NBA Saturday Preview

NBA Saturday Preview With less than a week away from the big game, the Super Bowl odds are up as are various NFL predictions. With all the focus on these bets, many are overlooking some pretty lucrative match ups in the other sports. This game is one such example:

Saturday 9:00 PM EST Portland Trail Blazers (27-20, 11-11 away, 6th in the Western Conference) @ Dallas Mavericks (30-16, 14-7 home, 3rd in the Western Conference)

Bookmaker Reviews:

Spread: Mavericks -8.5

Total: 193

Money Lines: Dallas – 180, Portland +160

The Dallas Mavericks have been rolling through their schedule grabbing wins of all kinds of late. A game after blowing out the Knicks in MSG by 50, they barely held on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks by one point. The Mavs are coming off a 112-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday where the backups for the Suns outplayed the bench of the Mavericks to the tune of 41-26 in bench scoring. The Dallas bench which in years past was a strength of the team, has lost a little bit of its luster this season. You know there are problems when Louis Amundsen looks unstoppable at times against you. The Mavs need to add a body down low if they want to have a realistic shot at beating the league’s premier teams. Currently they are just one notch below the likes of the Lakers, Celtics and Cavaliers but are on the doorstep.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been riddled with injuries much in the same way Swiss cheese is riddles with holes. Losing starting and backup centers Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla for the season wasn’t enough, now they have to contend with playing without all-star guard Brandon Roy. Against the Jazz Wednesday night, the Roy-less Blazers fell behind big early and were dominated for most of the game losing 106-95 at home. Portland has been only .500 on the road and without Roy they will have a tough time in this one.

Key Players: Dallas

  • PF Dirk Nowitzki 25.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.2 blocks 0.93 steals. Top 5 in MVP voting if season ended today.

  • SG Jason Terry 16.5 PPG off the bench. Reigning 6th man of the year

  • SF Shawn Marion 11.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG. One of the league’s longest defenders. A big reason for the Mavs success

  • PG Jason Kidd 8.9 PPG, 9.2 APG 5.3 RPG, 1.69 steals

Key Players: Portland

  • F/C LaMarcus Aldridge 16.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG. One of the league’s best young big men. Can guard Dirk outside better than most.

  • PG Andre Miller 12.9 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.0 RPG. Will have to take more assertive role in Roy’s absence

  • SF Martell Webster 11.1 PPG Former bench player has had at least 14 points in last 4 games

  • SG Rudy Fernandez 8.5 PPG. Must show now or never if he has the chops to start in the NBA.

Who will win?

The Blazers being on the road and short-handed against a tough Dallas team is quite a tall order. Aldridge is the perfect foil to guard Dirk as he is his equal in height and length and is probably a little faster and stronger than Dirk. Dirk, however can hit any shot on the floor and has unlimited range and if he can’t do it all, he has a couple of nice swingmen to kick out to, not to mention a future Hall-of-Fame point guard in J. Kidd.

Sportsbook outlook: The Mavs have too much at home for the banged up Blazers. If Aldridge can’t stop Dirk at least a little bit, this one could be a blowout. Either way, Mavs still take this contest easy.

Final: Mavericks 94 – Blazers 81. Take the Mavs and the under.

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