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Mavericks at Rockets game preview

The Luka Show Comes to Houston

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks
This might be his statue.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

How do you fancy your Rocket Boys now? Yes, it’s late in the season, and sometimes those results should be taken with a grain of salt, but how many grains?

I’d argue, not too many, when playing good teams, or desperate teams. Most teams now care about the late season, unlike the past, with exceptions for teams that are locked in to a spot, or trying desperately to get out of one (still see you, Denver).

The play in game, the hope of resurrecting a lost season, making good on a rebuilding strategy, giving the appearance of forward motion, or saving a GM’s job, has transformed the late season blahs of the NBA, as was intended. (Which really ought to inspire the NBA to make some more positive changes.)

Now only teams that are truly bad appear to give up and play to lose, and it’s really a three team race to the bottom at this point.

I think things will remain this way, rather than slinking down into the old way of at least a third of teams simply playing out the string in March and April. This is better for basketball fans, better for the idea of the regular season having importance. Tonight’s game is a good example.

The Dallas Mavericks come into Houston tonight, at 40-26, good for 5th in the Western Conference, and currently matched with that regular season colossus, the Utah Jazz.You have to imagine the Mavericks want to win, to shift home court in their favor, and also avoid any chance of slipping into the dreaded 7th and 8th spots.

The Mavericks are good, and I expect to talk about why they’re good, and also very different than in past years, in a later piece, probably late Friday night, or Saturday.

How good do the oddsmakers think this Dallas team is? SB Nation’s biz friends at DraftKings see the game this way:

Dallas is -11 in points spread, meaning the odds makers think Dallas will win by more than 11 points. Houston is +11, at -110.

The moneyline has Dallas at -630 and Houston at +450. This means that to win $100 betting on a Dallas victory you’d need to wager $630. To win $450 in the case of a Houston victory, you’d need to bet $100.

If someone were to gamble on this game, the spread might be more intriguing. A $100 bet on Houston to cover, that is, lose by fewer than 11 points (or win), would yield $190. So the premise here is the possibly surging Rockets won’t beat Dallas, but they’ll lose by fewer than ten points. Is that a good theory? Who knows? If you believe they’ll actually win, the moneyline is a better play.

I don’t gamble on sports except in a very, very, limited way (like $10 for the Rockets to have more than 22 wins (bye sawbuck!)) but I’ll “paper trade” this one. Let’s put a fictional $100 on the Rockets to cover the spread. Who knows, we might be eating nothing but fictional ramen before long, or maybe not. It’s a gamble.

If now an urge to wager has overcome you...

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.


What do you think of this pretend wager?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Not what I’d do.
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    This isn’t what the internet is for!
    (2 votes)
  • 27%
    You’ll shoot an eye out.
    (5 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now