Editor’s Note: Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson (hip) will miss Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Knicks vs. Mavericks Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Two 18-16 teams meet in Dallas on Tuesday, one sporting a three-game losing streak, while the other has won three in a row.
The New York Knicks will look to break out of their mini-losing streak that is coming on the heels of their longest winning streak in several years. They lost the final three games of their recent homestand to slightly dampen the great vibes that were rolling through the city.
As for the Mavericks, they got a comfortable win at home on Christmas to extend their winning streak to three. If they win on Tuesday, it would equal their longest winning streak of the season.
Let’s take a look at these two teams and find the best betting angle. Find a preview and prediction for Knicks vs. Mavericks below.
Will This Mavericks Game Be Another Pivot Point?
The last time these two teams met, on December 3rd, the Mavs cruised to a 21-point win that caused Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau to finally reassess his rotation.
The result was more of the young guard (Quentin Grimes into the starting lineup and Deuce McBride into the rotation) and less of the old guard (Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose mostly out of the rotation). The results appeared to be instant with the aforementioned eight-game winning streak, including wins over several current playoff teams (although none of the true giants of the league).
However, things have slid a bit in the past week, with the Knicks dropping three straight–all at home. None of the losses have been by big margins or to terrible teams (I will go down with the Bulls-are-not-terrible ship), but three straight losses are still three straight losses.
The latter two losses have included big blown leads, which: A) means that they got out to leads in both games but B) choked away those leads at the worst time possible.
In terms of how they match-up with Dallas, the Knicks don’t have any distinct “Luka Stopper” (who does?), so instead they will likely go the Amandla Stenberg route of bodies, bodies, bodies–throwing Grimes, R.J. Barrett, McBride and any number of folk all at Doncic to get him to give up the ball.
The bad news for the Knicks is that when the ball leaves Luka’s hands, it’s often headed to a 3-point shooter, and only two teams in the Association give up more 3-point attempts per game than New York.
The slightly better news is that they allow the sixth-lowest shooting percentage on 3s. That’s backed up by an average percentage on open looks, which suggests they’re at least not screaming for regression in that regard. (Plus, solid 3-point field goal percentage defense has been a staple of the Thibs’s Knicks.)
The Knicks will hope that continuing to give up looks from deep, if contested, will be a strong defensive strategy in Dallas on Tuesday night.
What’s Going Right in Dallas?
To be honest, the biggest thing seems like it’s been the schedule. This mini winning streak for the Mavs has come against the KAT-less Timberwolves, the Rockets, and the AD-less Lakers, so that needs to be mentioned out of the gate.
However, this Mavericks team has made a habit of not beating the teams they should this season and recent seasons past, so getting sustainable wins against the teams they should beat could be a sign of progress for Doncic and co., but let’s not oversell it.
This team is still overly reliant on Doncic (they needed 50 from him to beat the Rockets by six), and the question of how much he really makes his teammates better is a fair one. Their heavy reliance on 3s means they can beat any team when those 3s are dropping, but they can also lose to any team when they aren’t.
It’s why bettors would be getting a 21.0 percent return just betting the moneyline against the Mavs when they are the favorite this season. Their 10 losses as a moneyline favorite are tied for the most in the Association this season.
However, as noted above, they do matchup decently with the Knicks because they should get plenty of 3s off. This also helps since the Knicks’ 2-point defense is a strength, and the Mavericks take the fewest 2s in the league.
Both teams also start strong and struggle in the second half in comparison to the first, which neutralizes a bit of a weakness for the Mavs.
We often call this a make-or-miss league, and this matchup tonight will certainly be pivoting on that.
From strictly a matchup perspective, I see a small edge to the Mavericks, but I also think that that is included in the line as is, given that I have the two as quite even by power rating, and the line suggests an edge to Dallas at -5.
Jalen Brunson is also questionable for tonight’s game, and while he will likely want to play against his old team, this number seems to have a bit of his potential to miss the game baked in as well.
If Brunson plays, I’d look to the Knicks moneyline. As noted, the moneyline fade of the favorite Mavs has been a strong trend this season, and with money coming in on the under, this could well be a tight, low-scoring game.