Pelicans vs. Mavericks Odds
|Moneyline||+125 / -150|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday morning and via BetMGM.|
Friday night brings together two near-identical teams. When it comes to recent form, both the Pelicans and the Mavericks ride in on a heater, and both are improving ever so slightly after a miserable run which has led them under .500.
Will New Orleans’ frontcourt prowess impose its will on Dallas, and power its offense to yet another big night? Or will the Mavericks’ offense continue their hot streak, breaking through an unspectacular Pelicans defense?
Let’s dig into the matchup to see if we can find some value.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans had their run of four straight wins snapped by the Bulls on Wednesday, though we should take that with a grain of salt considering it was the second night of a back-to back. What powered such a run? Well, it was offense — which is surprising, if you’ve followed the Pelicans all season long.
Over the past five games, New Orleans has topped the NBA with a 124.4 Offensive Rating, led by the awakening of its shooters. During this span, the Pelicans hold the second-best effective field goal percentage at 59.5%, and have hit 42.4% of their shots from long range, one of the five best marks in the league. Most of that’s come on the back of the Pelicans guards.
Lonzo Ball has caught fire of late from deep with a ridiculous 52.6% 3-point percentage over the past five games in a hefty 38-shot sample size, a real step up from his 37.4% mark for the season. JJ Redick has complemented him with nine makes in 14 tries, and Brandon Ingram has poured in 45.5% of his shots from range.
That’s all well and good, but shooting can be unsustainable, and random, right? Well, Dallas isn’t exactly known for stopping 3-pointers, ranking right in the middle of the league with opponents shooting 37%, and point guards in particular have had an easy go of it lately.
Dallas has allowed the third-most points per game to opposing point guards over the past week according to Hashtag Basketball, and that’s come on the back of a whopping 6.1 3s made per game. The Pelicans’ offense has been the driving force behind their success of late, and their most vital player on that end should have an edge on Friday.
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Dallas, like New Orleans, has seen a meteoric rise in its offensive production over the past five games. After starting strong and struggling mightily afterwards, the Mavericks have begun to score with more ease, ranking fourth in the league with 121 points per 100 possessions over the past five games. Unlike New Orleans, however, the Mavs haven’t relied on scoring from the perimeter.
No, the Mavericks have chosen to get things done down low, most likely because the training wheels have come off Kristaps Porzingis, who has now fully made his way back from injury. The Mavs have converted at a 46.9% clip in the paint over their past five games, and have ranked just outside the top 10 in paint touches with 22.8 per 100 possessions.
That illustrates how Porzingis has been able to impact the Mavericks on offense, as has the fact that he has added two more points per 100 possessions on offense this season in his 446 minutes on the floor.
Porzingis — and the rest of the Mavericks bigs — shouldn’t be able to enjoy the same level of success against the Pelicans, who have locked down the paint this season and been tenacious on the glass.
That will leave things up to the Mavericks’ shooters, who are hitting at just a 34.1% rate from deep, the second-worst mark in the NBA. If the Mavericks get bullied out of the paint, they could be in for a long night.
One thing is certain in this game, the Pelicans will have a decisive edge on the glass. The Pelicans rank second in the league, grabbing 52.6% of available rebounds, while Dallas sits all the way at the bottom of the league in 27th, with a mark of 48%.
So much of Dallas’ attack relies on its ability to operate from inside the arc, which should play into New Orleans’ hands quite a bit, and its inability to defend 3s will certainly help the Pelicans’ red-hot shooters remain in form.
Dallas has won four of five, but has covered just once in 11 games and are 3-12 ATS over their past 15. The Pelicans, meanwhile, nearly persevered through a back-to-back to claim their fifth straight victory against a pesky Chicago team before the Bulls pulled away late.
This is a tale of two teams heading in with similar records, but it’s hard to say the Mavericks’ wins have been anything close to decisive — and they certainly haven’t come against quality opponents (Golden State, Minnesota, Atlanta).
The Pelicans tout the hottest offense in basketball, and this matchup should play right into their hands. I’m backing the Mavericks’ poor against the spread to continue.
Pick: Pelicans +3.5 (Would bet down to PK)