Rockets vs Mavericks Prediction, Odds, Pick Today | NBA Betting Preview (Sunday, April 7)

Rockets vs Mavericks Prediction, Odds, Pick Today | NBA Betting Preview (Sunday, April 7) article feature image

Fred VanVleet #5 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rockets vs. Mavericks Prediction

Sunday, Apr 7
3:30pm ET
Rockets Odds
-110o / -110u
Mavericks Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Rockets vs. Mavericks on Sunday, April 7 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Houston Rockets play their cross-state rival Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon. Despite an impressive 11-game run to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Rockets have since hit a four-game skid, including a loss to the Warriors on Thursday, that all but put the nail in the coffin for Houston’s playoff chances.

Amen Thompson (ankle) is likely to play, but the status of some of the Mavericks key players is more in question. Luka Dončić (knee) missed last game; it seems like that was more precautionary than anything serious, although he is still on the report as questionable. Maxi Kleber (back) also missed last game and could miss Sunday’s matchup, while Josh Green (ankle) will not play.

Let's dive into the NBA odds and make a Rockets vs. Mavericks prediction.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets need to win all of their remaining five games in order to be considered for the play-in, but it’s a near-impossible road to the 10-seed. Golden State would have to lose out in order for Houston to make it, and considering the Warriors play the Jazz on Sunday night, Houston’s hopes could be dashed as early as 8 p.m. PST. But even if Utah manages an upset, the Warriors play the Blazers on Thursday and the Jazz again next Sunday. The Warriors won’t go 0-5 to end the season and the Rockets know that.

This leaves their motivation in question. The Rockets may have already packed things up. In the last five games — just before the losing streak started — the Rockets have the third-worst defense. That may not seem like a large sample size, but it’s one that I weigh heavily when I calculate totals as it gives a good look at how teams are playing recently. Despite their rough defensive effort, the Rockets are playing at a slower pace (97.4) compared to their season-long rate (99.4).

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks' playoff picture isn’t quite as cut and dried. They currently sit as the 5-seed and their best case scenario is likely the 4-seed barring a total collapse from Oklahoma City on Sunday night against the Hornets.

In all likelihood, Dallas is looking at fourth, fifth or sixth, but the difference between the 4-seed compared to 6-seed is important because it means home-court advantage in the first round.

The Mavericks have a reason to give it their all down the stretch. They trail the Clippers by just two games and lead the Suns by one. After Sunday, they play a back-to-back in Charlotte and Miami, a home game versus the Pistons and a potentially meaningless game next Sunday in Oklahoma City. A win against the Rockets would give the Mavericks a great shot at three wins and a solid shot at four wins of their remaining five games — a back-to-back in Miami being their toughest schedule spot.

As the season winds down, we’re reaching the tail end of an MVP-caliber season from Dončić. He’s leading the league in points per game and these final five games are the chance for him to make one last push. Nikola Jokić is the runaway favorite, but Dončić might not care about the betting odds. If he plays (which I believe he will), he should put on a scoring clinic against this flailing Houston defense.

Rockets vs. Mavericks

Betting Pick & Prediction

With so much up in the air, I’m staying away from a side in this game. It’s hard to know if Houston will punt on this game at the first sign of trouble, so I’d be wary of taking the Rockets. Dallas is the clear side in my opinion, and Houston’s chance to save its season was against the Warriors in a game it was blown out by 23 points at home.

If Dončić plays, I’ll take the over on his points prop. It’s set at 30.5 at most books, and I think that’s an overreaction to his recent point totals of 25 and 30 against the Hawks and Warriors. But if we look at the game just before that came against the Rockets, Dončić scored 47 on just 30 shots. He’s cleared 30.5 in his last five games against Houston and I expect that dominance to continue Sunday night.

Pick: Luka Dončić Over 30.5 Points

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