There will be plenty of star power on the court when Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers square off with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs on Saturday afternoon. It is a rematch of last season's first-round series, which was won by the Clippers in six games at the Orlando bubble. While Dallas has lost in the first round in each of its last five postseason appearances, Los Angeles has plenty of motivation after its shocking second-round collapse against the Denver Nuggets last season.
Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET at the Staples Center. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Clippers as 5.5-point favorites, while the over-under for total points scored is 217.5 in the latest Mavericks vs. Clippers odds. Before you make any Clippers vs. Mavericks picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $900 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 99-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Mavericks vs. Clippers spread: Clippers -5.5
- Mavericks vs. Clippers over-under: 217.5 points
- Mavericks vs. Clippers money line: Clippers -245; Mavericks +205
- DAL: The Mavericks won 12 of their final 16 games
- LAC: The Clippers lead the NBA in 3-point FG percentage (41.1)
Why the Mavericks can cover
Last season's series vs. the Clippers was Doncic's indoctrination to the postseason and he responded to the challenge with a sensational performance, averaging 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists. He posted consecutive triple-doubles in the series, including a masterpiece in which he scored 43 points while playing on a sprained ankle. Doncic continued to torment Los Angeles this season, averaging 30.3 points, 11.0 assists and 8.3 rebounds.
Kristaps Porzingis missed the final three playoff games vs. Los Angeles due to a knee injury and sat out 29 more games this season, but the 7-foot-3 forward is averaging 19.3 points and hit 9-of-15 3-pointers since rejoining the lineup in the final three games. While Porzingis provides a much needed second scoring option, Dallas needs consistency from Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson and Josh Richardson, who average between 16.6 and 12.1 points.
Why the Clippers can cover
Los Angeles has had trouble keeping its top two scorers, Leonard and Paul George, on the court at the same time due to injuries. Not only do they average a combined 48.1 points, but they contribute nearly identical numbers across the board with Leonard averaging 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists and George posting 6.6 boards and 5.2 assists. Leonard stole the show in last year's six-game series vs. Dallas, scoring over 30 points on five occasions.
George has struggled from 3-point range in his last two postseasons with Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, shooting 33.3 and 31.9 percent, respectively. He has connected on better than 41 percent of his attempts during the regular season in each of the past two years. Guard Reggie Jackson averages 10.7 points off a deep bench that has been fortified by the in-season additions of a pair of former All-Stars in Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins.
How to make Clippers vs. Mavericks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 222 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Mavericks vs. Clippers? And which side of the spread hits in nearly 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a 99-66 roll on NBA picks.