Mavericks vs. Jazz Odds

Mavericks Odds +7
Jazz ratings -7
More less 210.5
Weather 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA Television
Odds via FanDuel. Keep up to date NBA Odds here.

Ruh-roh, Raggy.

Luka Doncic has gone from doubtful to doubtful for Game 3, after earlier reports said he could be back for one of two matches in Utah.

Now calf injuries are tricky, and the Dallas Mavericks you have to be careful for a number of reasons, but being upgraded to questionable is usually a pretty good indicator that a player is heading into the game.

It’s huge. Game 3 opened with Utah Jazz as an 8-point favourite, dropped to -6.5 on Tuesday on news that Doncic could play, briefly dropped to -6 when upgraded to questionable, then fell back to -6.5.

We’ll talk about storylines later, but this sets the stage for a fascinating Game 3 in Utah between the Jazz and the Mavericks.

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Can the Mavericks maintain their Game 2 success?

As mentioned above, Doncic is questionable. This calf injury is tricky. Usually a player upgraded to Doubtful indicates they will play, but if your bet is on Doncic playing or not, you have to wait to be absolutely sure.

In Game 1, neither Jalen Brunson nor Spencer Dinwiddie could produce an offense. In game 2, Brunson is goneand the Mavs got to the streak they wanted, the streak that so often hurts the Jazz.

Take a look at the spacing on this piece:

Gobert has to choose: When Brunson beats Conley, will he help on a disputed layup when the ball carrier has the pitch, or will he stay home on a 3-point shooter? He tries to stay home and it burns him.

Like this the sequence showsthere are no right answers here for Jazz.

Now Game 3 is on the road, and chances are the Mavs roleplayers (and without Doncic, they’re all roleplayers) will miss more shots. It can open the door. The Jazz too, surprisingly, topped Kléber’s minutes in this series. Kleber hit eight 3s in Game 2, yet they had a 127.1 defensive rating with him on the floor and played even in his minutes.

Kleber has shot 18% since the All-Star break from 3. If Game 2 was an outlier, the Mavericks are in trouble, but they have the Jazz hot on their heels.

Will Donovan Mitchell lead the Jazz to a home win?

Utah needs to get this game back to where they can control it, more like a regular season game. The problem is, they can’t punish those lineups with five outs.

If a team is playing small against you — and Dallas has no personnel options to do anything but go small — a good counter is to simply beat them by having your big slip on the edge or posting.

When the Jazz try it, as you can see here and hereit’s not going well.

Even just run the ground it’s just… yeah, it’s hard.

The Mavs basically lived with Bojan Bogdanovic in this series. He’s averaging 25.5 points on 57-30-89 shooting splits. What’s interesting is that when Bogdanovic isolates in this series, the Jazz only score 0.78 points per possession, while a good number is closer to 1.5.

Also for comparison, Utah is scoring 0.934 points per possession with Donovan Mitchell running the pick and roll, despite Mitchell’s horrible shot.

To break this down further, when Mitchell shoots off the pick and roll in this series, he has an eFG% of 28%. When he passes, the Jazz has an eFG% of 72.1%.

Mitchell needs to trust his guns as he struggles to beat the Mavs defense to the edge. The Mavs are turning to the on-the-go comfort space. If Mitchell has a better shooting game in Game 3, that can turn things around, even if Doncic plays.

Speaking of which, if Doncic is playing and the Mavs keep changing, Mitchell absolutely needs to attack Doncic as much as possible to wear him down. This will be something to watch when he returns.

Mavericks – Jazz Pick

Let’s talk Doncic.

Luka’s value from the gap is between three and five points. The line goes from Jazz (-8) at the open to (-6.5) when the report came Doncic could playing in Game 3 was probably a middle ground. The books probably put it in the middle and let the market decide which way it wants to go. This is not uncommon in these places.

If Doncic plays, the line must move to Dallas, but how much is the question. Is it a full 3-5 points? Is it 1.5 to 2.5? This question counts on value.

Say Doncic is called, and the line bounces up to -8, then bets up to 8.5 or 9. At this point, I’m definitely on Dallas.

The game still favors the Mavs because of what I wrote above, and there’s no real counter for Utah to do beyond the Gobert bench, and even that isn’t going to help the defense. (And they won’t bench the $35 million man.)

But if Doncic is elected and the line drops below four, I stay away. I don’t want to wipe out the home team with an elevation advantage on the field as less than a two possession favorite.

If he stays where he is, around 6-6.5, I still lean towards Dallas. It’s definitely Dallas play or nothing.

The total rebounded to 201, where it was for Game 1, after rising to 206 in Game 2. I’m leaning here; you’re just going to see a lot of 3-point volume. The Jazz know they need to shoot more 3s, and while the Mavs pattern makes it difficult, they’ll find enough gaps, and Dallas has definitely found a way to get 3s against that defense.

Lack of perimeter containment for Utah plus low rim rate for Dallas (30th in the league) plus forcing Gobert to help and leave shooters equals 3-point volume. I will take over. I will also continue to bet Gobert on rebounds (15.5).

To take: Mavs at +6.5 or better | Over 210 | Gobert Over 15.5 rebounds