The NBA Playoffs are underway and Dallas begins its title defense in the unfamiliar role of road underdog against the No. 2 seed in the West, Oklahoma City Thunder. We setup the first round series and offer an ATS prediction for Saturday’s opener
In last year’s Western Conference Final, Nowitzki drained 59 of 61 free throws including 24 of 24 attempts in Game 1
San Antonio took top spot in the Southwest with a 50-16 record and Dallas (36-30) slipped to third, finishing five games back of Memphis (41-25). The Mavericks were 2-4 SU/ATS in their final six games and during the past month, won just seven of 15 games straight-up.
It’s a huge contrast to last season when the Mavs were 9-4 down the stretch, covering the spread in eight of nine wins. NBA odds for tonight’s game favor the Thunder by -7.5 points and sports betting shops show even action on the side but the total, O/U 193, is getting 68-percent of the money.
Oklahoma City was 26-7 SU at home but they only covered 51.5-percent of their games (17-16 ATS). Playoff favorites of -6 to -9.5 points are just 30-34-2 ATS the past five years and although these teams have split the past 10 meetings straight-up, the Mavericks hold a 7-2-1 ATS edge against the number.
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Dallas was 13-20 on the road this season and they didn’t get a lot of help from the bookmaker, going 15-18 ATS. It’s not that they were simply overvalued as champs – Dallas started the year 14-6 ATS. But consistency was a problem and since Jan. 18, Dallas backed up an ATS win with another cover only eight times.
In last year’s playoffs when the Mavericks went 15-4-2 ATS including a 10-0-1 ATS stretch to open against Portland and Los Angeles. They were 3-2 ATS against Oklahoma City and won both road games SU/ATS.
Oklahoma City won three of four regular season meetings this season but the first was on a last second three-pointer by Kevin Durant (Dec. 29). We don’t want to take anything away from that win but it doesn’t have us overly keen about laying this kind of lumber either. The Mavs have been strong against the Northwest and they play the Thunder tough. We’ll start this series off with a play on the dog.
Pick: Take the Mavericks
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