Nuggets vs. Mavericks prediction, player props, best bets against the spread and moneyline

The defending champion Nuggets travel to face the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC), in a can’t-miss showdown of Western Conference powerhouses.

Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic might be the two best basketball players on the planet right now. Doncic leads the NBA in scoring with a Jordan-like 34.3 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the three-point line. Jokic remains virtually unstoppable and effortlessly dominant, averaging 26/12/9 while shooting 58 percent.

The Nugs and Mavs also have plenty of support around their leading men, too. Denver’s complementary pieces have only seemed to get stronger since its run at the title last June, led by pure scorer Jamal Murray, lob-man Aaron Gordon, and three-point marksmen Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Dallas, meanwhile, has Kyrie Irving playing healthy and motivated with recent acquisitions Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington helping immensely.

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This should be a great game, and we’re excited to get some bets on the board ahead of the afternoon tip. Let’s take a look at the odds, then discuss the stats and trends you should know before arriving at our best bets and top props from BetMGM

Nuggets vs. Mavericks prediction, player props, bets against the spread and moneyline

All odds and props are from BetMGM, an authorized gaming operator of the NBA.

  • ATS: Nuggets -2.5 (-105) | Mavericks +2.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Nuggets -175 | Mavericks +195
  • Over/under: O 236.5 (-105) | U 236.5 (-115)

The Nuggets, who have gone 19-14 on the road but just 14-18-1 against the spread away from home this season, entered the weekend as modest favorites. The Mavs have gone 20-15 straight up at home but just 16-19 ATS at America Airlines Arena.

Denver has won nine of its past 10 games, surging to the second spot in the West, while the Mavs have gone just 5-5 of their past 10 and dropped to eighth place. Doncic (hamstring) missed the Mavs’ loss to OKC on Thursday but should be okay to suit up against Denver, while Josh Green (ankle) remains day-to-day after leaving the game vs. the Thunder.

Nuggets vs. Mavericks predictions, best bets

The Nuggets have owned the Mavericks over their past three meetings, and we have no reason to believe Denver will suddenly falter this time around. Each time Michael Malone’s squad faces Dallas, it seems to expose another weakness. The Nugs beat the Mavs by nine in Feb. 2023, by 11 in Nov. 2023 and by 26 in December.

Of course, Kyrie wasn’t there for two of those meetings (including the 26-point shellacking), and Dallas has yet to face Denver since acquiring Gafford and Washington. But still, we have trouble believing the Mavs have enough offensive firepower or defensive ability to keep up with Joker and company when they’re firing on all cylinders. 

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The Nugs almost seemed to be in cruise control for the first four months of the season and now they’re suddenly kicking it into overdrive en route to their second consecutive No. 1 seed in the West. Entering the weekend, the defending champions were in a dead tie with the Thunder atop the standings. OKC just beat the Doncic-less Mavs 126-119 on Thursday. That happens to be a similar final score to what we’re projecting for this one.

Dallas has the 21st-ranked defensive rating and the 23rd-best scoring defense. The Mavs also rank bottom-10 in the league in points in the paint allowed and bottom-seven in rebounding. Sure, Luka and Kyrie are two of the most gifted shot-makers, play-creators and ball-handlers in the world — but if they can’t stop the well-oiled machine that Denver has become, it’s all moot.

Who defends Joker? When help comes, which Nugget will Jason Kidd decide to sag off outside the three-point arc? Can anybody keep Murray from getting to his spots in the midrange, or Gordon from exploding at the dunker’s spot? We’re seeing far too many question marks for Dallas, and far too many clear advantages for Denver. Bet the reigning champs and enjoy watching the Joker run wild. 

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Nuggets 129, Mavericks 121 — The Nuggets win (-175) and cover (-2.5), and the score finishes well OVER the projected total (242.5)

Nuggets at Mavericks: Top player prop bet

Jamal Murray assists — OVER 6.5 (-115)

Murray averages 6.6 dimes per game on the season, but he has 52 over his past six games (8.6 APG) and he has racked up 15 over Denver’s two games against the Mavs. With Jokic in a favorable matchup against Gafford and rookie Dereck Lively, Murray should have plenty of opportunities to dish to the two-time MVP in the pick-and-roll as well as in the low post.

We also expect Dallas to try double-teaming Murray to slow down the Nuggets’ rhythm, which should open up some easy treys for MPJ, KCP and company. We’re confident Murray hits the OVER here and logs seven-plus assists for the sixth time in seven games.

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