A new star will be born as French phenom Victor Wembanyama makes his highly anticipated NBA debut Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET) against the Dallas Mavericks. The No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft is arguably the most celebrated prospect to enter the league since LeBron James in 2003. He’s a -120 favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year, the only player on the board with better than plus odds.
Dallas is a 3.5-point favorite (-115) and -160 on the moneyline, while San Antonio is +3.5 (-105) on the spread and +140 to win outright. The projected total, meanwhile, is 228.5 (-115 Over, -105 Under).
Who has the edge? We dive into the odds and break down the matchup in our Mavericks vs Spurs betting preview.
Location: Frost Bank Center; San Antonio
Mavericks vs Spurs Betting Trends
The San Antonio Spurs were 33-49 against the spread last season, totaling the second-lowest cover rate (40.2%) in the NBA. On the same token, nobody went Over the total more often (58.8%) than the Spurs. The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, were an NBA-worst 30-49-3 (38%) ATS. The total went Over in 53.1% of the Mavericks’ games. That’s important to remember when assessing the odds in our Mavericks vs Spurs betting preview.
The Spurs have been cautious with Wembanyama, playing the 7-foot-4 center in only two games in the NBA Summer League. He was coming off a full season in France, including an appearance in the finals. Head coach Gregg Popovich also occasionally rested him in the preseason. Nevertheless, he was impressive in four games, averaging 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks while shooting 50.9% from the floor.
The Spurs have not specified if they’ll continue to let Wembanyama ease into things. But for what it’s worth, Wembanyama sounds determined to play as often as possible.
Wembanyama will be tasked with helping improve the NBA’s worst defense. The Spurs allowed an average of 123.1 points last season. Opponents also shot a league-high 50.7%. San Antonio was outscored by an average of 10.1 points, the most in the NBA.
Wembanyama alone should make San Antonio better. On the heels of a 22-60 finish, the Spurs are projected for 29.5 wins (-115 Over, -115 Under) per NBA odds. That said, they’re still a +5000 longshot to win the Southwest Division. Keep that in mind when analyzing the odds in our Mavericks vs Spurs betting preview.
Buy In on Dallas
After a forgettable end to last season, the Dallas Mavericks are among the NBA’s top bounce-back candidates. It starts with Luka Doncic, who is among the NBA MVP favorites at +550. Doncic averaged a career-high 32.4 points (second in the NBA), 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists last year and made his fourth All-Star appearance.
The Mavericks’ bold move to acquire Kyrie Irving backfired. Instead of making a deep playoff run, the Mavericks openly tanked down the stretch to avoid the play-in tournament. They finished with just 38 wins and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018-19. They were also just 5-11 in games Doncic and Irving played together.
Despite that, Dallas is shaping up again to be a prime contender. After bolstering their rotation this offseason by adding Grant Williams, the Mavericks are +180 to win the Southwest Division. They’re easily the biggest threat in the division to the Memphis Grizzlies (+160), who will be without star Ja Morant for the first 25 games due to suspension.
Handicapping the Game
Wembanyama will certainly draw much of the attention on Opening Night, but Dallas can’t go overlooked. The Mavericks have one of the NBA’s best duos in Doncic and Irving. Although they faded down the stretch last season, the Mavericks should fare markedly better over the course of a full season. At worst, the Mavericks are a Western Conference playoff team. Again, at worst.
Doncic was listed as questionable on the NBA injury report today after recovering from a mild calf strain over the last few weeks. So long as he plays, Dallas is a deserving favorite on the road.