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Nuggets vs. Mavericks Betting Odds & Picks: Back Dallas with Luka Doncic Back

Nuggets vs. Mavericks Betting Odds & Picks: Back Dallas with Luka Doncic Back article feature image
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Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

  • The Mavericks host the Nuggets in a matchup of teams looking to rebound from a loss.
  • Luka Doncic is set to return to the Mavericks lineup and may prove to be the difference in this game.
  • Chris Baker previews this matchup and shares his best bet below.

Nuggets vs. Mavericks Odds

Nuggets Odds +9
Mavericks Odds -9
Over/Under 215.5 (-112/-108)
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nuggets travel to Dallas to try and get back on track after a tough home loss to the middling Knicks. The Mavericks are coming off their own embarrassing home loss, as they fell to the Rockets by nine on Wednesday. Let’s see which team is more likely to bounce back on Friday night.

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Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets loss to the Knicks looks much better when you contextualize it with the fact that they were without Nikola Jokic and defensive anchor Aaron Gordon. However, those two will likely both be absent from this game as well as coach Mike Malone stated he doesn’t expect either to be available.

The absence of Gordon leaves Denver without many defenders capable of matching up with Luka Doncic 1-on-1. This is a huge issue against a Dallas team that excels at rotating the ball out of double teams to find open three-point shooters.

Dallas ranks third in offensive 3-point frequency, taking 43% of its shots from deep this season. This is a massive problem for Denver as its defense has struggled to limit three-point attempts, ranking 18th  in three-point frequency allowed on the season.

If Denver can’t stay in front of Doncic 1-on-1, it could be a very long night for the Nuggets defense.

Offensively, Denver will rely on Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to carry the load without Jokic in the lineup.

Murray saw his usage rate skyrocket to 38.6% against the Knicks on Wednesday, but he struggled to remain efficient, making just seven of his 19 shots. Murray will have to carry another large load here as I expect Porter Jr. to struggle to find his spots against a Dallas defense that specializes in limiting the three.

Murray should see a large workload as Dallas traditionally does a good job of forcing mid-range shots. Whether Murray is efficient on these looks could be a deciding factor in the Nuggets ability to compete.


Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks loss to the Rockets also needs to be contextualized because they were missing Luka Doncic. His absence was certainly noticeable as Dallas offense managed to put up just 92 points against a Rockets defense that ranks 28th in adjusted defensive rating per dunksandthrees.com.

The Mavericks process was sound as they were still able to launch 55 threes in that game, but they only made 12 of these attempts (21.8%).

It’s hard to win games when shooting that poorly, but I don’t think there is any reason to panic here because the Mavericks’ fundamental process still worked. The Mavericks are built to space the floor and limit opponent’s three-point shot attempts with switching and sound defensive rotations.

They did that effectively as the Rockets attempted just 27% of their shots from behind the arc. It was impressive that the Mavericks managed to stay in the game while shooting so poorly.

The offensive efficiency should return with Doncic back in the lineup and this is a great get-right spot as the Nuggets haven’t done a great job defending the three-point line.

Defensively, the Mavericks should be able to contain Michael Porter Jr. and the rest of Denver’s shooters from behind the arc. Jokic’s absence was evident as the Nuggets struggled to move the ball for open shots against the Knicks poor defense. The Knicks are substantially worse than the Mavericks and I expect Dallas to do a good job making the Nuggets uncomfortable.

Nuggets-Mavericks Pick

I have to back the much healthier Mavericks in this spot.

The Mavericks are built to expose this Nuggets defense with their three-point attempt rate and I think they match up fairly well with a Denver team missing Jokic.

The one area of weakness for Dallas defensively is at center, but the Nuggets, without Jokic and Gordon, don’t have the bigs to take advantage. We just saw the Celtics take apart this Denver defense from behind the arc last week and I think the Mavericks will have a very similar formula.

I’m willing to trust the Mavericks to cover the 7 here at home. Back Dallas at -7.

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