Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks Betting Preview – NBA, March 3, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 3, 2021 9:28 am PDT

The Thunder are hoping to cook up a storm in Dallas tonight! Both teams sit outside of a playoff berth in the Western Conference, and the gap is starting to widen, which they will have to be conscious of.

The two teams have alternated wins over their previous seven encounters, which would make it the Thunders turn to win tonight should that trend continue. However, the Mavericks have been by far the better team in Dallas and have won four of the last five matches played there. During that run, the Thunder’s only win was a narrow one-point victory in overtime, so they haven’t enjoyed things in Dallas over the past three to four years.

Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.

Thunder vs. Mavericks Odds

Thunder +8-110
Mavericks -8-110
Thunder To Win+270
Mavericks To Win-250
Over 223.5 Points-110
Under 223.5 Points-110

The spread looks a good three of four points bigger than I expected it to be here, and the points total looks quite big too.

Thunder News

The Thunder come into this game in somewhat decent form, having won three of their previous five matches. Their two defeats came when they failed to score over 100 points in either game, so they will have to hope that their attack is on point tonight.

Their form on the road has been indifferent as they have won eight and lost nine of their 17 road trips this season. They ended a run of five straight away defeats last time out when they comfortably beat the resurging Cavaliers. They dominated the game from start to finish and managed not to lose one-quarter of the contest. Their shooting that night was magnificent as they finished the game with a 54% field goal percentage and a success rate of 46% from the three-point range.

Here are the latest betting trends for Oklahoma City:

Bet Type Trend
Total Seven of their previous ten games have gone under the betting total.
SU Oklahoma is 4-8 in their last 12 matches.
ATS They have only won two of their previous nine games against Dallas.
SU The Thunder have lost six of their last nine games against the Mavericks.
SU Oklahoma has only won one of their previous six road trips.
ATS They have not won any of the last six games played in Dallas.
SU The Thunder have struggled against teams in the Western Conference, winning only one of their previous seven games against them.
Total The total has gone under in seven of their last ten matches against teams based in the Southwest Division.
ATS Oklahoma is 4-9 in their previous 13 games played in March.

There is an awful lot of data to decipher here, but I read the above to mean that the Thunder could struggle tonight in a low-scoring game.

The Thunder have an awful offense this season that has only averaged 106 points per game. Their shooting has been a particular concern for them, and they need to replicate more nights like they had against the Cavaliers when they were last on the road. Oklahoma has been particularly bad at shooting from deep, where they have a success rate of only 34%. They haven’t even shot well from the free-throw line, so you do have to question their capabilities in this department.

Their offensive rebounding has also been appalling, which is a shock as they are getting plenty of practice this season looking at their shooting figures.

Their defense has been average at best this season, and the combination of the two is why they have struggled throughout. However, they have defended better on the road this season, conceding on average three fewer points per game.

They have rebounded much better in defense, averaging 36 rebounds per game which is the third-highest in the NBA. I believe this is down to keeping a good shape, and their players don’t often get pulled out of position. This means they are well-drilled defensively, and here they are, going through those drills in preparation for tonight.

The Thunder will miss trio Ariza, Hill, and Diallo for tonight’s matchup.

Mavericks News

The Mavericks season has taken a turn for the better since the beginning of February as they have only dropped two games from their previous ten matches. They are playing by far their best basketball of the season right now, and they have all the momentum heading into this matchup. During this run, they have shown a nice blend of basketball by winning both low and high-scoring games, proving that they can do it at both ends of the court.

Their form in Dallas has been sketchy at times as they have a split 8-8 record from their 16 home fixtures. However, seven of those wins have come in their previous eight home games, so this will be a tough ask for the Thunder here tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Dallas:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Mavericks are 5-13 in their last 18 games.
Total Four of their previous five games have gone under the betting total.
Total Only one of their last six games against the Thunder has failed to go under the points total.
ATS They have only won two of their previous 12 games against opponents from the West Coast.
Total The total has gone over in six of their last eight games against teams based in the Northwest Division.
Total Seven of their previous ten matches played in March have gone under the betting total.

It’s hard to read into the data too much as there always seems to be one trend that contradicts the others and to be wary of. The thing that stands out for me is that although the Mavericks come into this game in tremendous form, the bookmakers have overestimated them quite a lot recently. Could that be the case again tonight?

Dallas has an average-looking offense that has been known to shoot well at times this season. However, like their opponents tonight, they have rebounded well, and this will be an exciting contest between them in this department tonight.

One of their most significant assets is controlling the ball and managing the game by dictating the pace. This means that they don’t tend to make too many turnovers, which is a good thing as they don’t make many steals.

Their defense isn’t great, and they have conceded on average 113 points per game this season.

Slovenian Luka Doncic continues to raise the bar every night as he did against the Magic last time by scoring 33 points and making ten rebounds and nine assists. If he continues to raise the bar, the Mavericks might need a new roof on the American Airlines Center. However, it remains questionable whether he will feature tonight as he struggles with a back problem.

As well as Doncic, they are also fitness concerns over Cauley-Stein, who missed the win over the Magic with a thumb injury.

Thunder vs. Mavericks Pick

Pick
  • Under 223.5 Points
    -110

To me, these are two average teams with one exception for the Mavericks, Luka Doncic. Doncic is one of the best players around at the moment and has been unplayable at times recently. Don’t believe me? Just ask James Harden of the Nets. However, he is doubtful to play tonight, and even if he does, you have to question how fit he will be. I’m torn between picking the Thunder with the handicap or under the points total.

I’m going to go with under the points total as the Mavericks do have a lot of momentum coming into this game, and you never know that could carry them to a wide range of margin victory over a lackluster Thunder team.

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