The Portland Trail Blazers enter Tuesday's matchup with the Dallas Mavericks only a half-game behind for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff seed.
After winning four of six bubble games in Orlando thus far, the postseason is a legitimate possibility for Portland. Meanwhile, the Mavs are in the West's seventh spot, but could climb the standings with wins in their last two regular-season contests.
Continue reading for abe Insights' betting preview for Blazers-Mavs, featuring advanced stats comparisons, analysis of prospective wagers and the best odds you can find across all major sportsbooks.
Date: Tuesday, August 11
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Trail Blazers 61%; Mavericks 36%
Spread: POR -3
Moneyline: POR -154; DAL +180
Blazers center Hassan Whiteside has been dealing with a strained left hip, so Portland has to be relieved that he's listed as probable for Tuesday's game, per Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest.
The 2019-20 season wasn't kind to Dallas from an injury standpoint. Its superstar tandem of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis sat out Monday's victory over Utah, along with Dorian Finney-Smith. Tonight largely depends on the availability of Doncic and Porzingis.
115.9 vs. 112.8: Both these squads rank in the top five in points per 100 possessions, or offensive rating. Dallas happens to lead the NBA, largely thanks to Doncic's playmaking ability, and Portland's dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum drive its dynamic attack.
15.6 vs. 13.4: That first number is the league-high amount of second-chance points the Blazers give up on average. Not much better in this category are the Mavs, who rank 20th out of 30 teams. Worth noting, though, this total for Portland came without Jusuf Nurkic for most of the season.
74.0 vs. 71.1: These digits complement the immediately previous ones, as they reflect the teams' defensive rebounding percentage. Dallas is superior and ranks eighth in the NBA, whereas the Blazers are in the bottom-three.
Provided Whiteside can contribute on the glass and Nurkic plays at a high level, Portland should be able to close the gap on some of its shortcomings. After starting the bubble really hot, though, Nurkic has cooled off in the past four games, recording five or more fouls in three of them and struggling to find a consistent rhythm as a result.
Porzingis is a highly skilled big man for his size. His athleticism can make it difficult for even strong rim protectors and paint enforcers like Nurkic and Whiteside top stop him. Plus, Doncic excels at slashing to the rim and getting to the foul line, so there's a lot to account for regarding Dallas' dangerous duo.
Another key coming into this one is how well Finney-Smith played his last time out after being listed as questionable, scoring a career-high 27 points in an overtime win over the Bucks. Doncic put up an insane stat line of 36 points, 14 boards and nine assists in that one.
The Milwaukee triumph could mark a big breakthrough for these young Mavs. They've struggled in crunch time this season and have failed to close out several winnable games. That wasn't the case versus the Bucks. Perhaps even more encouraging was how the rest of the team rallied from 22 down to beat the Jazz yesterday. Dallas does have depth, too.
But before we get too in on the Mavs bandwagon, let's bear in mind how great Lillard has been against them. In three games versus Dallas, Lillard is averaging over 36 points on 53.4% shooting and 7.7 assists. He'll be in take-over mode with the Blazers still vying for a playoff spot, which will only thicken the plot of this fascinating showdown.
Per the data from TeamRankings.com, Dallas' top-ranked offense excels at hitting the Over, even with the expectation of high scores. The Mavs have a 44-29 record in hitting it, and Portland is 42-30. Thus, it's pretty simple here: look for wagers to favor the Over.
The spread and moneyline largely depend on Dallas' health, particularly that of Doncic and Porzingis and whether coach Rick Carlisle opts to load manage or outright rest them. Due to that cloudy forecast and the Blazers' desperation, expect more action to go on Portland's spread and moneyline.
Note: Odds current as of 11:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday, August 11.
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