Mavericks vs Jazz Picks and Predictions: Dallas Gets Dropped Without Doncic

The Mavericks have to hit the road tonight and face a surging-again Jazz squad without Luka Doncic. Our NBA picks don't think that's going to go very well for them.

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2023 10:19 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Lauri Markkanen Utah Jazz
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (26-24) have had their backs against the ropes for nearly three weeks, losers of seven of their last 10, and with Luka Doncic now out for the foreseeable future after sustaining a sprained ankle in their win over the Suns on Thursday night.

They will travel on Saturday night to face the Utah Jazz (25-26) who have won five of their last eight, but are coming off of a loss to the Blazers after allowing Damian Lillard to go off for 60 points. Without the potent scoring threat of Doncic, the Jazz are in a perfect position to win a pivotal swing game against a team that has barely eluded them in the standings.

Can the shorthanded Dallas get the job done and stay afloat during a Luka absence or will Lauri Markkanen & Co. take advantage of the hobbled Mavericks and secure an important home win?

Continue reading for free NBA picks and predictions for the Mavericks vs Jazz matchup on Saturday, January 28th.

Mavericks vs Jazz best odds

Mavericks vs Jazz picks and predictions

Whether it's related to the specific injury he sustained on Wednesday night or not, there was always a massive concern with Luka Doncic's usage this season and how that related both to the team's ability to create and score outside of their superstar and, arguably more importantly, also the effect that usage would have on Doncic's in-season stamina and health.

The MVP candidate has so far posted the seventh-highest single-season usage rate in NBA history at 38.18%. This comes a year after posting the eighth-highest usage rate of all-time at the time, and he became just the third player ever inside the Top 50 usage rate seasons to even reach the conference finals (Allen Iverson 2001-02, James Harden 2017-18).

Doncic is expectedly out for Saturday's contest with what is being described as a "mild ankle sprain" and there’s a ton of scoring burden to lift for the rest of the Mavericks. Dallas is 0-5 this season in games without Luka, with an average losing margin of 13.4. A majority of those losses have not come against a strong sample of teams, and include a nine-point loss to the Rockets, 29 points to the Bulls, 11 points to the Thunder, and 17 points to the Blazers.

Making the challenge that much more difficult is that Dallas will travel on Saturday night to face the Utah Jazz, who are 16-9 at home this year. The Jazz are riding high as of late, winners of five of their last eight and continuing to find surprises across their roster. That is of course led by the sudden breakout of Lauri Markkanen this season, but recently it has taken form in Walker Kessler's emergence.

Since January 13th, the rookie has averaged a double-double (11.7 points and 10.4 rebounds), including a 20-20 performance back on January 16th which marked the first by a rookie in eight seasons. His play has not gone unnoticed, with head coach Will Hardy disclosing that Kessler will remain the starter even once Kelly Olynyk returns from injury.

During these last eight games, the Jazz have been one of the league's best. They rank seventh in offensive rating and eighth in net rating during that time, and while it may be easy to look at those marks and dismiss it as unsustainable, Utah actually ranks fourth and 12th in those marks respectively on the season. And Kessler's emergence during that time has helped alleviate one of the Jazz's biggest weaknesses, with Utah ranking third in rebounding rate during that eight-game stretch when they ranked 25th prior to that.

The large line may seem like an overreaction at first, but this is the wrong team in the wrong setting at the wrong time for the Doncic-less Mavericks

My best bet: Utah Jazz -7.5 (-107 at Unibet)

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Mavericks vs Jazz spread analysis

The spread opened at Jazz -8 and has since moved to a -7.5 or a juiced -7.

Dallas remains the worst team against the spread this year, having gone 17-31-2 on the season for a 35.4% cover rate. It also possesses the largest negative against the spread margin, and has gone 4-11 against the spread in its last 15.

As road underdogs the Mavs are 4-7 (36.4%), and against Western Conference opponents they’re 13-17 (43.3%). Further, they‘re 1-4 against the spread in games Doncic has missed, and when they have failed to cover it has been extremely ugly (average ATS loss margin of 15.4 points).

The Jazz are 28-23 against the spread, good for the league's sixth-best cover rate this season (54.9%). They’ve played their own conference impressively, going 21-12 against the spread — good for the fourth-best in-conference cover rate at 63.6%).

Utah has covered in six of its last nine, and covered in their previous matchup against the Mavericks earlier this season.

Mavericks vs Jazz Over/Under analysis

The total opened at 224 and has since moved up to 224.5 to 225 across the market.

The Mavericks are 28-22 to the Over this season, tied for the eighth-best Over rate on the season at 56.0%. On the road they have split totals evenly at 12-12, but as road underdogs specifically, they have gone 7-4 to the Over. They’re 3-2 to the Over in games Luka has missed, but have gone Under in three of their last four overall.

Utah is 28-22-1 to the Over this year, good for the seventh-best Over rate on the season. At home, they have gone 13-11 to the Under, and as home favorites, they’ve gone 9-6-1 that way.

They’ve also gone Under the number in three of their last four, but have not had a total at or below Saturday's number since December 19th. They are 5-2 to the Over in the last seven totals they have played at or below 225.

Mavericks vs Jazz betting trend to know

The Mavericks are 1-4 against the spread this season without Luka Doncic, failing to cover in those four losses by an average of 15.4 points. Find more NBA betting trends for Mavericks vs. Jazz.

Mavericks vs Jazz game info

Location: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet RM, BSSW

Mavericks vs Jazz key injuries

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