Dallas Mavericks 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Back Luka & Co. for a High Win Total
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.
Mavericks Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
Dallas jumped 10 wins last season from its 2018-19 total, despite playing seven fewer games. That kind of jump is rare in the NBA (despite what every bad team’s fans think). And even after that jump, their Pythagorean win percentage was even higher, 65.3% to their actual 57.3%. They should have won even more games, which is just buck wild.
I faded the Mavericks last season and would have paid dearly for it if the season finished. A roster with Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and Justin Jackson, all in prominent roles, was still unbelievably better than expected.
That’s the Luka Doncic effect.
Doncic is the type of generational talent that raises the game of all those around him. The Mavericks went 7-7 without Doncic in the lineup and 38-29 with him on the floor.
Now, the Mavericks have added players who can defend in James Johnson and Josh Richardson, who is a 37% shooter. Richardson somehow got labeled as a non-shooter because everyone will always make up reasons to deflect blame from Joel Embiid.
With Richardson and free-agent signing Wes Iwundu, Dallas should be markedly improved defensively.
The Mavericks might be without Kristaps Porzingis until January, but they still have Dwight Powell, their best pick-and-roll weapon, returning.
The big loss is supposedly Curry, but the Mavericks were better with Doncic and Curry on the bench than they were with both on the court. But even if you don’t like that figure, the Mavericks’ offense was roughly the same 115.9 to 115.2 with Curry next to Doncic rather than Doncic without Curry.
This may not be the team with the best offensive rating in history as it was last season, but it’s still going to cook. The Mavericks will defend better.
Oh, and they have the favorite to win the MVP.
The Case for the Under
The Mavs overachieved last season. Now we’re talking about going from 47 wins to 50-plus in a season with a lot of back-to-backs with Porzingis’ return up in the air. It could be opening night, it could be Christmas, it could be January, it could be later.
The Mavericks last season were the worst clutch-time team in the league; they went 2-11 in games decided by three points or less, and 17-24 in games within five points inside five minutes. That kind of consistently poor performance in tight games goes beyond bad luck and could be the gap between 42 wins and 40, ultimately.
If the view is that Doncic singlehandedly raises this team, then by that very nature the team is fragile. If Doncic goes down, will they go .500 again, especially given that the team has to be careful with Porzingis coming off another knee surgery?
Dallas Mavericks Win Total Bet
The clutch-time stats do suggest a regression to the mean, however. You just can’t expect an equally bad performance, just like you can’t expect outlier clutch performances to hold.
The Mavericks should be more balanced, which should let them establish a higher floor. They were already 31-14 vs. teams under .500, and that’s an essential building block towards going over.
In Rick Carlisle’s Mavericks tenure, Dallas is 6-1 to the over when their win total is set over .500.
I have a temptation to fade them due to an expectation of regression from a team I felt overachieved last year. But if you accept the answer to the gap between their expectations and results last season as “Luka Doncic is amazing,” things become easier to understand.
Bet the over.