Lakers vs. Mavericks Preview: Can Luka Doncic Stay Red Hot?

Action Network NBA betting analyst Joe Dellera previews how to bet Tuesday's matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.

Lakers vs. Mavericks Odds

Lakers Odds +11.5
Mavericks Odds -11.5
Over/Under 219.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Lakers pay the Dallas Mavericks a visit on Tuesday for a game they absolutely need to remain in the Play-In picture while the Mavericks continue their incredible climb up through the Western Conference.

Is there an edge in this matchup? Let’s break it down.

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Lakers Injuries Continue to Hamper Them

The Lakers have quite the injury report leading into tonight’s game. Both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (foot) are listed as doubtful for tonight’s contest. While James has played through injuries on a doubtful tag before it would not be a surprise to see him miss this game.

As for Davis, this doubtful listing is actually an upgrade and it would be his first appearance since Feb. 16 if he suited up. Aside from those two, Dwight Howard (hip) is probable.

The Lakers have had a nightmare season. They are just one game ahead of the Spurs in the loss column for last spot in the Play-In tournament and honestly, after tonight they’ll likely be tied for the 10 seed in the West.

The Lakers are 22nd in Adjusted Net Rating (-2.9) and it’s through a well-rounded effort that they are ranked there with their 24th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Rating (110.0) and 20th-ranked Adjusted Defensive Rating (112.9).

A major problem for this team has been health, but that still does not mask their other serious flaws. The Lakers are a sieve at the rim, allowing their opponents to shoot 66.2% from that area of the floor and they allow their opponents an eFG% of 54.1%, per Cleaning the Glass. These easy looks are the result of the 24th ranked Rebounding Rate of 48.8%.

Luka Doncic Cooking for the Mavericks

The Mavericks have been incredible this season, they are in fourth place in the Western Conference and have the ninth-best Adjusted Net Rating (+2.7) in the league. The interesting thing is this is not because of their offense this season which is ranked 18th (111.7), rather, it’s due to their stifling defense which is ranked 6th in the league (109.0).

The Mavericks have slipped a bit defensively over the last two weeks though. They are allowing 118.7 points per 100 possessions on the defensive side of the ball, nearly 10 points more than their full-season mark. This may allow the Lakers to score a bit more despite their offensive struggles.

One player who is always worth monitoring is Luka Doncic, who should be able to take advantage of the Lakers defense. The Lakers allow their opponents to shoot a relatively high percentage of shots on non-corner 3s, the seventh-most in the league, per Cleaning the Glass and it’s a shot that Doncic takes often.

While he thrives from midrange with 46% of his attempts coming from that area, he takes 34% of his shots on non-corner 3s. He has also seen an uptick in his 3-point shooting. He is averaging 10.1 3-point attempts in March while making 4.0 per game, a noticeable uptick from his season-long numbers of 3.0 makes on 8.7 attempts.

Lakers-Mavericks Pick

These two teams have split the season series this far but the Mavericks took the most recent game in March. This should continue with the Lakers’ injuries and recent form,  but if James and Davis both can play that would cause a significant shift in the spread.

As a result, I simply have a lean on the Mavericks at -11.5, even if they are formally ruled out it likely does not move past 13 since they are both listed as doubtful already.

Due to the injury news, I’m targeting a player prop in this matchup. The bet is for Doncic to make over 3.5 3s in this game (+120). He should see the shots he wants and this game may stay close simply because of Dallas’ inability to dominate offensively this season. He’s hit this line in seven of his last 10 games, and even if this is a blowout he should be fine.

In the two Mavericks’ wins by 10-plus points this month Luka has made five and four 3s. I think his hot shooting will continue against this Lakers’ defense.

Pick: Luka Doncic Over 3.5 3s (+120) | Lean: Mavericks -11.5