Mavericks vs. Celtics NBA Expert Prediction and Odds for NBA Finals Game 2 (Bet Boston Early)

Boston has been the best team in the NBA in the first half this season... could that be an angle to bet in Game 2?
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) controls the ball.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) controls the ball. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was all Boston, as the Boston Celtics opened up the biggest first-quarter lead in a Game 1 in NBA history on Thursday night and cruised to a 107-89 win to take a 1-0 series lead.

Boston is now -400 to win the NBA Finals – an implied probability of 80 percent – and it is heavily favored again in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Dallas’ role players struggled in Game 1, as PJ Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., Daniel Gafford,  Maxi Kleber, and Dereck Lively II gave the team very little on offense. Kyrie Irving (12 points) also shot terribly from the field, going 6-for-19. 

What’s most impressive about Boston’s Game 1 win was that Jayson Tatum (6-for-16 shooting, six turnovers) did not play well by his standards, and the C’s still cruised to a win. 

Jaylen Brown (22 points on 7-of-12 shooting), and Kristaps Porzingis (20 points on 8-of-13 shooting) took over the game in the first half, especially Porzingis in the first quarter. 

Unless Dallas’ role players – and Irving – step up in Game 2, there’s a good chance Boston leads this series 2-0 before it shifts back to Dallas. 

Here’s a look at the latest odds, key players to watch and my best bet for Game 2 of the NBA Finals: 

Mavericks vs. Celtics Odds, Spread and Total

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.


  • Mavericks +7 (-110)
  • Celtics -7 (-110)


  • Mavericks: +225
  • Celtics: -278


  • 214.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

Mavericks vs. Celtics How to Watch

  • Date: Sunday, June 9
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: TD Garden
  • How to watch (TV): ABC
  • Series: Boston leads 1-0

Mavericks vs. Celtics Injury Reports

Mavericks Injury Report

  • Luka Doncic -- probable

Celtics Injury Report

  • None to report

Mavericks vs. Celtics Key Players to Watch

Dallas Mavericks

Kyrie Irving: There are no two ways around it, Kyrie Irving was awful in Game 1 on Thursday night, shooting just 6-for-19 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, finishing with 12 points. Dallas’ offense mustered just 89 points – despite 30 from Luka Doncic – and Irving is the clear player that needs to step up in that category for the Mavs to keep up with this vaunted Boston attack. 

Boston Celtics

Kristaps Porzingis: How important was Kristaps Porzingis in Game 1? Well, he’s skyrocketed in the odds to win the NBA Finals MVP award. KP only played 21 minutes in Game 1, but his impact was undeniable. Boston was an impressive +13 in his minutes, and the big man finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks while shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Could his role/minutes expand in Game 2?

Mavericks vs. Celtics Prediction and Pick

In my series prediction, I mentioned two things that came to light in Game 1: 

  • The impact of having Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup was being underestimated.
  • Dallas’ role players have to hit shots for it to have any chance. 

Both things went in Boston’s favor in Game 1. 

Porzingis was the best player on the floor – especially in the first half – controlling the game on both ends with his size. 

Dallas was unable to get lobs at the rim to Gafford and Lively II – rendering them nearly useless on the offensive end – and Porzingis hunted and dominated the smaller Dallas players in switches on his way to an impressive shooting night. 

On the Dallas side, PJ Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., Maxi Kleber, Irving, and Tim Hardaway Jr. went 1-for-11 from beyond the arc. Luka Doncic, whose teammates were shooting 57 percent from the field on his passes this postseason, had just one assist. 

That’s not going to cut it for Dallas, especially when the Celtics shoot 16-for-42 (38.1 percent) from beyond the arc. 

Boston seemed content playing Doncic straight up, and the rest of the Mavericks were unable to give the All-NBA guard much help. 

When it comes to betting on Game 2, I’m focusing on the first half, a place where Boston has thrived this season.

The Celtics let things slip in the third quarter, allowing Dallas to cut the lead to just eight points, but it responded with a quick 8-0 run to push things back up to 16 before a Mavs timeout late in the third. 

I want to avoid any letdown in the third quarter – or just a run where Dallas gets going – and take the C’s to cover the short first-half spread (Boston -3.5). 

This season, Boston is a league-best 63-32-1 against the spread in the first half. Dallas is 49-50 ATS, which isn’t a bad mark, but it’s way behind the C’s.

Boston looked comfortable and focused from the jump on Thursday night, and it has so many different offensive options to punish the Dallas defense.

This may end up being a closer game than Game 1 by the end, but I love trusting the Celtics to start fast like they’ve done all season long. 

Pick: Celtics 1H -3.5 (-110)

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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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.