Not only will the Dallas Mavericks take the floor Thursday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals looking to take a 2-0 series lead over Oklahoma City, but also on the line will be a 15-game winning streak against the spread.
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According to RJ Bell, the founder of sports handicapping website Pregame.com, that is the longest against-the-spread winning streak in the NBA since at least 1995 — the earliest year reliable data exist.
Bell calculated the odds of a run like this to be 32,768 to 1, sending the gambling world into a frenzy.
"There’s clearly a major disconnect between perception and reality here," said Andrew Garrood, executive director of Las Vegas Sports Consultants. "It’s safe to say we won’t see anything like this again for a long time."
The Mavericks’ streak began quietly on April 8 with a meaningless 11-point regular-season victory over the Clippers. If a gambler wagered $11 on the Mavericks in that contest and rolled over the bet on all 14 ensuing Dallas games, he would have cashed out $179,387 after Dallas’ win on Tuesday against the Thunder.
Before this, the Sacramento Kings held the longest against-the-spread winning streak, having strung together 13 straight in 2000.
Bell said the Mavs have been receiving a boost from the bookmakers this postseason because of their opponents. Their first-round foe, the Portland Trail Blazers, were a media darling and a popular pick to win among analysts and fans.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are a marquee team that typically receives a disproportionate number of bets, which swayed the line a bit in Dallas’ favor throughout that series.