Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets Preview (12/6/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After once again dismantling Phoenix 130-111, the Dallas Mavericks (12-11) hope to continue their two-game winning streak against a slumping Denver Nuggets (14-9) squad, who have lost their last two. The Mavericks are healthy, while the Nuggets will be without Michael Porter Jr (16.4 PPG) and potentially Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jeff Green as well.

Which MVP-candidate drags his team to a win? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets Betting Odds

The Nuggets are a decent favorite; the spread is -5 Nuggets with their moneyline at -210. On the other hand, Dallas’ moneyline can be found at +175, which means they must win 37% of the time to be profitable long-term. The 223 over under is an average line, and it’s worth noting the over hits in Dallas games 60.9% of the time – the third highest rate in the NBA.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets Prediction

Yes the Mavericks are 3-7 ATS on the road, and yes the Nuggets are 5-3 ATS at home. However, Dallas matches up well against an injured Nuggets team, so I love Mavericks +5.5 here. In addition, I am also taking Dallas’ +175 moneyline because I believe they win this game around 52% of the time – a +15% boost from what the moneyline requires. That’s fantastic long-term value!

Dallas owns the 7th Offensive Rating because Luka Doncic (33.4 PPG, 8.5 APG, 51 FG%) dominates as both an individual scorer and playmaker. He’s added a back to the basket post up game, and it’s been utterly unguardable to the tune of 1.07 PPP (Jokic is at 1.10 PPP). It’s imperative that defenses double or trap him because Luka will score with ease against any defender; however, that is just what defense cannot do because Luka’s superb court vision allows him to not only find an open man but also make a player open through a physics-defying pass. Overall, the Mavericks scorn transition opportunities and rank 3rd in both half-court frequency and efficiency due to Luka’s skill set.

Enter the Denver Nuggets, who rank 26th in Defensive Rating and 25th in half-court defense. On a more granular level, the Nuggets are 26th defending the pick and roll ball handler and 19th defending isolation plays. Considering Luka is the opponent, those trends should inspire terror in any Nuggets fan. Luka will shred Murray in the pick and roll, and Jokic’s defensive deficiencies will be highlighted as a result.

Perhaps the most concerning stat revolves around net three-point shot quality. Per 100 possessions, the Mavericks attempt 11.4 more open+wide open 3PA than they allow – an absolutely monster difference that ranks 1st in the NBA by a decent margin. Denver, on the other hand, allows the opponent to attempt 4.0 more open+wide open 3PA – this difference ranks 25th in the NBA. Because Dallas is stocked with lethal three-point shooters who can score off the dribble or as a catch and shoot specialist, this represents a major red flag for the Nuggets.

Finally, Denver’s bench isn’t prepared to handle Dallas’ deep second unit. Wood, Kleber, Bullock, and Green form a dynamic offensive attack that can score from anywhere on the court. On the other hand,Bruce Brown is in the starting lineup because Porter Jr remains out. As a result, Denver’s bench is depleted on both ends of the court, especially if Caldwell-Pope and Green cannot play.

The Nuggets are always a threat because of Jokic and excellent three-point shooting efficiency, but Dallas has the edge here. Their offensive strengths overlap with Denver’s defensive weaknesses, and the Nuggets won’t be at full strength.

Betting Trends

  • Mavericks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games
  • Nuggets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games
  • Mavericks are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Denver

Key Matchups

Which team will win the positional matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Dwight Powell & Christian Wood Defense

Nikola Jokic is unstoppable as a passer, but his scoring output can be somewhat reduced by great defense. Unfortunately for Dallas, Wood is a mediocre defender who doesn’t position himself well. Powell has solid defensive instincts, but he lacks the size or length to stonewall Jokic and bother his shot. If the Mavericks centers can play above their usual standards and defend Jokic at an extremely high level, then the Nuggets will find it difficult to match Dallas’ offense. It would also behoove the Mavericks if the duo can stick fouls onto Jokic early.

Jamal Murray Two-Way Play

Denver needs Murray to accomplish two things: score off the dribble and stick to Luka through screens on the other end. If Murray can break down the defense off the dribble, then Denver’s offense becomes far more effective and versatile, which they absolutely require versus Dallas. On defense, Luka will try to force Jokic to step up and subsequently find Powell for a lob. If Murray can navigate screens and allow Jokic to sit back in the paint, then the pick and roll won’t be as effective. Denver has struggled in this department all season though, so it’s an uphill battle.

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Spencer Dinwiddie
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineups

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Bruce Brown
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Key Injuries

Dallas Mavericks Injuries: Tyler Dorsey (Q), McKinley Wright IV (Q)

Denver Nuggets Injuries: Michael Porter Jr (O), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Q), Jeff Green (Q), Collin Gillespie (Q), Peyton Watson (Q)

Braxton has been writing for Lineups since December 2021 with the majority of his articles focused on the NBA. He is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania where he has spent the last few years working with various UPenn athletics teams and contributing to the UPenn Sports Analytics Group.

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