NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions (Tuesday, Aug. 11): Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks

Credit:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard.

Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks Betting Odds

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Trail Blazers odds -3.5  [BET NOW]
Mavericks odds +3.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -165/+140 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 240 [BET NOW]
Time 5 p.m. ET

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With just two games left in the NBA seeding games, the Portland Trail Blazers are just a half-game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western conference playoff picture and take on the Dallas Mavericks for the first of their final two remaining games.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks’ 22-point comeback win over the Utah Jazz on Monday afternoon shook up the playoff picture, giving Dallas a chance to move up in seeding avoid the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round — a team that has been a nightmare matchup for them this season.

Portland Trail Blazers

It took 51 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals from Damian Lillard to keep Portland’s playoff hopes alive as they squeaked out a three-point win against a 76ers team missing both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, who left Sunday night’s game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. 

You’d think an injury to Embiid would hurt the Sixers’ offense, but that didn’t stop the Blazers from giving up 121 points on 1.18 points per possession. Josh Richardson led the effort for the 76ers scoring 34 points on 81% true shooting along with Alec Burks who scored 20 points on 65.3% true shooting.

Nonetheless, the Blazers’ defense continues to be their achilles heel as they rank 20th out of the 22 teams in the bubble, giving up 118.3 points per 100 possessions.


True Shooting Percentage is a metric like FG%, but is adjusted for the increased value of 3-pointers and free throws.


Despite their defensive woes, the Blazers have a +2.6 net rating because they have the best offense since the restart, scoring 120.9 points per 100 possessions. 

I can’t help but feel like this is unsustainable. Gary Trent Jr (56.9%) , Carmelo Anthony (47.8%)  and CJ McCollum (44.2%) are shooting well above their season averages beyond the arc. 

We’re only six games in to the restart, but Portland’s percentages are destined to regress at some point. And when it does, the defense will be even more exposed. It’s challenging enough putting together a competent defense with two small guards like Lillard and McCollum, and that gets worse when Anthony and Mario Hezonja are getting regular minutes.

Dallas Mavericks

After blowing back-to-back leads against the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks recorded comeback wins against the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks. Tuesday’s comeback win against the Utah Jazz came without the services of Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith. 

It appears the Mavericks are turning the corner. They’ve struggled to win close games as most young teams do, but it’s clear this team is learning how to win.

Doncic has continued to put up MVP-like performances anchoring one of the best offenses in NBA history. Simply put, the Mavericks are a dangerous opponent for anyone. 

Milwaukee is one of the better defenses in the league, yet it was rendered helpless by Luka Doncic’s pick-and-roll work, and his drives and kicks to teammates for open jumpers. It’s no wonder this team’s offense hasn’t skipped a beat, scoring 117.8 points per 100 possessions since the restart. 

Defense continues to be a weakness but with an offense this good, you’ll have to score to beat this team.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Dallas can still move up to the sixth seed if it wins its remaining games against the Blazers and Suns and that the Jazz lose to the Spurs. The Mavericks can even move up to the fifth seed if they win out while the Jazz and Thunder lose all of their remaining games.

The question is, how much do the Mavericks care about moving up? Is it more important for them to go into the playoffs healthy as opposed to playing for seeding? This line currently sits at -2.  However, the -1 point opening line that oddsmakers released seems to suggest that the Mavericks will be playing their starters. 

In the event that the Mavericks are playing for something, I think they’re a major problem for this Blazers team. That uncertainty makes this side a pass.

One thing is for sure, neither team is stopping the other in this matchup. Both teams should be able to score at will. I’ll take the over and root for two of the league’s top offenses and to play true to form against two of the league’s worst defenses. The current line of 240 isn’t ideal, but my projections have this game at 241.

The Pick: Over 240 (-112)

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