Mavericks vs. Grizzlies: Bet Dallas If Kyrie Irving Suits Up

Action Network contributor Chris Baker previews how to bet Mavericks vs. Grizzlies, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Saturday's game.

Mavericks vs. Grizzlies Odds

Mavericks Odds +6
Grizzlies Odds -6
Over/Under 224
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Dallas Mavericks head to Memphis for a home-and-home against the Grizzlies, starting with a road matchup Saturday, then a game in Dallas Monday night.

The Mavs are tied with the Golden State Warriors in terms of record but sit in the sixth spot in the crowded Western Conference standings. With both teams in action tonight, this is a critical game for the Mavericks if they hope to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament. The Grizzlies are tied with the Sacramento Kings in terms of record, but sit third in the West standings with a month to go in the regular season.

Both teams have injured superstars: Luka Doncic and Ja Morant will be missing this game and Kyrie Irving is questionable at the time of writing. Which team has the superior supporting cast?

Below I break down how I expect this game will play out, including my betting pick for Mavericks vs. Grizzlies.

Dallas Mavericks

Dallas has not seen the improvement they were hoping for after trading away assets for Kyrie Irving. They rank 13th in Net Rating since the trade, but have gone just 5-7 in their 12 games with Irving. Irving missed the Mavericks’ practice for personal reasons and is questionable with a foot injury at the most inopportune time as Luka Doncic recently went down with hamstring injury.  Irving’s presence as a ball handler/playmaker is needed now more than ever, but it seems like he has brought his part-time basketball player habits with him to Dallas from Brooklyn.

It’s hard to envision what this offense will look like without Doncic and Irving as those two guys account for virtually all of the team’s usage. Expect Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood to be asked to do more and expect them to move into the starting five for this one.

I would also anticipate Frank Ntilikina and Jaden Hardy seeing Usage Rate bumps. Hardy could be an interesting over play on his points and assists line as he is really their only true ball-handler/playmaker left on the roster. It’s undeniable that Hardy has high offensive potential, he just hasn’t seen any consistent minutes to consistently showcase his ability. Expect Hardy and McKinley Wright IV to see some minutes tonight, especially if Irving doesn’t play.

This is arguably the worse possible matchup for the Mavericks to be without  two their offensive leaders as the Grizzlies rank second in Defensive Rating in the NBA. Memphis also ranks sixth in the NBA in defensive turnover rate, so expect the Mavericks to struggle taking care of the ball if they don’t have at least one of their top guys.

Defensively, the Mavericks will likely be able to withstand Doncic’s absence. We should see much more Ntilikina, Josh Green, and Maxi Kleber minutes and all three of those guys are great defenders.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are coming off of a statement win against the Warriors Thursday night (without Ja Morant of course) and this certainly could be a let-down spot for them. The Warriors matchup is a deeply emotional and personal game for the Grizzlies team and it can be hard to get up for a game following a victory like that.

Factor in the the potential key absences for Dallas and it only further exacerbates the motivation question for the Grizzlies. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grizzlies start this game with a lack of urgency given the situation.

Another reason this could be a let-down spot for the Grizzlies is the potential for negative shooting regression. Over their past eight games, the Grizzlies have taken turns shooting well one game and horribly the next.

It started in the Philadelphia 76ers matchup on Feb. 23 where the Grizzlies had an atrocious 43.1% Effective Field Goal Percentage from the field (fourth percentile) effectively from the field. They followed that up with an elite performance — 62% eFG% (84th percentile) — then nights of inconsistency over the past few weeks before posting a 61.7% eFG% against the Warriors. Don’t be surprised if the shooting regression hits in this obvious let-down spot here.

Mavericks-Grizzlies Pick

The Mavericks may not have enough talent down the roster to capitalize on a lack of urgency early from the Grizz, but expect this one to be competitive regardless. If Irving is able to play the value is on the Mavericks getting 6 points.

It is hard to envision the Mavericks’ offense functioning efficiently without both Irving and Doncic. If Irving is unable to go, this may be an under play if the total closes above 220. With so much uncertainty on the injury report, I would monitor Irving’s status before making any play on this game.

Pick: Mavericks +6 (If Irving Plays)