Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview and Pick

Utah Jazz +3.5 (47-30) at Dallas Mavericks -3.5 (46-31) O/U 207 9:30 PM ET Wednesday April 8, 2009

By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Tonight the Utah Jazz head south to the Lone Star State to play the Dallas Mavericks. Unless the Mavs have a late season collapse they will make the playoffs, as they have a 4 game lead over the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot. The Mavs are currently in the 8th position in the West and the Jazz are in the 7th position.

The Jazz only have a 1 game lead over the Mavs and the team that can avoid the number 8 seed in the playoffs will not have to face the L.A. Lakers in the first round.

There are only 5 games left in the regular season, but only 3.5 games separate the 4th seed in the West with the 8th seed. The Lakers are hoping the Mavs can move past the Jazz, as they do not want to face Utah in the first round. The Jazz could really help their cause by moving up to the 4th position to host a first round series, as they are only 15-23 on the road this season. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games and both are coming off a win.

Hoops bookies have the Mavs as 3.5 point favorites in this game with a total around 207. The Mavs are posted at -145 as home favorites and the Jazz are posted at -125 as road dogs.

This season the Mavs are 28-9 at home and the Jazz are only 15-23 on the road.

The Mavs come into this game after spanking the Phoenix Suns on Sunday 140-116. The high scorer for the Mavs in that game was Dirk Nowitzki going for 28 points on 10/12 shooting. For the game the Mavs could not miss, as they shot 51/85 from the floor for a scorching FG% of 60%. On D the Mavs allowed the Suns to shoot 40/81 for a FG% of 49.4%.

The Jazz come into this game after beating the New Orleans Hornets 108-94 on Sunday. The high scorer for the Jazz in that game was Ronnie Brewer going for 23 points on 11/16 shooting. For the game the Jazz shot 45/84 for a FG% of 53.6%. On D the Jazz allowed the Hornets to shoot 38/71 for a FG% of 53.5%.

This season the Jazz rank 7th in scoring (103.5 ppg) and the Mavs rank 10th (101.7 ppg). On D these teams are pretty damn even, as the Mavs rank 15th in points allowed (100.1 ppg) and the Jazz are right behind at 16th (100.2 ppg). Both of these teams are decent on the glass, as the Mavs have a rebounding differential of +1 rpg and the Jazz are at +0.6 rpg.

This season the Mavs are 37-40 ATS and the Jazz are 38-39. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Mavs are 36-40-1 and the Jazz are 39-36-2.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

In their 3 games this season the home team has won each game and the Jazz have lost 10 of their last 11 games in Dallas.

The PG match up is a good one with Deron Williams (19.2 ppg) vs. Jason Kidd (9.2 ppg). Kidd will have to play good D against the scoring Williams and Williams has to keep Kidd from penetrating and recording many assists. Backup PG Jason Terry (19.6 ppg) can light up the scoreboard, so Williams has to deal with him as well.

Much like the PG match up the PF match up is between two players with contrasting styles, as Carlos Boozer (16 ppg 10.6 rpg) is a banger who likes to get his points in the paint, while Dirk Nowitzki (25.6 ppg 8.3 ppg) can shoot the rock with the best of them, but is not afraid to go inside. The player that wins the battle of the boards between these two players may be the key in this game.

If Erick Dampier can keep Mehmet Okur (17.1 ppg) from having a big scoring game the Mavs will be on good shape.

Josh Howard has been bothered by a lingering ankle problem, but came back strong last game going for 24 points. When he is on the floor and scoring it is tough to stop the Mavs.

In jockeying for playoff positioning the Mavs have a tougher remaining schedule than the Jazz, as they only play one sub .500 team, while the Jazz play 2 sub .500 teams.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Utah Jazz and the points!