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NBA preview and tips: Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are hoping to keep their playoff hunt alive against the Mavericks.

The Indiana Pacers (33-42) have seven games left to keep their unlikely playoff dream alive and on Monday evening they'll welcome the Dallas Mavericks (36-39) who are in a more favourable position, just a game behind Oklahoma City Thunder.

Whilst it isn't over for Indiana, the average price on them making the playoffs is now 20/1. Dallas are on the brink with eight games to go and one game to make up on OKC in the final playoff spot. They could also catch the Lakers and Pelicans.
Last night's 110-104 loss to Charlotte is both surprising and damaging. A win there could have put Dallas firmly in the driving seat, and matters weren't helped by OKC winning in Portland. It's a race that's going down to the wire.
In terms of this game, Dallas needs to bounce back. The performance wasn't good enough, the result wasn't the one they wanted, and the field goal percentage was atrocious. I think they're in a perfect spot to put in a high-scoring performance.
Dallas just shot 34% from the field last night and in previous previews, we've established that teams generally bounce back. Here they'll face an Indiana defence that allows 118 points per game at home and have the fifth worse defensive rating in the NBA.

That alone isn't enough to make us want to back Dallas to win. Despite being in a favourable situation, they are playing on zero rest, a spot in which they're 0-4ATS. We also have to note that Indiana averages 118 points per game on offence at home.

The problem for Dallas at times has been that they have the eight worst defensive rating. Indiana is also a team that likes to push the pace, so whilst it may be tough for Dallas to contain them, they should have their fair share of scoring opportunities.
The Over is 35-17 when Indiana are a home underdog and just 7-1 in their last eight overall as an underdog. They've also gone 8-3 to the Over in their last 11 games, and 5-0 to the Over in their last five home games.
Dallas has seen 12 of their last 15 games fly over the total when playing on zero days of rest. They're not a strong defence anyway, and playing on heavy legs primarily affects the defence.
Dallas can't afford to give anything less than 110% whilst this young, energetic Pacers team is playing in a unique spot. They will know their playoff chances are near death, but the door hasn't closed yet. They get to play without fear and take it one game at a game, and I'm sure they'll want to push the pace here to see how Dallas responds.

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