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Mavericks Poised to Topple Rival Rockets in Orlando

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts during play against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half at American Airlines Center.

NBA teams have only eight games to sort out the playoff seeding for the 2019-20 season – which makes Friday’s marquee tilt between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks a big one. The Rockets and Mavericks sit sixth and seventh respectively in the Western Conference standings, with only a game and a half separating the Texas rivals.

Houston Rockets vs Dallas Mavericks
  • Date/Time: July 31, 9 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: The Arena (WWOS)
  • TV Coverage: FSSW, ATTSW, SN1
  • Opening Odds: Rockets -1.5 | O/U 226.5 (Line History)
  • Rockets vs Mavericks Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Rockets opened things as a 1.5-point favorite, but the line has shifted dramatically at some books with the Mavericks now favored by 1 to 1.5 points. The total, which opened at 226.5, has risen by as many as 3 points in some spots.

Houston News & Notes

Playing their final eight regular-season games and the entirety of their postseason run away from Toyota Center might be a bad thing for a Rockets team that has compiled a mediocre 18-14 road record on the season. And their backcourt has taken a hit with word that Eric Gordon will miss up to two weeks after suffering an ankle injury in the team’s final scrimmage.

The other major concern: How the Rockets can hope to compete using a small-ball lineup that was outrebounded by a ridiculous margin more often than not. But things will go a lot better for them if James Harden returns to form; he averaged 39 points over a two-month span earlier in the season but averaged just 28.2 points while shooting below 38 percent in five March games.

Dallas News & Notes

It has been a roller-coaster season for both teams, but you can’t really complain as a Mavericks fan. With most supporters happy just to see the team reach the postseason, Dallas has looked a whole lot better than a borderline playoff side despite having to deal with injury woes from its top two players, guard sensation Luka Doncic and skilled big man Kristaps Porzingis.

Doncic, in particular, will be in the spotlight as he used the lengthy COVID-19 pandemic layoff to recover from lingering injuries to his right ankle, thumb and wrist. The 21-year-old Slovenian, who averages 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists, has faced the Rockets just once this season but it was a memorable appearance as he scored 41 points in a 137-123 Dallas win.

Betting Pick: Mavericks ATS

Dallas feels like a much more dependable play at this point, especially if Doncic and Porzingis are at full health.

Shark Bites
  • Houston is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games.
  • Dallas is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games vs the Southwest Division.
  • The UNDER is 10-5 in Dallas’s last 15 vs Houston.