The Washington Wizards head to Dallas to take on the Mavericks, Saturday at 9 PM EST. The Wizards have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, squarely in the mix of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Dallas is just inside the play-in tournament threshold, currently in sixth place in the West. Despite the Wizards winning ways of late, there’s a lot to like about Dallas in this one – let’s break down why.
Bet Dallas to Cover
There’s a mix of factors favoring the Mavericks. When combined, the pick has to be Dallas to cover the spread.
One of the first indicators of the superior team is in the offensive and defensive overall rankings. These numbers are created by combining points per game, effective field goal percentage, and efficiency.
Dallas has the edge on both ends by a significant margin. The Mavericks rank 11th on both offense and defense. The Wizards come in with an offense and defense both in the bottom ten of the league.
That alone is enough to consider the Mavericks spread.
Taking it a step further, when you look at offensive scoring preferences compared to defensive strengths, again, the edge comes out for Dallas on both ends.
The Wizards prefer to score in the paint, and the Mavericks are the fifth-strongest team against points in the paint.
Dallas is a top-ten three-point shooting team this season. Washington ranks 21st at defending shots beyond the arc.
Dallas is the better team with all signs pointing to a big win.
These teams last met at the beginning of April. The Mavericks won, 109-87.
Washington Wizards: All Beal and Westbrook
The Wizards’ remarkable run the last few weeks all comes back to the play of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
The guards run a fast-paced offense that prefers getting to the hoop. They’ve gotten themselves in the playoff race despite a weak defense and inefficient offense.
Beal averages 31.3 points per game on 49/35/90% shooting splits. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double with 21.7 points per game, 11.2 rebounds, and 11.0 assists.
The Wizards are 34-28 against the spread this season and 30-32 against over/unders.
Dallas Mavericks: Plenty of Motivation to Win
The Mavericks are currently in sixth place in the West with just a few weeks left in the regular season. Dallas will want to avoid the seventh or lower seed and the subsequent play-in tournament that comes with it.
This is a well-balanced team that prefers shooting the three. They are a dark horse in these playoffs if Kristaps Porzingis can stay healthy.
Luka Doncic is the star of this team and leads Dallas in most major categories. On the season, Doncic is averaging 28.6 points per game, 7.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists.
Porzingis left the Mavericks most recent game with knee soreness, and it remains to be seen if he will be active. Even if the big man does not suit up, this bet is still a go – it’s deeper than Porzingis.
Tim Hardaway and Dorian Finney-Smith both should have big games on Saturday, as they shoot nearly 40% from deep.
Dallas is 30-32 ATS and 27-35 against over/unders.
Game pick: Dallas Mavericks -6 points