Dallas Mavericks Gear up for Critical Game 3 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

The NBA’s defending champion Dallas Mavericks don’t need to be told that tonight’s Game 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder will be a do-or-die scenario. After dropping into a 2-game deficit by virtue of painfully close road losses this past week, the Mavericks will try and regroup at home, hunker down on defense, and claw their way back into the series with a hopeful victory in front of their fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. With tip-off set for 9:30 PM ET, there’s plenty of time to check out the best options for online sports betting on this crucial showdown, and plenty of reason to get excited about what should be a very up-tempo, exciting match-up between two experienced playoff teams.

For being down in a 2-0 hole heading into Game 3 tonight, Dallas certainly hasn’t done that much wrong, and hasn’t looked like a pushover through the first two games played at OKC. Losing by a combined 4 points in games 1 and 2, it’s simply been the inability for the Mavs to close down the Thunder offense for 4 quarters, as in both games they’ve outscored OKC in one half or the other. Dirk Nowitzki has played very well, averaging 28 points in the two games played thus far, but was unable to convert in the closing moments of Game 2 to boost the Mavs into a position to win. However, in order for the Mavericks to pull off a win tonight in what is essentially a Game 7 for them, a team scoring effort is badly needed, as Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion have been shouldering far too much of the scoring load in this series. Getting step-up play from Delonte West around the perimeter would be a huge help, as he’s be unable to find good shooting form in this series shooting around 41 percent from the floor. Also lacking for Dallas has been the production of their centers including Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi, who have combined for just 21 points in two games played. Dallas has chosen to go small against Oklahoma City, as a result of Oklahoma’s youth and speed, but without Dallas’ big men getting into the scoring mix, and stepping up on the boards (they combined for just 5 rebounds in Game 2 alone), there’s going to be a lot of added pressure on Dallas’ stars to have great shooting nights, and clutch up at the end of the game with a close finish likely once more.

On the Oklahoma City side of things, seeing Kevin Durant come back into form would be a big boost for a Thunder offense that relies heavily on it’s ‘Big Three’ of Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. While Durant scored 25 in Game 1 and 26 in Game 2, his shooting percentage has been particularly off, averaging around 34 percent for the series (15-for-44) thus far. With a season average of nearly 50 percent, one has to expect Durant to find his rhythm at some time, and with everything on the line for Dallas this evening, now would be a great time for him to come up to speed. Fortunately for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook has upped his game to fill the void left by Durant, averaging 28.5 points through two games, hitting 52.3 percent of his shots. Despite the usual emphasis being on Durant and Westbrook, along with James Harden, OKC could really use consistency of their own from big men Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, who have yet to contribute solid games at the same time. Ibaka came out with a huge Game 1 performance, going 9-for-12 for 22 points and 6 boards, but fell off the charts in Game 2 taking just 2 shots and scoring two points. Perkins flip-flopped the performances of Ibaka, laying a goose egg in Game 1 despite playing 26 minutes, but came back with a better showing in Game 2 going 4-for-5 for 13 points. With Dallas looking first and foremost to limit the scoring chances of the Thunder tonight, a combined step-up effort from Ibaka and Perkins would definitely take the pressure off of Durant, Westbrook and Harden, and force the Mavs to spread their defensive focus thin. Though it’s evident that the Big Three can carry the Thunder to victory, a boos from their secondary scorers would certainly help out in a game where Dallas will be playing like their one step away from elimination.

Betting Lines for Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at Bookmaker Sportsbook.

Since Bookmaker Sportsbook just changed up its betting interface recently, we thought we’d give it a go for the best sportsbook betting options on this crucial Game 3 tonight.

Starting off the betting lines with a look at straight up money bets, the hosting Dallas Mavericks actually hold the position as favorites to win, with -170 odds given their way at home. Oklahoma City comes in as a +150 underdog, giving underdog pickers a great horse in this race. With the Thunder one of the best road teams in the league this regular season (21-12), there’s plenty of incentive to chase those good odds, with the expectation that the Thunder want to put Dallas out of contention as quickly as possible utilizing their high-scoring attack.

Against the spread, Dallas comes in with -3 1/2 points as the margin to cover, while Oklahoma City pickers will be given +3 1/2 points to play with. Considering that neither game played so far has gone over a 3 point margin of victory, this will again be a tough betting line to go after. Expectations should be high that regardless of whichever team is leading down the home stretch, it’s going to be another tight finish in this critical showdown. We like the Thunder in this position, with Dallas struggling to get contributing scoring outside their top 3 players, and OKC bound to get a big performance from Kevin Durant sooner or later.

Lastly, the over/under on total points for tonight’s game stands at 194 1/2, with Dallas expected to shoot for solid defense and a slower game plan, and OKC looking to get out and run, baiting the Mavs into another fast-paced, high-scoring game. With the previous two games going for 197 and 201 points respectively, one could expect a step-up in defensive play in Game 3 to provide a good take on the under wager in tonight’s contest. Dallas allows roughly 94 points per game to opposing teams, and OKC averages right at 100 points/game on the road this year, making the basis for the bookmaker’s stance on tonight’s game, but one has to expect that Dallas will try to keep the tempo down and work the ball around the court to limit the amount of time the Thunder have to make plays.

It’s going to be a great showdown in the Big D tonight, so check out all the available betting lines at Bookmaker Sportsbook, one of the best online sports betting sites reviewed here, and jump into the exciting action of a must-win game for the defending NBA Champions tonight!

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