Dallas Mavericks vs New Orleans Hornets Over/Under Pick Jan 21

Dallas’s less-than-impressive record should probably come with an asterisk for wagering purposes. Three of their seven losses have come on last seconds shots against very good teams. Derek Fisher did what Derek Fisher does, and ripped the Mavs heart out with a last second three. Likewise for Kevin Durant and, yep, ditto for Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups.

Just for a second, let’s pretend all three of those shots hit the iron and bounce harmlessly away. All of a sudden the defending champs are 12-4, getting ready to head to the hapless Hornets’ hive as meager five and half point underdogs, and you are salivating.

Well, I’m salivating too – but am cautious enough, even on a 7-1 win streak against the spread (seriously, keep reading daily, we’re rolling here!), to know when a line looks insanely inviting, it is worth taking a quick peek inside the numbers before making an official pick. So let’s dive in.

My first inclination is to back the Mavs, and I am still great with that selection if you choose to go that way. But the pick jumping out at me is the total point line. The UNDER is 8-1 in Dallas’s last 9 games against Western Conference opponents and 7-1 in their last 8 games as the favorite. On the Hornets’ side, the under is 11-3 in their last 14 games, and 7-2 in their last 9 games as an underdog, as well as 7-2 in their last 9 games overall.

Points have been at a premium in New Orleans, especially while they have been playing without Eric Gordon. No offense to Jarrett Jack and Marco Bellineli, who have both played well this season, but they don’t exactly comprise the most intimidating backcourt to keep off the scoreboard. Dallas, despite a common reputation to the contrary, has been an excellent defensive team so far in 2012. They have allowed just 88.8 points per game and are holding opponents to just over 42% shooting. I see no reason they won’t continue that defensive excellence tonight in New Orleans.

Free Pick: Total Points UNDER 175 @ www.5dimes.com ($520 free on 1st deposit)

Chris Scheeren / Author