The Dallas Mavericks (15-16) take on the Utah Jazz (22-9) in the final game on Christmas. On Thursday night, Dallas lost 102-95 to Milwaukee while the Jazz took care of the COVID-ravaged Timberwolves by a final of 128-116. Read on to check the NBA odds.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz
Saturday, December 25, 2021 – 10:30 PM EST at Vivint Arena
The Jazz (16-15 ATS) are an 11-point favorite over the Mavericks (14-17 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Utah is 10-2 over its last dozen games and ranks second in the NBA with 17 double-digit victories this season. Does Dallas have a Christmas miracle to keep this one close?
Mavericks: Rocked by COVID and Bad Health
Dallas started the season with a 9-4 record despite some less than flattering statistics, especially when it comes to shooting efficiency. But that was when superstar guard Luka Doncic suffered his first injury setback, and Dallas lost the next three games without him.
Doncic has only been able to play in eight games since then, and Dallas is still 3-5 in those games while going 6-12 overall since the 9-4 start. On top of his ankle injury, Doncic is now in the COVID protocol and will miss this Christmas game in Utah.
The Mavericks are already without shooter Tim Hardaway Jr. for the same reason. Beyond that, center Kristaps Porzingis missed Thursday’s loss to Milwaukee with a toe injury that could keep him out of this one too.
Even if Porzingis manages to play, it is a tough matchup with Jazz center Rudy Gobert and a Utah team that ranks No. 6 in Defensive Rating. Without Doncic, Porzingis, and Hardaway, that would leave backup point guard Jalen Brunson as the team’s leading scorer. He has been solid over his last six starts with 20.4 points and 7.4 assists per game, but he is quickly losing help as injury and the virus keep out Dallas players.
We got a taste of what the Mavericks without three of their top four scorers would look like against the Bucks on Thursday. Milwaukee, which was without Giannis Antetokounmpo, only scored 15 points in the first quarter. But despite that 23-15 lead for Dallas, the Mavericks still went on to lose 102-95 after shooting 40.7% from the field.
Jazz: Healthy and Hot
Utah’s situation could not be any different from Dallas’ situation. Utah has mostly avoided COVID and its five starters have missed a combined six games this season. All five were in action on Thursday night in an easy win over Minnesota. Donovan Mitchell continues to play at a high level as he scored 28 points with seven assists.
Barring a COVID attack before Saturday, the Jazz is going to field a much superior roster than Dallas. The Jazz has also simply been playing much better basketball than Dallas this season.
Utah ranks No. 1 by a wide margin in Offensive Rating and leads all offenses in FG% (47.8) despite still taking the highest rate of three-point shots in the league. The Jazz is also the top rebounding team thanks in large part to Gobert.
Utah can score and defend with the best of teams this year. Dallas, the slowest-paced team in the NBA, does not really excel in any area outside of turnovers where the Mavericks have the lowest rate in the league.
Dallas won the last meeting between these teams last April by a final of 111-103. Mitchell had one of the ugliest games of his career, shooting 6-of-23 from the field and 0-of-8 from three. The Mavericks also nearly doubled up Utah in three-pointers made, 23-12, on an ice-cold day from the Jazz.
None of those things are going to happen in this matchup on Saturday with this limited Dallas roster.
Can the Jazz win a third-straight home game by double digits? Of course, they can. In this month alone the Jazz became the second team in NBA history to win four straight games by at least 21 points. I trust Utah to get the cover again in this one to close your NBA picks on Christmas.
*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.