Jazz vs. Mavericks Odds, Preview, Prediction: 3 Bets For This Important Western Conference Showdown (March 27)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell vs. the Mavericks
Jazz vs. Mavericks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks are tied for fourth in the Western Conference, fighting to stay above the play-in and keep homecourt in the first round, so Sunday’s matchup has big ramifications in the West.
Utah is 2-1 straight up against Dallas, including 2-0 when favored, but 0-3 against the spread (ATS). So where’s the value in the fourth and final regular-season matchup between Luka Doncic’s Mavs and Donovan Mitchell’s Jazz?
Utah by all accounts is a better team. The Jazz have a better point differential, more talent — even while banged up — and more experience. They have a significant size advantage and should be able to outpace the Mavericks from deep.
But with the Jazz, there’s always that “but.”
On paper, the Mavericks are exactly the type of team that can beat the Jazz. With the trade of Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas has gone to five-out, and those teams have always given Utah problems on both sides of the ball. Teams often turn games by switching vs. Utah, despite the fact that its overall performance numbers vs. switching defense are very good.
The Jazz and Mavs have played twice since the Mavericks traded Kristaps Porzingis and went five-out, and are 1-1 in that time.
In the Feb. 25 matchup, the Jazz actually trailed most of the game, but managed a furious comeback. They eventually switched, and after Luka Doncic targeted Rudy Gobert, Gobert blocked him twice, forcing Doncic to settle for 35-foot 3s the rest of the way.
In the March 5 matchup, Dallas changed up its defensive approach, putting two on-ball at the level, which resulted in Donovan Mitchell going just 5-of-19 from the field, though he had nine assists. That scheme puts pressure on the ball handler and opens up passing opportunities. If the Jazz are prepared, they should handle those triggers more easily. But without Bojan Bogdanovic, they don’t have as many shooters to punish it.
Defensively, the Jazz aren’t in a comfort zone vs. Doncic. They can’t play their standard coverage of drop because of how good Doncic is in the mid-range, and Spencer Dinwiddie provides a good counter if they apply a double-team.
Ultimately, with Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House out and Hassan Whiteside questionable, the Bogdanovic injury weighs heavily here.
Sterling Brown and Theo Pinson are out for this game, Trey Burke is questionable and Davis Bertans is probable.
Dallas ultimately should match up well with Utah, especially without Bogdanovic. The Mavericks defense has been lights out this season; the problem is their offense struggles to consistently get buckets. Since the Porzingis trade, they have become more and more Doncic-dependent.
The most tried and true tactic against Doncic — the ones the Timberwolves applied in their win over the Mavs on Friday — is to put two on Doncic in pick and roll situations and force the ball out of his hands.
A big reason the Mavericks have gone back to struggling offensively is Maxi Kleber. He’s pivotal for making the Mavs’ five-out strategy viable and is shooting a horrendous 34.7% from the field and 21.7% from 3 over his last 15 games.
If you’re not a viable shooting threat, then the Jazz don’t have to worry about leaving you open on the perimeter, and Gobert can play closer inside where he’s comfortable.
Utah will give Doncic a variety of looks, but the switches that worked on Feb. 25 did not work in the March 7 meeting as Doncic scored 1.18 points per possession against the Utah switch in that contest.
With a spread of Jazz -1.5, the contest is pretty even, and I don’t find a lot of value on the side. Utah has been in a recent slide and Dallas is inconsistent. Both teams have big wins over the other one in their last two matchups.
The total in this game is lower than the average over the prior three meetings at 214 vs. an average of just over 215. Offensive efficiency has been up league-wide over the last two months. The total has also gone over in two of the three matchups, with the last game going under.
This presents a weird synthesis in which teams are better offensively than they have been all year, but this matchup went under most recently. Without Bogdanovic, Utah’s offensive capability is limited. Dallas’ offense is slow (longest in offensive time of possession per DunksAndThrees.com) and Kleber’s shooting woes have created issues.
I will hesitantly lean toward an under play — even at 214 — and stay away from the side. I also like Donovan Mitchell and Luka Doncic to go over their assist props due to how I expect both teams to blitz the primary ball-handlers in pick and roll.
Picks: Under 214; Donovan Mitchell Over 5.5 Assists; Luka Doncic Over 7.5 Assists