Monday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds & Picks (Aug. 17): Bank on Clippers Defense vs. Mavericks in Game 1

Credit:

Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic.

  • The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers meet for Game 1 of their NBA Playoffs matchup at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday.
  • The Clippers are six-point favorites and feature big, physical wing defenders to bother Luka Doncic, which is why Brandon Anderson likes L.A. to cover the spread.
  • Check out our full game breakdown below, including odds, picks, and predictions for tonight's matchup.

Mavericks vs. Clippers Game 1 Odds

Mavericks Odds +6 [BET NOW]
Clippers Odds -6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -260/+215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 230 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Monday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Playoffs, baby! We made it!!

The first round of these 2020 playoffs will be a marathon for viewers, with 11 consecutive hours of games every day until one team gets eliminated. Monday concludes with one of the most intriguing first round matchups, the playoff debuts of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. It’s a debut for this version of the Clippers too, a team we’ve waited all year to see when the games matter most.

Well, we finally get to find out. And while the Clippers remain part of this year’s “big three” in the NBA, a co-favorite for the title, they won’t find any favors waiting in Round 1. Doncic and Porzingis are bona fide superstars, and these Dallas Mavericks had the highest offensive rating in the NBA, not just this year but in league history. With four superstars on the court, this will have the feel of a second-round series right out of the gates.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks enter the playoffs healthy but not necessarily whole. Kristaps Porzingis (probable) is expected to play through a bone bruise, but don’t forget this team is already short-handed, missing Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Courtney Lee. The loss of those big men pushed Porzingis into the spotlight at center, and he has thrived there and finally looked the part of the star we’ve long expected him to be.

Luka Doncic is already a star. He was a legit MVP contender this season, a sort of Harden Lite, and we’re talking like 85 or 90% calories. This is technically Luka’s playoff debut, but don’t expect him to look like a deer in headlights. Doncic has already been playing professional ball for years in Europe, and he won EuroBasket and EuroLeague championships before coming stateside. Porzingis played in Europe too. Don’t be fooled into thinking the stage will be too big for these guys.

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Dallas is a scary, talented team. Some advanced metrics have them third best in the West, behind only the Los Angeles squads. Doncic is good enough to be the best player in any game, and Porzingis can outplay Paul George. Dallas will likely need big games from both of those guys to stay in any game.

The rest of the roster is filled with role players that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has maximized in their roles. Dallas will need Dorian Finney-Smith to stay out of foul trouble as the only real wing defender option against a team with two wing superstars, and they’ll need Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry to hit their open shots. But mostly, they’ll need Doncic to look like a future MVP.

Los Angeles Clippers

Like the Mavericks, the Clippers built their team around two superstars, and we have already seen those stars have plenty of playoff success. Kawhi Leonard is the reigning Finals MVP after his incredible run with the Toronto Raptors. He was the best basketball player on the planet last summer, and we already know how he can raise his game when it matters most. And don’t forget, we’ve seen Paul George do that some too, even if it’s been awhile since he led the Indiana Pacers to back-to-back Conference Finals earlier this decade.

Kawhi and PG have proven their game at the highest level, and one of the most important developments in the seeding games was seeing George look fully healthy and ready to go for the first time all season after surgery last summer. George was a top-three contender for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year last year but never looked like that player all season. For a few seeding games, while the Clippers were still trying, PG finally looked the part. Kawhi and George load managed all season for these two months. It’s time.

That playoff experience is not the only big difference between these teams. The Clippers are much deeper and far more talented after their two stars. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are perennial Sixth Man of the Year contenders. Patrick Beverley is an absolute pest at point guard. Midseason acquisition Marcus Morris adds confidence and versatility. Landry Shamet is a knockdown shooter.

This roster was built specifically for this title window. On paper, they should be the favorites. The problem is, even after a (mostly) full regular season, we’ve still barely ever seen this team at full strength. And we won’t to open the playoffs either.

Harrell has yet to play in the bubble but is expected to clear quarantine and play in this one, though he hasn’t played in five months. Beverley and Shamet are both questionable with injuries, and Doc Rivers said the team will exercise extreme caution and not rush either back. That’s L.A.’s starting backcourt, so it’s no small loss, but it might just mean more minutes for Clippers stars.

Betting Analysis & Pick

As awesome as Doncic was this season, two of his worst games came against the Clippers. No team in the league has better wing defenders with the size and tenacity to really bother Luka. I would expect a very clear gameplan from L.A. — make someone other than Doncic beat us.

The Clippers rely heavily on Lou Williams and Harrell for scoring off the bench, and many have rightfully wondered if those two can stay on the court in the playoffs with their defensive weakness. But Dallas is not good on defense, and their bench is very thin, so Lou and Trez could really sink the Mavs in rare minutes while Doncic sits out. The Clips are also lethal in crunch time, and Dallas has had a hard time scoring late in close games.

I love Dallas. I would’ve picked them to win a series against any other team in the West outside of the Clippers, seriously. But this is a really rough draw. If you were going to build a team to beat Dallas, you’d want a team with lots of big, physical wing defenders and a deep bench with plenty of scoring. You’d probably build the Clippers.

The Clippers were 3-0 against Dallas this year, with two of those wins by 15 points, and they were missing Paul George in the third one.

I genuinely like Dallas, and I will bet them later this series. But I’ll bet them because the Clippers make a statement win in the opener, and this line is too low.

I expect it to rise in later games after a Game 1 display of power. Six points is not enough. Even if the game is close late, I expect Kawhi and PG to do enough to pull away.

Bet: I’ll play the Clippers -6 here, up to -7.

[Bet $20+ on the Clippers at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one dunk]

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