Nuggets vs Mavericks Picks and Predictions: Luka's Fresh Legs Fuel Scoring

Luka Doncic is coming back rested tonight, and with fresh legs to do it all against Denver's defense, our NBA picks see a big scoring night for the Mavs' MVP hopeful. Read on to find out more.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2022 9:24 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks
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The Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets are fighting for the same NBA Finals prize in a stacked Western Conference — and they face off tonight at American Airlines Center. 

With Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in health and safety protocols, and Aaron Gordon also dealing with an illness, we’re unlikely to learn much about how the Nuggets match up against a rival they could see in the playoffs. But both teams will have a chance to bounce back from Wednesday night losses.

While we won’t get a Jokic-Luka Doncic showdown of NBA MVP odds contenders, the Mavericks’ superstar is expected to return after resting against the Houston Rockets midweek.

Check out our Nuggets vs Mavericks NBA picks and predictions for a breakdown of tonight’s game.

Nuggets vs Mavericks best odds

Nuggets vs Mavericks picks and predictions

With a usage rate (just shy of 40%) that feels unsustainable, Doncic is shouldering an unprecedented offensive load for the Mavericks this season while putting up MVP-level numbers. Dallas wisely gave its star the night off midweek, as he sat out the 101-92 loss to the Rockets — but it just highlighted again how much the Mavericks rely on Doncic’s magic.

I expect those extra couple of days to do wonders for Doncic as he returns to his do-it-all role tonight with fresher legs. There won’t be a scoring duel against Jokic and Murray this time, but the Slovenian is unrivaled in the league with his ability to fill the box score.

Doncic has been doing it all this season — averaging 34 points with almost nine rebounds and eight assists — and it’s tough to see Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Bruce Brown keeping him out of the paint. 

His 35-point clinic against Paul George and the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday night was just the latest masterpiece and came on 11-for-22 shooting. I see Doncic delivering a similar performance tonight against a depleted Nuggets team as the latest addition to his ever-growing MVP case.

You could pick any number of tasty Doncic props, but I’m leaning towards the Over on points. Though it’s a high line, this Dallas offense gives him every chance for a monster night.

My best bet: Luka Doncic Over 32.5 points (-115)

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Nuggets vs Mavericks spread analysis

With Doncic back to face a depleted Nuggets roster, the Mavericks are understandably clear favorites. In fact, you could make the case for a bigger spread here given that the Denver offense is missing its two central cogs.

Predictably, Dallas looked lost at times in Houston without Doncic, scoring just 41 points in the second half. But normal service should be restored tonight. Josh Green, who started on Wednesday for the first time this season, will drop back to the second unit.

The Mavericks bagged two comfortable wins over the Nuggets last season, and a victory here could yet be crucial from a tiebreaker standpoint once we get closer to the playoffs. Dallas has feasted on a home-heavy schedule, and a 7-2 record on its own floor is impressive.

The Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams, and improving that record here is a daunting task, especially with their mixed results (5-4) on the road so far. Wednesday’s 106-103 loss to the New York Knicks, in which Murray did play, again highlighted the visitors’ struggles whenever Jokic is sidelined or on the bench.

Michael Malone will again need to re-jig the Denver rotation, and that should only encourage a free-scoring Mavericks second unit to cash in. Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. are in red-hot form off the bench, combining for 54 points against the Rockets on Wednesday.  

Nuggets vs Mavericks Over/Under analysis

With so many important scorers sidelined for this matchup, it’s tough to draw a lot of conclusions from the Over/Under stats and trends. This isn’t your typical Nuggets-Mavericks matchup between two offensive juggernauts.

Jokic and Murray do so much heavy lifting for the Denver offense, but now scoring assumptions for the Nuggets have to be based on Porter Jr. and Bones Hyland sliding over to be the two primary scorers. This may take some time, though. Porter made just one of his eight shots against the Knicks.

Nonetheless, the history books tell us that the Over is the play to make here. It’s 5-1 in the Nuggets’ last six road games against a team with a winning home record and 9-2 in their last 11 games following an ATS loss. It looks good from a Dallas perspective too — the Over has hit in the Mavericks’ last six games following a SU loss.

Nuggets vs Mavericks betting trend to know

The Nuggets haven’t provided much ATS value in recent trips to American Airlines Center. They’re 4-9-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Dallas. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. Mavericks.

Nuggets vs Mavericks game info

Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Date: Friday, November 18, 2022
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: BSNSW, Altitude

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