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NBA Odds, Pick & Betting Preview for Lakers vs. Mavericks: L.A. Has Value In Anthony Davis’ Return (April 22)

NBA Odds, Pick & Betting Preview for Lakers vs. Mavericks: L.A. Has Value In Anthony Davis’ Return (April 22) article feature image

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Davis.

  • Anthony Davis makes his long-awaited return to the hardwood for the first time since Feb. 14.
  • Dallas is playing the second night of a back-to-back after beating Detroit on Wednesday.
  • Joe Dellera thinks the Lakers will prove too much for a tired Mavs team.

Lakers vs. Mavericks Odds

Lakers Odds -1
Mavericks Odds +1
Moneyline -110 / -110
Over/Under 222
Time Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet

The Lakers head to Dallas to take on the Mavericks in the first game of a two-game mini-series between these two teams. Anthony Davis is expected to make his long awaited return to a Lakers team that has held its own in his absence.

The Mavericks played last night and defeated the Pistons, but they have struggled on no rest this season. Will they ruin AD’s return as they seek to avoid the Western Conference Play-In Tournament?

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers’ injury report is fairly lengthy but they expect Anthony Davis (calf) to play for the first time since February 14th. We expect him to only play about 15 minutes, so keep that in mind when assessing his impact. Additionally, Marc Gasol is listed as questionable, while Andre Drummond, Dennis Schroder and Markieff Morris are all probable.

The Lakers are still the owners of the best defense in the league, and they hold their opponents to just 107.3 points per 100 possessions. They’ve done this despite missing both Davis and LeBron James for a significant portion of the season. AD’s return can only help though, as he has a +8.7 point differential and is a plus on both sides of the court.

One thing I’m curious to see is how the Lakers manage the minutes and rotations with AD, Drummond, Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell. Someone is going to be losing a bit of playing time, but it should give the Lakers a bit more flexibility as they move towards the playoffs. I’d expect to see them stagger AD and Gasol so there are fewer minutes with just Drummond and Harrell on the floor, considering they are weaker defensive players. Regardless, the Lakers will be thrilled to have Davis back even in a limited capacity.

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Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have been sitting Kristaps Porzingis in back-to-back sets, but they have not been consistently doing so in every situation. Keep an eye on his status using our Labs Insiders Tool. If he does not play, and Maxi Kleber is unable to go after exiting Wednesday’s game due to a back injury, the Mavericks will be very thin in the frontcourt. Considering they both are listed as Questionable, there’s a decent chance one or both misses this contest.

When the Mavericks have played teams in the top 10 in overall and defensive point differential, they’ve struggled and are just 2-9 straight up, per Cleaning the Glass. Their offensive efficiency drops, and they have a -9.3 point differential in those games. They are unable to efficiently get to the rim and shoot just 34.7% from 3 point range.

This problem would only be exacerbated by the absence of Porzingis and/or Kleber. Both help the Mavericks stretch the floor and provide Luka Doncic the room to operate on offense while being adequate defenders in the paint.

Lakers-Mavericks Pick

The Lakers have been underrated without AD and LeBron — they’ve maintained an elite defense and a 6-4 ATS record. I expect this to continue against a Dallas team that has struggled on back-to-backs.

The Mavericks are just 4-7 ATS when playing in the second game of a back-to-back, which is worse than their 28-32 ATS record overall.

Given the Mavericks’ struggles in back-to-backs, and their difficulty playing elite defensives, I am comfortable backing the Lakers in this primetime showdown.

Pick: Lakers -1

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