Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets – NBA, April 7, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 7, 2021 7:31 am PDT

Top of the Southwest Division meets the bottom, as the Mavericks take on the Rockets at the Toyota Center. These two teams come into this game in contrasting form as the Mavericks are playing some of their best basketball of the season and are going from strength to strength while the Rockets must be wondering where their next win will come from.

The Rockets have beaten the Mavericks on three of the last four occasions they have met, including a comprehensive victory back in January. They had one of their best games of the season that night as they failed to lose one-quarter of the game on their way to a 25-point victory.

The two teams have traded wins over the previous six meetings in Houston, and if that pattern continues tonight, then the Rockets will find themselves back in the win column for the first time in a while.

Here is my Mavericks vs. Rockets betting preview.

Mavericks vs. Rockets Odds

Mavericks -11-110
Rockets +11-110
Mavericks To Win-620
Rockets To Win+475
Over 223.5 Points-110
Under 223.5 Points-110

The Mavericks are overwhelming favorites, as everyone is these days against the Rockets. When they met in January last, the Rockets were given a seven-point lead on that night, but as we know, they didn’t actually need a start and won the game comfortably straight up. The points total looks low and, at first glance, definitely appears to offer value. When they last met, the total was set at 222-points, and they smashed that total out of the water by combining for 241-points.

The Rockets haven’t won a home game all season against teams in their own Southwest Division.

Mavericks Analysis

The Mavericks are starting to find their way at the business end of the season, and they have picked up five wins a row, their best run of the season. This includes beating the top of the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz, last time out. Not only did they beat a team that has the best record in the NBA this season, but they also snapped a nine-game win streak for the Jazz, which makes the win even more impressive.

Their form on the road this season has been better than their form in Dallas. They have won 16 and lost 11 of their 27 road trips to date. They have only lost one of their previous seven away fixtures and have won the last four in a row.

Here are the latest betting trends for Dallas:

Against The Spread

  • They have won all of their last five games in a row.
  • The Mavericks are 6-3 in their previous nine matches against the Rockets.
  • Dallas has only lost one of their last seven games on the road.
  • They have won on five of their previous six visits to Houston.

This confirms their good form and highlights the fact that the Rockets will be up against it tonight.

Points Total

  • Six of their last seven games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five matches played in April has failed to go under the points total.

The data suggests we could be in for a low-scoring game this evening.

Other Pointers

  • Dallas is 4-13 in their last 17 games against the Rockets.
  • They have won four of their previous five matches against Western Conference opposition.

Although they have a good record against Houston recently, history suggests it might not be a foregone conclusion tonight.

Despite having a respectable field goal percentage of 47%, the Mavericks offense has been sub-standard this season. However, they have performed better on the road this season, averaging a couple more points per game, which has helped them over the line more often than not.

More often than not, they are being let down by a poor offensive rebounding unit, which has figures that are amongst the worst in the league this season. However, I think this is because they like to drive the ball to the basket frequently, which is confirmed by their low assists stats.

Although they don’t make many assists, they use the ball well as they have the third-lowest turnovers count in the league this season.

Their defense has been excellent this season, as it was on their last two road trips when they held the Knicks to 86-points and the Wizards to 87-points.

However, there is plenty of room for improvement, such as making more steals per game as they currently have the lowest average in the NBA.

Luka Doncic has been in impeccable form this season and finds himself in the top five for scoring and assisting this season. He had a superb game against the Jazz last time out, scoring 31 points and leading his team to victory. Although you have to wonder if the Mavericks are becoming too reliant on their Slovenian superstar?

With an ever-growing injury list, it would certainly seem the case right now. They are currently missing both Redick and Cauley-Stein, while there are doubts over Burke and Terry also. However, they are hopeful that Porzingis will return tonight following a wrist injury.

Rockets Analyis

The Rockets find themselves amid a five-game losing streak. The last time they went on a run like this, it took them 21 attempts to pick up a victory. However, they will be encouraged because they pushed the Suns close last time out, who were on a run of eight wins from their previous nine matches heading into that game.

Unfortunately, the Rockets have the worst home record in the Western Conference to contend with tonight as they have only picked up six victories all season. They have lost their previous four games in Houston and will be desperate to end that run tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Houston:

Against The Spread

  • Houston is 5-15 in their previous 20 matches.
  • They have lost all of their last five games against Southwest Divisional opponents.

These stats don’t bode well for the Rockets and suggest taking them on against the handicap.

Points Total

  • Four of their last six games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five matches against Dallas has failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in five of their last six encounters with Western Conference opposition.
  • Nine of their previous 11 matches played on a Wednesday have gone under the betting total.

Generally, you would have to say that the stats point towards a high-scoring game.

Other Pointers

  • The Rockets have only won one of their previous 16 games played in Houston.
  • Houston is 2-18 in their last 20 matches.

With stats like these, it’s easy to see why they are routed to the bottom of the Division.

The Rockets are struggling in attack, and it is no wonder when you take a look at their dreadful shooting figures. They have the second-lowest success rate from the three-point range, which is why when they have fallen behind in games, they haven’t been able to recover. It doesn’t get any better from closer range either, as they still find themselves second-last in the field goal percentage rankings.

Their offense is averaging 105-points per game at home, making them the worst attacking home team in the NBA this season.

Unfortunately for them, their defense hasn’t been any better this season as they are also ranked 24th in the league.

They also find themselves towards the bottom of the rankings when it comes to rebounding and when you can’t shoot, and you can’t rebound, it can only end in defeat, which has been the case more often than not.

There is very little doubt that the Rockets are planning for next season, and it appears they have been ever since Harden left for the Nets early on in the season. However, if they continue to decline throughout the remainder of the season, you feel it will be hard to attract any decent players.

It doesn’t help that they have a long list of injuries to contend with either. They will miss Gordon, Exum, House Junior, and Nwaba tonight. There are also fitness concerns over Wall, who has been struggling with a knee injury. However, they are hopeful of having Bradley back in the team tonight, which would give them a boost.

Mavericks vs. Rockets Betting Pick

  • Rockets +11

This is a tricky game to call, and my thoughts have swung back and forth as I have deliberated over it. My initial thoughts were that the points total looked low, and while I still believe that to be the case, I am struggling to bring myself to back an offense as bad as the Rockets one has been this season. I know they have looked better recently, and this was evident against the Suns last time out, but the Mavericks defense has been superb as of late, and the Rockets may find it more difficult to trouble the scoreboard.

I’m going to take the Rockets with the handicap as they have only once been beaten by this sort of margin in their previous six home games, and I believe the game against the Suns will have given them great confidence.



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