Mavericks vs Spurs: Picks for Victor Wembanyama's Debut

Action Network betting analysts Andrew O'Connor-Watts explains how to bet Mavs-Spurs and makes his pick for Wednesday's matchup.

Mavericks vs. Spurs Odds

Mavericks Odds -4
Spurs Odds +4
Moneyline -174 / +146
Over/Under 230
Time Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Mavericks vs Spurs — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Dallas Mavericks face their cross-state rival San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night in a game headlined by the regular season debut of rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama. Both teams have higher expectations than last season and will look to exceed those expectations with an opening night win.

Let’s break down the odds, and I’ll give out my picks for the Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs.

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Mavericks vs Spurs Prediction

If you’ve been paying attention to NBA Preseason this summer, you’ve seen the Wemby highlights. The 7-foot-3 Frenchman’s eight-foot wingspan means any shot is at risk of getting swatted, regardless of where he is on the court. His combination of length, agility, shooting and rim protection makes him less of a unicorn and more of an alien.

On the other side is the Mavericks, who made a concerted effort this offseason to improve the supporting cast around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, focusing their roster-building on shooting and defense.

Seth Curry and Grant Williams headline the new additions, joined by Dante Exum, Derrick Jones Jr., and rookies Derrick Lively and Olivier Maxence-Prosper. The Mavericks went out quietly last season, opting to rest their stars in the final game of the season, essentially punting on the chance at a play-in game and any shot at the NBA playoffs. Acquiring Irving was too little too late.

This season, the Mavericks have what should be a full season of both Doncic and Irving and as such, one of the best offenses in the league. After the trade for Irving, the Mavericks had the ninth-best offense in the league (117.3) but just the 27th-best defense (119), a tradeoff they were willing to make in order to pair two of the best offensive players in the game.

The addition of Williams, Jones Jr., and Richaun Holmes were undoubtedly moves made to improve defensively, but defense is just as often about coaching, communication and chemistry as it is the personnel. It could take time for the Mavericks to gel on that end of the floor.

The Spurs had a winning record this preseason (3-2), but the regular season is a different story. San Antonio is undeniably rebuilding, yet there’s still a lot of hype around the immediate impact Wembanyama will have on the team, especially on the defensive end.

The Spurs finished last season tied with the Houston Rockets for the second-fewest wins in the league (22) and yet their regular season win total is as high as 29.5 at some sportsbooks. According to ESPN’s Expected Win metric, they were lucky to win as many games as they did, with a Pythagorean number of 16 expected wins. A big part of their lack of success was their inability to get stops (114.8 in Adjusted Defensive Rating per Dunks and Threes), something they hope Wembanyama will help with down the road.

Wemby has the chance to be generational defender, but it will likely take some time for that to fully manifest. It’s a lot to ask a rookie to be that good, that quickly and I think there will be some growing pains early on. We saw the nerves get to Wemby in his first Summer League game, but he quickly shook them off and since that first game he’s looked like the prospect we were promised.

Mavericks vs Spurs Picks, Odds

In the regular season, on opening night, we might see those nerves creep back for Wembanyama. And if they do, that could mean a lack of focus defensively. Despite his defensive upside, it’s a tall order (no pun intend) to ask Wemby and the Spurs to stop the Mavericks high-powered veteran offense, which is why I’m looking to the over in this game.

Doncic’s status is still in question and he’s obviously very helpful to an over with his elite offense and questionable defensive effort, but I suspect he’ll play. He’s coming off a summer of FIBA World Cup and a long, overseas preseason schedule, but Opening Night is Opening Night (someone tell Bradley Beal) and he participated in practice on Tuesday.

I like a play on the over and I’m willing to take the risk tonight. I think the Spurs’ defense is slightly overvalued based on the Wemby hype and even if I’m wrong, I think we have some leeway as San Antonio was second in pace last season. Full season, Dallas was third-slowest overall, but they played faster once they acquired Kyrie, jumping to 17th post-trade deadline. I bet this at 229.5 and if Doncic plays, I like the over up to 231.5.

Pick: Mavs-Spurs Over 230