Three at 3: Doncic's Mavericks Are Solid Pick Against Struggling Blazers

Zachary Cohen
Sports Illustrated
Three at 3: Doncic's Mavericks Are Solid Pick Against Struggling Blazers
Three at 3: Doncic's Mavericks Are Solid Pick Against Struggling Blazers

Here are the Three at 3’s best bets for Tuesday night’s NBA action:

1. Orlando Magic at Miami Heat (-2.5)

7:30 pm ET

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The Magic are one of the best stories of the early part of the NBA season. After years of being one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, Orlando is 11-12 straight up and an impressive 14-8-1 against the spread. The Magic would be the eighth seed in the East if the season ended today. But Miami comes into this one after having won and covered in back-to-back games over the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz. The Heat have now won three of their last five games, and they have covered in four of those contests. The guy that has been keeping this team afloat is Dwyane Wade. With Goran Dragic out indefinitely, Wade has taken on a lot of the ball-handling duties for Miami. The future Hall of Famer is averaging 19.2 points and 5.0 assists per game on 46.6% shooting from the floor and 39.1% shooting from three over the last five games. As long as Wade continues to play like this, Miami is going to be tough to beat. It helps that the Heat have a healthier Hassan Whiteside inside. The big man is coming off a 23-point, 20-rebound game against the Jazz on Sunday. He’ll be key in this game, as he needs to help stop Nikola Vucevic. The Heat are shooting the three well this season, which is a good sign. Orlando is just 18-30 against the spread when facing teams that make at least 36.0% of their threes since the start of last season.

Pick: Heat (-2.5)

2. Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks (-1)

8:30 pm ET

Since the start of last season, the Mavericks are 38-20 against the spread when playing teams with winning records. Dallas is also 35-20 against the spread in home games versus teams that shoot 24.0 or fewer free throws per game since the start of the 2016-17 season. It doesn’t hurt that Rick Carlisle’s team is absolutely rolling right now. The Mavericks have won eight of their last 10 both straight up and against the spread. Meanwhile, the Blazers are ice cold. Portland dropped seven of its last 10 games straight up and failed to cover in nine of those contests. Dallas has a better offensive efficiency rating than Portland over the last 10 games. That is bad news for the Blazers, as the Mavericks are also the league’s third-best defensive team in that span—while Portland is the worst. These teams are heading in opposite directions right now, and Dallas should be getting star rookie Luka Doncic back from a hip injury that kept him out against the Los Angeles Clippers game. Facing a defense that is playing as poorly as Portland’s, Doncic should be able to fill up the stat sheet. The Blazers are far too prone to defensive mistakes right now, and the rookie is more than capable of picking them apart.

Pick: Mavericks (-1)

3. San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz (Total: 215.5)

9:00 pm ET

While a meeting between the Spurs and Jazz might seem like a game destined to be played in the 90s, this game could actually end up being rather high scoring. Over the last three seasons, over the total is 32-16 when Utah plays against Southwest division opponents. Three of those overs came in the last three meetings between these two teams. The Jazz are also 12-3 over when coming off of a road game this year. The average amount of points scored in those games is 221.7 points per game. The reality is that Utah is not the same team defensively that it was last year. The Jazz had the league’s best defensive efficiency rating a season ago, but they are just 13th in the league now. Meanwhile, the Spurs are worse than every team in the league outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers in that regard. San Antonio is allowing 112.4 points per 100 possessions, and the team could struggle to defend Quin Snyder’s motion-heavy offense tonight. This game will feature quite a few head-to-head matchups that don’t involve much defense being played, with the most important being DeMar DeRozan squaring up against Donovan Mitchell. It wouldn’t be surprising if both players went for 30 or more in this game.

Pick: Over (215.5)

Overall Record: 53-46-3

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