Mavs vs Celtics Prop Picks and Best Bets: Irving Irks Boston in Game 5

We all know how bad Kyrie Irving was through Games 1 and 2, but he's turned over a new leaf, and our NBA picks expect him to keep collecting buckets in Game 5.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Jun 17, 2024 • 13:17 ET • 4 min read
Kyrie Irving Dallas Mavericks NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals should end tonight, with NBA odds making the Boston Celtics three-bucket favorites at home in Game 5. If the Dallas Mavericks are going to prolong this series yet again, it will almost assuredly start with Luka Doncic.

My free NBA picks and first Mavs vs. Celtics predictions doubt Doncic, though, again emphasizing this is likely the end of the NBA season — regardless of how much Kyrie scores.

Best NBA player props today

Picks made on 6-17 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

NBA player props for June 17

Prop bet #1: Doncic Under 32.5 points

Luka Doncic was +30 in the Game 4 rout, but his stat line was otherwise rather pedestrian, at least by Doncic’s standards. The superstar had 29 points on 12 of 26 shooting — most notably going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.

He's averaged 29.5 points in this series, falling short of tonight's points total in all four games.

This should hardly be surprising, no matter how good Doncic is. He's clearly more injured than the broader world realizes, and the Boston Celtics have enough wing defenders to pester Doncic at all times while never risking a clearly overmatched defender.

Keeping Doncic’s points prop a full bucket higher than his average in this series and higher than any game he's put together thus far can be explained only by this being an elimination game. Well, Game 4 was an elimination game, too, and that didn't spur Doncic Over 32.5 points

Expect Boston’s defense to have a renewed focus in Game 5 because of the offensive explosion from Dallas on Friday. That renewed focus will limit Doncic further, not that much further has been needed.

Luka Doncic prop: Under 32.5 points (-105 at DraftKings)

Prop bet #2: Irving Over 23.5 points

If Kristaps Porzingis is limited again by his newest leg injury, the last two games have made it clear Kyrie Irving most benefits from his absence in the paint. Irving scored 28 points on 13-for-37 shooting in the first two games. With Porzingis out of the way, Irving managed 35 and 21 points in the next two — the latter a bit undone by going 1 of 6 from deep.

For all his dazzling dribbling and absurd shotmaking, the core of Irving’s offensive game is an ability to get into the lane. A 7-foot-2 Latvian buttressed by a bevy of wing defenders made that far more difficult.

This is likely his last Finals game in Boston and, thus, Irving’s last chance at some amount of redemption from the second of his three ugly exits from various Eastern franchises. Porzingis, presumably missing a third straight game, will buoy Irving’s attempt at that surface-level face-saving.

Kyrie Irving prop: Over 23.5 points (-114 at BetRivers)

Prop bet #3: Lively Over 8.5 points

Porzingis is not viewed as an aerial player. He doesn't explode into the air, but the lack of visual effect doesn't change the fact Porzingis lives at a higher altitude. The 7-foot-2 frame is a genuine deterrent at the rim, both against drives and against lobs.

That is why Boston was intentional about focusing more of Porzingis’ minutes against Dereck Lively II, trying to slow Lively’s repeated chances at easy lay-ins courtesy of Doncic’s touch. With Porzingis simply in the same orbit, those looks became more scarce.

Lively went just 2-for-4 from the floor in the first two games of the series, his only single-bucket outputs since the first two games of the second round.

Remove Porzingis from that space, and Lively’s rookie excellence became apparent again, going 9-for-11 from the floor and scoring 11 points in each game.

Focusing on KP's defensive impact may not be the expectation when discussing him in the last few years, but it has had a genuine impact this season. Without their one true big man, the Celtics’ defense lags a bit — as Lively showed in Games 3 and 4 — and he should again tonight.

Dereck Lively II prop: Over 8.5 points (-103 at Pinnacle)

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