Can Pelicans shake 9-game skid in matchup vs. Mavericks? Best Bets for Thursday (Feb. 2)

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Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (5) in the first half during an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Thursday, Feb. 2:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA moneyline, Mavericks over Pelicans

The odds: -200

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time: 8:40 p.m.

Our take: At times throughout this nine-game losing streak, the Pelicans have shown signs of life and have been the most competitive against some of the better teams in the NBA (see Denver twice and at Miami). However, the fact remains they are 3-12 without Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram is nowhere near full strength.

Meanwhile, the oddsmakers seem to continue to give New Orleans just a little too much credit. The spread is Dallas -5, and despite coming off an ankle injury, Luka Doncic dropped 53 on the Detroit Pistons in his return this past Monday night. With a couple of nights to rest once again, he should be as close to his normal self as possible, and that’s bad for the Pelicans.

Basketball fans in New Orleans keep wondering when Willie Green’s bunch is going to shake out of the slump and play like they played last year without Zion, but until then, maybe we just need to ride the wave of the opponent – especially ones the quality of the Mavericks, who are just one game ahead of the Pelicans in the standings.

LUKA’S GOOD, BUT NOT THAT GOOD

The play: NBA player prop, Luka Doncic to score fewer than 34.5 points

The odds: -105

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Our take: No question who the heart and soul – and key – to the Mavericks has been. But despite the long losing streak for the Pelicans, they have been able to play decent defense against top players.

Such will be the case here, in what we think could be a tight, heartbreaking loss for New Orleans. (Hence why we took the money line in our top play and not the Mavericks -5.)

Others may get theirs for Dallas, but we think Luka can be held (somewhat) in check, and think his minutes may be down a bit as he comes off that ankle injury. Besides, we often like to bet an under after a ridiculous performance, such as the one Doncic put up on Detroit earlier this week.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Wednesday’s best bets

NBA total: Trail Blazers at Grizzlies under 239.5 (WON)

NCAA men’s basketball: Villanova at Marquette over 145.5 (LOST)

Wednesday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 3-3

Total for February: 1-1

Total for 2023: 26-35

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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