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NBA preview and tips: Philadelphia 76ers at Dallas Mavericks

The Philadelphia 76ers, boasting a stellar 40-21 record, travel to the 32-31 Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, with the Philly team looking to cement their position near top of the NBA standings.

The game will be televised live on UK TV and it should be a pretty good watch with both sides in play-off contention. The spread is set at -3, while the total is 229.5.
While the 76ers are not mathematically a play-off team just yet, their record at this stage and their performances tell you they are. Home has been a fortress and their road record is pretty handy also.
It's a different story for the Mavs, who, after a run of five losses in six, are clinging onto their winning record. They currently occupy a play-in position, meaning they'd have to beat off a few other teams just to make it to the dance.
When you're breaking down an NBA game, it's nice to start on a basic level and get a feel for where each of these teams are right now. Philadelphia are on a 6-2 ATS run, performing well against the bookmaker's spread. Dallas, on the other hand, are 1-5 ATS.
We can also see the 76ers have won 10 of 12 on the road, and Dallas are again a soft 1-6 ATS on their home court right now. All of those things point towards a team in good shape versus a team in bad shape, but the NBA can be complicated. This is a little lesson in what you would call a situational play.
While Philadelphia are sitting pretty, fat and happy with all their victories, Dallas are the polar opposite. A wounded animal, or in this case a desperate team, can be a dangerous one. Dallas just suffered a pair of agonising losses, losing by just a combined five points to the Pacers and the Lakers.
They had good moments in those games and prior to that had beaten the Spurs by 26, so there are signs that they're snapping out of their current funk. A three-point loss to Minnesota and an overtime defeat show they're not far off.

Philadelphia just played consecutive games against Miami, losing the first on their home court before extracting some emphatic road revenge. James Harden and Tyrese Maxey combined for 50 points as the 76ers held their opponents to an extremely low 43.6 per cent shooting from the field. Considering Joel Embiid sat out, winning by 23 was a big effort from Philly.

Naturally, you expect some regression from key contributors this evening, particularly if Embiid returns (he may not). You also have to consider the fact that this will be back-to-back games after flying to Miami and playing yesterday, and then flying to Dallas straight afterwards.
The Mavs have been at home resting after their last game, and if Dallas were in fine form right now, the line would be a lot bigger than -3.
This could be a good time to buy low, particularly if Embiid doesn't end up playing, or the 76ers get caught looking ahead to their weekend showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks (45-17).

Suggested bet 

Dallas Mavericks -2.5

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