It's been a very inconsistent season for the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, but the book was a big fan of the Mavs in NBA action last week as two of the book's biggest results came from Mavericks games.
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The book's biggest win of the week was last Friday's Dallas at Portland game. The Mavericks went off as 4-point favorites and took more than 83 percent of the action on the spread and nearly that much as well on the moneyline at -180. It sure looked like it would be a big win for players, but the Mavs nearly blew a 24-point third-quarter lead - and a 16-point advantage with just over four minutes left -- before winning only 97-94. Portland's Wesley Matthews made a meaningless 26-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to turn the result into a great one for the book and a dagger to the heart of Mavs backers.
Dallas was also good for the book in Sunday's 112-108 overtime loss at the Los Angeles Lakers. Because the Lakers were without the injured Kobe Bryant (shin), the Mavericks were only 1.5-point road dogs. But more than 60 percent of the lean on the spread was on the Mavs. The Lakers completed a four-game season series sweep of the Mavericks, who of course swept L.A. out of last year's playoffs and Phil Jackson into retirement. The Lakers have been good to bettors without Bryant, winning four straight (3-1 ATS) entering this week.
The biggest win for players last week was the Miami Heat's 93-85 win at the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Heat's only regular-season trip to the Big Apple but very possibly a first-round playoff preview. It was the first time the Heat had beaten a team with a winning record on the road since March 16. The Heat closed as 3.5-point favorites and took nearly 75 percent of the action on the spread and almost 85 percent on the moneyline at -155.
Early-Week Live Betting Preview
It's the final full week of the regular season and the book will have plenty of live play-by-play betting options scheduled. There's a rare Tuesday night TNT doubleheader that will feature live betting: Celtics at Knicks and Spurs at Lakers.
Boston has been arguably the best team in the NBA since the All-Star break. Coach Doc Rivers took advantage of the fact Boston played wretched Charlotte on Sunday as he sat stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in the 94-82 win. In fact, none of those three even went on the trip to Charlotte as it was the third game in three nights for Boston. They all should play Tuesday (Allen actually is a bit nicked up and could sit again), although you can be sure other NBA coaches whose teams are locked into playoff spots will rest their stars when possible in the season's final few games.
The Knicks won't quite have back Amare Stoudemire for Tuesday's game as they try to nail down one of the final playoff spots in the East. Stoudemire has missed 11 straight games with a back injury but is looking to return perhaps by Friday. After losing on Christmas to New York, Boston has won the next two meetings. New York enters the week two games ahead of Milwaukee for the No. 8 spot in the East.
The Spurs, meanwhile, opened as 2.5-point favorites at the Lakers, who aren't likely to have Kobe back for the game. Bryant did say that he would get back well before the playoffs begin next weekend. After Tuesday, the Lakers have just four games left. San Antonio is battling Oklahoma City for the top spot in the West.
The national television doubleheader shifts to ESPN on Wednesday night for Magic at Celtics and Lakers at Warriors. Orlando will finish the regular season without star center Dwight Howard because of a back injury, and there's no guarantee that Howard will be ready for the playoffs. He was diagnosed with a herniated disk last week, will rest the injury for 10 days and then be re-evaluated. The club also may not get back small forward Hedo Turkoglu for the playoffs, either, because of an eye injury. The Magic, who have clinched a playoff spot, have dropped to 50/1 to win the NBA title.
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