offensive game. He ranks 6th in the NBA in scoring and 4th in assists. His 9.5 rebounds per game place him in the top 20 of that category, as well. F/C Kristaps Porzingis is Dallas’ 2nd best player. He has averaged 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks, this season. Porzingis is 19th in the NBA in rebounds per game and 6th in blocks per game. Guards Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are 3-point threats from the wing. Curry hits 43.3% from 3, while Hardway hits 40.8%.
This has been an uncharacteristic season for Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs. They aren’t as talented as they were when they were playing in the NBA Finals earlier in the decade. No player from the Spurs was selected to play in this year’s All-Star game. There is a legitimate possibility that San Antonio will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-1997 season. The Spurs are 24-32 overall, which currently places them 11th in the Western Conference. They are 3.5 games back of the 8th-place Memphis Grizzlies. However, this game could be the start of a run for San Antonio. The Spurs played their last 8 games on the road because of the Rodeo in San Antonio. For the first time since Feburary 1st, San Antonio will get to play in front of their home fans. I could see this giving them a boost.
San Antonio ranks 17th in the NBA in net rating, getting outscored by 1.6 points per 100 possessions. Offensively, the Spurs have been pretty strong. They score 111.9 points per 100 possessions, ranking them 11th in offensive rating. The Spurs are exceptional at taking care of the basketball. San Antonio ranks 1st in offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 11.0% of their offensive plays. What has let San Antonio down this season is their usually tough defense. For years, the Spurs were known as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. This year, San Antonio has one of the weakest defenses in the league. They give up 113.5 points per 100 possessions, ranking them 26th in defensive rating.
The Spurs rely heavily on DeMar DeRozan for offensive production. DeRozan leads the team in both scoring and assists. He has averaged 22.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game, this season. DeRozan ranks 18th in the league in scoring and 13th in offensive win shares. LaMarcus Aldridge is 2nd on the team with 18.8 points per game, but he will miss today’s game because of a shoulder injury. Not only is he one of San Antonio’s best scorers, but he has also makes an impact with rebounds and blocks. Aldridge leads the Spurs in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game and his 1.6 blocks per game put him in the NBA’s top 10. Even though the Spurs won’t have Aldridge, San Antonio has 4 other guys who average double digit points per game. Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White all score 10 to 11 points per outing.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Dallas’ last 9 games.
Dallas is 4-15 SU in their last 19 games against San Antonio.
Dallas is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games when playing on the road against San Antonio.
San Antonio is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of San Antonio’s last 7 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Antonio’s last 5 games at home.
ESPN NBA Scores Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs
I’m taking the San Antonio Spurs +5 in this matchup. I believe they will have a boost of energy playing in front of their home fans for the first time in 25 days. While Dallas is the better team, 5 points is too much to pass up at home. One important aspect of this game is the care with which San Antonio will take of the basketball. San Antonio ranks 1st in offensive turnover percentage, while Dallas ranks last in defensive turnover percentage. San Antonio’s offense will give Dallas’s defense problems because of this offensive factor. The Spurs’ offensive possessions will end with shot attempts and free throws, not turnovers. The lack of wasted possessions will also damage Dallas’s offense because they will get even fewer fastbreak opportunities than usual. I also think the pace will be a key aspect here. Both of these teams use fewer than 100 possessions per game. Slow-paced games tend to favor underdogs because there are fewer opportunities for “the better team” to create big leads. I’m happy to take Gregg Popovich’s Spurs as a home underdog in this spot.