Spurs vs. Mavericks NBA Odds & Picks: Back San Antonio As Live Underdog in Texas Battle
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: San Antonio Spurs standout Dejounte Murray.
- Dallas and San Antonio square off in one of two NBA games on Wednesday's card following the All-Star break.
- The host Mavericks are 4.5-point favorites in the latest edition of the I-35 Rivalry.
- Austin Wang details why he likes San Antonio as a live underdog below.
Spurs vs. Mavericks Odds
|Moneyline||+145 / -175|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings.|
Welcome back from NBA All-Star Weekend as we kick off the second half of the season, starting with Wednesday’s showdown between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
These teams will be meeting for the second time this season in the I-35 Rivalry, named after Interstate 35, which connects the two major Texas cities.
The Mavericks dominated the Spurs in the first game, earning a 122-117 win and led for most of the game. San Antonio lost Dejounte Murray early in that game to an injury, so his absence and the team’s lack of guard depth really hurt. Even then, the Spurs were still almost made a comeback and I think they could be out for revenge against their division rival.
San Antonio and Dallas are the seventh and eighth seeds in the West, respectively, and the result of this game will definitely have implications for playoffs and division winner. With both teams healthy, I anticipate a hard-fought, competitive game.
With that in mind, I see value on underdog San Antonio in this contest.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have gone through a weird stretch of weeks. They had a 10-day hiatus from Feb. 14 through Feb. 24, as their players were recovering from COVID-19 issues and games were canceled due to contact tracing.
Since then, there have still been players sitting sporadically, which leads to inconsistent lineups. This is creating some mixed results, with San Antonio alternating wins and losses.
Despite their strange February, the Spurs are still 18-14 and seventh in the Western Conference, which has exceeded many expectations. Head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff continue to extract much value from players like Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson, who were are all late first-round draft picks that have blossomed into solid players.
Derrick White is not listed on the injury report, so all signs point to him suiting up for only his ninth game this season. If he is healthy, he brings another solid defender alongside Murray they can throw at Luka Doncic.
He can also be called on to share point guard duties with Murray, a skill that has been lacking in his absence. The Spurs should also be getting back Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge, so that added depth will help.
The Spurs protect the ball and average the fewest turnovers in the league. Per NBA Advanced Stats, they’re No. 1 in Assist-to-Turnover Ratio (2.25). The ball movement and efficiency on offense should help against the Mavericks’ subpar defense. They distribute well and have eight players averaging double figures in scoring.
San Antonio’s defense has also been strong, ranking ninth in Defensive Rating (109.7) and fifth in defensive rebounds (36.2 per game). The team should be able to control the boards and contain the scoring.
After a slow start to the season, the Mavericks are finally piecing things together after winning 10 of their last 13 games. Kristaps Porzingis has been healthy, which has done wonders opening up their offense.
Over the last several games, head coach Rick Carlisle has started Porzingis and Maxi Kleber together in the front court. Both are excellent outside shooters and can really make life difficult for opposing defenses.
With Kleber moving into the starting lineup, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been coming off the bench and providing a spark of instant offense against their opponent’s second unit. Reserve Jalen Brunson has also proven to be a reliable scorer.
Dallas was really missing a sharpshooter like Seth Curry to begin the season, but Brunson has shown he can fill the void, shooting 53.1% from the field and 40.2% from behind the arc.
All players who missed games to COVID-19 setback have returned and have been productive, particularly newcomer Josh Richardson. His presence has been missed on the defensive end and as a secondary ballhandler outside of Luka Doncic. Perhaps their time off was a blessing in disguise, as it gave other bench players the opportunity to adapt to the system and build chemistry, developing more depth on the Mavericks’ roster.
Since the beginning of February, Dallas has looked more like the team of last season. The Mavericks have the fourth-highest three-point attempts as Percent of Field Goals Attempted (45.7%), plus they’re connecting at the eighth-highest three-point percentage (38.6%), per NBA Advanced Stats.
The Mavericks should be very successful against the Spurs, who tend to not defend the three-pointer very well, allowing their opponents to shoot the fifth-worst three-point percentage in the league.
There have been a handful of injuries, with Porzingis missing three games and Doncic missing the last game before All-Star break. I expect the couple days off gave the Mavericks some much needed rest, and they should get back to their run-and-gun ways from a couple of weeks back. Now that they’re healthy, I anticipate they will have a strong second half of the season.
San Antonio has gone 4-0 against the spread in the last four years in their first game following the All-Star break, per the Sports Data Query Language database.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, have gone 1-6 ATS in their last seven in the same situation, with their lone ATS win coming last season. Popovich has his teams ready to play, while Carlisle seems to find trouble motivating his guys after the break.
Since the 2017-2018 season between two teams in their first game post-All Star break, when the home team is off a win in their previous game, they have gone 5-15 ATS (25%), per the SDQL database. This is active as a fade against the Mavericks. Dallas tends to get relaxed at home after a win and tend to come out flat.
I am bullish on the Mavericks’ outlook for the remainder of the season. It’s incredibly tempting to bet them after their recent run and players getting healthy. However, I think the Spurs still continue to be disrespected by the market in a game that I anticipate to be close.
I make the fair line on this game Mavericks -2.5, so I do see a couple points of value. My projected final score for this game is Dallas, 109-107, as I predict the host to squeak by San Antonio, but fail to cover the spread.
Pick: Spurs +4.5 (down to +3.5)