The Daily Sweat: Mavs' experiment with Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic isn't working yet
The Phoenix Suns' blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant overshadowed the other mega-deal before the traded deadline, when the Dallas Mavericks added Kyrie Irving.
The Mavericks were supposed to at least be dangerous with Irving playing alongside Luka Doncic. They have been a disappointment instead.
The Mavericks have lost five of six. Dallas is 1-5 against the spread in that stretch too. The Mavs are currently the No. 7 seed, in danger of being in the play-in tournament. That's not the return they wanted.
The Mavericks are 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM for Thursday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers played in Miami on Wednesday night. It's a good spot for the Mavericks, and they need it.
There have been some close losses for Dallas in this cold stretch. Three losses came by three points or less. A bunch of close losses in a row is generally some bad luck. But it's also a Mavs team that isn't playing up to expectations.
The Mavericks, unsurprisingly, have been really good on offense and bad on defense with Irving in the lineup. That will be part of their profile, just like it was for the Brooklyn Nets with Irving.
There is time for Dallas to get things going. Irving has played just seven games with his new team, and the Mavs have more than a month to figure things out before the playoffs start. But to this point, it's not working out as Dallas had hoped.
Here's a first look at the rest of the sports betting slate for Thursday:
A light NBA slate
There are only four NBA games on Thursday night. The best one, other than perhaps 76ers-Mavericks, is the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are 3.5-point road favorites against the Warriors, who are still without injured Steph Curry.
A big spot for Purdue
There are four games involving top 25 teams in college basketball, and the biggest is Purdue at Wisconsin. Purdue looked like a lock as a No. 1 seed, but then lost four of six. The Boilermakers are still a No. 1 seed in most mock brackets, but a loss at Wisconsin on Thursday could change that. Purdue is a 4.5-point favorite. Wisconsin is a bubble team this season and historically good at home, but it's an urgent spot for Purdue.
Big NHL night
There are 10 NHL games on Thursday. The best game of the night could be the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Calgary Flames. The Leafs are slight -115 favorites on the road.
What's the best bet?
Let's go to the Pac-12 for Arizona-USC. USC is a 2.5-point home underdog and I'll take the Trojans getting points. Arizona is very good but has taken two bad losses against Stanford and Arizona State in their last four games, and USC hasn't lost at home since a weird loss to Florida Gulf Coast all the way back in the season opener on Nov. 7. USC should be a solid home dog.