Mavericks vs Trail Blazers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Defensive Battle in Portland? (Saturday, Jan. 14)

NBA betting analyst Kenny Ducey previews Mavericks vs Trail Blazers on Saturday, Jan. 14, including updated betting odds and predictions.

Mavericks vs Trail Blazers Odds

Mavericks Odds +2
Trail Blazers Odds -2
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The last time we saw the Dallas Mavericks, they dazzled us in a double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, they’re off to Portland to play a back-to-back against the Trail Blazers away from Dallas, which has been a very tough proposition for them.

Portland has been reeling recently, failing to win or cover in five straight games. The Blazers have not seemed to benefit from their four-game home stand — though, that could all change this weekend.

Let’s examine the best way to bet Saturday night’s NBA matchup in our Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers betting preview.

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Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks may have covered the 2.5 points in Los Angeles on Thursday, but that performance marked just the seventh time in 21 road games where they’ve managed to cover the spread.

In fact, Dallas is 8-13 straight up (SU) away from home, and 1-7 SU as a road underdog.

That’s just one of several factors that makes Saturday’s tilt with Portland a particularly precarious matchup. For starters, they Mavericks are still dealing with injuries to Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Green and Maxi Kleber. Now, Christian Wood is questionable after tweaking his ankle against the Lakers.

The loss of the three players noted above has helped sink the Mavericks defense into the abyss; they rank 24th in the NBA over the last 10 games.

Wood’s potential absence would stick a fork in this offense, too — and return us to the days of December and November, when Dallas was doomed unless Luka Doncic came up with a ridiculous scoring night.

Portland Trail Blazers

There’s a chance that this popcorn matchup between Doncic and Damian Lillard doesn’t happen. The Blazers point guard is listed as questionable with an ankle sprain, though his back is likely killing him as well since he’s been carrying the team.

Lillard had 50 points in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, watching as the rest of the team went 6-for-20 from the 3-point line and was decisively out-rebounded.

Portland ranks seventh in 3-point shooting for the season but has hit just 31.6% of its looks over the last 10 games, which is the worst mark in the NBA. At the very least, the team’s rebounding has stayed consistent.

While it seems too easy to blame 3-point shooting, the Blazers have taken 39.5% of their looks from beyond the arc, which is just outside the top 10 in the NBA. Their offensive success will always be directly tied to their shooting as a result.

Mavericks vs Trail Blazers Pick

We noted above that the Mavericks are slipping defensively, but they have excelled at defending the perimeter. Dallas has allowed just 34.6% shooting from deep during its last 10 games, which ranks second in the NBA, and their defense on contested looks is even better at 32.2%.

It doesn’t seem like Lillard, nor his struggling supporting cast, will take much pleasure in trying to score outside against this Mavericks defense. Portland may try to lean on Jusuf Nurkic to expose Dallas inside, but the team has proven repeatedly that it is not particularly interested in that philosophy.

The potential loss of Wood is huge for this Mavericks offense, and even if he does play there should be some questions surrounding just how effective he will be. Of course, Doncic is the one who drives this offense, but Wood is nearly as important.

Both teams have shown the ability to play excellent defense this season, and with the Blazers steering right into the Mavericks’ strength, I think that a defensive battle will ensue.

I’d lean Blazers here, but feel much better about taking the under to 223 points.

Pick: Under 225 ⋅ Play to 223