NBA

Mavericks vs. Clippers: Betting Picks and Prediction for Game 5

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

Has any first-round matchup been more perplexing in this season's NBA Playoffs than the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers?

The series is split at 2-2. Each team is 1-1 at home and 1-1 on the road. The Clippers lost both of their games with star forward Kawhi Leonard on the court and won both of the games he missed.

Leonard is not expected back for the remainder of the series as these teams head back to Los Angeles for Game 5. But are the Clippers really better without Leonard right now?

Both teams have broken serve on the road, do either have a real home-court advantage?

Either way, tonight's battle should be a hard-fought one between two of this season's strongest competitors. Will the Mavericks retake the lead in the series, or can the Clippers keep up their Kawhi-less winning streak?

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: Wednesday May 1st, 10:00 p.m. ET

Spread: Mavericks -3.0 (-110)

Total: 209.0

Moneyline:

  • Mavericks: -154
  • Clippers: +130

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: 100.4 (8th)
    • 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

Over 209 Points (-110)

I do not believe the Clippers are better without Kawhi Leonard overall, but they have played better without him in this series. If there's any explanation for it -- other than plain old variance -- it would be that Leonard playing at less than 100% was having a negative impact on the rest of the team.

Whatever the reasoning is, we have seen the Clippers' offense be a lot more productive in their games sans Leonard. So far in the series, Los Angeles has a low 101.8 offensive rating with Leonard on the court. When he's off the court, that rating spikes to 117.0.

This has played out on the scoreboard, too -- Los Angeles averaged just 91.5 points in their two games this series with Kawhi and has averaged 113.5 points per game in their two contests without him.

Leonard's presence slowed down the game in his two starts in the series. Games 2 and 3 had an average 88.5-play pace, while Games 1 and 4 had a 91.7 pace. Now that these teams have felt each other out and without Leonard making his presence felt, I'm expecting the scoring to start ramping up in Game 5.

This 209.0-point total is, frankly, not a very high number. The Mavericks finished over that line in all but 10 of their regular season games. Two of those low-scoring nights came in games without either Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving, and a third came in another game with Irving but without Doncic. Both Irving and Doncic will be out there tonight, meaning the Mavs will have each of their top scorers available to take on the Clippers' Leonard-less defense.

These teams blew past the 209-point mark in Game 4 on Sunday as they cruised up to a combined 228 points. I'm expecting the offensive output to continue escalating now that both teams know what to expect.

Mavericks vs. Clippers Prop Bet

Kyrie Irving Over 26.5 Points (-108)

While we're on the topic of this series' splits with and without Kawhi Leonard, let's focus in on Irving's points in each game of the series. In Games 1 and 4 (without Leonard), Irving has posted 31 and 40 points. In Games 2 and 3 (with Leonard), Irving netted 23 and 21 points.

If this game does hit the over -- like I'm expecting it to -- there should be plenty of scoring opportunities on both sides. So far in this series, that kind of accelerated scoring environment seems to benefit Irving more than any other member of the Mavericks' starting lineup.

Irving has scored 13.5 more points per night in the games without Leonard while Doncic has scored just 4.0 more points per game against the Leonard-less Clippers. Daniel Gafford's minimal scoring output goes unchanged with or without Kawhi playing while PJ Washington and Derrick Jones Jr. have each actually scored 3.5 more points per game with Leonard on the court.

Finally, if the Mavericks want to move onto the next round, they'll need to pull off at least one more road victory. If they win later tonight, they'll have a chance to wrap up the series at home on Friday. If they lose tonight, they'll need to win both their Friday home game and Game 7 on Sunday back in Los Angeles. The Mavs are likely going to leave it all on the court tonight to try to prevent an eventual Game 7, meaning we should see Irving on the floor for more than 40 minutes.


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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.