Mavericks vs. Nuggets Odds & Picks: Back Denver for Third Straight Win
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic (left) and Paul Millsap.
- Nikola Jokic is poised for a big game on Thursday night as the Nuggets go for their third straight win.
- The Mavericks are struggling down low without Kristaps Porzingis and are 3-4 to start the new season.
- Phillip Kall is backing Denver and Jokic to take down Dallas as road favorites, and he explains why.
Mavericks vs. Nuggets Odds
|Mavericks Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Nuggets Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+140 / -165 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||225.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.|
After losing four of their first five games to start the season, the Denver Nuggets go for their third straight win on Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
While it sits at 3-4, Denver has a +1.0 point differential, which provides hope that the wins will keep coming. The only other team under .500 with a positive point differential: Dallas.
If the Mavericks can walk away with a victory on Thursday night over Denver, it will be their first set of consecutive wins on the year.
With both teams looking to show last season’s success was for real, an exciting game lies ahead. Let’s see if we can find value on either side.
At 3-4, the Mavericks’ defense has been the difference between wins and losses all year. In Dallas’ three wins, the defense held opponents under 40%. shooting. In games its four losses, opponents shot 46% or better.
Missing forward Kristaps Porzingis has been the major cause of the Mavericks’ issues since no reliable big man remains. Without their best interior defender, Dallas allows a league-high 64.1% field goal percentage within 10 feet of the basket per Basketball Reference. Against Nikola Jokic, the Mavs will need to find some way to slow the interior attack of Denver.
In addition to his defense, the Mavericks also miss Prozingis’ rebounding. Last season, Dallas ranked second in the NBA with 46.8 rebounds per 100 possessions. This year, it’s all the way down to 17th with only 43.4 rebounds per 100 possessions.
Despite missing Porzingis, Dallas has found a way to stay afloat thanks to the superstar talent of Luka Doncic, who has taken his game to the next level over the past two games performances by averaging 30.0 points, 15.5 rebounds and nine assists.
Against Denver, Doncic’s excellent scoring and passing should continue thanks to Denver’s 29th-ranked 115.5 Defensive Rating. However, the rebounding production might be harder to find and much more needed since the Nuggets’ 24.6 Offensive Rebound Percentage ranks eighth, according to Basketball Reference.
After their shakey 1-4 start, Denver found back-to-back victories against the Timberwolves, who were without Karl-Anthony Towns.
While the Nuggets walked away with two wins, not much looked different from their first five games. Denver’s offense lit up the floor, scoring 123.5 points per game on 50.3% shooting. However, their defense continued to struggle in those games by giving up 112.5 points per game on 48.9% shooting.
Against Dallas, Denver’s offense should have no problem continuing its dominance. The Nuggets thrive on offense as they have an 80% field goal percentage from within three feet, tied for best in the league.
Where the Nuggets might find trouble will be on 3-point shots, thanks to Dallas’ excellent perimeter defense. The Mavericks have held opposing offenses to just 32.5% from behind the arc, third best in the league.
To help Denver’s offense, Michael Porter Jr. is slated to make his return after being forced out due to COVID-19 protocol. Porter started the season averaging 19.5 points per game on 56.6% shooting in four games.
While the offense wasn’t the issue for Denver, getting a player who can score in multiple ways is always helpful.
Defensively, the Nuggets struggle to stop teams inside or out, allowing a 48.4% shooting from the field on the season. Against the Mavericks who struggle to shoot from 3-point land with a 32.2% field goal percentage, Denver may elect to force Dallas to beat them from behind-the-arc. This would be a risky move, though, since Dallas just outshot Houston and was 16 of 39 on 3-pointers.
Without Porzingis, the Mavericks have struggled inside both defending the paint and rebounding. Doncic has done what he can to replace the rebounding side, recording 15 and 16 rebounds in his last two appearances. Unfortunately, his extra effort rebounding will go to waste if no one steps up to slow down Jokic.
With Jokic in a position to score at will, this game could come down to Denver’s defense, which has disappointed all year. The Nuggets’ offense has shown its ability to win in shootouts by ranking third in Offensive Rating at 116.4. With Dallas’ shooting woes from 3-point range and the return of Porter, a shootout favors the Nuggets.
A healthy Prozingis will go a long way for the Mavericks but until he is healthy, stopping a player as talented as Jokic inside might be out of the question for Dallas.
Back the Nuggets to win and cover the spread.
Pick: Nuggets -3.5 (to -4.5)