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Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One Prediction: The Luka-Shai Showdown

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published May 7, 2024
12 min read

The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder will get their Western Conference Semifinals matchup underway with Game One in OKC on Tuesday.

The Mavs galloped into the second round after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. Luka Doncic wasn’t at his best as he battled through an illness and a sprained knee, but he and Kyrie Irving ultimately had enough to get past an injured LA squad.

The Thunder have not played in more than a week since they swept the New Orleans Pelicans without a moment’s hesitation. They went 33-8 at home during the regular season and showed no signs of losing their trademark youthful confidence during the first round.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite pick for Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One.

Mavericks vs Thunder Prediction

Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One Betting Odds for Tuesday, May 7

The Mavs are 52-36 (59.1 percent) against the spread, the second-best mark in the NBA. They’re also 9-10 (47.4 percent) ATS as a road underdog and 2-2 ATS against OKC.

The Thunder are just behind Dallas at 49-36-1 (57.7 percent) ATS and are 24-13 (64.9 percent) ATS as a home favorite. They covered in seven of their last eight games and have a massive rest advantage.

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TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
Dallas Mavericks+3.5 (-110)+135Over 218.5 (-105)
Oklahoma City Thunder-3.5 (-110)-160Under 218.5 (-115)

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Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One Prediction

Dallas Mavericks Preview

The Mavs did not win their first-round series in the sexiest way possible. Doncic’s elite blend of sharpshooting and playmaking went by the wayside as Irving shot 44.9 percent from three-point land and spearheaded many of their emphatic scoring bursts.

The Dallas defense also played extremely well aside from Game Four, when the Clippers shot 53.8 percent from the field and 62.1 percent from three. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since they led the league in defensive rating over the final month of the regular season.

Maxi Kleber was lost to a shoulder injury during the team’s last game, which means Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford will spend more time at center. Neither one is a liability, but they are not as optimal as Kleber to deal with the Thunder’s five-out, drive-and-kick style that forces active defense.

The Mavericks only shot 33.5 percent from beyond the arc in the first round and need to do a better job of knocking down open looks. OKC doubles the post more than any team in the league and is likely to continue that trend whenever Doncic or Irving, or the Dallas big men strike up good positions on the block, which means there will be open shooters waiting for kick-outs.

The Mavs lost three of four regular-season matchups with the Thunder (and one of two with their rebuilt roster). It's those new pieces (Gafford and P.J. Washington) that will loom large, along with the returning Tim Hardaway Jr.

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Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

The Thunder demolished the Pelicans so quickly that they now face the age-old question of rest versus rust.

As the second-youngest team in the league and the youngest team in the playoffs, they theoretically shouldn’t need such a long break to recover. They were also playing so well for so long that an extended break could have been the worst outcome for them.

OKC shot a playoff-high 38.7 percent from three and allowed just 93.5 points per 100 possessions, 6.5 fewer than the second-place Orlando Magic. Their potent offense struggled, but then again, they faced a New Orleans team that put all of its eggs into the basket of defense while Zion Williamson was injured.

The turnover and rebounding battles will both be important in this series. OKC leads the league in points off turnovers per game but is facing a team with two steady ball-handlers and decision-makers in Doncic and Irving, and they ranked third from last in both regular-season and playoff rebound rate.

The Thunder want to constantly drive and kick the ball if they can’t get to the free-throw line or create an easy look. Dallas’ challenge will be staying connected to their assignment and avoiding getting put into rotation.

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Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One Betting Pick

The Mavericks took a clear step back on the road, while OKC was dominant at home. That said, Dallas went 2-1 on the road in the first round and is still in rhythm, whereas OKC’s time off could have been detrimental, especially given their offense wasn’t as brilliant as it was during the regular season in the Pelicans series.

Game One is going to tell a lot about this series as far as how the matchups work themselves out and what the rotational patterns will be.

While we believe the Mavericks have a great chance to win this series, we expect the Thunder to get it underway with a win at home. Keep a close eye on how Shai Gilgeous-Alexander deals with the pressure to match Dallas’ star backcourt for a look ahead at the rest of the series.

How to Watch Mavericks vs. Thunder Game One

  • When: Tuesday, May 7 @ 8:30/9:30 p.m. CT/ET

  • Where: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK

  • TV: TNT

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

528 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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