NBA Playoffs Betting Preview: Mavericks at Lakers

Mavericks Lakers logosDespite looking somewhat vulnerable at times in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers will be firm favorites when they tip off with the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series on Monday (10:35 p.m. ET, TNT).

Los Angeles is listed as a 5.5-point home favorite at and the total is set at 188.5. On the moneyline, the Lakers are -275; the Mavs are +235.

The No. 3 Mavericks are coming off a 4-2 first round series win against a tough No. 6 Portland team. Meanwhile the No. 2 Lakers got past No. 7 New Orleans in six games. The two-time defending champions suffered a surprising 109-100 loss to the Hornets at home to open the playoffs.

The Lakers won two of the three regular season meetings (2-1 ATS) against the Mavericks this season and are -360 NBA betting favorites to win the series.

Although the Lakers are heavily favored, it isn’t because of the team’s regular season numbers, which are overall very similar. The big difference is that the Lakers are two-time defending NBA champs while Dallas is a traditional playoff choker.

Furthermore, the Lakers have one of the best clutch performers in NBA history in Kobe Bryant whereas Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki who is an All-Star in the regular season but still hasn’t proven he can win big games.

The Lakers will look to dominate inside as they did against New Orleans but in this series it may not be as easy since the Mavericks have some big men that can stay with Los Angeles. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom while the Mavericks counter with Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood.

The reason the Lakers struggled in their series against New Orleans was because of the guard matchups as Chris Paul exposed the Lakers. That will not be as big an issue in this series but Dallas still should have an edge when Jason Terry comes off the bench.

The Mavericks would seem to match up well with the Lakers but for some reason they always find a way to lose. The Lakers have won 10 of the last 13 matchups against Dallas.

The interesting part of this series is that the road teams may have a good chance of covering the spread. Neither the Mavericks (19-20-2) nor the Lakers (16-25 ATS) were good vs. the point spread at home.

The Mavericks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four road games. The Lakers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as a home favorite. The Mavericks are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings in Los Angeles and the road team in this series is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings.

The over is 7-1 in the Mavericks’ last eight games as a road underdog. The over is 4-1 in the Lakers’ last five games as a home favorite. The over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Los Angeles.

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