Mavericks vs. Heat Expert Pick - April 1st, 2023
MAVERICKS VS. HEAT EXPERT PICK - APRIL 1st, 2023 - Greetings basketball fans. Welcome back to our weekly column where we break down some of the marquee matchups from the weekend’s slate of NBA games.
Our Saturday preview features a pair of teams that need a win in the worst way. The Miami Heat (40-37), who are currently in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference will host the Dallas Mavericks (37-40), who are on the outside of the playoff picture in the rugged Western Conference.
Let’s dive into this matchup to see which team has the edge.
A Tale of Two Teams Going in the Same Direction
The Kyrie Factor
The Mavericks were the No. 6 seed at the trade deadline. When the team acquired Kyrie Irving to play alongside Luka Doncic, the expectation was the team would at least maintain its position in the conference playoff race.
Unfortunately, that has not come to fruition. Dallas has dropped five of its last six games, including a 116-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. Their recent slide has dropped them to the 11th spot in the conference.
While they trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by just a half-game for the last spot in the play-in tournament, it’s no surprise that Doncic has been visibly frustrated as of late. After all, we are talking about a team that went to the conference finals last season. Now, the Mavericks are on the brink of missing the playoffs altogether. With just five games left in the regular season, the Mavericks need to turn things around, and in a hurry.
Can the Heat Score?
While Miami is in somewhat of a better position, this team’s level of play isn’t anything to be overly excited about, either.
For starters, the 108.7 points per game scoring average is dead last in the association. The Heat are 5-5 over their last 10 outings, but they have dropped each of their last three games against the Brooklyn Nets (129-120), Toronto Raptors (106-92), and the New York Knicks (101-92).
During their recent three-game skid, Miami is averaging 94.7 points per contest, which is 14 points lower than their league-worst season average. On the flip side of the narrative, the Heat are ranked in the top 10 in both scoring defense (2nd – 109.8 points per contest) and defensive rating (9th – 113.3 points per 100 possessions). With that being said, Miami will need to rely heavily on its defensive prowess to snap its three-game losing streak.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat Head-To-Head & Betting Trends
Coming into the 2022-23 campaign, the two teams had split their previous six meetings. However, the Mavericks won the first regular-season matchup between the two ball clubs 115-90 back in January. Luka Doncic led the way with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.
That win gave Dallas its fourth win in five tries against Miami. After a poor showing in that contest, Miami will be looking to even the score this time around.
The projected O/U total opened at 224.5. At the time of this writing, this line has not moved.
The Under has a 5-0 record in the Mavericks' last five road contests when facing an opponent with a home winning percentage of more than .600. Miami’s home winning percentage is .641.
The projected O/U total has gone UNDER in each of the Mavericks' last seven road games when facing an opponent with an overall winning record. Miami is 40-37. Additionally, the UNDER is 9-1-1 in Dallas’s last 11 games following an outing in which they scored 100 points or more. They scored 108 points against the Sixers on Wednesday night.
The UNDER is 7-2 for Miami in its last nine games in which they have faced an opponent with an overall losing record. The Mavericks are 37-40.
The UNDER has a 5-2 mark in Miami’s last seven home games when they’ve played against a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400. Dallas is just 15-24 on the road, which equates to a .385 winning percentage.
Given the above trends, I would strongly suggest going with the UNDER in this matchup.
The Miami Heat are favored to win this contest by one point. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
The Mavericks have a 3-1-1 mark against the spread in their last five contests in which they’ve faced an opponent with a winning home record. Miami is 25-14 at home this season.
At the same token, Dallas is just 2-10-2 ATS in the last 14 games when the team has played on two days of rest. The last game occurred on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Meanwhile, the Heat are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games overall, and just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 home games.
In their last 26 home games, Miami is 7-18-1 ATS against teams with a losing record. As it was previously mentioned, Dallas has won only 15 of its 39 road games.
Miami is 1-4 ATS in its last five Saturday games and 2-10 the last 12 times they’ve played on two days of rest.
Overall, Dallas is 29-45-3 ATS this season, while Miami is 28-47-2.
Based on these trends, this is basically a coin toss in terms of trying to predict which team will cover the given spread in this one. I’m picking Miami to win, but I believe Dallas will cover the +1 spread.
Player Prop Bet
My player to watch in this matchup is Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic. He currently has the same odds (-115) of scoring more and less than 29.5 points.
Doncic has played nine games against the Miami Heat. In those contests, he is averaging just 22.2 points per game, which is 7.3 points less than the projected total.
However, he has surpassed the 30-point threshold in two of his last three games against Miami. Doncic is averaging 30.6 points per game in his last 10 outings, and he is averaging 30.2 points per contest in 26 road games. Furthermore, Doncic is averaging a career-best 32.8 points per game this season.
Simply put, I’m predicting that Doncic will exceed the projected 29.5-point total.
Under 224.5 total points
PPB: Luka Doncic OVER 29.5 points