Mavericks vs. Knicks Preview: Value on New York at Madison Square Garden

Action Network contributor Kenny Ducey breaks down the betting value in the NBA matchup on Wednesday night between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks.

Mavericks vs. Knicks Odds

Mavericks Odds -2
Knicks Odds +2
Over/Under 205
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Two teams beginning to find a groove will meet in New York on Wednesday night when the Knicks play host to the Dallas Mavericks.

With Luka Doncic back and Dallas unseasonably hot, is this line way off, or is there a reason the Knicks are being given a fair shot here?

Let’s have a look at the numbers.

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Mavericks Quietly Surging in the West

Everything has changed for the Mavericks over the past 15 games. Since inserting Jalen Brunson into the starting lineup on Dec. 12, Dallas has gone 11-4 against the spread (ATS) and played extraordinarily on both ends.

In that 15-game span, the Mavericks have scored 113.9 points per 100 possessions with a 103.8 Defensive Rating. Paling in comparison, Dallas was 17th in defense and 22nd on offense prior to Dec. 12, good for a -1.8 Net Rating.

Brunson seemed to change everything for the Mavericks, putting an emphasis on defense for this side. We have also seen Tim Hardaway, Jr.’s playing time decrease by around three minutes per game, with more time being given to Reggie Bullock, who is thriving defensively. With the wing on the floor in that period of time, the Mavericks have a 93.3 Defensive Rating — by far the best on the team.

Aside from that, you may want to know that 10 of the last 15 Mavericks games have gone under the total if you’re betting this game. Three of the four games they failed to cover were on the road.

Knicks Turning a Corner at MSG

Credit where credit is due — the Knicks are playing better at home these days. New York’s offensive rating away from home used to be significantly better than its mark at home, but now there’s just a .4-point gap per 100 possessions. While the Knicks’ defense has been worse at MSG, that’s likely regressing a bit with all the success they’ve had on that end lately.

What success, exactly? Well, over the last three weeks the Knicks rank sixth in defensive efficiency with just 105.2 points allowed per 100 possessions. This is a remarkable turnaround when you consider New York was 23rd in defense with 110.5 points against it per 100 possessions entering Christmas Day.

The Knicks have begun piecing things together and can now lay claim to a 3-1 record against the spread and straight up over the past four games and not-so-terrible 6-3 straight up record beginning with their win over the Hawks.

Key in this game will be the loss of Kristaps Porzingis for Dallas, which should make life a heck of a lot easier on the defensive end for New York. Julius Randle has been suspect on defense for most of the season and Nerlens Noel is currently listed as questionable, so the lack of firepower is welcomed.

Mavericks-Knicks Pick

Porzingis has been quite the factor for the Mavericks over their run, and with the strong defense of Immanuel Quickley — one of the better players on that end New York has — the Knicks should be able to throw their best attack at the Mavericks.

Dallas has been awful around the restricted area, allowing 65.8% shooting this year to rank sixth-worst in the NBA, and that could very well tip the scales towards New York, which loves to feed the post. There’s a reason the Knicks are underdogs here, and that’s likely due to the loss of Porzingis and the lack of a real post defense. It doesn’t hurt that while Dallas has been super against the spread lately, it has had its struggles on the road.

I’m going to refuse the bait and back the Knicks.

Pick: Knicks +2 (-110)