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NBA Play of the Day for March 4th, 2020

by March 4, 2020

Luka Doncic versus Zion Williamson. It doesn’t get much better than this. Two of the NBA’s youngest and most talented superstars are set to face off in what amounts to appointment television. While there are teams involved in this matchup, all eyes will be on the NBA’s future poster boys. The consensus point spread for this contest opened at -6.5 but moved to -6 overnight. It climbed back to -6.5 again suggesting that the sharps may have been split on which way this contest will shake out but suddenly moved to -5.5. Let’s dig in. 

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  • Opening Lines: The consensus point spread for this contest opened at -6.5 on the Dallas Mavericks. The consensus over/under total opened at 236 points. The point spread has dropped to -5.5. The over/under total has jumped to 238.5.
  • Current Line: Dallas -5.5
  • O/U: 238.5
  • Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Start Time: 9:30 PM EST, Wednesday, March 4th
  • Last Meeting: Dallas defeated New Orleans 130-84 – December 7, 2019


The New Orleans Pelicans sit at 26-35 on the season. They are currently in 12th place in the Western Conference, four games back of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies. Zion Williamson has provided a spark for the Pelicans, but they have still been no better than a .500 basketball team since his season debut. He will be playing tonight despite the back to back, as the Pelicans will need to give themselves a chance in as many games as possible if they are to catch up to the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, they have dropped three of their last four contests, and New Orleans has a tough test ahead of them as they try to avoid being swept by the Dallas Mavericks. They will be hoping that Zion’s presence will be the X-factor needed to put them over the top in Dallas. 

The Dallas Mavericks are 37-25 on the season. They currently sit in seventh place but are just three games back of the fourth-place Houston Rockets. Kristaps Prozingis sitting out back to back’s (15 games missed total due to injury and rest) has not helped matters as far as the standings go, but Luka Doncic has dealt with his own injury issues and has already missed 13 games this season. The health of their two-star players figures to be a talking point for the better part of at least the next five seasons. The regular season may not matter for anything other than seeding for playoff teams, but it does have an impact if your team is in seventh place, and is unlikely to enjoy home court advantage at any time during the playoffs. The Mavericks will be looking to complete the season sweep of the Pelicans, but the fourth and final game will be the toughest as this will be the first time the Pelicans have Zion Williamson on the court. 


  • Dallas is 5-1 ATS in their last six contests against New Orleans. 
  • Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings between these two teams.
  • New Orleans is 30-29-2 ATS on the season. 
  • New Orleans is 15-13-2 on the road this season. 
  • Dallas is 33-26-3 ATS on the season.
  • Dallas is 12-17-1 ATS at home this season. 
  • New Orleans is 5-5 ATS in their last 10 contests.  
  • New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in their last five road contests. 
  • New Orleans is 0-4 ATS in their last four contests. 
  • New Orleans is 10-4-1 in their last 15 contests as an underdog. 
  • Dallas is 6-4 ATS in their last 10 contests. 
  • Dallas is 5-1 ATS in their last six contests as a favorite. 
  • Dallas is 4-1 ATS in their last five contests played on one day of rest.
  • Dallas is 6-2 ATS in their last eight contests against teams with losing records. 
  • Over is 9-4 in New Orleans’ last 13 road contests. 
  • Over is 21-8 in New Orleans’ last 29 contests. 
  • Under is 4-1 in New Orleans’ last five contests as an underdog. 
  • Over is 4-1 in New Orleans’ last five contests played on zero days of rest.
  • Over is 4-0 in Dallas’ last four home contests. 
  • Over is 9-4 in Dallas’ last 13 contests. 
  • Over is 4-0 in Dallas’ last four contests as a home favorite. 
  • Over is 19-7 in Dallas’ last 26 home contests against teams with losing road records.

Prop Bets

Zion Williamson over 23.5 points (-122)
Zion has been as good as expected for the New Orleans Pelicans and continues to receive the LeBron James treatment as far as shot volume and friendly whistles are concerned. He has topped 23.5 points in each of his last nine contests and is a good bet to do so once again tonight. Only a poor outing from the field should be able to stop him from reaching this number, as he has the ability to rack up half of the posted total at the charity stripe. Zion is averaging 24.2 points per game on the season but is averaging just 23 per contest on the road. However, he has been locked in since the all-star break and has averaged 27.7 points per game in his six games since. Apparently the sharps and early bettors do not believe in Zion’s ability to produce in back to backs, as the juice was on the over 24.5 when I started writing this, and the number has moved to 23.5 since. Zion has yet to play in a back to back so we have no data to work with, but volume and friendly whistles make this a multi unit play. Lock this prop in at FanDuel before the line increases back to 24.5.

Bottom Line

This is an interesting contest to handicap. The lines held relatively steady until this morning, but have seen some alarming movement since. Dallas has dropped to -5.5, and the over/under has leaped to 238.5 after sitting firm at 236 overnight. New Orleans has been on a bit of a slide as far as covering the spread is concerned. They are 0-4 against the spread in their last four contests. The Mavericks have won five of their last eight contests, and have won all three of their contests against New Orleans this season. They won each of those contests by seven or more points, with the average point differential being 24.6 points. With that being said, the Pelicans did not have Zion in any of those contests. New Orleans’ last three losses have come by five, eight, and nine points respectively. Dallas is 6-2 against the spread in their last eight contests against teams with losing records. The Mavericks should be able to cover the spread, but remain just a one unit play at FanDuel. The over at 236.5 is also worth a one unit play at BetMGM if the line is still at that number or lower by the time you read this. 

Pick: Dallas -5.5 (-110) and Over 236.5 (-105)

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive, and follow him @FantasyContext.