Mavericks vs. Clippers Odds & Picks: Target the Total in Sunday’s Playoff Rematch
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic.
- The red-hot Los Angeles Clippers host the struggling Dallas Mavericks in a highly anticipated playoff rematch between two strong offenses.
- Austin Wang believes the game's total of 230.5 is inflated and the value is on the Under.
- He breaks down the matchup and explains why below.
Mavericks vs. Clippers Odds
|Mavericks Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+165 / -200 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||230.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Clippers host the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the 2020 NBA playoffs in which the Clippers eliminated the Mavericks in six games in the first round.
After a disappointing end to their postseason, the Clippers have started their redemption tour off with a “bang” with back-to-back dominating wins against the two Western Conference Finalists from last season (Lakers and Nuggets).
On the other side of things, the Mavericks are off to a slow start (0-2) after exceeding expectations last season with a bright future ahead of them.
I see value on the total in this game, so let’s break that down.
Last season, the Mavericks showed they could be championship contenders much sooner than anticipated. The primary driver of those aspirations is Luka Doncic, who averaged 28.8 points per game, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists last season, working his way into MVP talks at the age of 21.
Per Basketball Reference, the Mavericks not only led the season in Offensive Efficiency (117.5), but they were the most efficient offense in NBA history. However, their defense left much to be desired, ranking 18th (112.5) in Defensive Efficiency and ended up getting bullied by the Clippers in their playoff matchup, even giving up 154 points in Game 5.
The Mavericks have started off the season slowly, and I attribute it to several factors. The first is Kristaps Porzingis’ absence. The Mavericks’ unicorn is an incredibly versatile offensive weapon, spacing the floor to prevent defenses from switching on the pick-and-roll.
Dwight Powell has returned from his Achilles injury and takes most of Porzingis’ minutes. He is a tough player that runs the pick-and-roll game well with Doncic, but he simply is not as well rounded and offensively gifted as Porzingis. It is no surprise the Mavericks’ net rating decreased by 2.9 with the Lithuanian off the court, per Basketball Reference.
Secondly, Dallas traded away Seth Curry — who shot 47.5% from the field, 44.3% from 3-point range and 83.8% on free throws — to the 76ers. A player like that is difficult to replace.
Without Porzingis and Curry, opposing defenses have been able to zone in on Doncic, which has resulted in some poor shooting performances (11-for-26 vs. Suns and 9-for-19 vs. Lakers). In exchange for Curry, the Mavericks received the versatile Josh Richardson, who will help take some ball-handling pressure off Doncic. More importantly, Richardson will help on the defensive end by guarding multiple positions.
The final reason for the slow start is assistant coach Stephen Silas’ departure to become the Rockets’ head coach. He was considered the Mavs’ offensive coordinator and was instrumental in Doncic’s development. While I don’t see a major long-term setback, I believe this has had an effect on Dallas as it adjusts to life without Silas.
Things do not get easier for the Mavericks against the Clippers, who have the defensive personnel to contain Dallas’ offense. Also, I think the Mavericks should come out a bit more aggressive on defense after giving up 19 3-pointers to the Lakers and being embarrassed on Christmas.
Los Angeles Clippers
After their disappointing playoff elimination by the Nuggets, the Clippers had a minor facelift in the offseason. Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell signed with the Lakers, which is a huge loss for the Clippers. His energy, passion and hustle cannot be matched.
Signing Serge Ibaka was a huge win as their new starting center because he can space the floor with his 3-point shooting (36.1% for his career). Ibaka’s size and shot-blocking prowess will help protect the paint and be essential against the likes of Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic.
Paul George, fresh off a maximum contract extension, is looking to shake off the negative “Playoff P” perception. He has been excellent the first two games of the season, shooting at 65.6% clip from the field and making 10 3-point shots in two games.
After both the Lakers and Nuggets looked to make some late pushes against the Clippers this season, PG-13 responded with some clutch shots to put the games away. He looks healthy and should have a nice bounce-back season.
Tyronn Lue replaced Doc Rivers as head coach, and the message has been clear for the team: shoot more 3-pointers. After averaging 33.5 3-point attempts per game last season, the Clippers attempted 40 and 38 shots from beyond the arc in their first two games.
With a new coach and talented team that may have a chip on their shoulder after last year’s disappointing ending, I expect the Clippers to have an additional emphasis on defense.
In the postseason, Patrick Beverley missed five of the six games against Dallas. He is healthy this season and his primary assignment (and goal in life) is to pester whoever he’s guarding. You can count on him trying to get under Doncic’s skin and getting some stops.
On the injury front, Kawhi Leonard’s status is unknown after an inadvertent elbow from Ibaka gave him eight stitches. Marcus Morris is also day to day with a knee injury.
Playoff rematches early in the season (game No. 5 or earlier and below) have gone 17-6 to the under since 2015, per the Sports Data Query Language database. These teams have a stronger familiarity with one another having gone through a grueling playoff series and tend to play harder on defense, which leads to a tendency to go under.
Due to some changes in the Mavericks’ personnel and the injury to Porzingis, I am bearish on Dallas’ offensive output and do not believe the market has sufficiently accounted for it yet.
Also, although the Clippers have been red hot, I believe their offensive production is not sustainable and may be in a letdown spot after two wins against the Lakers and Nuggets, especially if Leonard sits.
I make the fair total on this game 226. I like the under on this game at 230.5 and would play this down to 228.
Pick: Under 230.5