Saturday NBA Odds, Picks, Prediction: Wizards vs. Mavericks (May 1)
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook and Davis Bertans.
Wizards vs. Mavericks Odds
|Moneyline||+195 / -245|
|Time||Saturday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
The Mavericks host the Wizards Saturday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season. Dallas beat the Wizards 109-87 in the first matchup in April, but Bradley Beal didn’t play in that game.
The Wizards are playing their best basketball as Beal and Russell Westbrook have led them to wins in 10 of their last 11 games after blowing out the Cavaliers 122-93 on Friday night. The Mavericks are also hot as they have won five of their last six games.
If the Wizards cover or pull the upset as road underdogs, they will need Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook at their best while other shooters on the perimeter step up.
After starting the season slow as he worked back from injury, Westbrook has found his groove recently, recording triple-doubles in 14 of 17 games in April. Per Stathead, these are the most triple-doubles by a player in any calendar month in NBA history. Westbrook leads the NBA with 11.0 assists per game, as his 46.8% assist rate ranks in the 100th percentile among point guards.
The Washington Wizards have made it to the Quadrant of Wow https://t.co/FCsHD3JmSX
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 30, 2021
Westbrook hasn’t been very accurate from the mid-range or beyond the arc, but his 66% finishing rate at the rim ranks in the 91st percentile among point guards. Westbrook should have success against the Mavericks defense that lacks a true rim protector when Willie Cauley-Stein isn’t on the floor.
Beal has remained steady this season with his 31.3 points per game leading the NBA. Beal’s 121.1 points per 100 shots are a career-high, ranking in the 82nd percentile among wings this season on high usage. Beal shot 39.7% on threes in April (compared to 35.0% on the season overall), and his three-point shooting will be a key swing factor against the Mavericks.
While Beal and Westbrook can get their own shots, they need teammates to make shots to open up more scoring opportunities. Wizards perimeter players like Davis Bertans, Garrison Matthews and Rui Hachimura are key role players.
Bertans started the season relatively cold, making below 35% of his threes before February, but he has heated up as the Wizards have found their rhythm in April.
If the Mavericks win and cover as home favorites, it will be because Luka Doncic finds his three-point shot and secondary scorers like Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. step up. Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) and Maxi Kleber (back) are questionable to play Saturday, and if those two are out, players like Dwight Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Josh Richardson will play bigger roles.
The Mavericks have gotten elite play from Doncic. His 119.7 points per 100 shots rank in the 75th percentile among wings, while his 42.6% assist rate ranks in the 100th percentile. Doncic started the season incredibly cold shooting 3s as he started two for 21 in December, but he improved his 3-point shooting percentages each month through March (when he made 43.3% of threes).
Doncic regressed in April making only 31.7% from beyond the arc on 9.3 attempts per game. He has shot above 38% on 3s in just two of 15 games in April. Doncic missed Thursday’s game with an elbow injury but will play Saturday.
Another key player for Dallas is Brunson, a frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year Award, who has been incredibly efficient this season as his 124.4 points per 100 shots rank in the 99th percentile among combo guards (per Cleaning The Glass).
Tim Hardaway Jr is the first @dallasmavs player to have game score 40 points, while shooting 50% from the field, 60% from three, and 100% from the line, since Dirk Nowitzki https://t.co/FUZz6S7vfR pic.twitter.com/jMB59FD1eH
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) April 30, 2021
Hardaway Jr. has been inconsistent for most of the season, but he will play a significantly larger role on offense if Porzingis is out. Hardaway shot over 38% on 3s in each of the first four calendar months of the season, but he shot just 34.5% from downtown in April. He is coming off of a career-high 42-point performance in Thursday’s road win over the Pistons where he made six of 10 3-pointers.
Mavericks bigs like Powell and Cauley-Stein also need to step up inside against Daniel Gafford on the boards. After suffering an Achilles injury 15 months ago, Powell looks to finally be regaining the explosiveness that makes him dangerous as a rim roller and someone whom the Mavericks rely on to make teams pay for doubling Doncic.
While Westbrook and Beal make most of the headlines for the Wizards, Gafford has played a key role as an athletic big man and rim protector for the Wizards since being acquired from the Bulls at the trade deadline. Since his acquisition, the Wizards have the second-best defensive rating in the NBA (107.6 – excluding garbage time), while they ranked 26th in defensive rating (115.0) before the trade deadline.
The Wizards now have a quality defensive anchor with Gafford inside to play alongside the leading scorer in the NBA (Beal), the leading distributor (Westbrook) and an elite shooter (Bertans). There are injury questions for the Mavericks with Porzingis and Kleber, and Doncic is also coming back from an elbow injury that held him out Thursday as he slumped from beyond the arc in April.
The Mavericks have also been disappointing against the spread when playing as favorites this season, and I love the value on the Wizards at +6. I will bet them on the spread with value down to +4.5, while I also like the value on the Wizards moneyline at +210 with value down to +175.
Pick: Wizards +6 (down to +4.5)