Lakers vs. Mavericks odds: Picks from top-rated NBA expert who is 19-6

The Lakers will have rookie point guard Lonzo Ball back in their lineup Friday when they host the Mavericks in a nationally-televised showdown at 10:30 p.m. ET. Los Angeles is listed as a four-point sportsbook favorite, with the over-under for total points scored set at 223.5.

Before you pick a side, listen to what SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein has to say. The veteran NBA handicapper continues to enjoy his best run of the season. He's 19-6 in his last 25 ATS selections for SportsLine and, while we can tell you he's leaning Under on Friday, he knows what it takes for one side to prevail in Mavericks vs. Lakers.

Perhaps the primary question that basketball observers have is whether Ball will make a positive difference for Los Angeles or will he disrupt the flow of a team that won four of six heading into the All-Star break without him?

The rookie from UCLA hasn't played since Jan. 8 because of a knee injury and the team has since acquired veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas in a trade with Cleveland. Ball was averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds before the injury and will be on a minutes limit Friday.

Thomas made his Lakers debut Feb. 10 with 22 points against the Mavericks, but Dallas prevailed 130-123 at home.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks will likely be happy to get back on the court and perhaps get some distance from their recent off-court headlines.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 for recently suggesting the Mavericks should purposely lose games the rest of the season to improve their draft position. But veteran Dirk Nowitzki and other Mavs said they have no intention of doing so.

Earlier this week, the Mavericks also were the subject of a story suggesting rampant sexual misconduct within the organization's front office.

But on the court, Dallas has gotten the best of Los Angeles in recent matchups. The Mavericks are on a 5-1 ATS run in the series, covering in four of their last five trips to Los Angeles.

Will the Lakers open the second half the season with a strong performance and cover, or will the road-tested Mavericks spoil the show? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of Mavericks-Lakers you should be all over on Friday, all from an expert who's hitting 76 percent of his NBA picks.

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