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Mavericks vs. Cavaliers Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Great Spot To Back Cleveland (December 17)

Mavericks vs. Cavaliers Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Great Spot To Back Cleveland (December 17) article feature image
Credit:

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are favored as they host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.
  • Both teams are on the second half of a back-to-back, but Cleveland has an edge as Dallas is likely to rest Luka Doncic.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Mavericks vs. Cavaliers Odds

Mavericks Odds +4.5
Cavaliers Odds -4.5
Over/Under 213.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers face off Saturday night for the second time this week, after Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers defeated the Mavericks 105-90 in Dallas on Wednesday night.

Luka Doncic and Christian Wood combined for 50 points, while the rest of the team chipped in a mere 40 points in the blowout loss.

Can Dallas’ bench improve its scoring enough to take down the Cavaliers on the road? Or is the Cleveland defense too much for Doncic magic? Let’s break it down.

Mavericks In Rough Stretch

Tonight’s matchup is a tough spot for a Mavericks team that is already struggling to win games lately. The Mavericks find themselves on the second half of a back-to-back, playing their third game in four nights and we’ve reached a point in the season — just over a third of the way through — where these schedule spots start to have a more significant impact on production.

With Doncic played against the Trail Blazers on Friday night, he will likely sit on Saturday as he’s been held out of one game on most back-to-backs this season.

If he does play, we can expect more the same from Jason Kidd and the Mavs. Dallas’ offensive profile this season has been heavily reliant on a ballhandler — mainly Doncic or Spencer Dinwiddie — and five-out shooters. Dallas shoots the second-most threes of any team in the league (44.7%) and likes to post shooters in the corner for Doncic drive-and-kicks. The Mavericks shoot the most corner threes in the league with 13.7% of their shots coming below the break.

The Cavaliers can handle that type of barrage from the Mavericks. They allow the 10thfewest threes in the league (34.4%), however, those come primarily from above the break, allowing 10% of opponent’s shots from the corner (24th in the league).

If the Mavericks want compete with the Cavaliers, they’ll have to get looks from the corner, something they were unable to do on Wednesday.

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Repeat Performance For Cavaliers?

The Cavaliers have been somewhat up and down lately. Their 5-4-1 ATS record in the last 10 games is nothing to be ashamed of, but they’ve had some rough losses in that timeframe. They lost a one-point game to the lowly Spurs on Monday, after a home loss to the Kings a few days prior. And their wins have not been particularly impressive.

Prior to their win against the Mavericks, the Sixers are the only team they’ve beaten in the last 10 games that has a winning record, and Philadelphia was without their second- and third-best players in James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.

The Mavericks win was convincing, though. The Cavaliers started hot — something they’ve struggled to do on the road this season — and continued their dominance throughout the game, finishing the half with a 60-41 lead. The Mavericks made a feeble attempt to get back in the game with a 27-23 third quarter, but it was too little, too late.

What stuck out in terms of Cleveland’s success was its ability to dominate the glass — something the Cavs have done well all season and a weakness of the 3-point-happy Mavericks. Dallas ranks 27th in Offensive Rebound Percentage (22.4%), per Cleaning the Glass. Meanwhile, Cleveland is fourth in Total Rebounding Percentage, or Rebound Rate (51.4%), according to TeamRankings.com.

That advantage for Cleveland was evident on Wednesday with the Cavs winning the rebound battle by a significant difference of 43-33.

Mavericks-Cavaliers Pick

By most accounts, it’s safe to go back to the Cavaliers in this game. Earlier this week, the Mavericks had just come off a game against the Thunder — a spot in which few teams have succeeded so far this season, as Action Network’s Matt Moore likes to point out.

Dallas isn’t coming off a game against the Thunder, but will be traveling from Dallas to Cleveland after playing Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Cavaliers will also be on a back-to-back but are coming off a game against the defensively deficient Indiana Pacers.

My model gives a significant edge to Cleveland in this matchup, but there is a revenge factor for Dallas. If Doncic plays, back the Cavaliers to -7. If he sits, play to double digits.

Pick: Cavaliers -7 or Better (if Doncic plays) | -10 or Better (if Doncic sits)


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