The NBA knows what it’s doing when it comes to their scheduled games for the league’s planned return.
On July 30th, when the NBA makes its comeback in Orlando, the Clippers and Lakers face off to close out the first night of action. On day two, we get Luka vs. Harden when the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks wage war in the last contest of the night.
Yeah, that’ll do.
Beyond just an awesome matchup, there is a lot at stake here. Three losses separate these teams, and this game could go a long way in deciding the winner of the Southwest Division.
In turn, this first game could end up having some say as to what the final seeding in the Western Conference will be.
Even if seeding is a borderline moot point now, it’ll still be a game worth tracking, and certainly an interesting one to bet on.
If you’re planning on doing as much, lean in for a close look at this game via my Rockets vs. Mavericks prediction and odds breakdown.
Rockets vs. Mavericks Odds
Rockets (-1.5) -110
Mavericks (+1.5) -110
Rockets to Win -125
Mavericks to Win +105
Over 225.5 -110
The odds for this game are none of the shocking. It’s a very tightly priced game and grades out as a borderline pick’em. Bovada has the Rockets as slight favorites, but the pricing is similar no matter where you look.
I’m not too keen on Dallas at +1.5 as things stand, while +105 doesn’t really get me that excited, either. Houston feels like the better overall team at first glance, so if I am going straight up, I would likely just stick with them and eat the -125 price.
The most interesting bet is the Over, as these teams put up a ton of points, and neither defend all that well. Their previous two games combined for well over 240 points both times this year, with the only deterrent being rust and the relocation factor.
Rockets vs. Mavs Matchup Breakdown
The Rockets won the most recent meeting (128-121) in Houston, where they used a 36-point third quarter to pull away.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook did most of the heavy lifting (67 total points), but it’s difficult to take too much away from a game where Luka Doncic wasn’t active. Considering Doncic dropped 41 points in a wild 137-123 win in the other game they played, his presence is kind of meaningful.
Dallas runs everything through Doncic, as they play at a slow but fairly methodical pace. It tends to work out, as Doncic breathes life into the league’s most efficient offense.
Houston plays way faster (3rd in pace) and is just as efficient (literally second), so finding a key differentiator between these two teams is next to impossible.
The Rockets do have Robert Covington and kicked Clint Capela to the curb, and it’ll be interesting to see how these two now measure up.
Houston’s focus is scoring the ball and hoping they end up with more points than the other team, yet both of these teams are right around the middle of the league in terms of defensive efficiency.
This matchup comes down to making shots and being efficient, which makes it an arguable toss-up. Both of these teams are top-two in three-pointers made and offensive efficiency, so we’re looking at a shootout one way or another.
Prediction and Pick
You can struggle to pick a side here, but the reality is both of these teams pile on the points and hope they did enough damage to get the win. More often than not, they do, but it’s problematic for NBA bettors when they face each other.
Dallas would have the slight edge, just because they’re more consistent in actually making their outside shots (top-10), and they also defend the paint a bit better. They should maintain a steady size advantage on the Rockets, too, which could allow them to dominate the glass in this matchup.
The Mavs may be the better straight-up pick at their +105 price, but the Over is the real play for me. I know restarting the season leaves everyone subject to major rust and comfortability issues, but the talent and styles in this game demand a lot of points.
Based on what the Rockets and Mavs have done against each other this year — and just in general on their own all season long — this total is actually probably way too low. I don’t mind Dallas to win, but the Over is the bet to hammer in this game.
Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.
When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.