When you look at the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, you see a whole heck of a lot of comparable things, and NBA betting fans might find it very difficult to parse the two teams.
After all, the Lakers won 57 games this year, covering the NBA odds in 39 of them, they averaged 101.5 PPG and allowed 95.4 PPG. They struggled in the playoffs for a bit, losing two games to the New Orleans Hornets before putting them away once and for all on Thursday night.
The Mavericks also won 57 games on the season, though they had a slightly better ATS record at 44-36-2. The offensive(100.2 PPG) and defensive (96.0 PPG) numbers are both absolutely comparable, and just like the Lakers, they ended up struggling badly for a few games in the playoffs before finally putting away the Portland Trail Blazers in six games on Thursday night as well.
Both teams rely heavily on one star to really shine brightly, and they both hope that role players will fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle. Kobe Bryant has averaged 22.5 PPG in the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki is at 27.3 PPG.
Each roster had a great Sixth Man of the Year candidate in 2010-11 as well. Lamar Odom won the award, averaging 14.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Jason Terry probably should've won it instead, as he averaged 15.8 PPG and 4.1 APG.
So far in the playoffs, Odom is good for 12.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG. Terry's at 17.3 PPG and 3.8 APG.
Both squads have aging point guards that really aren't known for their scoring at this point in their careers. Jason Kidd and Derek Fisher averaged 7.9 and 6.8 PPG respectively in the regular season. Both have kicked it up a notch in the playoffs though, averaging 11.7 and 9.3 PPG respectively.
However, that's where the comparisons really end. On closer inspection, the Lakers have virtually everything else on their side.
Dallas has no NBA title banners hanging in its gym, and has only been to the NBA Finals once. The Lakers have 433 playoff wins in team history and already have 16 titles, including their days in Minnesota.
Head coach Phil Jackson has won 229 playoff games in his career, 118 of which have come with Los Angeles. He's got two fists full of rings, and two other NBA Finals appearances.
Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle has never made it to the NBA Finals, and only has 41 lifetime postseason wins. He only has a .488 winning percentage in the playoffs, and it would take winning this series in six games just to get him back to .500.
Bryant is a notorious champion. He has played in 204 postseason games, winning a whole boatload of them, and he has carried his team to five championships. He's had three postseasons in which he has averaged at least 30 PPG, and the 22.5 PPG that Bryant is averaging this year is two points lower than any postseason he has had since 2000.
Nowitzki is a notorious choker. He's never averaged 30.0 PPG in the playoffs, and despite the fact that he has averaged at least 26.8 PPG in each of the last four postseasons, Nowitzki still doesn't have what it takes to win games in the end when it's all on the line.
And then, we have the bottom line for the Mavericks, a very, very gloomy bottom line. They are just 3-10 SU in their last 13 games against the Lakers dating back to the end of the 2007-08 regular season, and they have only won four times here at Staples Center since 2000.
These two teams might have traveled similar paths to get here, but there is definitely a reason and a justification for the Lakers being 365 favorites to win this series.