Mavericks vs. Clippers: Betting Picks and Prediction for Game 2

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

The Los Angeles Clippers answered a major question in their Game 1 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs -- they won without Kawhi Leonard. Los Angeles kept the Mavericks' tenacious offense at bay throughout the night, limiting them to just 8 points in the second quarter, en route to a win.

As of this writing, Leonard is still questionable to play in Game 2 as he continues to recover from a knee strain. That will be a major factor in tonight's game, but the Clippers proved in Game 1 that their elite roster has the depth and cohesion needed to be a genuine threat in the playoffs with or without the star.

The Mavericks exited Game 1 with more questions than answers. Despite overall strong nights from their top bucket-getters, Dallas still fell short by the final buzzer and were kept under 100 points for just the eighth time this season.

Can Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Mavericks make the necessary adjustments heading into Game 2? Or will they continue to look overmatched against the Clippers' deep and experienced roster?

All NBA odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook and may change after this article is published.

NBA Playoffs Betting

Mavericks - Clippers Betting Odds

Date and Time: Tuesday April 23rd, 10:00 p.m. ET

Spread: Mavericks -1.5 (-108)

Total: 216


  • Mavericks: -120
  • Clippers: +102

Mavericks vs. Clippers Advanced Stats Breakdown

nERD via numberFire. Adjusted offensive/defensive ratings and pace via DunksAndThrees.

  • Dallas Mavericks:
    • nERD: 57.1 (12th)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 117.5 (7th)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 115.3 (18th)
    • Pace: 104.4 (7th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 48-34
  • Los Angeles Clippers:
    • nERD: 61.6 (6th)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 118.3 (5th)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 114.9 (17th)
    • Pace: 97.7 (20th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 38-44

Mavericks vs. Clippers Best Bet

Los Angeles Clipper Moneyline (+102)

The Clippers seem to have something figured out when it comes to taking on Doncic and the Mavericks. They've now beaten Dallas in three of four meetings this season, with their sole loss coming during the In-Season Tournament in a game where no Clippers starter played even 30 minutes. Two of those wins even came in games where either Leonard or Paul George were unavailable.

While Dallas' top stars can go toe-to-toe with just about any other duo in the league, the rest of their roster isn't quite up to the same level. The Clippers, whose deep roster was a strength all year, were able to completely shut out the rest of the Mavericks' roster during Game 1 -- PJ Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., and Daniel Gafford combined for just 14 points while the rest of the bench combined for 19.

Ivica Zubac was able to dominate the boards for Los Angeles, boxing out Dallas' frontcourt. And while the Mavericks' non-Kyrie and non-Luka starters failed to generate any offense, the Clippers turned to two Sixth Man of the Year contenders off the bench in Russell Westbrook and Norman Powell whenever top-notch starters like James Harden or George needed a breather.

If Leonard returns tonight, the Mavericks could have an even more difficult task on their hands. But the Clippers have shown they can pull off convincing wins without Kawhi, and I like their odds of bringing home a second straight win tonight.

Mavericks vs. Clippers Prop Bet

Luka Doncic Under 9.5 Assists (-132)

As we mentioned in the previous section, the Clippers' lineup has a pretty noticeable edge over Mavericks not named Doncic or Irving. That forced Doncic to keep the ball for himself more often than usual in Game 1, resulting in just 6 assists for the star despite Luka averaging 9.8 assists per game during the regular season.

Doncic's 6 assists might seem like an outlier at first glance -- in 70 regular season games he finished with 6 or fewer assists just 12 times. But upon closer inspection, 2 of those 12 regular season instances came against these same Clippers. As it turns out, he averaged just 6.7 assists per game against the Clippers across their first three meetings this season and is now down to a 6.5-per-game average against the Clips after Game 1 on Sunday.

The Clippers seem content to let Doncic take shots because they know they have an advantage over the rest of the Mavericks' lineup -- if he dishes the ball away, his teammates' chances of putting points on the board aren't great. That bore out in Game 1 as Mavericks other than Doncic and Irving went 10-for-36 from the field.

That meant that even with Doncic and Irving combining for more than 60 points, the rest of Dallas' lineup couldn't hold up their end of the bargain in Game 1. That's the bet the Clippers are making with their choice to defend Luka one-on-one, and it's a gamble that has led to them winning three of their four meetings with the Mavs so far this season.

Even if the Mavericks make some adjustments heading into Game 2, it doesn't seem likely that getting players like PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford more shots is the answer to their problems. And in order to put assists in the stats sheet, Doncic needs his teammates to score. I think he'll have a hard time cresting 9.5 assists in Game 2.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.