Luka Doncic Odds and Props: Doncic Dominates Perimeter in Must Win Game

When you pair the possibility of Porzingis missing Game 3 and Luka Doncic knowing his team must win tonight, it creates a great recipe for him to pile up the points — and three balls.

Rory Breasail - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rory Breasail • Betting Analyst
Jun 12, 2024 • 12:23 ET • 4 min read
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks desperately need a win to realistically have a chance in the series, and they may have just received the break they needed with news about Kristaps Porzingis’ unusual — and extremely rare — foot injury.

My NBA picks for the Mavericks vs. Celtics zero in on how Porzingis’ absence would change the tactical flow of Game 3 and how I believe Luka Doncic will press the advantage.

Luka Doncic prop picks for June 12

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Luka Doncic best bet

Over 3.5 threes (-155)

Kristaps Porzingis' injury may cause him to play a more limited role, or perhaps the risk of significant injury is too great and Boston medical staff force him to sit. Reading the tea leaves, I think it is more likely than not KP misses Game 3, and even if he does play, he'll be significantly hampered in his ability to plant, push off, and move on his injured foot.

A wounded or absent Kristaps shifts the matchups and tactical considerations in the series considerably, and Luka Doncic will be the one to take advantage of it.

Due to his length and speed, Porzingis is more capable of playing a drop defense against Luka. Al Horford has held up okay on an island through two games, but now he’ll be asked to play longer, more demanding minutes on both ends. If Horford slows down even a bit, the scoring gaps for Luka are just that much bigger.

The biggest impact will be felt in the minutes Horford is on the bench as the Boston Celtics will likely play Luke Kornet in that stretch, and his drop defense is even more vulnerable to attack than Horford’s.

It’s easy to see Luka knowingly pressing the accelerator on his 3-point volume with Kornet in the game. The C's won't be rushing to give up that switch because they know Doncic will eat Kornet alive in isolation.

That means Luka will have the opportunity to fire away with his defender fighting over a screen, possibly even two, if they get back to running more of their Spain pick-and-roll actions from earlier this postseason.

Luka will have more time and space to get into his stepback, which means he's going to take more of them. He’s already averaging 10.5 threes in the series (just a hair below what he averaged in the series against the Minnesota Timberwolves), and bumping that attempt number up to 12 or 13 makes it highly likely he eclipses this prop. Since the beginning of the second round, Doncic is shooting over 40% from deep.

Kyrie Irving also expanded his role as a passer in Game 2, something they’ll need from him more as it decreases the burden on Luka to do everything. They even got Doncic an open corner three with a little off-ball screening and movement. I’d expect to see them try for a few more of those opportunities in Game 3 as well.

With Porzingis out or limited, the matchups change, and these Luka Doncic odds become a plus-value bet.

Prop: Over 3.5 threes (-155 at DraftKings)

Luka Doncic same-game parlay

Over 3.5 threes

Over 32.5 points

Over 1.5 steals

Many have compared Luka Doncic to James Harden, but where the two differ is Doncic has never disappeared in a critical game like this. He might not play a perfect game, but you will never be left wondering if he could have given more.

This is for the Dallas Mavericks season. While I do expect the Dallas role players to play better at home, I expect Luka to shoulder a massive offensive burden with the Mavs championship hopes on the line.

His shot attempts should be at a rate as high or higher than in any game in the postseason. With a comfortable 2-0 lead, it will be difficult for the Celtics to match the intensity and desperation of their opposition.

Luka has struggled with turnover issues in this series, but under discussed has been his work generating Celtics turnovers in turn. He’s had six steals already through just two games, and with the energy favoring Dallas, I like his chances of picking up two more.

Kornet's inability to stretch the court will also make the Mavericks' defensive lives that much easier. The spacing will be just a little tighter on Boston’s drives, which means both easier chances for Luka and other Mavs to swipe the ball away and less energy expended on defense overall. 

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

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