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Dallas Mavericks Odds – Defensive shortcomings will hurt Mavs’ chances

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/3/2014 7:01:10 AM

The Mavericks overachieved on NBA betting odds last year by reaching the Western Conference semifinals. The Mavericks picked up the versatile and athletic Shawn Marion in the offseason to short up their defense, but the “Matrix” won’t be enough to propel the Mavericks any further than last year.

Dallas Mavericks Odds: +4000 to win NBA Championship

  • Led by Nowitzki, plenty of offense on the Mavericks
  • Mavericks are lacking defensively
  • Can Kidd stop younger pointer guards?

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: STARTING FIVE
The starting five is still anchored by former MVP Dirk Nowitzki, who put up 25.9 points and 8.4 boards, and he seemed to be more fiery last year. 36-year-old Jason Kidd mans the point, and he’s still a triple-double threat each night. He even shot over 40% from long range, which makes up for his slowing defensive skills, although he still plays passing lanes as well as anyone in the NBA. Josh Howard is penciled in at the three-spot, but he was injury prone last year and may miss the start of the season, which is why Dallas signed Shawn Marion. Jason Terry adds a spark at shooting guard, and Erick Dampier is a physical presence in the post.

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: BENCH
Marion is a massive pickup for the Dallas bench, seeing as they lost Brandon Bass to Orlando. Terry could also come off the bench if coach Rick Carlisle decides to go with Howard at the two and Marion at the three; that would give Dallas some size and at least one scorer on the second unit. Jose Juan Barea continues to learn from his idol, Kidd, at the point, and the Puerto Rican has improved his numbers in each of his three NBA seasons. The big men could be in trouble, as former Raptors Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai are physical, but not much else. The offense will come from Drew Gooden, who is on his seventh team in seven seasons, as well as Tim Thomas, who was in Orlando last year.

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
The Mavericks’ betting chances rest with their offense, which was ninth in the league last season. Nowitzki and Kidd are the focal points of the show, with Howard and Terry playing supporting roles, although Terry is capable of heating up in a hurry. Marion can also score, although he’s a slasher and not much of an outside shooter (if you’ve seen his shot, you understand). Points shouldn’t be a problem for the Mavericks.

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
Dallas was 15th in points allowed, and a lot of their problems started at the point. Kidd is slowing down, and quicker point guards gave him a torrid time; in a conference with New Orleans’ Chris Paul, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Utah’s Deron Williams, that’s a huge issue. Dampier is their best shotblocker, and he averaged just over one a game. Marion may now be the Mavericks’ best shotblocker.

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: COACHING
Carlisle was the 2002 Coach of the Year, and he had a successful first year with the Mavericks, leading them to a first-round win over San Antonio. Carlisle’s calm style is a 180 from Avery Johnson’s intensity, and the Mavericks have responded well. However, he has to sort out the defense for Dallas to be a sportsbook contender in the West.

Dallas Mavericks odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK
The Mavericks did well to sneak in the playoffs as a No. 6 seed before upsetting San Antonio, but they fell to Denver in the conference semifinals. It may be another struggle for Dallas just to get to the playoffs, unless their defense improves. Marion will help on that end, but they don’t have that big guy who will alter shots, which is more crucial as Kidd can’t stop opposing guards from penetrating. Nowitzki and company will fill the net, but their inability to stop the other team from doing the same will end their season in the first round.

For more of the best sports betting articles on the internet and previews of all 30 NBA teams, check back with the Betting Edge daily.

Craig Parsons is's college basketball expert.



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