The Dallas Mavericks (8-7) and Utah Jazz (9-4) will meet up Thursday night in a Western Conference affair inside

Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz

Dallas has dropped its first two games on a four-game road trip by a combined five points, coming off a 91-89 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers as 3.5-point road favorites.  “We’ve got to keep on fighting,” commented Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.  “Nobody said it was going to be easy.”  Nowitzki leads the team in scoring 17.9 points per game, but made just 6-of-18 shots last time out.  The team won all four meetings with Utah a year ago, sweeping the four-game season series for the first time in franchise history.  Dallas is 64-37 ATS on the road the last two-plus seasons.

The Mavericks are 0-3 in games decided by three points or less this season, which is far different than the team’s 10-6 mark in such games a year ago.  Dallas has yet to defeat a Western Conference opponent on the road this season, dropping all five games in that particular situation.  Defensively, the team is third in the league in allowing just 88.7 points per game, but is 0-6 when allowing 90 or more points.

Utah has jumped out to a 9-4 record this season and will put its 7-1 home mark on the line, winning three of four games versus Western Conference opponents inside EnergySolutions Arena.  “We are tougher to guard when you have four of five games out there who can score and do different things,” commented Jazz point guard Devin Harris.  He is one of six players on the roster that’s currently averaging 8.0 or more points per game.  Center Al Jefferson leads that entire group in scoring 18.0 points and pulling down 9.3 rebounds per game.  Utah is 8-6 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less.

The Jazz are 10-5 in their last 15 home games against the Mavericks, but have failed to cover the last two.  Utah has gone above the century mark in scoring in four of the last five games, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in those contests.  It’s certainly a surprise to see this team in the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference, as NBA insiders weren’t expecting very much out of this squad.

Bettors will likely back the Mavericks due to their 20-8-1 ATS mark as a road underdog of 4.5 points or less, while the Jazz are 10-26-1 ATS versus winning teams.

Recommendation:  Dallas Mavericks +3

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