Mavericks vs. Pelicans Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction | NBA Betting Preview (Wednesday, March 8)

Mavericks vs. Pelicans Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction | NBA Betting Preview (Wednesday, March 8) article feature image

Sam Hodde/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks controls the ball as Herbert Jones #5 and Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans.

  • Two Western Conference playoff hopefuls meet on Wednesday night with the Mavericks vs. Pelicans in New Orleans.
  • The two teams haven't eclipsed 230 points in their last eight meetings together.
  • With the playoffs approaching and defenses stepping up, Tyler Schmidt expects another low-scoring affair, as he details below.

Mavericks vs. Pelicans Odds

Mavericks Odds-1.5
Pelicans Odds+1.5
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Wednesday night features two teams in the Western Conference logjam.

The Dallas Mavericks are playing on a back-to-back after beating the Utah Jazz by four points last night. After a pedestrian 3-3 record in their six-game home stand, they will now take their talents on the road while sitting two games over .500.

Since being 26-17 in the middle of January, the New Orleans Pelicans have been on a steady decline. Over that span, they have lost 17 of 23 games. They will need to rely on their impressive 20-11 home record tonight.

With roughly 15 games left on their regular season schedule, every game matters coming down the stretch. Expect a tight game with this close spread, but there is an edge to this total which currently sits awfully high at 230 points.

Dallas Mavericks

The addition of Kyrie Irving hasn't been the smoothest transition for the Mavericks, who have a 5-5 record with the electric point guard. However, they are scoring the ball at an elite level with 123.2 points per game when Irving is in the lineup. That is a huge increase from 112.5 without him playing.

The Mavericks and Pelicans haven't eclipsed 230 points in their last eight meetings. The new-look Mavericks are scoring the ball with ease, but this is a very high total to get over. On back-to-backs this season, the Mavericks are not only 2-8, but they have averaged only 111.6 points per game.  They also play at the second-slowest pace.

Luka Doncic is still the entree as Irving is the side dish. Doncic is averaging a league- and career-high 33.4 points per game while shooting more than 50% from the field. Having Irving, who is an incredible playmaker, has taken pressure off Doncic, who is used to doing everything he can to deliver a Mavericks win.

Doncic has seen a dip in his assists playing alongside Irving, but his scoring, rebounding and usage rate have stayed around the same. This dynamic duo is going to be a problem in the playoffs when everything slows down and teams play more in the half-court. Until then, they are still working out some kinks.

The Pelicans this season are allowing a league-best 34% to opponents when shooting from behind the arc. They have an elite defensive stopper in Herbert Jones, and they play really good defense together as a team. The Pelicans rank inside the top 10 in Defensive Rating while allowing 113.6 points per game.

The Mavericks play tonight and then not again until Saturday, so there is no reason for them to sit any players on this back-to-back, but always keep an eye out for that news. Sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference, they need to fend off the plethora of teams coming for their spot to reach the playoffs.

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New Orleans Pelicans

After playing six of their last seven games on the road, the Pelicans finally return home for a four-game stand starting tonight against the Mavericks. The Pelicans are 1-2 against the Mavericks this season with their lone victory coming at home with a 113-111 victory, but both teams look a bit different now.

The Pelicans are playing without three rotation players, including All-Star Zion Williamson, who leads the team with 26 points per game. Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance Jr. are also out for the foreseeable future, which will provide a significant boost to their role players, including newcomer Josh Richardson.

Not having Williamson has proven to be a big loss for the Pelicans this season. When he plays, they are 17-12 while averaging 117.5 points and 46.1 rebounds per game. However, when Williamson is out, the Pelicans are averaging 111.3 points and 41.6 rebounds per game. Struggling to rebound without him isn't a big deal against the Mavericks, who rank 29th in rebounding percentage.

C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram are both averaging more than 20 points per game and will need to be the catalysts in this exploitable matchup with the Mavericks, who rank 24th in defensive rating. McCollum will need to step it up. He is shooting 43.4% from the field, which is the lowest since his rookie season.

Ingram has been in and out of the Pelicans lineup. However, in their four wins with Ingram in since the end of November, he is averaging 34.5 points per game. The Pelicans will seemingly go as Ingram goes. Other than these two, Jonas Valanciunas has averaged a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds per game against the Mavericks' very weak frontcourt this season.

The Mavericks may be lacking defensive stoppers since trading for Irving, but offense has been an issue for the Pelicans. If Ingram struggles, they don't have many healthy playmakers besides a poor-shooting McCollum.

Mavericks-Pelicans Pick

It is crazy how much scoring has happened this season, in which 230 points is around the league average for a game total. With the Pelicans' offensive woes without Zion Williamson and the Mavericks playing on a back-to-back, I will gladly take the under on 233.5 points in this matchup tonight.

Each of the last four Pelicans games has gone under the total as they average 105.3 points per game over that span. Take it back even further, and the Pelicans are average 106.5 per game in their last 10 games.

Most of the scoring in this matchup will come from Doncic and Irving. They can score at will, but this is a tough road environment to play in, and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see either Doncic or Irving sit this game out.

I would take this under down to 228.5 points. As the playoffs near, expect the defenses to start ramping up. This game means a lot to both teams right now.

Pick: Under 233.5 (-110) | Bet to 228.5

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