Griffin & Dirk Renew Rivalry: L.A. Clippers At Dallas Mavs Betting Preview

LA Clippers AT Dallas Mavericks
April 7, 2011 at 8:30 PM EST
Opening Line:  Dal -9
Current Line:  Dal -9.5
Opening Total:  200
Current Total:  200
Opening Moneyline:  Dal -600 / LAC +475
Current Moneyline:  Dal -560 / LAC +455

Eric Gordon and the Clippers are looking to pull what Vegas oddsmakers think is a major upset

For a team sitting in the upper half of the Western Conference playoff picture, things couldn’t be more bleak for Dallas.  They’ve lost 4 straight and a loss tonight would put them out of contention for the #2 seed.  If the playoffs started today the Mavericks would face the Portland Trailblazers, a scary opposition for any team given the recent play of LaMarcus Aldridge and the re-emergence of Brandon Roy.

Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki insists the Mavericks are not looking over their shoulder, nor in front of themselves in the standings.  “I don’t think it does any good to watch (the standings) now,” said Nowitzki.  “We’ve got to start playing better and feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs.”

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t in panic mode either.  He just rested two of the Mavs older players in Kidd and Chandler and is focused on the playoffs, not these regular season games for the mere semantics of seedings and home court in the second round.  “Right now, with our team, we’re not about measuring sticks,” Carlisle said. “It’s about getting our physical and mental disposition where it needs to be and move forward feeling like we’re making progress.”

On the other side of the court are the Clippers, who have been playing extremely well of late, having won 2 of their past 3, including victories over the Thunder (the loss was to the Thunder too) and Memphis.  Griffin has continued to stand out.  He notched 35 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Oklahoma City last game and he is averaging 24.8 points per game and 13.8 rebounds per game in the last eight games.  Coach Vinny Del Negro was impressed by the effort Griffin and his teammates gave in the Oklahoma City game.  “I like the way we hung in there,” coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We gave ourselves a chance and that’s what you want to do on the road.”

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the Clippers’ past 6 games and the Clippers are 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games.  They are also 1-4 SU in their last 5 road games and the total has gone UNDER in 17 of the last 25 games against the Dallas Mavericks.  The Clippers are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against the Mavericks and they are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 against Dallas.  The total has gone UNDER in 8 of their last 12 road games in Dallas and the Clips are 0-5 SU in their last 5 road games against the Mavericks.

Dallas is 1-4 SU In their last 5 games.  They are also 1-4 ATS in those games and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 home games.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 at home and the Mavs are 12-4 SU in their last 16 games at home.  Dallas is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 against the LA Clippers and the total has gone UNDER in 17 of the last 25 games against the Clippers.  Dallas is 5-0 SU in their last 5 against the Clippers and they are 5-0 SU in their last 5 at home against the Clippers.  Dallas is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 at home against the Clippers and the total has gone UNDER in 8 of their last 12 at home against the LA Clippers.

Key Matchups:

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Blake Griffin

As mentioned earlier, the Mavericks have found a way to keep Blake Griffin in check this year.  Could that be an anomally?  Is it possible that Griffin comes out tonight and reverse that fortune to score 30 against a Dallas team that gives up 95.8 points per game?  I believe it could be that type of night.  Griffin has scored his season average of 22 in both of the last two games, but seems due for a big game since his last 30+ point game was in a triple double effort against the Washington Wizards.  He’s much more athletic than Dirk and should be able to just flat out dunk on all the Mavericks interior defenders, the problem will probably be that Griffin will end up making a lot of trips to the free throw line where he is only a 64% shooter.

Rodrique Beaubois & Jason Terry vs. Eric Gordon & Randy Foye

Both teams rely heavily on their shooting guards to provide them with scoring and all four of these guys are capable of lighting it up.  Gordon is obviously the best of the four and emerged as a legitimate star following the USA basketball stint last summer.  Foye has been a pleasant surprise for the Clippers this year after more or less floundering in obscurity in his first few seasons in the league.   Terry turns 34 this year, but really hasn’t slowed down at all.  He’s still playing 31 minutes a game and his scoring average is about the same as last year, just over 16 a game.  He’s also averaging more assists than he has since 2006-2007.  Beaubois has drawn high praise from both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry and looks to be a part of the Mavericks’ long term plans.  Though he plays only 18 minutes a night, Rodrique Beaubois averages just under 10 a game as he gets up a shot every 2.11 minutes.

The Clippers have every reason to feel they can win this game.  Though they are double digit underdogs, Dallas has been struggling and the Clippers are poised to play the “spoiler” role for the rest of the season, upsetting teams that are fighting for playoff positions.

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