Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#501 Dallas Mavericks 226 vs.
#502 Utah Jazz -4
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 5:05pm EST
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#501 Dallas
#502 Utah
28-16
31-13
26-18
23-19-2
27-17
23-21
116
111
109
105

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When and where: January 25, 2020, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 5:00 PM ET

The Utah Jazz will take aim at the top-ranked offensive team in the NBA on Saturday when the Dallas Mavericks head to Salt Lake City for a visit. After falling in an offensive shootout with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Jazz have stormed back with three straight wins over the Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. Meanwhile, the Mavericks earned a bounce-back win on the road over the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Mavericks survive 3-point shootout

It was raining 3-pointers in the Mavericks’ road trip to Portland.

Dallas and the Trail Blazers combined for 43 made shots from beyond the arc. There weren’t enough umbrellas to go around at the Moda Center to ward off the torrential downpour. But at least the Mavericks emerged victorious.

They’ll try to do the same on Saturday against a Jazz team that ranks No. 1 in the league in 3-point shooting percentage. The clouds will likely be rolling in again in that Western Conference tilt. Dallas is ranked eighth in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, and they’ll have the best player on the floor in Luka Doncic.

The star forward and MVP candidate was selected as a starter for the Western Conference All-Star team in a season where he’s averaging 29.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game. Not even Utah’s eighth-ranked defense has much hope in slowing him down.

The Mavericks haven’t been great defensively, and they are allowing an average 111.2 points per game on the road. Those sorts of struggles could force them into another offensive shootout in Salt Lake City against the rapidly improving Jazz.

Time to take the Jazz seriously

The Jazz should no longer be treated like the red-headed stepchild in the Western Conference.

They are constantly proving themselves to be one of the league’s best two-way teams. Jordan Clarkson’s arrival has given them that second wave of offensive efficiency that could essentially take them from pretenders to legitimate contenders.

Granted, their roster still pales in comparison to both of the Los Angeles teams, but it would also be foolish to discount their chances of making some noise in the playoffs. They have won 13 of their last 14 games, including recent lopsided win over the Golden State Warriors. The team shot 53.8 percent from the floor and held the Warriors to 39.8 percent shooting in the 129-96 victory.

But things will get significantly more challenging in Saturday’s run-in with the Mavericks.

The Mavericks are currently ranked No. 1 in the league in offensive efficiency taking on the Jazz’s fifth-ranked scoring defense. Figuring out a way to slow down Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis should have Jazz head coach Quin Snyder tossing and turning in his sleep. If the Jazz fail to hold up on the defensive end of the floor, they’ll have to be ready to hit the offensive safety glass.

Unlike recent seasons, they have the firepower to stand toe-to-toe in a shootout. It helps to have a standout star like Donovan Mitchell leading the way, along with a steadily improving veteran in Bojan Bogdanovic.

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The resurgence on offense for the Jazz has propelled them past plenty of teams that haven’t boasted the firepower to respond.

Cue the Mavericks’ third-ranked scoring offense spearheaded by a star forward that looks like the second-coming of Larry Bird. The Jazz are about to be in a real fire fight in their run-in with a Mavericks team averaging 116.8 points per game.

Doncic is so good at getting the rest of his teammates involved that it can nullify a good defense. It’s the one intrinsic trait of all great players. There’s a reason why he’s one of the frontrunners in the MVP conversation, and he’ll prove it once again by dribbling circles around Utah’s defense.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert will also have his work cut out for him in trying to deal with Porzingis in the paint. It’ll be interesting to see how the minutes are broken down without center Dwight Powell to back up the European big-man. But none of that will matter with Doncic on the floor leading an offense shooting better on the road than at home. I’m taking the points and the Mavericks on Saturday.

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks (+3.5)

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The Mavericks have a knack for drawing even the best of defenses into an offensive shootout. It just so happens the Jazz will be a team ready and willing to oblige. Utah is averaging an impressive 123.3 points per game in their last three outings.

The trade for Clarkson has sparked their offense to life by giving them a legitimate bench option to turn to whenever Mitchell and Bogdanovic need time to rest. Dallas, on the other hand, have been dominant offensively all season. They are averaging 120.0 points in their last three outings. Give me the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (226)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.