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

The Celtics love to play a slow-paced game, and they've grounded the Mavericks' offense to a halt so far in the NBA Finals. Our NBA betting picks expect this trend to continue in Game 4, which could be the final game of this series.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Jun 14, 2024 • 08:52 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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The Boston Celtics' 16-year chase of an 18th banner seems ready to end as they're up 3-0 in the NBA Finals over the reeling Dallas Mavericks. The biggest question for any Celtics vs. Mavs predictions is if the series will end on Friday night.

Although that may be the biggest question, our free NBA picks will focus instead on the total before tip-off on June 14.

Celtics vs Mavs prediction

My best bet
Under 211.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

My analysis
It's not just anecdotal to suggest pacing falls off in the playoffs. It's a fact. That's partially because the high stakes force teams to play tighter, and also because of the emotional and physical fatigue of a deep playoff run.

Both the Boston Celtics' and Dallas Mavericks' offensive ratings have fallen off a bit in the postseason, but the reason to dive Under this total in Game 4 is that their paces have slowed to a relative crawl.

The Mavs remade their roster and rotation at the trade deadline this winter. From then until the end of the regular season, their pace ranked No. 7 in the NBA at 100.6 possessions per game. So too did their offense, which had a rating of 115.9.

In that same stretch of time, the Celtics continued to play relatively slowly, ranking No. 24 in pace at 96.13. Still, their offense stood well above the rest of the league with the No. 1 rating at 125.4.

Dallas’ pace plummeted to 93.62 through the first three rounds of the playoffs, with its offensive rating holding steady at 115.2. Boston’s pace somehow got even slower, dropping to 92.45 in the first three rounds of the postseason with its own offensive rating slipping, albeit not by much, to 119.6.

Those diminished offensive ratings made sense; playoff defense is more intense and more thorough. Opponents simply played better. But the fallen paces emphasize how scarce points became, and sportsbooks have simply not properly adjusted to that change in this series.

The Mavs have yet to reach 100 points in a game in this series. The final scores have averaged a total of 201.3 points. Lowering the Game 4 total to 211.5, from Game 3’s of 213.5 and Game 1’s of 216, is not low enough.

It is not the moderately lesser offenses that demand a reduced total. It is the crumbling pace, one Boston has preferred all season long, and one that the Celtics should ride to their 18th NBA title.

Celtics vs Mavs same-game parlay (SGP)

Under 211.5

Celtics moneyline

Jayson Tatum Over 5.5 assists

Always remember to shop among sportsbooks, even when you're making a same-game parlay (perhaps especially when you are making a same-game parlay). This identical same-game parlay pays only +465 at FanDuel, a 25.6% drop in value.

Dallas has simply looked overmatched throughout this series, even if Games 2 and 3 had decently close final scores. As long as Boston is allowed to dictate the pace of the game, it should also dictate the result.

Part of the Celtics’ game control has come directly from Jayson Tatum’s overall patience. He has averaged just 21.7 points in this series on 21.3 shots per game. His offense, simply put, has not been stellar. There is a reason Jaylen Brown is a heavy favorite in the NBA Finals MVP odds at this point.

However, Tatum has not shown an ounce of caring about those things, despite Jason Kidd’s attempts at mind games. He has continued to stuff the stat sheet, and his playmaking remains underappreciated. He has notched at least five assists in all three games, and he would have many more if Boston’s supposed role players hit more of the shots Tatum created.

If/when Game 4 starts to slip away from the Mavs, those Celtics role players should have enough confidence to hit some open looks and propel Tatum over this assists prop.

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 4.

Celtics vs Mavs opening odds

  • Spread: Boston -1 | Dallas +1
  • Moneyline: Boston -106 | Dallas -104
  • Over/Under: Over 212 | Under 212

Celtics vs Mavs spread and Over/Under analysis

  • This spread can be found with either team favored by a point, once again emphasizing the importance of line shopping.
  • For a fourth straight game, BetMGM saw initial heavy action backing the Mavs, with 67% of the handle betting on Dallas against the spread despite only 43% of written tickets doing so as of Thursday morning. Of course, those bettors have gone 0-2-1 in these Finals.
  • After Game 3 saw a final score total of 205, this number opened at 211.5 late Wednesday night and has hardly moved.

Celtics vs Mavs trend

With a spread set as effectively a pick’em, it is worth noting Boston has won 10 straight games. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Mavs.

Celtics vs Mavs game info

Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Date: Thursday, 6-14-2024
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET

Celtics vs Mavs latest injuries

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