|7.5 DAL (-108) @ pinnacle|
9* Take Dallas (#507)
Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote about Dallas prior to their blowout win in Charlotte earlier in the week:
“The Mavs defense has improved by leaps and bounds in recent games; a major point of emphasis from Rick Carlisle after their slow start. They’re expected to get Kristaps Porzingas in the lineup today, at least partially making up for the absence of a handful of role players, dealing with COVID protocols. And Dallas has been winning on the highway, knocking off the Clippers, Nuggets and Rockets within their last four tries, primed to deliver a knockout blow this evening.”
Here's the quote from Rick Carlisle following that victory, talking about the return of Porzingas to the lineup; as ‘bet-on’ as it gets for a rapidly improving Dallas squad. “When both of those guys (Luka and KP) are out there at the same time, it’s a game changer for us. They are two guys who can play on the inside and space the court on the outside.” Charlotte head coach James Borrego was impressed too: “They’re long and they’re physical. Those are two special players that can play at a high level.”
I’ve been underwhelmed with the Bucks dating back to the bubble in Orlando where they never found their regular season rhythm again and were bounced out of the playoffs early. Mike Budenholzer’s squad still has an impressive statistical profile: top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency – hence the -7.5 at many books as I write this.
But make no mistake about it – the Bucks are destroying the weak, but losing to the strong. Milwaukee’s eight wins have come against Detroit (3 times), Cleveland, Chicago, Orlando minus multiple starters, Golden State and Miami. None of those teams are above .500 except 6-5 Orlando, who has looked like an injury riddled mess since their hot start. And it’s surely worth noting that Milwaukee was favored by -4.5 or higher in all four of their losses this season. The Bucks are over-rated, the Mavs are underrated and this line is simply too high against a Dallas team that has thrived in this road underdog role. Take the Mavericks.