After Luka Doncic’s masterful Christmas Day performance, his MVP odds have tightened substantially. Can Doncic have a repeat performance tonight, or will the shorthanded Cavaliers put together a post-Christmas miracle and grab the road win?
Check out our Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Dallas Mavericks predictions, betting picks, betting odds, and in-depth analysis!
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction
It seems increasingly likely that the Cleveland Cavaliers will have Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert available to play in their road game against the Mavericks. However, will their availability be enough to push Cleveland past the Mavs?
Since being without Evan Mobely and Darius Garland (the past five games), the Cavaliers surprisingly boast a 4-1 record with a net rating of +3.3 (offensive rating of 123.4.) It should be noted that Cleveland had three of its four wins in that span at home and against Atlanta, Houston, and Utah, three middle-of-the-road teams that don’t perform well away from their own floor.
Meanwhile, Dallas has won back-to-back games after dropping three straight; it beat Phoenix on the road on Christmas Day and hammered the Spurs by 25 points at home. The Mavericks hold an impressive 18-12 record this season, which currently has them placed fifth in the Western Conference; however, they are only two games out of third place.
One of the biggest weaknesses Dallas has had in previous seasons (this one included, too) has been consistent frontcourt play. The Mavericks have struggled to find a rim protector and mutliple solid rebounding bigs recently; however, that will not hurt them much in this game.
Cleveland will again miss Evan Mobley, as mentioned above, which forces the Cavs to start Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade in their frontcourt. Wade is a solid player who can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting but will not have an advantage on Grant WIlliams in and around the paint.
Further, Dereck Lively has the size, length, athleticism, and functional strength to mitigate Allen’s impact. This matchup also allows Lively to play to his strengths (rim protection) defensively.
Lastly, Dallas is shooting 39.1% (fifth in the NBA) from deep at home on the third-most three-point attempts (at home) in the NBA. Cleveland has a solid three-point defense for the most part, but Doncic will be able to exploit this defense, especially since he has been lighting it up (49/40/82 shooting split) in his past eight games.
Without an advantage in the frontcourt, it is challenging to see where Cleveland will keep this game within one possession.
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction: Mavericks -2.5 (-110)
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Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Dallas Mavericks Best Odds
Dallas is a narrow three-point home favorite when it hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 27th. The Mavericks have Moneyline odds of -148 to win the game straight up, while Cleveland is +124 to steal a win on the road. The Over/Under is at 232 points as of Wednesday afternoon.
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Dallas Mavericks Injuries
Cleveland has been plagued with injuries over the past few weeks; it will miss Darius Garland due to a fractured jaw, Evan Mobley due to arthroscopic left knee surgery, and Ricky Rubio for personal reasons. Additionally, Ty Jerone (ankle) and Sam Merrill (wrist) will not suit up for the Cavaliers. Donovan Mitchell (illness) and Caris LeVert (knee) are questionable and will be game-time decisions for Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Dallas will continue to be without Kyrie Irving (heel) and Maxi Kleber (toe.) The Mavericks will have several players who will be game-time decisions, including Luka Doncic (left quad soreness), Tim Hardaway Jr. (illness), and Josh Green (elbow.)