Mavericks vs. Thunder: Betting Picks and Prediction for Game 1

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

The Western Conference has two promising semifinal matchups in the Minnesota Timberwolves-Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks-Oklahoma City Thunder. The T-Wolves-Nuggets series has been disappointing thus far with Minnesota storming out to a 2-0 lead, but Mavericks versus Thunder could still deliver with an exciting series in the West.

Game 1 of Dallas against Oklahoma City takes place tonight in the Paycom Center. The Mavs took care of business in six against the Los Angeles Clippers while the Thunder swept the New Orleans Pelicans.

Various models are predicting a series win for OKC; this includes numberFire giving the Thunder an 82.6% chance of advancing. Oklahoma City is favored for Game 1 by 3.5 points when looking at FanDuel Sportsbook's NBA odds.

Here's a breakdown of tonight's collision, capped with the best game line to back.

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

NBA Playoffs Betting

Mavericks-Thunder Betting Odds

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 7th at 9:30 p.m. ET

Spread: Thunder -3.5 (-110)

Total: 218


  • Mavericks: +140
  • Thunder: -166

Mavericks vs. Thunder Advanced Stats Breakdown

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

  • 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
  • Thunder:
    • nERD: 73.1 (2nd)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 118.3 (3rd)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 111.5 (4th)
    • Pace: 100.8 (5th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 46-35-1

Mavericks vs. Thunder Best Bet

Thunder -3.5 (-110)

About 56% of the public is on the Mavericks to cover the spread tonight. I'm going against the grain by backing the Thunder to cover.

Several models are suggesting OKC to get the job done. For example, Massey Ratings is predicting a 115-109 win for the Thunder. numberFire has the final at about 121-112 in favor of Oklahoma City. The model is giving the Thunder a 67.22% chance of covering the spread while the implied odds for covering -3.5 is only 52.4%.

This alone is carrying a lot of weight for me, but let's jump into the matchup a bit more. The battle in the paint could be OKC's biggest advantage.

The Thunder dominated around the rim in the regular season, giving up the seventh-fewest points in the paint per game while scoring the seventh-most points in the paint on offense. Meanwhile, Dallas averaged the 7th-fewest points in the paint and allowed the 13th-most points in the paint on defense.

These strengths and weaknesses have continued during the postseason. OKC won the paint battle in all four games against the Pelicans while surrendering only 39.0 points in the paint each contest. For reference, they gave up 46.6 in the regular season. The Mavs won the painted area in only one of six games versus the Clippers.

Rebounding is a flaw for the Thunder, for they have the third-lowest marks in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. However, this is an ideal matchup as Dallas is also among the 10 lowest marks for both categories.

Oklahoma City is simply the more balanced team, sitting in the top five of offensive and defensive ratings. The defense has only improved in the playoffs with the best rating among active teams. Yes, even better than the Timberwolves' daunting defense.

Thanks to a flourishing defense and their ability to win around the rim, give me the Thunder to cover the spread.

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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.