Thursday NBA Odds, Picks, Prediction: Nets vs. Mavericks Betting Preview (Thursday, May 6)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant #7, Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- The Brooklyn Nets head to Dallas to face the Mavericks and snap their three-game skid with the season winding down.
- In a matchup of two high-powered offenses, Raheem Palmer sees value on the road team, which happens to be the favorite.
- Read below for his full game preview and betting pick.
Nets vs. Mavericks Odds
|Moneyline||-175 / +145|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
“Where’s Brooklyn at?”
The immortal words of the late Notorious BIG ring true after the Brooklyn Nets suffered losses to the Portland Trailblazers and the Milwaukee Bucks dating back to last week.
With just six games left in the season, the Nets now find themselves two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture after starting April with a half game lead. The Nets are likely to find themselves in the No. 2 seed on the path to facing both the Bucks and 76ers on their road to the NBA Finals.
While James Harden continues to miss time with a hamstring injury, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving will look to snap their three-game losing streak against the surging Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks appear to be in postseason form and are looking to avoid the play-in tournament after winning seven out of their last nine games. Every game is huge for the Mavs — they are currently tied for fifth in the Western Conference with seven games left — especially a home game against a non-conference opponent that oddsmakers have installed 4-point favorites.
So where’s the betting value for this matchup? Let’s analyze each side and find out.
With Durant, Harden and Irving on the same team, the Nets appeared to be a shoe-in to make the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for the Nets, that trio has played just seven games together this season. Barring a surpise return for Harden down the stretch, the Nets aren’t going to have any time to build on-court chemistry among their three stars before the playoffs.
The lack of time together hasn’t prevented Brooklyn from producing the league’s best offense, scoring 119.1 points per 100 possessions in its non-garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass. The Nets are first in eFG% (57.9%), second in mid-range shooting percentage (46.7%) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (39.8%); they should have no problems scoring on a Mavericks defense that rank just 21st in Defensive Rating (113.6) in its non-garbage time minutes.
Offensive production aside, this is a much different team without Harden: The Nets are 27-7 with Harden in the lineup and 9-10 without Harden.
In 50 minutes of playing time, the starting lineup with Harden-Irving-Joe Harris-Durant-DeAndre Jordan has a +18.3 Net Rating, a 120 Offensive Rating of 120 and a 101.9 Defensive Rating, according to NBA Advanced Stats. When you replace Jordan with Jeff Green and the unit has a +17.4 Net Rating with an Offensive Rating of 125.6 and a Defensive Rating of 108.2 in 76 minutes.
Brooklyn has played so many different lineups because of injuries to its top three players, in addition to trades that have completely shaken up the core of the roster.
The starting lineup that faced the Bucks for the past two games (Durant-Green-Jordan-Irving-Harris) has a -19.9 Net Rating with an Offensive Rating of 108.1 and a Defensive Rating of 128 in 49 minutes this season and had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Nets have phased Jordan out of the lineup recently as he’s started just seven of the past 18 games, but based on the Mavericks’ lineup, he might not play at all.
You have to imagine that the Nets will want to play small ball against the Mavs, so I’m not expecting to see Jordan in the starting lineup as we saw a lineup of Harden-Brown-Harris-Luwawa-Cabarrot-Green the last time these two teams played.
In many ways, the Nets’ current position in the East speaks to the depth of talent on the team considering how little consistency there’s been in the lineups they have played this season.
Their Achilles heel, though, continues to be their defense, which is allowing 114 points per 100 possessions, 24th among NBA teams. If there’s anything problematic about this particular matchup, it’s that the Nets are 21st in opponent 3-point frequency and facing a Mavericks team that makes its living shooting 3s.
The Nets also also allow the seventh-highest frequency of mid-range shots while also ranking 20th in opponent field goal percentage from the mid-range. This isn’t ideal against a Mavericks team that shoots a high percentage from mid-range.
Defensively, the Nets also don’t force many turnovers — they’re 28th in opponent turnover percentage (12.7%) — nor do they rebound the ball well ranking 22nd in Defensive Rebound rate (74.1%).
At this point we know who the Nets are: they’re going to win games by outscoring the opposition and there’s nothing about this matchup that says they can’t score.
Luka Doncic’s criticism of the NBA’s play-in tournament last month clearly lit a fire under this team to do everything to avoid the seventh spot. The Mavericks are tied for fifth in the West, a half game ahead of the Portland Trailblazers who are squarely in the play-in range.
The Mavericks they’re also dealing with injuries with Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber ruled out for this matchup. This isn’t ideal as it means they’ll likely be starting a non-shooter in Dwight Powell, which is a drop off for their offense. The Mavericks are scoring 117.3 points per 100 possessions with Porzingis on the floor vs. 114.4 points with him off (+2.9).
They’re also scoring 116.4 points per 100 possessions with Kleber on the floor vs. 114.9 with him off. Kleber is the team’s best 3-point shooter, taking 4.3 attempts a game at 41.5% while Porzingis is shooting 6.1 attempts per game at 36.2%. They didn’t miss their stretch bigs against the Heat thanks to Tim Hardaway’s career-high 10 3-pointers, but it could be an issue in this matchup against a Nets team they’ll need to outscore to win.
The Mavericks could be up to the task as they rank third in Offensive Rating (121.7) in their-non garbage time minutes over the past two weeks. The Mavericks take 41% of their attempts from behind the arc (fifth among NBA teams), so variance will play a huge role in this game.
However, they aren’t a great 3-point shooting team as they’re hitting just 36.7% of their shots from behind the arc, 17th in the NBA. Where the Mavs should find some success is in the mid-range where they rank fifth league-wide shooting percentage (45%). Doncic and his back up in Jalen Brunson are in the 97th and 95 percentile in mid-range shooting percentage, so look for them to score at will there.
Similar to the Nets, the Mavericks are not a good defensive team — 21st in Defensive Rating — particularly at the rim where they rank 21st and allow teams to shoot 65.1%. This game looks to be shaping up as high-scoring affair and with Doncic leading this team, it’s hard to argue that the Mavericks aren’t up for the challenge.
This is a matchup between two teams offensive minded teams with poor defenses. The difference here is the Nets are one tier above the Mavs offensively.
The Nets rank first in eFG% (57.9%) while the Mavericks are seventh (55.5%). The Nets rank second in 3-point percentage (39.8%) while the Mavericks rank 17th (36.7%).
Given the Mavericks’ lack of bigs, I don’t expect them to dominate the Nets inside the paint in the ways that the Bucks did during their two game series.
In Tuesday night’s loss, the Bucks scored 44 points in the paint, grabbed 15 Offensive rebounds and out rebounded the Nets 55-39. Those are the areas where the Nets are most vulnerable, but the Mavericks aren’t built to capitalize on those weaknesses.
That said, if you’re telling me I have to bet on a shootout, I’ll take the Nets. The lack of playmaking from Harden shouldn’t impact Brooklyn here as the Mavs had trouble stopping the Sacramento Kings, losing to them three times in the past month.
The Mavericks have been on a good run, but this is a big step up in class. The Nets aren’t the Lakers without LeBron James, the Pistons, Warriors, Wizards, or Heat.
They are is a legitimate championship contender with a top tier offense that the Mavericks have to outpace for 48 minutes. I’m willing to bet they can’t.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets -4 (-110)