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Jayson Tatum Odds & Props - June 9, 2024




The Boston Celtics drew first blood with their Game 1 blowout against the Dallas Mavericks, but even in victory, Celtics fans couldn’t escape the rapidly escalating Jayson Tatum discourse. 

As we get ready for Game 2 of Mavericks vs. Celtics, I try to cut through the noise with my NBA picks on Sunday. By looking carefully at Tatum’s likely role and impact as part of the Celtics scheme to slow down Luka Doncic, I’ve identified a high-value play I believe to be hiding in plain sight.

Jayson Tatum prop picks for June 9

  • Over 9.5 rebounds (-105)
  • Over 9.5 rebounds + Over 0.5 blocks + 2+ threes made (+355)

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Jayson Tatum best bet

Over 9.5 rebounds (-105)

Jayson Tatum’s Game has been highly scrutinized during these playoffs.

People have openly wondered whether he’s clutch or not, where he ranks in the current NBA pantheon, and if he deserved to make first-team All-NBA. It’s been such discourse fodder that Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd decided to attempt some psychological warfare against the Boston Celtics locker room by saying that Jaylen Brown — and not Tatum — is the Celtics' best player.

All of this continues to obscure the reality that Tatum — while not among the absolute top tier of NBA stars — consistently makes a wide variety of plays that lead to winning. He does it all, on both ends, very well, and sometimes if one is only looking at his scoring, you can miss the bigger picture.

For one thing, Tatum is an outstanding rebounder for a wing. At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Tatum regularly outrebounds many bigs. He's consistently been in the mid to high 90th percentile in defensive rebounding among forwards, per Cleaning the Glass. His 23.5% defensive rebounding rate leads all forwards during these playoffs, which has seen him notch 10.4 rebounds per game.

Tatum notched 11 rebounds in Game 1. While I expect there will be a few tactical adjustments on both sides, something that will not be changing is the Celtics cross-matching. 

Boston had Tatum guard the Maverick's centers so that the Celtics could avoid Luka Doncic getting the 1-5 pick-and-roll with Dereck Lively II or Daniel Gafford going against Al Horford for Kristaps Porzingis. The Celtics want to avoid having Horford for KP trapped on an island and unable to provide backside help, so they’re keeping them out of the primary screening action that Luka likes to run.

This functionally took away the lob dunks that had been so effective for Dallas throughout the playoffs and dared the likes of PJ Washington or Derrick Jones Jr. (who are now cross-matched with the Celtics bigs) to make a pick-and-pop three or drive a crowded paint.

This strategy only works because Tatum can hold up on the glass and not concede offensive rebounds. He demonstrated that he’s more than strong enough to box out the Dallas bigs with no issue. Any time a possession ends with a missed Luka stepback or wayward Kyrie jumper, Tatum typically has an inside position and easily corrals the board. He seemed completely unbothered whether it was Lively or Gafford.

Tatum is already one of the NBA’s best rebounders for his size, but these Jayson Tatum odds become far more valuable because of the cross-matching the Celtics defensive strategy requires.

Prop: Over 9.5 rebounds (-105 at DraftKings)

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Jayson Tatum same-game parlay

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Jayson Tatum Over 9.5 rebounds

Jayson Tatum Over 0.5 blocks

Jayson Tatum 2+ threes

+355 at DraftKings

The space a player occupies on the court often determines a lot about their role. With Tatum assigned to defending the Mavericks centers, he’s naturally around the basket more than he would be in a typical matchup. That means not only is he likely to rebound at a higher rate, but he’s also one of the Celtics primary rim protectors in place of Horford or Porzingis, who will be forced to split the difference between the paint and their man spotted up in the corner.

That means Tatum has a great chance to notch at least one block, and the numbers bear it out. Tatum averaged between .6 and .7 blocks per game over the past two seasons, but he’s averaged more than 1.1 against the Mavericks in that span as they've been going to the same cross-matching scheme.

Lastly, the source of most criticism of Tatum this postseason has centered on his scoring, which in turn is just the result of some cold shooting. Tatum is shooting below 30% from three in the playoffs, far below his season average. 

This screams variance to me, and he's shot the ball better lately, including going 3-for-7 in Game 1. Even with his erratic shooting, he’s still a high-volume guy. He’s only made fewer than two threes once in his last nine games.

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