|-6.5 DAL (-105) @ pinnacle|
8* Take Dallas (#540)
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.”
Dallas is ‘bet-on’ all the way right now, but the betting markets continue to devalue them due to a shorthanded roster and COVID issues – perfectly understandable, just not the correct assessment of this team at this time. And when you’re looking for under-the-radar ‘wow’ stats, look no further than Dallas currently ranking #2 in the NBA in defensive efficiency behind only the Lakers.
The Mavs #2 defensive efficiency ranking stands in sharp contrast with the Bulls #29 ranking – only the Kings have been worse. Chicago is coming off the mother of all demoralizing defeats, blowing a ten point lead in the final two minutes at OKC to lose in OT; their fourth straight tight loss on this road trip, and they’ve got another game back home in Chicago tomorrow. I’m not expecting the Bulls ‘A’ game here, especially with the Mavs in revenge for a bad loss in Chicago two weeks ago. Take the Mavericks.