Mavericks vs. Celtics Game 1 NBA Best Bet: Boston’s Shooters Are Locked and Loaded

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Top-rated sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Dallas and Boston.

For your best bet, I will recommend investing in the Celtics.

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NBA Pick: Celtics -6.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Celtics -6.5 (-110)
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Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics

Thursday, June 06, 2024 – 08:30 PM ET at TD Garden

The Strength of Dallas’ Defense

Defensively, Dallas wants to wall off the paint in order to stymy dribble penetration. The Mavericks, likewise, want to rely on their rim protectors. Overall, they characteristically make scoring in the paint especially difficult.

Of the playoff teams, they allow the third-fewest field goals within five feet of the basket. An opponent that relies primarily on scoring inside will therefore be in trouble.

Boston’s Offensive Focus

Whereas Minnesota’s top scorer, Anthony Edwards, is primarily a driver who wants to attack the basket, Boston’s offense revolves around its shooters.

The Celtics’ offense therefore matches up well against Dallas’ rim-protecting defense, which it can attack in ways that the Mavericks’ last opponent, Minnesota, was drastically less able to do.

Throughout the postseason, Boston has relied primarily on three-point shooting for its offense. This has indeed been so throughout the year: the Celtics rank number one in both three-pointers made per game and in three-point percentage.

Stacked With Shooters

Dallas’ worst defensive performances in these playoffs have come in games where they allowed a lot of threes. Boston, with its offensive focus on three-pointers, is built to inflict damage in this way.

The Mavericks, although they allowed over 110 points in multiple different games, were generally not bothered by L.A.’s or Minnesota’s three-point shooting because they could help off the opposing center. The Thunder typically failed to challenge Boston’s defense because they don’t attempt as many threes and lack playmakers outside of their point guard.

Boston will pose a unique challenge for Dallas by having five shooters on the court at one time. Centers Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis are efficient from behind the arc. Beyond simply giving Dallas’ defense five different shooters to account for, Boston will force Dallas’ bigs away from the basket.

The Mavericks will be spaced out defensively, making it easy for Boston to attack them with line-drives to the basket. The Celtics will surely target the one-on-one defensive capabilities of Dallas’ top two scorers, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who are not known for their defense and whom Dallas can wear down.

Therefore, the Celtics will level Dallas with their three-point shooting and, in doing this with five shooters, will negate the Mavericks’ defensive strength in the interior.

Boston’s Drop Coverage

The Celtics tend to avoid blitzing on ball-screens. Porzingis will likely be in drop coverage, whereas when Horford is on the court they can switch one-through-five.

When the Mavericks are attacking Boston’s drop coverage, they will face their toughest challenge yet, whereas previously especially Luka would thrive in the mid-range.

As metrics and video footage show, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White excel at chasing ball handlers off screens. When either one is screened, Luka will have either one breathing down his neck and making shot-making difficult for him.

Boston Likes to Switch

Boston is so tough defensively because of the positional versatility of its individual defenders. The Celtics love to switch, as we saw them slow down Indiana’s high-octane offense by switching.

Luka will encounter various different looks, ranging from repeat All-NBA Defensive Team selections White and Holiday to lengthy Jayson Tatum and physically solid Jaylen Brown.

Jaylen Brown

Brown is going to be Boston’s best option to guard Luka one-on-one.

Dallas relies primarily on Luka, yet he struggles against Brown. In just over eleven minutes this year of operating as Luka’s primary defender, Brown held Luka to a combined total of eleven points on 4-for-10 shooting. Whereas it took Minnesota multiple games to figure out who to stick on Luka, Boston can already be confident relying on Brown’s defense.

Bonus Considerations

Historical trends show that the situation strongly favors Boston as the strong favorite with more rest and home-court advantage. When both teams enter the NBA Finals with a lot of rest, the situation favors the home favorite even more unequivocally.

Besides the situation, the experience factor favors the Celtics, who were just in the NBA Finals two years ago. Holiday even won a championship with Milwaukee.


A Minnesota team held back by poor shooting, offensively anemic players and general deficiency on offense was able to hang tight with Dallas. The Celtics bring significantly stronger shooting and playmaking in addition to the same quality on defense – Boston ranked second in the regular season in defensive rating and third in the postseason.

Boston will thrive with its three-point shooting, which it will also use to attack a spaced-out Mavericks defense. On defense, the off-ball chasing of Holiday and White and especially the on-ball defense of Brown will do the most to limit Dallas’ top scoring option.

Boston will be fine sticking a single defender on Luka, while it has White or Holiday to limit Kyrie Irving with. The Celtics will make both scorers work hard on defense, too.

In sum, Boston has too many powerful weapons on offense, too many matchup advantages and too good of a defense with too much versatility. The situation favors the home favorite, anyway.

NBA Pick: Celtics -6.5 (-110) at BetOnline

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Celtics -6.5 (-110)
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