Mavericks vs. Bucks Best Bets for Sunday: The Amazing Underdog-Under Combo

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Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots a jump shot over the reach of Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on April 03, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP

The Under has some legs for our Sunday’s NBA picks. But can the underdog Dallas Mavericks handle the overall No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks? 

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks 

Sunday, November 27, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum  

About Last Night

Well, that was an entertaining game – although the end result wasn’t too good for our Saturday NBA player props. The under-manned Toronto Raptors managed to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 as 2.5-point home dogs, and they held Luka Doncic in check: 

  • 2 Three-Point Shots Made (Under 2.5) 
  • 4 Turnovers (Over 3.5) 
  • 24 Pts, 8 Ast, 7 Reb (no triple-double) 

So close, and yet so far. Now the Mavericks have to cross the border again and play the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday; the early NBA odds have Dallas getting 6.5 points at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) with a total of 215.5. 

Is there enough value there to place multiple bets? Or are we going to have to load up on Luka again? 

Rule of Thumb

Salient questions indeed. FiveThirtyEight project the Bucks to win by 4.5 points, so if you go by the old Sklansky-Malmuth rule of thumb, that two points between the projections and the actual NBA lines makes this worth betting on. 

Not all the models we’re following have Milwaukee winning by such a slim margin, though, so we might want to keep that bet fun-sized. Same goes for the Under, for that matter, even if it’s the sharp side of this matchup. That’s right, folks: The underdog and the Under. It’s what’s for dinner. 

What About Those Luka Doncic Props? 

If you’re looking for something you can safely throw a larger bet size at – staying within the boundaries of your bankroll and the Kelly criterion – there’s no reason to turn away from those tasty NBA props. But they’re not on the board yet as we go to press. 

It might be worth placing a single unit on the Under, though. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) have Sunday’s total at 216.5 points; that should be enough to get us the 52.4% margin we need to overcome the juice on a standard -110 bet. Definitely fire away if the total climbs a bit higher before tip-off, and/or you can get a better deal on the vigorish. 

Temper Expectations With the Spread

We can’t share the same enthusiasm with the underdogs. The Mavs (9-9 SU, 4-13-1 ATS) have some extra hoops to jump through for this game, including the border crossing we mentioned above. And they’re coming off what turned into a physical contest against the Raptors. Many bodies did indeed hit the floor, including Luka’s. 

Is Luka Okay? 

Yes, everyone can relax: Doncic took a faceplant during the second half that would have made Ric Flair proud, but he shook it off. Toronto double-teamed him relentlessly and forced the other Mavericks to win the game instead. This time it worked. 

Maxi Kleber (lower back) was also cleared to play for Dallas, and they did not take it easy on Kleber in his first game back, riding him for just over 29 minutes. Kleber was effective, too, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. That means there’s no one left on the injured list for the Mavs. 

Doncic did play almost 43 minutes, mind you. This would normally be a bigger concern, but Dallas have only played twice in the past week; their last game before Toronto was Wednesday’s 125-112 loss to the Boston Celtics (-5.5 at home). He’ll be fine. 

Are the Milwaukee Bucks Overvalued? 

Maybe a little. The Bucks (13-5 SU, 11-7 ATS) are second in the overall league standings, but they’re fifth in point differential at plus-4.6, as well as fifth at plus-4.02 on the Simple Rating System at Basketball Reference. 

Compare and contrast to Dallas at plus-3.14 SRS heading into their game against Toronto, and you can once again see why the Mavs might have some value at +6, even if the Bucks had the day off Saturday. 

Best Bets

That extra rest doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Khris Middleton (wrist) still isn’t ready to make his season debut, Joe Ingles (knee) won’t be in action until January at the earliest, and there’s even a bug going around Milwaukee’s dressing room. Serge Ibaka is out; Pat Connaughton is questionable. 

This is a tough spot for Milwaukee. They’ve cooled off considerably since starting the 2022-23 campaign with nine straight wins at 8-1 ATS. Strength of schedule has a fair bit to do with that – which accounts for why their SRS is lower than their point differential. Size your bets appropriately to match the basketball odds you’re getting, and may the sphere be with you. 

As for residents of Milwaukee looking to bet on this game, remember to check out our Wisconsin sports betting guide to find out how.

NBA Pick: Mavericks +6.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

NBA Pick: Under 216.5 (-110) at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.