Celtics vs Mavericks Game 3 Picks, Odds | NBA Finals Prediction

The 2024 NBA Finals continue on Wednesday night, with Game 3 of Mavericks vs. Celtics set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

The Celtics opened as 1.5-point underdogs on the spread in Wednesday's matchup, while the total is set at over/under 213 total points at DraftKings.

Here's everything you need to know about Game 3 of the NBA Finals between Dallas and Boston -- the latest betting odds, as well as our expert picks and prediction for Wednesday, June 12.

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NBA Finals Game 3 Odds

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NBA Finals Game 3 Prediction & Picks

Very few things went right for Boston in the most recent meeting between these two teams, aside from a surprisingly dominant performance by Jrue Holiday (26 PTS, 79% FG). The Celtics shot a combined 10-of-39 (25.6%) from 3-point range in Game 2, Jayson Tatum couldn’t buy a basket (18 PTS, 27% FG), it seemed like nobody could stop Luka Doncic (32 PTS, 57%), and most notably, Kristaps Porzingis exited late for Boston after appearing to re-aggravate a leg injury that kept him sidelined for 10-of-14 playoff matchups prior to the Finals.

With that in mind, however, the Celtics still managed to win and cover the spread in Game 2 thanks to the Mavs’ supporting cast failing to make a meaningful contribution in a second straight loss. Doncic scored 32 of the Mavs’ 95 points on 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the field and 4-of-9 (44.4%) from 3-point range in Sunday’s contest. However, aside from Luka, Dallas couldn’t get anything going on offense, as the rest of the Mavs’ rotation combined for only 66 points on 44.1% shooting and 11.8% from long range in Game 2, resulting in a 7-point defeat.

The final margin of deficit in Game 2 may be a little bit misleading, though. Boston led by a score of 103-98 with 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and after a strong defensive possession in a key moment, the Mavericks managed to leak out for a fast break led by PJ Washington, who drove hard to the basket and was clearly pushed from behind by Jaylen Brown on the play -- which, hypothetically, would’ve given him a pair of free throws with a chance to cut the lead to three in crunch time. But instead, no foul was called, and the Celtics extended the lead to seven on the following possession to officially put the game out of reach.

Push comes to shove, however, the Mavericks have nobody to blame except themselves. There’s no excuse for the amount of free throws they missed in Game 2, and although it may seem like a rather oversimplified explanation, Dallas’s inefficiency at the charity stripe was the main factor that held them back from stealing Game 2. The Mavs made 16-of-24 (66.7%) free throw attempts in the latest meeting between these two teams, while the Celtics made 19-of-20 (95%). So, in theory, the Mavs would’ve been much better positioned to steal the win if they made their free throws at a normal clip (or, if somebody else helped in the scoring department besides Luka).

The Mavs’ shooting numbers will likely regress back toward the mean at home. However, that isn’t the only reason why I’m picking them in Wednesday’s contest. The main reason I like Dallas to win Game 3 is because of the latest injury to Kristaps Porzingis, who has played an enormous role in Boston taking a 2-0 lead in this series.

The Celtics are already thin in the frontcourt, even when they are fully healthy. Whenever Porzingis is sidelined, Al Horford shifts into the starting lineup, while small-ball lineups usually fill in the gaps as the 38-year-old veteran rests, which has been a disaster for Boston in the paint defensively for most of the playoffs. Prior to the Finals, the Celtics surrendered the 3rd-worst opponent field goal percentage within five feet of the basket (68.5%) throughout the postseason.

Porzingis says he's going to play in Game 3, but if he's anything less than 100% healthy and unable to protect the rim at an elite level moving forward, that will likely be enough to move the needle back toward Dallas's direction, and he certainly didn't look healthy in his final minutes of Game 2; exited with 4:40 left in game, did not return.

Porzingis came off the Boston bench in Games 1 and 2, and the Celtics posted a point differential +25 in his 44 minutes of runtime in those two contests. While contrarily, they posted a point differential of only +8 in 58 minutes with Horford on the court.

A key part of slowing down the Mavs’ offense is the ability to protect the rim, and the Celtics struggled to do so during stints without Porzingis early in this series. Dallas has slammed home a total of 127 dunks this postseason, which leads all playoff teams by a wide margin in that particular department. The Mavs immediately jumped out to a 13-6 lead without Porzingis on the floor to start Game 2, but the Celtics quickly narrowed the gap once Porzingis entered, as they closed the first quarter at a score of 28-25.

Motivation will be a factor for Dallas in Game 3. The Mavs currently trail Boston two games-to-none, and they'll desperately want to avoid an insurmountable three-game deficit in their first home game of the series. Homecourt advantage should also play a meaningful role for a Dallas supporting cast that struggled miserably on the road in Games 1 and 2. So, I’ll hold my breath and lay the points with the Mavs in Game 3.

Pick: Mavericks -1.5 (-110)

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NBA Finals Game 3 Time & TV Channel

Date: Wednesday, June 12
Matchup: Southwest vs. Atlantic
Venue: American Airlines Center
Location: Dallas, TX
Time-TV: ABC, 8:30 p.m. ET

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Celtics vs Mavericks Betting Stats

1) Boston Celtics
(1st Place, Atlantic)

  • Odds to Win Series: -1000
  • SU: 64-18
  • ATS: 43-38-1
  • O/U: 37-44-1
  • PPG: 120.6
  • OPPG: 109.2

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5) Dallas Mavericks
(1st Place, Southwest)

  • Odds to Win Series: +660
  • SU: 50-32
  • ATS: 48-34
  • O/U: 36-45-1
  • PPG: 117.9
  • OPPG: 115.6

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