NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mavericks vs. Jazz Game 4 Betting Preview (April 23)

NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mavericks vs. Jazz Game 4 Betting Preview (April 23) article feature image

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks, Mike Conley #11 Utah Jazz.

  • The Utah Jazz are down 2-1 to the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic will likely play Game 4.
  • Things look bleak for the Jazz, but can they rally?
  • Matt Moore breaks down his bets below.

Mavericks vs. Jazz Odds

Mavericks Odds+5 (-110)
Jazz Odds-5 (-110)
Over/Under211.5 (-110/-110)
Time4:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Utah Jazz are down 2-1 to the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic will likely play Game 4. It's scary times. The Mavericks have used the same script against Utah that most teams do — eliminate them with small ball and three-point shooting. The Jazz are pointing fingers and Quin Snyder is throwing lineup changes against the wall.

Can the Jazz rally out of this with Doncic rusty? Or will Luka Magic and Jalen Brunson go 2-0 in Salt Lake City to put the Jazz on the brink of elimination? And how about that total? Let's bet Jazz-Mavericks Game 4.

Luka Doncic Expected to Return

There's risk here with Doncic. Dallas has to be careful with his minutes and workload in order to avoid re-injuring his calf. If he's rusty, or can't plant on his step-back jumpers, that will really inhibits his game as he's an inconsistent shooter regardless.

What will help Doncic is the play of Brunson and Utah's inability to counter the stretch-five lineup with Maxi Kleber — Brunson-Bullock-Kleber lineups are +21 over the past two games.

Kleber spaces Gobert out of the lane, Dinwiddie and Brunson attack in isolation, and the other shooters help as well. It's simple, but brutally effective. Luka will make it tougher to defend because of his ability to pass, especially to the corners.

Defensively, the Mavericks have done a great job slowing down the Jazz, but Utah still has a high 116.7 offensive rating. The Jazz have been middle-of-the-pack against the switch.

The Mavs have mostly dominated the math game. Utah has the most points in the paint per 100 possessions in the playoffs so far, but they have the fewest points off turnovers and fourth-fewest fast-break points. The Mavs have made this a slow, low-possession, low-variance series where they create threes and the Jazz create twos.

Jazz Looking for Answers

Everything I said about Utah before Game 3 is true after Game 3.

Check this video out for a minute:

Quin Snyder finally, after four years, benched Rudy Gobert for stretches late in the game. The Jazz were -16 with Gobert on the floor and +8 with Gobert on the bench. At some point, you have to make the necessary adjustments, no matter how much money a guy makes.

The Jazz have two options as counters:

  • Eric Paschall was the option in Game 3 in a super-small lineup as he helps to space the floor. He doesn't solve their defensive issues, but the Jazz' strength is their offense, and with Paschall on the floor, they can score. The Jazz had a 146 offensive rating in Game 4 with Paschall on the floor. Now, some of that was vs. Davis Bertans and Jason Kidd will likely shy away from that moving forward.
  • Hassan Whiteside is +6 in net rating in this series, though he was -1 in Game 3 in just seven minutes. The defense gets worse with Whiteside and playing him vs. Doncic might be absolute doom. But Whiteside can beat up the Mavs inside and control the glass. He can also score on his own, something Gobert can't do.

Utah is still sniping at each other in the postgame pressers:

Donovan Mitchell: "It starts defensively, and everything else falls into place." Notes that the Jazz's intensity didn't rally pick up until Eric Paschall checked in.

— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) April 22, 2022

Mitchell has to find something in this series, but the Mavs have had him locked him down and there aren't great options for him to attack in switches. The only chance Utah has in Game 4 is if Mitchell has a big bounce-back performance.

Mavericks-Jazz Pick

This line opened Jazz -4.5 and it's moved to Jazz -5 despite the money and tickets in the Action Network app on the Mavericks. There seems to be some sharp sentiment on Utah.

The line is interesting for a few reasons. The line was Jazz -8 without Luka. When reports surfaced Doncic might play Tuesday, the line moved to 6.5. Basically, bookmakers halved it and let the market decide whether they thought Doncic would play. When he was ruled it out, it closed Mavs +8 again.

Now, with Doncic likely to play, it's moved the full three points to Jazz -5.

Is Doncic, coming off an injury, worth three points to the spread? That's what you have to determine. For me, this is a bit simpler. Utah covered Game 1 by a point. The Mavericks adjusted.

Since 2017, Utah is 2-6 ATS coming off a loss in the playoffs per The two wins? In the bubble in Game 2 vs. the Nuggets before the Nuggets adjusted in Game 5, and Game 2 vs. the Grizzlies, who were outmatched last season.

Once things go downhill for Utah, they typically go fast.

More than Dallas +5, though, I like the over. The over is 2-1 in this series and has cashed in back-to-back games. The under hit in Game 1 when A) Luka Doncic was out and B) both Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson had struggled. Brunson has been balling out and Doncic is back. The tactical adjustment for Utah is to go small, which encourages worse defense and better offense.

Expect more threes and even if Dallas doesn't hit at its typical high rate, Utah is likely to make up the slack.

I'll also be on Gobert unders believing the Jazz think they found something with the small lineups.

Pick: Over 212 | Rudy Gobert under 29.5 PTS +REB + AST 29.5 (-120)| Lean: Dallas +5

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