Celtics vs. Mavericks NBA Expert Prediction and Odds for NBA Finals Game 3

Breaking down who to bet on in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday.
Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Game 3 of the NBA Finals is a must-win for the Dallas Mavericks as they trail the Boston Celtics 2-0 heading into Wednesday night’s matchup at American Airlines Center.

No team has ever erased a 3-0 series deficit in a seven-game series in NBA history, so a loss would essentially seal Dallas’ fate. 

Boston is set as an underdog in this game, which is shocking to see in the 2023-24 season. This is just the second time in five months that Boston has been set as an underdog. The C’s also haven’t been shorter than a 6.5-point favorite this entire playoff run. 

Even with Jayson Tatum shooting 12-for-38 from the field in this series, Boston has gotten a ton of help from Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, and Derrick White to keep Dallas at bay. 

Porzingis could miss Game 3, but according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics big man is going to try to play if he's not ruled out by Boston's medical staff.

Regardless of his status, there is a key question for Dallas: Can Luka Doncic get any help from Kyrie Irving and his supporting cast to come through as a home favorite?

Here’s a look at the odds, key players, injury reports and more for Game 3. 

Celtics vs. Mavericks Odds, Spread and Total

Spread

  • Celtics +2.5 (-110)
  • Mavericks -2.5 (-110)

Moneyline

  • Celtics: +110
  • Mavericks: -130

Total

  • 213 (Over -110/Under -110)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Celtics vs. Mavericks How to Watch

  • Date: Wednesday, January 12
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: American Airlines Center
  • How to watch (TV): ABC
  • Series: Boston leads 2-0

Celtics vs. Mavericks Injury Report

Celtics Injury Report

  • Kristaps Porzingis -- questionable

Mavericks Injury Report

  • Luka Doncic -- probable

Celtics vs. Mavericks Key Players to Watch

Boston Celtics

Jrue Holiday: Jrue Holiday was massive in Game 2, scoring 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out three dimes in Boston’s huge win. Holiday is now averaging 19.0 points per game in the Finals, and he’s held Kyrie Irving to 2-for-8 shooting when matched up on him in this series. Holiday has a legitimate shot to win Finals MVP. 

Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic: Luka Doncic had a triple-double in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough for Dallas to pull off an upset win. Doncic is the only Dallas player with multiple made shots from beyond the arc in this series, but as good as he’s been on offense, he’s been a revolving door on defense when Boston attacks him one-on-one. Can he turn this series around in Game 3? 

Celtics vs. Mavericks Prediction and Pick

The Celtics as… underdogs?

I am shocked we are getting this gift in Game 3, as Boston has easily outplayed Dallas over the first two games, and it even won Game 2 despite not having its typical success from beyond the arc. 

Boston is a perfect 6-0 on the road so far this postseason, and until Dallas’ role players step up, it simply doesn't have a chance to take down the vaunted top-six players on Boston. 

The lack of production from Kyrie Irving (13-for-37 from the field) in this series has made it extremely tough on Dallas, and even if their role players are expected to play better at home, Jason Kidd’s rotation has not been consistent since he’s still looking for guys who can come in and knock down shots. 

Boston has dominated all season, posting the best net rating in the NBA in the regular season and the playoffs, and it hasn’t played its A-game yet in this series with Tatum struggling mightily to score the ball. 

Doncic is going to need to play a perfect game for Dallas to have a chance to win, and even if he does, I don’t think the Mavs should be favored entering this matchup. 

I’ll gladly take Boston to win outright at plus money in Game 3. 

Pick: Celtics Moneyline (+110)


Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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Find Peter Dewey's betting record here You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.


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Peter Dewey

PETER DEWEY

Peter is a senior editor for Sports Illustrated Betting. He has worked as a writer and editor for BetSided, NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering the NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, and more. A New York City resident, he is a hoops fanatic with a soft spot for his New York Knicks.