Mavericks vs. Lakers Odds & Picks: LeBron & Co. Will Bounce Back on Christmas Day
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks guards LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles.
- The Lakers will hot the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas night, with both teams looking to get their first win of the season.
- Raheem Palmer previews the LeBron vs. Luka matchup, including where he's finding betting value for Friday's game.
Mavericks vs. Lakers Odds
|Mavericks Odds||+6 [BET NOW]|
|Lakers Odds||-6 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-250/+210 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||227.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
What’s a better Christmas gift than the primetime matchup featuring LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers hosting Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks?
In this matchup between the King and a Prince hoping to be the heir to the throne, oddsmakers have installed the Lakers as 7-point favorites with a total of 228.5 before the betting markets moved the side and total down to -6 and 227.5.
Both of these teams lost their first game and come into this matchup hoping to avoid a losing streak to open the season. So where is the betting value? Let’s break it all down.
Last season the Mavericks had one of the best offenses in NBA history, scoring 115.9 points per 100 possessions. Although Doncic put up gaudy stats on opening night (32 points, eight rebounds and five assists), he was 0-for-6 from behind the arc, downright dreadful during the first half and appeared to be out of shape.
The offense was also a far cry from the one we saw last season. The Mavericks shot just 9-for-37 (24.3%) from 3-point range and just 42.4% overall. The sloppiness of the Phoenix Suns’ offense is probably the only reason the Mavericks weren’t run off the floor. Despite 18 turnovers from the Suns, the Mavericks failed to capitalize, eventually losing 106-102 after erasing a 12-point second half deficit.
The loss highlights an issue we saw play out last season: their inability to win close games. The NBA defines clutch time as the last five minutes of a game in which the point differential is five or less. Last season the Mavericks were just 17-24 in clutch games. Against the Suns, the Mavericks tied the game twice in the last 3:38, but couldn’t take the lead.
Replacing Seth Curry with Josh Richardson was noticeable on both ends of the floor. Richardson certainly isn’t the lights out shooter that Curry is and the Mavs’ offense was noticeably worse.
They scored just 99.0 points per 100 possessions against a Suns defense that ranked 17th in Defensive Rating last season and gave up 110.8 points per 100 possession. The Suns also project to rank in the bottom half of the league for Defensive Rating this season as well.
However, you could argue that Richardson improves the Mavericks biggest weakness, their 18th ranked defense that gave up 111.1 points per 100 possessions last season. With Richardson defending Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they combined for 11 of the Suns 18 turnovers and Booker finished the game with 22 points.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, with Tim Hardaway struggling, Jalen Brunson was on the court defending Booker for the game clinching possession.
The loss of Porzingis is a big issue for the Mavericks in this matchup where the Lakers have size in the front court between Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell. While they welcome the return of Dwight Powell from an achilles injury, he isn’t the same player we saw last season as he’s lacks the athleticism we’ve seen from him in years past, limiting his ability to be an effective rim runner.
He finished 1-for-3 with two points in eight minutes — they aren’t getting much from Willie Cauley-Stein either. The Mavericks were 10th in Rebound Rate last season, but we can expect that to decline this season in the absence of Porzingis.
The loss Porzingis also hurts this team offensively as we’re seeing a Mavericks team that typically played 5-out with four other shooters around Doncic, play 4-out with Powell and Cauley-Stein replacing KP’s minutes.
Los Angeles Lakers
If you read my preview for the Lakers vs Clippers matchup, you’re well aware that I’m not particularly surprised by their opening night loss. We saw a team that had just 71 days off, eliminated five previous rotation players and added five new faces against a team desperate to avenge an epic playoff collapse. It’s not much of a surprise that the Lakers struggled.
Even in a loss, the Lakers showed why they are title favorites. The Lakers quickly walked down 21-point first-half deficit after sleep walking through the first quarter of the game.
The new-look Lakers lacked the cohesiveness we saw from them last season. They struggled defensively, lacking proper rotations, while struggling in the pick-and-roll. Still, this was a 2-point game at the half and a 2-point game with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Lakers will go as far as LeBron James and Anthony Davis take them and we got a below average performance from both. James shot 7-of-17 from the field for 22 points with five rebounds, five assists and four turnovers. Davis shot 8-of-15 and scored 18 points, but also had four turnovers.
Despite a lackluster game from James, the Lakers were still a +2 with him on the court Tuesday night. He tweaked his ankle in Tuesday’s loss against the Clippers, not playing down the stretch, but given the history of being him an ironman, it’s tough to imagine that having any impact on this game.
Outside of Montrezl Harrell, who scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, all of the Lakers new rotation members had disappointing debuts to start the season. Dennis Schroder was just 5-of-15 with 14 points and four turnovers.
Marc Gasol gave the Lakers almost nothing, scoring zero points, with one rebound and one assist in 12 minutes of action. Wesley Matthews didn’t score either. Nonetheless, we can expect them to be better moving forward.
If you listened to The Action Network podcast, you’ve heard me say I like the Mavericks at +7 and if you followed that advice, you have some decent closing line value as that has since been bet down to where it currently sits at +6.
Before seeing the Mavericks’ opening night matchup against the Suns and the Lakers’ opening night matchup against the Clippers, I liked the play and thought you’d have an +EV proposition taking the Mavericks in this spot as conventional wisdom says this team was likely to improve after playing under expectation, according to their pythagorean win expectation.
I don’t anymore. Although the Mavericks added Richardson on the wing, who should be able to defend guards better than his fellow wings did last season, the Lakers have a major mismatch in the front court.
Although this isn’t the dominant rebounding front court from last season, they still have an advantage without Porzingis given their matchup against Powell and Cauley-Stein. I don’t expect Davis and James to play as poorly as they did opening night. LeBron was still a net positive in his minutes against the Clippers and he should be one here as well.
I also find the Mavericks’ offensive struggles against a mediocre Phoenix defense to be quite troublesome as that was the one thing they had going for them last season.
The Lakers and Mavericks played four times last season with the Lakers going 3-1 straight up and against the spread, winning the three games by a combined 12.3 points per game. Facing a worse Mavericks offense, I think the Lakers roll on their way to their first win of the season.
Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -6