Nets vs. Mavericks NBA Preview and Best Bet

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with Frank Ntilikina #21. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP.

Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks are a tasty NBA pick as small home dogs for Tuesday’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Dallas Mavericks

Tuesday, December 07, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at American Airlines Center

There’s a lot to like about the Brooklyn Nets. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 16-7, with two former league MVPs in Kevin Durant and James Harden, plus a host of capable veterans and a bright head coach in Steve Nash. But the Nets are also performing below expectation this year at 9-14 ATS, making them the worst of the Eastern NBA picks as we go to press.

The Dallas Mavericks (11-11 SU, 9-13 ATS) haven’t been getting it done out West, either. But they’re the right choice for Tuesday’s contest after opening as 2.5-point home dogs on the NBA odds board at FanDuel.

Luka Doncic is officially listed as questionable for this matchup with a sore left ankle, but he did practice Monday, so let’s assume for now that he’s good to go – as always, wait for the morning shoot-around to make sure before betting.

Missing Personnel

If Doncic doesn’t play, the Mavericks might have an even better chance to beat the NBA lines, provided those lines move towards Brooklyn after the shoot-around. However, Dallas went 0-4 SU and 2-2 ATS in the four games Doncic has missed. His latest injury has only cost him one game thus far, so there’s no need to worry about rust if he makes his return Tuesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis is expected to play after missing the last two games with a left knee contusion, so at least the Mavs won’t be as short-handed as they were Saturday night when they lost 97-90 to the Memphis Grizzlies as 1-point home faves. Tim Hardaway Jr. is listed as questionable with a right knee contusion, but he’s an inefficient high-volume scorer who’s been outplayed by Jalen Brunson this year. Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) won’t be missed in the paint, either.

No Joe

This particular NBA pick is more about fading Brooklyn than following Dallas. The Nets may have Durant and Harden, but they don’t have Joe Harris (ankle), who led the league in 3-point shooting two of the last three seasons and was hitting 46.6 percent from downtown in 2021-22.

As for those veterans, Blake Griffin has become a black hole on offense after starting the year on fire, and Paul Millsap hasn’t contributed much aside from defense since his arrival.

Brooklyn’s struggles may ultimately boil down to Harden. While his performance level has improved since October, Harden is still limited by the new league-mandated interpretation of the rules designed to prevent shooters from initiating contact and drawing fouls – Harden’s bread and butter for much of the past decade. Without those friendly whistles, Harden is playing more like an All-Star than an MVP candidate. Bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Mavericks +2.5 (–110) at FanDuel