Friday NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions: How to Bet Rockets vs. Mavericks (July 31)

Credit:

Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13), Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77).

Jul 31, 2020, 06:50 PM EDT
  • The Mavericks are a short favorite over the Rockets in Friday night NBA action, with the total at a lofty 229.5.
  • Bryan Mears thinks the total is still too low, though, and has no problem betting it up to 231.
  • Get his full breakdown and analysis for Rockets vs. Mavs below.

Rockets vs. Mavericks Betting Odds

Rockets odds +1.5 [BET NOW]
Mavericks odds -1.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +106/-120 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 229.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Thursday evening 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.


If you’ve missed watching James Harden and Luka Doncic, you aren’t alone. It will be an amazing experience to watch these two offensive dynamos back in action Friday at the Orlando restart.

The Rockets and Mavericks sit in the sixth and seventh spots, respectively, in the Western Conference, so both teams will certainly be motivated to move up in the standings — not because of home-court advantage, which is now nonexistent in Orlando, but because they want to avoid a potential showdown with the 2-seed Clippers in the first round.

Given that context, where do these teams stand and where’s the value in the betting market? Let’s break it down.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets have dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak within their locker room, but it looked like they would have a full roster Friday outside of Thabo Sefolosha, who decided to stay home for the restart.

That changed the this week when crucial guard Eric Gordon went down with an ankle sprain and is expected to be out 1-2 weeks.

That likely means more minutes for Danuel House especially, but also for Robert Covington, Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers. On the season, the Rockets have actually been just fine without Gordon on the floor. In fact, they’ve been largely neutral offensively with him on vs. off and better defensively with him on the bench.

That understates Gordon’s importance, of course, as he’s a capable tertiary shot-creator, a solid (albeit streaky) shooter and an underrated perimeter defender given his size and stockiness. But his absence would’ve been felt more in a playoff situation and perhaps less so in these first few games.

The last thing of note is that it looks like while teams will somewhat slowly ramp up their stars and be really cautious about minutes, the Rockets — as usual — are not going to take that same strategy. Expect big minutes and usage from both James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Dallas Mavericks

The last we saw the Mavericks, they had … oh yeah … the best offense in freaking NBA history. Yes, they were that good.

In terms of injuries, they are a little thin with Jalen Brunson, Courtney Lee and Willie Cauley-Stein all out for the remainder of the season, but their main guys in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are still there to pick up the slack.

The question moving forward with the Mavs is whether they can improve the defense, which ended the first part of the season 17th in defensive efficiency. They were especially poor forcing turnovers and limiting opponents in transition. When they were set, they were not amazing but fine — but against a fast-paced Rockets team, that could be a problem.

Betting Analysis & Pick

We’re looking at a matchup at the two best offensive teams in the league who can dominate in transition and absolutely get scorching hot from beyond the arc. And somehow this total opened up at 225.5?

In general, I think the over/unders these first couple of days in Orlando were laughably low from the bookmakers to start. I get that there was uncertainty because of the unique situation, but what would this total be if it was just a regular season game in March? Over 240 likely?

I don’t think the factors in play warrant a 15-point or more move to the under, thus I obviously think there’s quite a lot of value on the over, which are usually tough bets for the pros. These are just wrong, in my opinion.

I bet this at 227.5 and have no problem betting it up to 231.

[Bet now at DraftKings and Win $250 if James Harden scores at least 10 points tonight]

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