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Mavs vs Celtics Prediction, Picks, Odds for Thursday’s NBA Finals Game 1

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A week between NBA Games is too long. We can finally dig into this matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics with a specific focus on bets for Game 1 amid our Mavs vs. Celtics predictions.

Obviously, Dallas remains a hefty underdog, the first time the Western Conference winner has been an underdog in Game 1 in the NBA Finals odds in five years. One of the reasons for that could be the play of Derrick White, whose threes prop spotlight tonight's NBA picks.

Mavs vs Celtics prediction

My best bet
Derrick White Over 2.5 threes (-125 at DraftKings)

Best odds available in your region

My analysis
Anticipating adjustments will be the key to bets throughout the NBA Finals, but in Game 1, both Jason Kidd and Joe Mazzula should stick to what got them here. Their adjustments will come later in the series once these approaches have succeeded or failed.

The Dallas Mavericks key has been their offense, supplemented by just enough defense to keep Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving close enough to close in the fourth quarter.

Of the eight teams that escaped the first round, only the Boston Celtics, Mavericks, and Timberwolves all ranked in the top six in both offensive and defensive ratings this postseason. It was no coincidence they were the three to last the longest in the playoffs.

Dallas’ defense leads with P.J. Washington and Derrick Jones Jr, who will clearly be tasked with defending Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in some combination. But there is a third head to Boston’s offense.

Headlines and injury intrigue expect that to be Kristaps Porzingis, returning from a soleus injury that has sidelined him since the first round. And this regular season, it was Porzingis, as it was in his three healthy games in the playoffs, having a 25.0% usage rate in the regular season and 20.9% to start the first round against the Heat.

But note that Porzingis’ usage was already dropping a bit. The sample size was small, but it was still a notable slip. Meanwhile, the usage of Derrick White was holding steady, and since Porzingis’ absence, it has climbed upward to 20.3% in the last 11 games compared to 18.7% this regular season.

White’s usage shows most from deep. He took 6.8 threes per game in the regular season; he has shot 9.0 per game since Porzingis was injured, hitting 40.4% of them.

Dallas has plausible defenders for Porzingis, should he actually be Healthy. Neither Dereck Lively II nor Daniel Gafford is the perfect matchup for the Latvian shooter, but they'll pester him enough.

Meanwhile, either Doncic or Irving will have the primary worry of White. Neither is usually ready for such a defensive chore. White should put up plenty of shots from deep, and considering he is hitting more than 40% of them these playoffs, he'll have little trouble cracking this prop.

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Mavs vs Celtics same-game parlay (SGP)

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Derrick White Over 2.5 threes

Kristaps Porzingis Under 1.5 threes

Celtics -6.5

+600 at DraftKings

Trusting Porzingis in his first game action in five weeks is a bold choice. Soleus strains are extremely painful, and if Porzingis’ injury lingers at all, it'll impact his willingness to shoot. Furthermore, White’s increased usage has panned out well for Boston, straying from it could be foolish.

Taking the Celtics at -6.5 fits with the general assumptions of this series. Dallas should find a way to make it interesting, but that wrinkle should not be expected in Game 1.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Mavs vs Celtics odds

Mavs vs Celtics live odds

Get the latest Mavericks vs Celtics NBA Finals odds for Game 1.

Mavs vs Celtics opening odds

  • Spread: Dallas +6 (-110) | Boston -6 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Dallas +200 | Boston -245
  • Over/Under: Over 214.5 (-110) | Under 214.5 (-110)

Mavs vs Celtics spread and Over/Under analysis

  • The Celtics opened as six-point favorites a few hours after the Mavs knocked the Wolves out of the West, a number that climbed to -6.5 by the following morning and stayed there through the weekend.
  • This is the shortest spread Boston has faced this postseason.
  • The total opened at 214.5 and waffled between 214 and 215 at various sportsbooks, only to remain at 214.5.

Mavs vs Celtics trend

Boston has covered the spread in its last four games against Dallas, including a 138-110 win in March, notable given it was after the trade deadline in which the Mavs remade much of their rotation. Find more NBA betting trends for Mavericks vs. Celtics.

Mavs vs Celtics game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Thursday, 6-6-2024
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC

Mavs vs Celtics latest injuries

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