The Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to receive an infusion of talent on Thursday with the projected return of Anthony Davis. Davis, who has been out of action with a calf injury for two months, is slated to take the floor against the Dallas Mavericks in a Western Conference clash. LeBron James (ankle) is out for the Lakers, with Marc Gasol (finger) listed as questionable. The Mavericks are on the second night of a back-to-back after defeating the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Maxi Kleber (back) is listed as doubtful for Dallas.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET in Dallas. The latest Lakers vs. Mavericks odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Dallas as a three-point favorite. The over-under for total points is set at 216. Before finalizing any Mavericks vs. Lakers 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 it has returned over $9,200 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up over $1,200 on its top-rated picks this season, and dating back to last year, it entered Week 18 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 96-60 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Lakers vs. Mavericks spread: Mavericks -3
- Lakers vs. Mavericks over-under: 216 points
- Lakers vs. Mavericks money line: Mavericks -150; Lakers +130
- LAL: The Lakers are 18-15 against the spread in conference games
- DAL: The Mavericks are 14-20 against the spread in conference games
Why the Lakers can cover
Los Angeles has operated in shorthanded fashion recently, but the Lakers are projected to have a star returning in Davis, and they've also received substantial contributions from supporting pieces. Davis is averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21, and he would be returning after a two-month absence with potential restrictions in terms of deployment. From there, newly acquired center Andre Drummond is averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in April, with Dennis Schroder adding 15.6 points and 7.4 assists per contest this month.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is red-hot from 3-point distance, burying 49.2 percent of his attempts in April, and the Lakers can also rely on the No. 6 free throw creation in the NBA this season. Dallas also struggles mightily to create turnovers, ranking second-worst in the NBA in forcing giveaways, and the Mavericks are last in the NBA in steals. Defensively, Los Angeles remains stellar, with a top-five overall unit even in games without its stars. Dallas is also a below-average offensive rebounding team that ranks in the bottom five of the NBA in generating assists.
Why the Mavericks can cover
The Mavericks are led by a potent offense, and Luka Doncic is the team's centerpiece. Dallas is scoring nearly 1.14 points per possession for the season, and Doncic averages 28.6 points, 8.7 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game. He is flanked by Kristaps Porzingis, with the big man averaging 20.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest, and the Mavericks rank in the top 10 of the NBA in both effective field goal percentage (54.7 percent) and true shooting percentage (57.9 percent).
Dallas is elite at taking care of the ball, committing a turnover on only 12.2 percent of offensive possessions, and that helps to maximize their efficiency. On the defensive end, the Mavericks are above-average in limiting opponent shooting efficiency, and this is also a reasonably soft matchup. Los Angeles has been a bottom-five offensive team since James went down with injury and, even with Davis slated the return, the Lakers project to score at a below-average rate -- especially if Davis sees limited minutes.
How to make Mavericks vs. Lakers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 217 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 60 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Mavericks vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits well over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a roll on NBA picks.