Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Hype Battles Calls For Potential Upset

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NBA Playoff Odds, Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Dallas Favored, But Not By Much

The Dallas Mavericks enter their 2011 NBA Playoffs first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers as favorites to win, even though Portland has emerged as a popular upset pick, according to the sports betting site Bodog. The Mavericks dropped to the third spot in the Western Conference after a poor finish. The Blazers, meanwhile, surged down the stretch and rose to the sixth spot. The two teams split during the regular season, with the Blazers winning the last two after the Gerald Wallace trade.

Bodog lists the Mavericks' odds at 5/11, and the Grizzlies' line is at 7/4. The Grizzlies' moneyline is -220, while the Grizzlies' is +175. Vegas expects it to be a long series: Dallas has 8/1 odds to sweep, but 4/1 odds to win in seven. The Blazers' best odds is to win in six games (9/2).

The Mavericks have 18/1 odds to win the NBA title. The Blazers are at 50/1.

Be sure to follow our Mavericks vs. Blazers hub.

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NBA Playoff Schedule, Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Dallas Opens Series Saturday

The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers will match up in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, with Game 1 tipping off on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN. The series figures to be a close one, with both teams possessing some great talent but huge question marks down the rotation. Unsurprisingly, none of the first four games in the series are scheduled to be broadcast on the less-than-fully-available NBA TV.

Here's the series schedule:

Game 1: Sat., April 16 in Dallas, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2: Tue., April 19 in Dallas, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3: Thu., April 21 in Portland, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4:  Sat., April 23 in Portland, 5 p.m., TNT
Game 5: Mon., April 25 in Dallas, TBD
Game 6: Thu., April 28 in Portland, TBD
Game 7: Sat., April 30 in Dallas, TBD, TNT

Be sure to check out our Mavericks vs. Blazers preview, and the full NBA playoff schedule.

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NBA Playoff Predictions, Mavericks Vs. Blazers: Hype Battles Calls For Upset

No top-four seed in either conference in the 2011 NBA Playoffs enters the postseason with less fanfare than the Dallas Mavericks ... and considering the recent troubles of the Celtics, Magic and Lakers, that's saying something. Unfortunately for Dallas, their team's first-round opponent -- the Portland Trail Blazers -- has some momentum, winning five of six meaningful April games. But the Mavericks, with a point differential twice as good as that of Portland, is still the favorite ... right?

UPSET POTENTIAL

High! Many pundits have picked or will pick the Blazers, and along with Celtics-Knicks and Thunder-Nuggets, this is a must-see series. The Blazers fell to the Suns last year as the Mavs were falling to the Spurs, and not a ton has changed: Portland has a gimpy Brandon Roy and a troubling inability to shoot consistently well; the Mavericks have a shaky (to say the least) offense behind Dirk Nowitzki.

A new wrinkle here is Gerald Wallace, the toughest monster on either team and a new Blazer. He'll be charged with defending Dirk in spots (or more), and he could be a real difference-maker. But the Mavericks' defense is strong, too, with Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood ready to meet LaMarcus Aldridge. It's too close to count either team out, which is just perfect.

ANOINTMENT INVITATION

Wallace is well-known to basketball diehards, but existing in Charlotte for so long might require a proper re-introduction to the national audience. Don't worry; it'll be easy to find him. He's the guy crashing all over the place, constantly. Portland needs a big series from him to advance, and Wallace has never shrunk from a challenged.

On the Mavericks' side, Rodrigue Beaubois is constantly one possession away from breaking out. He had a great playoff game as Dallas wilted last spring, and he's due again.

HINTS FOR THE FUTURE

The winner here will draw the Lakers or Hornets. The Blazers have amazing confidence against L.A. at home, and the Mavericks have become bitter old rivals of the Lakers over the years. But these teams have a real battle to get to that point, and the Blazers and Mavericks are so, so different than the Lakers that it'll be hard to draw much. But ...

If Roy and Jason Terry can play consistently, that's huge for each offense. If Rudy Fernandez, Wesley Matthews, Corey Brewer and/or Beaubois get loose? Even better! These teams need some unexpected offense to make a real mark on the playoffs. This series will determine whether either team is up for the challenge. 

MAINSTREAM MEME ALERT

Wes Matthews Fever is apparently limited to Portland and one corner of Toronto (hi, Tas!), but it's highly contagious. Grab them three-point goggles!

FINAL PREDICTION

Mavericks in 7. They are better than you think.

AND ONE

Follow our Mavericks vs. Blazers section for everything you care to know about this series. For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas. For Portland analysis and news, check out Blazersedge.

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