Mavericks vs. Knicks Betting Preview: Inside Presence Gives New York Edge

Action Network contributor Kenny Ducey previews Saturday's NBA game between the Mavericks and Knicks, including betting odds and a prediction.

Mavericks vs. Knicks Odds

Mavericks Odds -2
Knicks Odds +2
Over/Under 225.5
Time 12:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Dallas Mavericks are in a real funk at the moment, coming into Saturday the losers of five games in their last six. As the worst team in the league against the spread, surely there’s nowhere to go but up from here.

The Knicks are just 1-3 in their last four, but they’ve played some inspired ball and have come close to a couple of big wins. This could finally be their chance to break through.

Where do we go with this one? Let’s break it down below.

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Maverick Have Problems Inside

You could go a million different ways, but however you slice it the Mavericks are just allergic to covering spreads. They’re 5-15-1 against the spread in their 21 games this season. They’re 2-7 ATS on the road. After a win, they’re 0-10 ATS.

That continued on Thursday when Dallas fell behind by double digits to the Pistons, eventually dropping the game in overtime. That’s right — with Luka Doncic and Christian Wood healthy, Dallas fell to a then-five-win team despite what seemed to be a huge advantage in the front court.

That’s really where the problem lies for Dallas. The shooting has always been streaky for this team, but the offense has found a way to look firmly above-average as long as Doncic is in there. The front court play has been pretty middling.

Dallas hasn’t had a Rebounding Rate over 49.4% in the last six games and the cherry on top was the second-worst rebounding performance of the season against Detroit despite the fact that its opponent was in the bottom five of the league in that department. Inside of six feet, the Mavericks also rank ninth-worst in contested field goal percentage. Against strong front courts, this team is lost.

Knicks Dominating the Glass

Did someone say strong front courts? While they may rank 13th in rebounding this season, the Knicks have been punishing opponents down low of late with a solid 52% Rebounding Rate in the last five games. Against those same Pistons, the Knicks pulled down a ridiculous 61.8% of available rebounds and followed that up with a solid mark of 53% against the mighty Bucks.

The Knicks are currently averaging the second-most field goals made inside of 10 feet in the NBA right now with a robust 58.4% of their looks falling. Between the revival of Julius Randle and some strong work on the glass from Mitchell Robinson, New York is arguably one of the stronger teams in the league down low. I haven’t even touched on Isaiah Hartenstein either, who has looked at times like a lethal offensive weapon off the bench.

Anyway, the Knicks haven’t really cashed in on any of this good play. They did beat the Pistons by 30 points earlier in the week, but they suffered heartbreaking losses to the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Bucks by a combined 13 points surrounding that big win.  The good news here is that the Knicks are 6-4-1 ATS after a loss despite covering in just 45% of their games.

Mavericks-Knicks Pick

I am really a sucker for a huge disparity in the front court. If the Mavericks continue to look this lifeless on the boards, the Knicks are going to take full advantage and win this game. Their defense has been in peril recently, but Dallas’ offense has fallen flat on its face lately — particularly down low.

The Knicks also rank just outside the top 10 in field goal percentage against contested threes which should help out considering how much the Mavericks love to shoot from downtown. I think there are multiple ways in here for New York and I’d favor the home team here.

Pick: Knicks ML (+100)