NBA Finals Best Bets | Celtics vs Mavericks Series Props, Odds Picks, Prediction

'The NBA Finals begin on Thursday, June 6 – and with a decent amount of runway ahead of us before Game 1 between the Celtics and Mavericks, we’ve decided to break down the latest series prop odds, and provide a few picks and predictions for some of the main markets as tipoff approaches.

Let’s dive into my NBA Finals best bets for this year’s championship series.

NBA Finals Best Bets

Celtics vs Mavericks Series Picks

Series Prop: Mavericks +1.5 Games (-132)
Series Prediction: Mavericks Win 4-3 (+750)

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The Mavericks’ path to the NBA Finals has been a long, difficult journey. They drew a tough matchup against the Clippers in the first round, a series in which Dallas (+116) was an underdog, and won that matchup in six games. Then, they drew the top-seeded Thunder in the second round, a series in which Dallas (+100) was also tagged as a short underdog, and won in six games as well. 

In the Western Conference Finals, however, the Mavs received an even steeper underdog price tag. Dallas entered the WCF as +146 underdogs against Minnesota, and then they went on to win the series even more easily than the previous two (Dallas in 5). 

But apparently, the oddsmakers still aren't ready to budge on Dallas yet, as the series market climbed the ladder once again prior to the NBA Finals, with the Mavericks listed as steep +188 underdogs against Boston (-225) ahead of Game 1 of this series.

Boston matches up particularly well against Dallas defensively. The Mavericks’ offense is heavily reliant on production from their superstar duo of guards, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving – and very few teams have enough adequate backcourt defensive options to solve all the problems created by the combination of Luka’s size and Kyrie’s dynamic playmaking ability. But, under normal circumstances, Boston is one of the rare exceptions. The Celtics can delegate an excellent pair of perimeter defenders to Irving with Jrue Holiday and Derrick White at their disposal, and then utilize a mixture of their big, athletic wings to defend Doncic via Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

With that in mind though, there’s so much more to the Mavericks’ offense than simply “give the ball to Luka or Kyrie, and let them try to score,” and Boston’s current situation isn’t ideal when it comes to defending the other crucial part of Dallas’s offensive attack: lobs and dunks. The way I see it, the x-factor in this series is the health status of Kristaps Porzingis. If Porzingis is anything less than 100% healthy (missed last two series - calf injury), it could spell trouble for Boston in this matchup, because they really need his rim protection against Dallas.

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The Celtics are very thin in the frontcourt in the absence of Porzingis, as Al Horford shifts into the starting lineup when the seven-footer is sidelined, while Xavier Tillman and small-ball lineups usually fill in the gaps as the 38-year-old rests – and as a result, Boston has surrendered the 3rd-worst opponent field goal percentage within five feet of the basket this postseason (68.5%), which certainly doesn’t bode well heading into a matchup against a Mavs team that has slammed home 118 dunks throughout their three series thus far, as they lead all playoff teams by a huge margin, with Minnesota ranked 2nd in the dunk department at 82 slams, followed by Denver in 3rd place at 64.

Boston has homecourt advantage in this series, and that’s a big deal in the NBA Playoffs, especially the Finals, and we’re all well aware of that particular notion. However, relatively speaking, I’m not overly concerned about homecourt in this series.

The Mavericks haven’t had the luxury of homecourt advantage in any of their playoff series thus far, and they’ve been just fine, cruising to a record of 7-2 in nine road postseason games. While on the other side of that same coin, the Celtics own an impressive record of 12-2 in the playoffs, but both of those losses came at home. So, I prefer to focus more on the frontcourt matchup and health status of Porzingis when trying to predict the outcome of this series.

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NBA Finals Betting Resources