Celtics vs Mavs Game 4: First Quarter Picks and Predictions

Jaylen Brown and the Celtics have the Mavs on the brink of defeat, and our NBA picks for Game 4's first quarter think the odds-on Finals MVP favorite strikes a powerful first blow tonight.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Jun 14, 2024 • 09:02 ET • 4 min read
Jaylen Brown NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It's now or never for the Dallas Mavericks, who are down 3-0 to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. 

Will the Mavs show any fight on their home floor tonight, or will Wednesday's demoralizing loss lead to them mailing it in? I let you know with my three favorite first-quarter NBA picks for Game 4 on Friday, June 14.

Friday's best bets for NBA Finals Game 4 first quarter

First quarter spread - Mavericks -0.5 

It's easy to see why the Boston Celtics' 106-99 win in Game 4, might have taken the wind out of the Dallas Mavericks' sails. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 playoff deficit in NBA history, and the Mavs lost on Wednesday in frustrating fashion, after superstar Luka Doncic fouled out with four minutes remaining. However, they led by one point after the first quarter, and despite falling behind by 14 points after an ugly third, they showed fire by rallying in the fourth.

I expect some of that momentum to carry into this contest. In a must-win spot in front of their home fans, I'm betting on a strong start against a Celtics side that occasionally struggles to put away foes. 

Keep in mind that the Mavs also led after the first quarter in Game 2, and that while they were blown out in the opening frame of Game 1, they're in a better spot here. Not only are they at home this time, but Kristaps Porzingis, who made a huge impact in Game 1, will miss his second straight game. Without Porzingis to protect the paint, Luka and the Mavs should be able to attack the basket and get up early, even if their poor bench is once again exposed down the stretch.

Pick: First quarter spread - Mavericks -0.5 (-115 at FanDuel)

First quarter Over 54.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

Every game in this series has easily cashed the Under, but that hasn't been the case for first-quarter totals. These teams went Over the first quarter total in Game 1 and combined for 61 points in the first 12 minutes in Game 3. Bet on the Mavs to play with desperation here and push the pace more than usual. I also expect the Celtics to play a bit faster and looser since they have a three-game cushion. That should lead to the Over 54.5 hitting in the first quarter.

Pick: First quarter Over 54.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Jaylen Brown first quarter Over 5.5 points (-135 at bet365)

Jaylen Brown is now a -300 favorite in the Finals MVP odds after entering Game 3 at +150. While Jayson Tatum is recognized as Boston's best offensive player, it's Brown who has been the better scorer in this series. Brown is averaging 24.3 ppg on 55.1 FG%, while Tatum is averaging 21.7 ppg on just 35.9% shooting. That said, we're seeing Brown's 1Q points total at 5.5, while Tatum's is installed at 7.5. Brown has been aggressive at the start of games, and with confidence sky-high, look for him to call his own number against a Dallas squad that hasn't been able to match up against him. 

Pick: Jaylen Brown first quarter Over 5.5 points (-135 at bet365)

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