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NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mavericks vs Nuggets Betting Preview

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mavericks vs Nuggets Betting Preview article feature image
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Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

  • The Denver Nuggets are home favorites (Spread: -5) in their Tuesday night matchup against the Mavericks.
  • The Mavericks are playing the second leg of a back-to-back while the Nuggets are looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
  • Chris Baker explains why the total has the most value in Mavericks vs. Nuggets.

Mavericks vs. Nuggets Odds

Mavericks Odds +4.5
Nuggets Odds -4.5
Over/Under 222.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Dallas Mavericks, fresh off their trouncing of the Western Conference leading Phoenix Suns, have a quick turnaround on the road Tuesday in Denver against the Nuggets.

Both of these teams have been mildly underwhelming despite high expectations coming into the NBA season. Which Eastern European superstar will prevail in this one?

Let’s examine how each of these teams have performed through a quarter of the season.

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Mavericks Shooting Variance Could Swing the Game

Dallas has been one of the most inconsistent teams through the first quarter of this NBA season. They’ve had impressive wins over teams like the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, but they’ve also had embarrassing losses against teams like the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

If you listened to their fanbase you would think this team was near the bottom of the league, yet in reality they are 11-11 and rank seventh in Adjusted Net Rating per Dunks And Threes. The Mavs have legitimate issues, but at their core they are a heliocentric team that revolves around Luka Doncic. Their structure of one guy creating 3-point looks for a bunch of surrounding role players leaves them prone to variance and I think that they are due for some positive regression.

Their offense ranks third in 3-point Rate but just 13th in 3-point Accuracy. That is a respectable number, but when you consider their rate of uncontested 3-point looks, I think they are shooting below expected from beyond the arc. Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Reggie Bullock are all shooting below 36% on 3s despite over 50% of their attempts being completely uncontested.

Those shots are bound to start falling and this is a good spot for them to get right as the Nuggets rank 25th in Opponent Corner 3-point Attempt Rate and 27th in Corner 3-point Accuracy. Denver gives up a ton of clean looks on the corners and that is a massive edge for this Dallas team that ranks sixth in 3-point Attempt Rate from those spots.

The New York Knicks‘ defense ranks 28th in Opponent 3-point Attempt Rate and we saw the Mavericks absolutely light them up on Saturday, shooting 57% of their attempts from deep (61 total 3s attempted) and scoring 121 points in the game. I suspect we could see more of the same versus this Denver defense.


Nuggets Need More From Its Role Players

The Nuggets been a respectable 14-9 to start the season, but they have struggled to dominate as they rank just 16th in Adjusted Net Rating. It’s been a very similar story to last year’s team as they consistently dominate teams during Nikola Jokic’s minutes but get torched when he is off the court. Jokic is once again leading the league in On/Off differential with a remarkable +29.6 net rating differential. Denver has been elite with Jokic on the court and awful when he rests.

This problem may not be as big of an issue against the Mavericks who suffer from similar bench struggles when Doncic rests. With Doncic off the court, the Mavericks are averaging just 104.8 points per 100 possessions (sixth percentile). Ultimately, the Mavericks aren’t the team that will exploit Denver’s bench issues as long as the Nuggets do a good job of matching Jokic’s minutes with Doncic’s.

The Nuggets offense should be able to get going versus this switch heavy Dallas defense as the Mavericks aren’t especially elite at defending the rim. The Mavericks specialize in limiting 3s as they rank seventh in Opponent 3-point Attempt Rate. The Nuggets aren’t a team that takes a lot of 3s especially with Michael Porter Jr. out of the lineup due to injury.

The Nuggets’ offense ranks just 23rd in 3-point Attempt Rate. The Nuggets specialize in attacking the rim as they are seventh in rim frequency and fifth in rim accuracy. This should be a huge edge for them as the Mavericks rank 25th in rim accuracy allowed. Outside of JaVale McGee, the Mavericks don’t have many elite rim-protectors capable of altering shots. That is a huge problem when going up against this physical Denver team.

I expect Jokic to be a force with the ball and he will either score at will or force double-teams and punish Dallas with his passing ability. The Nuggets offense should have consistent success despite the absence of Michael Porter Jr.

Mavericks-Nuggets Pick

With the spread at 4.5, I don’t see much value on either side, but I would be looking to target the total. The over at 222.5 could be interesting as the Nuggets are playing much faster this season, ranking 21st in pace on the year.

Additionally, with Michael Porter Jr. off the court this team has actually been better on offense, scoring 118.1 points per 100 possessions, and worse on defense where they are allowing 117.5 points per 100 possessions.

This team should have no issues scoring without Porter and on the other side of the ball I anticipate the Mavericks to be able to launch plenty of 3s so I will be taking the over and would play it up to 225.

Pick: Over 222.5

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