“Get ya popcorn ready!” as we’re in for a classic Western Conference showdown as the Dallas Mavericks ride into the Golden 1 Center to take on the Sacramento Kings. This Monday night affair has totals lined at 223½, which should go over given the gunslinging nature of these teams.
Luka Doncic leads the Mavericks (33-26) as 5½-point favorites or -220 on the betting lines. Sacramento (24-36), without star player De’Aaron Fox and on the second night of a back-to-back, is +180.
Mavericks: El Matador
His name is Luka Doncic. He’s the superstar from Slovenia. But he’s gunslinging like a Clint Eastwood Western. “Luka Magic,” or whatever you want to call it, the 6-foot-7 phenom has continued to wow fans with his antics.
Doncic is posting numbers similar to last season: 28.5 points, 8.8 assists and eight rebounds with a 55.5 effective field goal percentage (EFG%). But what that doesn’t capture are his game-winning or game-clinching shots.
Luka Doncic. Calling the game. pic.twitter.com/dw1Zs0mHSp
— Mavericks Latam (@DallasMavsLATAM) April 25, 2021
Doncic has made off-balance three-pointers and Damian Lillard-ranged shots an everyday thing. Notably, Doncic’s EFG% is at its peak (57.9%) when there is less than three minutes left in a quarter. Only 11.4% of his baskets are assisted, his lowest ratio.
That’s why the 22-year-old, aptly named “El Matador” in Spain, is the most double-teamed player in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers tried to abuse that the other night, but Doncic simply had center Dwight Powell rolling as the Mavs extended their winning streak.
Kings: One-Way Basketball
The Sacramento Kings play basketball like it’s a ’90s-style video game. This is a team that loves scoring so much they do it on their end and let their opponents do it on theirs. Sacramento is ranked 11th in offensive rating and 30th in defensive rating.
The Kings allow the highest EFG% with teams shooting 56.2% against them. Add the fast pace this team plays at and it’s why 33 of their 60 games have gone over. At home, that’s 19 of 30.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings also get more lackadaisical on defense. The team allows 121.1 points and scores 115.5, the highest totals in rest splits. And even without Fox, the Kings managed to score 113 points with a two-to-one, assist-to-turnover ratio against a decent defensive team, the Golden State Warriors.
Sacramento got big performances from forward Harrison Barnes, guard Tyrese Haliburton, and guard Buddy Hield, who combined to score 72 points on 55% shooting. The trio will have their work cut out for them as the rest of the team can’t offer much, however.
The Dallas Mavericks should get this one done and 5½ points is a fair number per the NBA betting odds. But the Mavs have only covered on three of their last 10 spreads and are 5-4 as a favorite. This team can beat the elite and lose to the bad.
And laying money on the Kings, even at dog money, is a fool’s errand. Instead, take the totals to go over 223½ as these two teams should just alternate scoring baskets. The Mavs and Kings are just outside the top 10 in offensive efficiency while they’re both in the bottom third of the league on defense.
Dallas plays a bit of a slower pace than most teams. But the last time they met, the totals went for 228 and both teams combined for 27 three-pointers. The Kings won as +330 underdogs thanks to shooting almost 50%.
Both teams should continue scoring in bunches here, but I expect a better performance from Dallas. As a side bet, take them to score the highest quarter at -140.