Dallas Mavericks (31-15) +4, 199 at Orlando Magic (31-18), 7 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of Predictem.com
Third place in the Eastern Conference meets third in the West when the Dallas Mavericks visit the Orlando Magic Monday night.
Basketball Sportsbooks list Orlando as four-point home favorites for Monday’s game, with a total of 199. The Magic are also listed at around -180 on the various moneylines, with Dallas getting +160 as road underdogs.
The Mavericks had won four straight games but lost at Boston last Thursday 96-90, then shot 30% from the field in a 90-67 defeat at Detroit Sunday. So heading into this week’s action, Dallas sits in second place in the Southwest Division, just a game back of the first-place New Orleans Hornets. The Mavs also own the third-best record in the Western Conference, just a game and a half behind the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
Orlando has won four games in a row and seven of its last eight after beating Indiana Saturday 121-115, shooting 56% from the floor in the process. So going into Monday’s play, the Magic sit atop the Southeast Division, 5 games better than the second-place Washington Wizards, and own the three spot in the Eastern Conference.
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Dallas owns one of the biggest home/road discrepancies in the league this season. The Mavs are 20-3 in Big D, but just 11-12 on the road. Dallas is also 19-23 against the spread this season, 9-14 ATS on the road.
Meanwhile, Orlando is a profitable 30-18 vs. the numbers this season, but only 12-8 SU and 11-8-1 ATS at home.
The Mavericks swept two games from the Magic last season by scores of 103-98 and 111-95, and beat Orlando in the first meeting between these two teams this season 111-108 in Dallas in December. All three of the most recent games in the series between these two teams have gone over their totals, by averaging 209 total points. And both teams have been very efficient at putting the ball in the hole in those last three meetings; the Mavs have shot a cumulative 54% from the floor, the Magic 50%.
Statistically speaking, Dallas ranks 8th in the league in point differential at +4.2 per game, Orlando 9th at +3.5.
The Mavericks are shooting 47% from the field as a team this season, 35% from 3-point land and a league-leading 82% from the free-throw line. On the other end of the court, the Magic are shooting 47% from the floor, 37% from long range but just 73% from the line.
But Dallas has struggled mightily from beyond the arc in its two recent defeats, going six for 36 total vs. Boston Thursday and Detroit Sunday.
Also, while the Mavs rank 5th in the league in rebounding at +2.3 per game, Orlando ranks 14th at +.8 per game.
On the injury front, Dallas guard Devin Harris has missed the Mavericks’ last three games with a bum ankle, and fellow guard Jerry Stackhouse has missed the last five games with a bad hammy. Both are out for Monday’s game.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Dallas 7th at 94.8, the Magic 8th at 94.3. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.2.
The o/u is 22-24 in Mavs games this season, which are averaging 196 total points, while the totals are 24-23 in Orlando games, which are averaging 204 points.
Zman’s Pick: Orlando -4.