NBA Betting Preview: Mavericks at Hornets

By: Adam Markowitz | Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The home team has won the last nine games in the Mavericks, Hornets series.

The push for the playoffs is on in NBA betting action, as there are approximately just 20 games left in the season. Wednesday night the New Orleans Hornets will try to move one step closer to nailing down their playoff berth when they take on the Dallas Mavericks.

Tip-off from New Orleans Arena in the Crescent City is set for 5:00 p.m. (PT) ET.

It's hard to think that the Mavericks are really on a pace to win 60 games this season, yet are destined to end up as the runners-up in the Southwest Division standings because they can't run down the San Antonio Spurs. The good news is that they will finish as the No. 2 seed if they do end up finishing with a better record than the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder as they are right now.

The Mavs still have to be a tad disheartened to think that they might have the second-best record in the entire league as well when this regular season is said and done with.

Also, imagine what would've happened had Dirk Nowitzki stayed in the lineup for the whole season? In games in which the German national star has played at least 22 minutes, the Mavs are a tremendous 43-9. Prorate that over 82 games, and you've got 68 wins, more than the San Antonio Spurs are going to end up with.

Needless to say, Nowitzki has played like an MVP. He has eight straight games with at least 21 points, and the team has only been beaten once in that stretch. Dirk is averaging 23.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG this year, and he is surely going to have to be the difference maker in this one on Wednesday night.

If you're the Hornets, you have to wonder if a spot in the playoffs can be maintained knowing that you don't have Chris Paul for at least the immediate future. Paul is unikely to be in the lineup on Wednesday after suffering a concussion and getting carted off on a stretcher Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The first game out of the blocks from the Paul injury was at the Chicago Bulls, a game that ended in a woeful 85-77 defeat. This starting lineup would've looked a heck of a lot worse had Jarrett Jack not replaced Paul and scored 23 points. That only raised Jack's scoring average to 8.6 PPG, though he has averaged 18.8 PPG over the course of the month of March.

The home team has absolutely dominated the this series, winning nine straight games SU. The home team is also 5-2-2 ATS in these nine games, though one of those two ATS defeats did come this season when the Mavs lost by two as 4½-point dogs to the Hornets here in New Orleans last November.

Dallas is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 road games against teams with a home winning percentage greater than .600, and it is 22-8-1 ATS in its last 31 road games against teams with a winning home record.

Meanwhile, the Hornets are just 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games overall, including dreadful 1-6 ATS mark in their last seven games played here at New Orleans Arena.

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