Dallas at Denver -1.5 O/U 212
Yesterday’s blowout loss at Sacramento kept Dallas on the outside looking in at the top eight in the Western Conference playoff race. The Mavericks sense of urgency level continues to be as high as it can go but that has not produced any playoff push whatsoever as they’ve now gone 2-8 straight up in their last 10 games. A significant pair of personnel losses have played a large role in the recent faltering of Dallas as starting SF Chandler Parsons (team leading 49.2 FG%) was lost for the rest of the regular season eight days ago and starting PG Derron Williams (abdominal strain) figures to miss his third straight game tonight. Defense has also been a major problem for the past seven weeks but in particular the 124 points per game allowed over their last five games shows that Dallas has zero playoff intensity on that end. Granted, the last five opponents have all been top tier offensive teams but the Mavs didn’t hold any of them below 109. That could be troublesome tonight against the offensive minded Nuggets who average 104.7 per game at home. In yesterday’s game, Denver was held to 90 points on the road versus the Clippers which is only the eighth time they’ve been held below 100 in their last 37 games. Interestingly enough, each of those times the Nuggets scored less than 100 they bounced back with 101 or more in their next game and 110+ six times. The injury bug is hurting Denver right now as well with starting PF Kenneth Faried still nursing a bad back which has sidelined him for the last six games and questionable for this one. The Nuggets are continuing to play out the string with passion but they are just 2-5 against the spread over their last seven while Dallas despite all the defensive problems is 5-2 ats over their last seven. Decline in the total from 214 down to 212 purely dedicated to the injuries here but the play of these teams without PG Williams and PF Faried doesn’t substantiate that move. See value in playing “over” based on the fundamental matchups and these teams have played twice within the last month posting 116-114 and 122-116 finals.