Dallas Mavericks (47-28), +5.5, o/u 207 vs. Los Angeles Lakers (51-24), -5.5, o/u 207, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, 10:30 p.m. Eastern, Friday
By Oracle of Predictem.com
Sure, the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers have been in the heat of the Western Conference playoff run for basically the entire season and are two of elite teams in the NBA. That’s not the only thing they have in common.
Both squads received a huge lift when they each got a key player back on Wednesday night for the final playoff push.
The Mavericks were surprised to hear that Dirk Nowitzki would be making his comeback on Wednesday against Golden State from what looked like a severe a knee/ankle injury After missing just four games much less than expected - Nowitzki helped his Mavericks to a huge victory over the Warriors by scoring 18 points against a team they are battling with for a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, the Lakers breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Pau Gasol return to their lineup. Gasol scored 10 points, grabbed 8 boards and dished out 7 assists while playing 32 minutes in his first game in nearly three weeks since his ankle injury.
The Lakers went just 5-5 in Gasol’s absence while going 15-4 after acquiring him in a trade from the Memphis Grizzlies in February.
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Now all Los Angeles needs is their center of the future back, Andrew Bynum, and they’ll be at full strength heading into the playoffs. The Lakers are hoping he returns before the end of the regular season.
The game between Dallas and Los Angeles, scheduled to be televised Friday night on ESPN, has playoff implications tied to it. The Mavs still sit at the seventh spot in the West, trying to stave off Denver and Golden State. The three teams are separated by just 2 games.
The Lakers are looking to improve their conference standings, as they’re just 1 games out of first in the West and in the Pacific Division, right behind New Orleans.
These two squads have already met three times this year, as L.A. is 2-1 straight up. Each team covered the spread once, while the third game was a push.
This time around, the Lakers are favored 5.5 to open up. The over/under opened at 207 and is slowly creeping up.
Two out of the three games these teams have played has gone over the set total.
Kobe Bryant has done his damage against Dallas this season, but that can be said when he plays against most teams.
Bryant had a 52-point output in the Lakers’ 108-104 overtime win just over a month ago. He also tallied 40 points in a 112-105 loss in Dallas.
The only time Dallas beat Los Angeles this season is with Devin Harris at the point guard. Since acquiring Jason Kidd from the Nets, the Mavs haven’t gotten to the Lakers.
Bettors shouldn’t mind Dallas being in the underdogs, though, heading into the Staples Center, as the dog is 9-3-1 in the last 13 games of this series. The Mavs covered against Golden State on Wednesday and are 5-1 ATS in their last six following a game in which they covered.
The over is a huge trend for both teams. The over is 8-0 for Dallas in their last eight games as a road underdog. The Lakers love to put the ball in the hole on Friday’s, too, as the over is 9-2 in their last 11 Friday games.
The question to ponder for bettors is which big man will help his team most in their second game back from injury?
Oracle’s Pick: We’re bucking the trend tonight and looking for an UNDER 208.5 to hit.