Mavs vs Celtics Prediction, Picks, Odds for Tonight’s NBA Playoff Game 5

The Mavs showed new life last time out, dodging a sweep while blowing out the Celtics. Our NBA picks for Game 5 see some sustainable change for Dallas against a large spread.

Rory Breasail - Betting Analyst at
Rory Breasail • Betting Analyst
Jun 17, 2024 • 16:00 ET • 4 min read
Luka Doncic NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Game 4 could have played out many ways, but waiting till the final buzzer to determine if the Dallas Mavericks would hand the Boston Celtics the worst margin of defeat in NBA Finals history was distinctly not on my bingo card.

The Celts will have to play a complete game on Monday if they want to hang Banner 18, but my Mavericks vs. Celtics prediction is that Dallas can sustain some of its success.

With my NBA picks for Game 5, I look hard at what went right for the Mavs and why it should continue.

Celtics vs Mavs prediction

My best bet
Mavericks +7 (-110 at bet365)

My analysis

The Dallas Mavericks just beat the Boston Celtics so badly in Game 4 that they’re now outscoring them in the series by six points despite being down 3-1.

Did this seem like just desperation and a temporary psychological edge? Or has Dallas found something that should make them competitive in Game 5?

While it would be foolish to discount the disparity of motivation between the Celtics and Mavericks, I do think enough things should carry over to make Game 5 at least competitive.

For one, Jason Kidd went with a more sensible rotation. After playing an absurd 11 players in Game 4, he cut to eight while the game was still in doubt. That group included a healthy dose of both Dante Exum and Maxi Kleber, the closest thing the Mavs bench has to genuine two-way players. Kleber looked more mobile than at any point in the playoffs so far, and even hit a three. 

Exum brings the combination of defense, ball handling, and at least some level of shooting. Playing Exum decreases Luka Doncic’s on-ball burden, which paid dividends throughout the game.

In part that showed up on the defensive end, where Luka gave his best effort of the series. Luka is never going to be lockdown, but just doing his job turned what had been a parade of blow-bys in prior games into a slow and manageable drip.

Doncic also stayed composed after fouls.  He won’t maintain that level of discipline for the rest of his career, but it’s realistic to believe that he’s been temporarily scared straight after his meltdown in Game 3. 

The Mavericks, as a whole, did a better job cutting off the Celtics passing lanes, pressuring the Celtics further up the floor, and staying in front of their man. But when they did need help on the backline, Dereck Lively II was there more often than not.

The Mavs continued a trend from Game 3 where they managed to keep Lively around the rim in their hybrid man/zone concept that worked wonders for them in prior series. That also helped the Mavericks dominate the possession battle. They outrebounded the Celtics by 21 and generated 11 more shots and nine more free-throw attempts. 

Even accounting for Boston shooting better in Game 5, if Dallas can win the possession battle on the glass they can stay in contact.

And the last thing I expect to continue that favors Dallas isn’t tactical, it’s health. While Kristaps Porzingis is technically available for Game 5, the fact that he didn’t play at all in Game 4 and there being no reason to believe his condition will meaningfully improve without surgery makes me believe his impact going forward will be slim to none.

The Celtics did miss Kristaps in Game 3, it’s just so much else went wrong for Dallas and right for Boston that it wasn’t as obvious. Dallas has dominated the points in the paint battle with Porzingis out and unable to provide his characteristic rim protection.

After scoring eight more points in the paint than Boston in the first two games, that grew to a 16-point disparity in Game 3 and an insurmountable 34-point margin in Game 4 as Dallas scored 60 points in the paint.

For all that, the Celtics are still probably in the driver's seat to win Game 5. But there is a replicable formula for Dallas emerging here, one that makes them a threat to steal another win on Monday, and a real chance to at least make the Celtics sweat until the final buzzer.

Celtics vs Mavs same-game parlay (SGP)

Mavericks +7

Under 209.5

Dereck Lively II Over 8.5 rebounds

This has been and should remain a defensive series. All four games in this series have gone Under, some by a lot, despite the Mavericks and Celtics boasting some of the best offensive talent in the NBA. Both teams have taken turns being locked in on taking away what the other does best.

While some offensive regression is inevitable for Boston, Dallas had failed to score 100 points in any game prior to Friday. A more competitive game should still see a low-scoring outcome.

Lively should also continue to beat up Jayson Tatum on the boards, as he’s done since Porzingis left the lineup. He had 12 rebounds in Game 4 despite only playing 22 minutes because it became such a blowout.

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

Celtics vs Mavs odds

Celtics vs Mavs live odds

Get the latest Celtics vs Mavs NBA playoff odds for Game 5.

Celtics vs Mavs opening odds

  • Spread: Boston -7 (-110) | Dallas +7 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Boston -300 | Dallas +240
  • Over/Under: Over 209.5 (-110) | Under 209.5 (-110)

Celtics vs Mavs spread and Over/Under analysis

  • After being set at a virtual pick ‘em in Game 4, Game 5 saw the Celtics open as high as -7.5 point favorites over Dallas. After their Mavs’ convincing Game 4 victory, however, early action on Dallas has pushed that to between -7 and -6.5 as of Saturday morning.

  • The Mavericks are 36-18 against the spread in their last 54 games, covering an even two-thirds of their games.

  • The total for Monday has come in between 209 and 209.5, the lowest mark of the series.

  • All four games in this series so far have gone Under.

Celtics vs Mavs trend

The Mavericks are 36-18 ATS in their last 54 games. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Mavs.

Celtics vs Mavs game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, 6-17-2024
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET

Celtics vs Mavs latest injuries

Not intended for use in MA.
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