WE’RE officially two weeks into the new NBA season and we’re already getting the full regular season experience, with late injuries, unscheduled rest & some inexplicable fourth quarter collapses.
Today’s slate doesn’t offer a ton of excitement for bettors but here’s one that stands out for me.
Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks
Dallas play host to Miami in today’s marquee game as the hosts will try to put forth a better showing against one of the league’s best teams right now.
The Mavericks are off to a 4-2 start to the season, but those wins have been them picking off weaker opposition in often unconvincing manner.
Their two losses this season have come against top-tier opposition – although neither one has performed as strongly as this Miami Heat team. The Mavs were 31-point losers in Denver last week and were 26-point losers at Atlanta before that. Not only did they fail to stay with their opponents when stepping up in opposition but they were held to sub-90 points on both outings and struggled to score at almost every level.
The absence of Maxi Kleber, who has provided much needed 3-point shooting and floor spacing, is a huge loss to an already stagnant offence. Kristaps Porzingis also remains a Game Time Decision (GTD) for this game, but his inclusion won’t necessarily provide much spark & might just interfere with the teams offensive sets given his role.
It’s also worth noting that the Mavs face a rest disadvantage in this one as they play their fourth game in six nights, while the Heat come in off of two days rest – a rare luxury in the NBA.
Meanwhile, things for Miami couldn’t be going much better. Coach Erik Spoelstra has this side running as efficiently as could ask, with his team ranking top-5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency to start the year.
The team is getting MVP-level contributions from Jimmy Butler, who is back to the dominant force he was in the bubble a couple seasons back. Bam Adebayo & Tyler Herro are also back to the play we saw from them in Orlando when this team reached the NBA Finals, with the latter certainly asserting himself as a frontrunner for 6th Man of The Year honours.
My number on this game shows the Heat as closer to 4.0-point favourites in this spot and I expect the road side to cover this number against a pretty lacklustre Mavs team.
Our best bet: Miami Heat -2.0