Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets NBA Expert Prediction 02/11/19

Date | AuthorAdmir Aljic

Last Updated: 2019-02-11

On the back of Luka Doncic’s another tremendous display, the Dallas Mavericks (26-29; 34-20-1 ATS) overcame the Portland Trail Blazers 102-101 last night. The rookie sensation exploded for 28 points, nine rebounds, and six assists including 13 clutch points in the final period to lead his Mavs to their third win in the last four games. Dallas is four games behind the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Clippers, so the Mavs are still in the mix.

On the other side, the Houston Rockets (32-23; 25-29-1 ATS) put an end to their three-game winning streak with a 117-112 defeat to the Oklahoma City this past Saturday, spilling a 26-point lead in front of the home fans. The Rockets stay at the No. 5 seed just half a game ahead of Utah and one game behind Portland at the 4th spot.

Dallas will meet Houston for the third time this season, upsetting the Rockets in the previous two encounters including a 128-108 victory on the road, so we expect to see another great battle tonight.

Injuries/Suspensions

The Mavericks will be without J.J. Barea and Kristaps Porzingis who are both out for the season, but all other guys are ready to play. The Rockets are missing Clint Capela who’s recovering from a thumb injury, while James Harden is listed as probable after suffering a shoulder injury against the Thunder.

The Line

The Rockets opened as strong 9.5-point favorites with the total at 220.5 points and the Mavs at +400 money line odds. While the Rockets are struggling to cover, the Mavericks are the best team in the league against the spread. Houston is just 1-5 ATS in its last six games on the home court and is 3-9 ATS in its previous 12 games overall. The Mavericks are 8-1-1 ATS in their last ten games overall, while they are 10-3 ATS in their previous 13 showings away from home. The over is 8-4 in Houston’s last 12 games at home, whilst the under is 8-1 in Dallas’ previous nine games on the road.

What’s at Stake?

This is a big game for both Dallas and Houston. The Mavs are still hoping to make it to the postseason which is a tall task from this point of view. On the other side, the Rockets are losing the pace with the No. 3 seed in the West, while Utah is a huge threat behind the Rockets after its recent run of good results.

The Spot

The Mavericks will play back-to-back here, and they are just 1-12 straight up and 5-8 ATS on the second day of their previous 13 back-to-back sets. After the clash with Houston, the Mavs will host Miami Wednesday night. The Rockets will also have one more matchup before the All-Star Weekend, as they travel to Minneapolis on Wednesday.

The Matchup

After trading a bunch of players including sending Harrison Barnes to Sacramento, the Mavericks’ depth could be their biggest issue. They will have to rely on Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. who’s having a nice season, but the Mavericks’ frontcourt seems pretty thin without Barnes and Deandre Jordan. Dallas should be happy that Houston will be without Clint Capela, but Kenneth Faried could have his night. James Harden will be looking for his 30th straight game with 30+ points if he gets ready due to his shoulder problem.

The Mavericks will have to find their best defense tonight if they want to stay close and eventually make another upset. Dallas is allowing 108.8 points per 100 possessions (11th in the league), while the Mavs are allowing their opponents to hit just 33.9% of their 3-point attempts which is a reason why they’ve managed to beat the Rockets twice this season. Houston is taking the most treys per contest in the league (44.4), hitting 15.4 per game (34.7 percent).

The Rockets’ offensive rating is the 3rd-best in the league, as they are tallying 114.6 points per 100 possessions, but the Rockets are hitting just 44.7% of their field goals (26th in the league). On the other side of the ball, the Rockets are allowing 112.5 points per 100 possessions, ranking their defensive rating 6th-worst in the league. Hereof, the Mavericks will have their chance on the offensive end. They are scoring 109.2 points per 100 possessions (19th in the league) on 45.0% shooting from the field (21st) while making 22.7 assists (23rd).

The Bets

Although the Mavericks have beaten the Rockets twice this term, I think they will lose tonight. The Mavs are playing without rest which will cause some fatigue problems, for sure, while their rotation doesn’t look strong enough to cope with the Rockets for 48 minutes. If James Harden suits up tonight, I’m backing the Rockets to cover this 9.5-point spread. Even if the Beard get limited minutes or stay sidelined, I’m confident that Rockets will finally beat the Mavs. In case that Harden is out, the bookies will certainly adjust the spread.

When it comes to the totals, we shouldn’t see a bunch of points on this one, considering some slow pace on both sides. The Rockets’ pace is the 4th-slowest in the league, while the Mavs’ pace is faster but still just 19th in the league, so I expect to see some down-tempo basketball. Also, both teams are struggling to execute well on the offensive end, recording some poor shot percentages, so I’m backing the under.

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