Mavs vs Celtics Picks & Predictions: An Early Lean on Dallas' Team Total

The Mavericks laid the smackdown in Game 4 but Boston has done well to bounce back after similar postseason losses. Our early NBA leans expect the Celtics to be at their best in Game 5.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Jun 16, 2024 • 14:20 ET • 4 min read
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks live. Their Game 4 rout of the Boston Celtics gave us all the gift of at least one more NBA game before this long offseason.

Any Mavs vs. Celtics predictions for Game 5 need to ponder if that was a momentary last gasp from Dallas or if this could actually become an intriguing series. Boston has now lost only three games this postseason, but its response to those first two defeats can direct our free NBA picks before tip on Monday, June 17, at 8:30 ET.

Mavericks vs Celtics prediction

My best bet
Mavericks team total Under 101.5 (-106 at Pinnacle)

My analysis
The historic possibilities of this Boston Celtics season have not been acknowledged enough. Since the NBA went to four rounds of best-of-seven series, only the 2015 and 2017 Warriors have won at least 64 regular-season games and then the NBA championship while losing no more than five times in the postseason. The Celtics could lose twice more and still match that.

They shouldn’t, let’s be clear. That is quite obvious when seeing Boston as a 6.5-point home favorite in Game 5. They should end this series and this season and, in doing so, establish themselves as one of the best NBA champions of this century.

Their offense has been better than their defense all season, in terms of compared to the rest of the NBA, but both ratings have sat above the rest of the NBA for most of the year. Boston’s postseason defense, however, has become the best unit in the entire playoffs, improving by 1.9 points compared to its regular-season rating and repeatedly suffocating their opponents.

Most pertinently, Boston’s defense refocused after its first two losses this postseason. After Miami went 23-for-43 from deep to score 111 points in Game 2 of the first round, the Celtics held the Heat to 30% from deep and 48% from the field in scoring just 84 points in Game 3.

When Cleveland went 13-for-28 from deep to score 118 points in Game 2 of the second round, Boston held the Cavs to 33% from deep and 43% from the field, scoring just 93 points in Game 3. Give credit to head coach Joe Mazzulla; he certainly adjusts well on the rare occasion an opponent catches Boston off guard. And a team this good may sometimes need that jolt to refocus.

It was jolted in Game 4 of these Finals. The Dallas Mavericks hit Boston hard and early, shooting 41% from deep and 51% from the field. The only other times the Celtics have let that happen, they then responded in the next game with their defensive peak. Doing so again in Game 5 should end this series and should certainly stifle Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Mavericks vs Celtics star player prop

My best bet
Luka Doncic Under 32.5 points (-104 at FanDuel)

Even when Luka Doncic was a +30 in Game 4, he scored just 29 points. The blowout reducing his minutes to only 32:33 played a part in that, but the reality is, Doncic has not scored aplenty in these NBA Finals. He has averaged 29.5 points through four games, shooting just 47% from the field, not to mention going 1-for-15 from deep in the last two games. Luka still demands plenty of attention, but Boston has been able to give it to him.

The Celtics have wing defenders for days, from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to Jrue Holiday and Derrick White. Doncic never has a moment against a clearly overmatched defender. Brown, in particular, has made the Slovenian’s life miserable.

Allowing Dallas one offensive explosion in Game 4 should lead to a renewed focus on Doncic in Game 5.

Mavericks vs Celtics odds

Mavericks vs Celtics live odds

Mavericks vs Celtics opening odds

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

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Mavericks vs Celtics game info

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

Mavericks vs Celtics latest injuries

Not intended for use in MA.
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