NBA Game Day Preview
By Angelo Montilla
The red-hot Toronto Raptors are seeking a fifth-straight victory on Saturday night when they travel to Dallas for a date against the Mavericks. In other action, the Los Angeles Clippers host the Utah Jazz in a highly anticipated matchup.
Here are a few NBA betting lines to consider, with odds courtesy of Bet365.com.
Dallas Mavericks (-120) vs. Toronto Raptors (+100)
The Toronto Raptors are rolling at the right time. The Raptors, who struggled without starting point guard Kyle Lowry in the lineup, have won four in a row and will be looking for five straight on Saturday when they travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks.
It’s a must-win for the Mavs, who sit out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and enter action on Saturday as -120 favorites. The Raptors — looking to secure home-court advantage in the first round — are enticing +100 underdogs on the road, where the team has been over .500 this season.
The Raptors continue to be carried offensively by DeMar DeRozan, who sits fifth in NBA scoring with 27.2 points per game.
Toronto is one of the highest scoring teams in the league, while the Mavericks are last, averaging a league-worst 98.0 points per game.
The Raptors hold the advantage in the head-to-head matchup over the last 10 games, defeating the Mavericks six times during that stretch.
If you’re betting the over/under, the total points projection for Saturday’s contest is 195. Look for this match to be a high-scoring affair with the Raptors coming out on top.
Pick: Toronto Raptors (+100) and the Over (195)
Los Angeles Clippers (-185) vs. Utah Jazz (+165)
In a potential first-round playoff preview, the Utah Jazz will host the struggling Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers, who have played their basketball of the season on home court, enter action on Saturday as -185 favorites at Staples Centre, where the club boasts a 23-11 record. The Jazz — winners of six of their last 10 games — will look to add some separation between them and in the Clippers for fourth place in the Western Conference. Utah heads to Los Angeles as intriguing +165 underdogs.
The Clippers’ high-flying offense — which features the Big Three of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan — will be challenged against the Jazz’s No. –ranked defense. Utah is allowing a league best 96.5 points per game.
The head-to-head matchup over the last 10 games hasn’t been much of a contest as the Clippers have walked away with eight wins during that span. However the Jazz defeated the Clippers 114-108 in their last clash on March 13.
Betting the total points? The projection for this contest has been set at 202.5 — a mark that these two clubs should be able to surpass.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-185) and the Over (202.5)
Portland Trail Blazers (-310) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (+250)
A late-season surge has the Portland Trail Blazers in playoff contention heading into another crucial game on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Blazers, who have won seven of their last 10 games, are convincing -310 favorites on home court, where the club has posted an 18-15 record this season. The reeling Wolves, who have dropped five straight games, head to Portland as +250 underdogs.
If the Trail Blazers stand any chance of making the post-season, they’ll need star forward Damian Lillard to carry them the rest of the way. That will be the case again on Saturday for Lillard, who sits sixth in NBA scoring, averaging 26.9 points per game.
If you’re using previous matchups to make your decision, keep in mind Portland has won seven of the last 10 meetings against Minnesota. The Blazers have averaged 103.7 points per game during that stretch.
The over/under line for Saturday’s match is set at 214, however don’t expect a high-scoring contest in this one.
Pick: Portland Trail Blazers (-310) and the Under (214)