Jazz vs. Mavericks NBA expert prediction and odds for Thursday, March 21 (Dallas feasts on abysmal Utah defense)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Jazz-Mavericks.

Mar 19, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) dribbles to the basket against the Spurs.
Mar 19, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) dribbles to the basket against the Spurs. / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Just two months ago, the Utah Jazz were two games over .500 (22-20) and looked like playoff contenders in a loaded Western Conference. Since then, however, the Jazz have dropped 20 of 27 games and are on a three-game skid heading into Dallas as a double-digit underdog Thursday night. 

The Mavericks have gone in a different direction, winning six of their last seven contests as they try to break out of the Western Conference Play-In Tournament. Dallas is only a half-game back of the Sacramento Kings for the No. 6 spot in the west and will need to take care of business in the first of two matchups with the struggling Jazz over the next four days. Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet. 

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Jazz vs. Mavericks odds, spread and total

Jazz vs. Mavericks how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, March 21 
  • Game time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: American Airlines Center
  • How to watch (TV): Bally Sports
  • Jazz record: 29-40
  • Mavericks record: 40-29

Jazz vs. Mavericks injury report

Utah Jazz

  • Lauri Markkanen (quad contusion): questionable 
  • Jordan Clarkson (groin): out

Dallas Mavericks

  • No injuries to report

Jazz vs. Mavericks key players to watch

Utah Jazz

Collin Sexton: The former first-round pick has been a bright spot for a sinking Jazz club, shooting over 52% from the field in five consecutive games. Sexton averages 18.5 points per game this season but has poured in 22.2 per night in March. He’s coming off a 25-point, 7-assist performance in Wednesday’s 12-point road loss to Oklahoma City. 

Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic: Doncic has posted a triple-double in eight of the last 10 games, though he’s been dealing with a shooting spell of late. In Tuesday’s win over San Antonio, Doncic went just 6-of-27 from the field but turned in 16 assists and 10 boards to help Dallas prevail. Over the last four games, Doncic is just 34-of-95 shooting. 

Jazz vs. Mavericks prediction and pick

Utah is one of the best ATS teams at home this season. The problem, though, is that the Jazz are over 1,200 miles away from Salt Lake City Thursday night against the surging Mavericks. 

Utah hasn’t won on the road since Jan. 27. Over its eight-game road losing streak, the Jazz are just 2-6 ATS and have the fifth-worst ATS record away from home this season (14-19-1). Utah has been hurt the most on defense, giving up 127.5 points per game in that eight-game road stretch. 

Opposing offenses have gotten whatever they wanted against Utah’s defense, which ranks 27th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage. Utah ranks 29th in the NBA in road-scoring defense, yielding 123.1 points per game, which is five points higher than what they allow on the road. 

Shooting defense is a concern for this matchup against a Mavericks squad that is efficient. Dallas is No. 8 in effective field goal percentage and is deadly taking the ball to the rim. Dallas is No. 4 in the NBA in 2-point shooting and faces a Utah defense that is 21st in points in the paint allowed. Take Dallas to punish Utah with its offense. The Mavericks go over their posted team total. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.