Upcoming Match-ups

Lakers Favored by 3 Points Over Mavericks on Sunday Night

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in NBA Basketball

Dec 29, 2019 · 8:21 AM PST

Luka Doncic on court
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are in Los Angeles to play the Lakers. Photo by Jevone Moore (Icon Sportswire).
  • The Dallas Mavericks are currently fourth in the Western Conference 
  • The Lakers beat Portland on Saturday to end a four-game losing streak
  • Get the odds, our pick, and all the info you need to bet the game below

After a packed Saturday schedule, the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers clash at Staples Center on Sunday, December 29th. Both teams are on the second night of back-to-backs. Dallas comfortably beat the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, while the Lakers brought an end to a four-game losing streak with an eight-point win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Three MVP candidates share the floor in a highly anticipated Western Conference matchup, which is the highlight of Sunday’s NBA games. Find the latest Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers odds in the table below.

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds Over/Under
Dallas Mavericks +3 (-110) +135 Over 221.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers -3 (-110) -155 Under 221.5 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 29.

Davis Dilemma

The Lakers have faced the Mavericks twice so far this season, winning one in overtime and losing the other. Anthony Davis has averaged 29 points across those two games along with nine rebounds. The former Pelican was held to 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting by the Blazers on Saturday, but it would be no surprise to see him have another big night against the Mavericks.

Dallas could opt for a zone defense in an attempt to nullify Davis. They won’t be keen to throw Kristaps Porzingis at the six-time All-Star all night, which could leave Maxi Kleber with the Davis assignment. Kleber has the size and mobility to at least challenge Davis defensively – the German-born big man ranks 15th among power forwards in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus, only one spot behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and ahead of Draymond Green.

Improved Mavs Defense

The Mavericks have seen an improvement in their defense of late, with the ninth-best defensive rating in the league over the last five games. They were 16th by the same metric in November and 21st in October. They’ll be up against a Lakers offense that hasn’t been at its best recently – Saturday was the first time they have passed the 110-point mark since their win over Miami on Friday 13th.

Luka Doncic is a sub-par defender – the Mavericks’ defensive rating is 3.8 points better when Doncic is off the court. Of course, this is outweighed by his offensive brilliance, but he will be targeted by the Lakers, as LeBron James did down the stretch of the overtime game in November. How Dallas defend with Doncic on the floor – which he will be for the vast majority of the game – is key. The Mavericks will look to protect him, and the effectiveness of that could determine the outcome of the game.

Key Bench Duel

It’s been an up and down year for Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers have struggled for scoring outside of Davis and James so far this season, and Kuzma has a key role to play off the bench. He has scored a combined 49 points over LA’s last two games, and shot 17-for-34 from the field.

Dallas averages nearly eight bench points per game more than the Lakers. The second units will get plenty of minutes in this busy part of the schedule – Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson, who average a combined 18.3 per night, could take the game away from the Lakers if Kuzma has a quiet night (he averaged 8.2 points per game over a six-game span before a five-game absence in mid-December).

High-Scoring Game

The over looks the best bet for this one. It’s a very tough game to call, and with fatigue from the Saturday night games, the respective defenses will find it more challenging than ever to deal with Doncic and James.

Dallas have shown what a formidable team they are with their performances in Doncic’s absence. Sunday’s trip to California is an opportunity to prove themselves as legitimate NBA Finals contenders.

Pick: Over 221.5 total points (-110)

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