NBA Expert Betting Analysis: Jazz vs. Mavericks: Will Luka Doncic Play Game 1?

NBA Expert Betting Analysis: Jazz vs. Mavericks: Will Luka Doncic Play Game 1?

Written by on April 14, 2022

One of the biggest questions entering the NBA playoffs is whether Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic will be healthy to face the Utah Jazz. Dallas hosts Utah in Game 1 of their West first-round matchup on Saturday and the Jazz are favored on the NBA odds, meaning that sportsbooks don’t think Doncic will play.

How to Bet Utah at Dallas NBA Odds & TV Info

When: Saturday, 1 PM ET
Where: American Airlines Center
Stream: ESPN app
NBA Odds: Jazz -4.5 (total 214.5)

Season Series

Utah and Dallas split two meetings. The Mavs won the most recent 114-100 at home on March 27 behind 32 points from Luka Doncic. Reggie Bullock connected on a season-high seven 3-pointers, finishing with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting beyond the arc. He had consecutive 3s in the middle of the fourth quarter to give Dallas its biggest lead to that point at 17. The Jazz didn’t have Rudy Gobert or Bojan Bogdanovic. Donovan Mitchell wasn’t 100 percent and had just 12 points.

The teams will meet in the postseason for the third time, but the first time in a best-of-7 series (Dallas defeated Utah twice in an opening-round best-of-5 series, winning 3-1 in 1986 and 3-2 in 2001).

Why Bet on Utah?

The Jazz finished the regular with a 49-33 record, earning their fifth Northwest Division Title, and fifth-seed in the Western Conference. It marks Utah’s sixth-straight playoff appearance, which is the longest active playoff streak in the Western Conference. Utah is anxious to recover from a pair of painful recent playoff exits, in 2020 to Denver and last season to the Clippers (who were without Kawhi Leonard).

Jazz leading scorer Donovan Mitchell didn’t play in Sunday’s regular-season finale with a non-COVID illness, but there’s no way he doesn’t play here. A few Jazz starters got that one off. Mitchell was 9th in the NBA in scoring this season (25.9). Mitchell averaged 12.4 points per contest as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll play types, which is second-best in the NBA and he holds the highest effective field goal percentage (53.8) of the top five players in that category. Teammate Rudy Gobert averaged the most screen assists per game in the NBA (6.3).

Mitchell has established himself as one of the premier playoff scorers in NBA history. He ranks fifth all-time in playoff points per game at 28.9 (minimum 25 games), behind only Kevin Durant among active players. Alas, it hasn’t resulted in a deep playoff run. Dominique Wilkins is the only other player among the top 20 in career playoff points per game to never appear in a conference finals.

Gobert averaged 15.6 points on 71.3 percent from the field while grabbing 14.7 rebounds. He became the only player in NBA history to average 15 points and 14 boards while also shooting better than 70 percent from the field.

Last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson, continued his bench productivity this season, averaging 15.9 points per contest as a reserve. Clarkson hit 186 threes, the most in the NBA this season by a reserve.

Why Bet on Dallas?

Dallas is set to make its third straight playoff appearance and the 24th in the franchise’s 42-year history. The Mavericks have now made the playoffs 18 times in the last 22 seasons. San Antonio (19) and Boston (18) are the only teams with as many postseason appearances in that span (since 2000-01). The Mavericks (52-30) enter the 2022 postseason as the No. 4 seed – their highest seed since earning the No. 3 seed in their championship season in 2011.

Dallas finished the regular season by winning four straight, 7-of-8, 9-of-11, 17-of-22, 19-of-25, 23-of-30, and 36-of-48 to improve to a season-high 22 games above .500. The Mavericks posted a home record of 29-12 (.707) in 2021-22. It is their most home wins since their championship season in 2010-11 (29-12). Dallas finished the regular season winning six straight.

The Mavericks finished the regular season allowing the second-fewest points in the NBA (104.7 ppg), just behind Boston (104.5 ppg). It marked the first time in franchise history that Dallas finished a season better than fourth in points allowed (finished 4th four times: 1988-89, 1989-90, 2006-07 and 2016-17).

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic strained his left calf in Sunday’s season finale and it’s not clear if he will play in Game 1. Seems a bit of a long shot. Guard Spencer Dinwiddie likely would start in his spot. Doncic does have a track record of playing through injuries in the playoffs. He dealt with a sprained ankle and a cervical neck strain during last year’s playoff series against the LA Clippers. However, there’s always a risk when playing through a leg injury due to the threat of further injury.

“I haven’t gotten any indication that he won’t be (playing), so I’m preparing as if he will be,” Dinwiddie said. “They haven’t told us anything. They haven’t said be ready.

Doncic put together yet another stellar regular season with averages of 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists. He averaged at least 28.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game for the second time in the last three years (28.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 8.8 apg in 2019-20) and now has two of the seven such seasons in NBA history. (Oscar Robertson, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63 and 1963-64 and Russell Westbrook, 2016-17, have recorded the other 5). Doncic tallied 25+ points in 29 of his final 36 games in 2021-22, including 30+ points 23 times in that span. He averaged 31.5 points (.476 FG, .396 3FG), 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists over his final 36 games (1/19-4/10/22).

The Mavericks fought back from down double digits to win 17 times this season (tied with Phoenix for the most such wins in the NBA in 2021-22).

Game Trends

Jazz are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games as a road favorite.
Jazz are 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
Jazz are 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 road games.
Mavericks are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Mavericks are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog.
Jazz are 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

Expert Prediction
Jazz 108, Mavericks 106 | Bet the Game Today


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