Nuggets vs. Mavericks NBA Odds & Picks: Returning Stars Provide Value on Total

Nuggets vs. Mavericks NBA Odds & Picks: Returning Stars Provide Value on Total article feature image
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AJ Mast/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis.

  • Both the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks have received boosts offensively entering Monday night's matchup.
  • Michael Porter Jr. returned over the weekend for Denver, while a healthy Kristaps Porzingis has done wonders for Dallas.
  • With the two offensive forces back in the lineup, Austin Wang sees value on Monday's game total.

Nuggets vs. Mavericks Odds

Nuggets Odds -1.5
Mavericks Odds +1.5
Moneyline -125 / +105
Over/Under 222
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Sunday night and via PointsBet.

After two grueling overtime wins against the Suns over the weekend, the Denver Nuggets head to Dallas for a matchup with the Mavericks.

Dallas is coming off a loss to the Rockets and is continuing to play without several key rotational players and were without Kristaps Porzingis for its last game.

These two teams will meet in a rematch from Jan. 7, where the Mavericks won outright as underdogs in Denver 124-117, going way over the closing total of 225.5.

I count on these high-powered offenses to continue displaying their scoring prowess and see potential value on the total in Monday’s matchup.

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Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets had an amazing weekend, securing dramatic wins on Friday and Saturday in Phoenix. They have found their footing after a 1-4 start and have now won eight of their last 11 games.

The Nuggets are firing on offense, entering Sunday ranked third in Offensive Rating (114.9), per NBA.com Advanced Stats.  Despite playing at a slower pace (26th in the league), they are averaging the fourth most points per game (116.8) in the league.

However, Denver struggled to stop many teams on defense and ranks 20th in Defensive Rating (110.8). They will be facing a dangerous Mavericks team with Porzingis back in the lineup.

The offense revolves around Nikola Jokic, who is nearly averaging a triple-double. Teams have been struggling to stop the versatile big man’s offensive arsenal to destroy teams in the paint, but he can also spread the floor with his excellent shooting.

Jokic’s most impressive quality is his passing skills and ability to set up the offense. He entered Sunday leading the league with 154 assists on the season.

Yes, a 7-footer, leading the league in total assists.

Jamal Murray played on Saturday, despite an injury and gutted through another 43 minutes. I can’t imagine how he’s feeling today as I sit here typing this from my couch.

While there has not been much news on the injury front, it would not surprise me that if Murray gets a night off, so make sure to monitor the Bet Labs Insider tool to monitor his status and follow @FantasyLabsNBA for instant notifications on injury status.

After missing 10 games due to a positive COVID-19 test, Michael Porter Jr. is back in the Nuggets rotation and provided instant offense off the bench against Phoenix. It is worth nothing that the Nuggets defense is a lot worse with Porter on the court.  The On/Off numbers show that dip from 110.9 to 116.5, per Basketball Reference.

Teams that are coming off two consecutive overtime games are 11-4 (73.3%) to the over since 2018, per the Sports Data Query Language database. This is active on the Nuggets.

To help support that conclusion, here are some other trends I found that are active:

  • Since Jokic’s rookie season in the 2015-16, the Nuggets are 20-10 (66.7%) to the over in road games following a back-to-back series.
  • Since Dec. 14, 2019, the Nuggets are 19-8-1 (70.4%) to the over in regular-season games after a win against the spread.
  • This season, the Nuggets are 9-3-1 (75%) to the over when their opponent allowed 100 or more points in their previous game.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are still scraping by with key rotational players missing because of COVID-19 protocol. They picked up two gutsy wins against the Spurs and Pacers with Porzingis back.  However, Dallas had a let-down against the Rockets in the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday.

Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell have all missed seven (or more) games this season. All four average at least 20 minutes per game.

In the six games that Porzingis had played from Jan. 13-23, the Mavericks ranked ninth in Pace (100.75).  Bringing back their talented big man has jumpstarted Dallas’ offense, showing glimpses of last season’s record-setting attack. The Mavs have picked up the tempo and now have a dangerous pair of scorers for opposing teams to defend.

The Mavericks’ overall defense has improved from last season, but in their last six games, they are 27th in Defensive Rating (116.3).  Dallas is finally feeling the effect of having so many rotational players out, and I think the fatigue is really affecting them defensively. This doesn’t bode well entering a matchup with Murray and Jokic.

The Nuggets are allowing 55.3% in Effective Field Goal %, ranked 26th in the league, per NBA.com Advanced Stats. This gives Mavericks players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Jalen Brunson, all proficient shooters from behind the arc, a strong matchup.

Similar to the Nuggets, the Mavericks are off a back-to-back series from Friday and Saturday. In their last 10 games following a back-to-back series dating back to Jan. 17, 2020, they are 8-1-1 (88.9%) to the over, per the SDQL database.

Nuggets-Mavericks Pick

The spread is very tight to me, but I think there is some value on the total. I don’t think the market has sufficiently adjusted for the impact of Porzingis and Porter’s returns, both of whom thrive offensively.

With that in mind, I make the fair total on this game 224. I see the reinvigorated Mavericks edging out the fatigued Nuggets in a close 114-111 game. I recommend a play on the over, but not much higher than the current total of 222.

Pick: Over 222 (up to 222.5)

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