Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Prop Bets for Celtics-Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis)

Breaking down four plays to make for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night!
Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis.
Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s ready for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night?

The Boston Celtics are looking to take a commanding 2-0 series lead – and they’re favored to do so – against the Dallas Mavericks. 

In Game 1, we came oh so close to a sweep in our NBA Best Bets, but a pair of Jaylen Brown missed free throws led to us losing by the hook on his points prop, forcing a 2-1 night. 

Hopefully, I can be as successful in Game 2 picking some bets, and there are four plays I’m eyeing with picks for both teams in this matchup. Boston got off to a strong start in Game 1, opening the largest first quarter lead in a Game 1 in NBA Finals history, but does Dallas punch back in Game 2?

Here’s how to bet on this crucial matchup at TD Garden: 

NBA Best Bets Record to Date

  • 2023-24 season record: 379-380-13 (-4.96 units)
  • Overall record (last 2+ seasons): 1004-938-21 (+34.97 units)

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on  BetStamp here.

NBA Best Bets Today

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Boston Celtics First Half -3.5 (-110) vs. Dallas Mavericks – 0.5 unit
  • Kristaps Porzingis OVER 1.5 3-Pointers Made (-130) – 0.5 unit
  • PJ Washington OVER 5.5 Rebounds (-135) – 0.5 unit
  • Jrue Holiday OVER 10.5 Rebounds and Assists (-122) – 0.5 unit

Boston Celtics First Half -3.5 (-110) vs. Dallas Mavericks – 0.5 unit

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

Game 1 went in the C’s favor for several reasons, with Dallas’ role players – and Kyrie Irving – struggling shooting the ball and Kristaps Porzingis putting together a masterful performance in his first game back in the lineup. 

While the Celtics let things slip in the third quarter, allowing Dallas to cut the lead to just eight points, they 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 let down 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. 

Kristaps Porzingis OVER 1.5 3-Pointers Made (-130) – 0.5 unit

Porzingis came off the bench for Boston in Game 1 and dominated the game in the 21 minutes that he played, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. 

While he didn’t play his usual minutes, Porzingis still attempted the second-most shots on the team and was a clear focal point on the Boston offense. 

I’m eyeing his 3-point prop in Game 2, as he’s had a ton of success against Dallas in this market this season. In his lone regular season meeting with the Mavs, KP drilled four of his eight shots from beyond the arc. 

Dallas switched a lot in Game 1, giving Porzingis some favorable matchups to shoot over smaller defenders. If that continues, I imagine he keeps letting it fly from 3. KP shot 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in the regular season. 

PJ Washington OVER 5.5 Rebounds (-135) – 0.5 unit

Dallas forward PJ Washington had a big game on the glass in Game 1 with the Celtics spreading out the Dallas defense. 

Washington finished with eight rebounds in the loss, the ninth time in 12 times that he’s cleared this total (dating back to the start of the second round against Oklahoma City).

For the playoffs, Washington has just one game where he finished with less than five rebounds, and he’s averaging 6.8 rebounds per game overall. 

Dallas needs him on the floor defensively, and this is a favorable matchup for him to hit the glass on the defensive end since both of Boston’s centers stretch the floor and aren’t always parked in the paint (like Rudy Gobert was in the Western Conference Finals). 

This is a great number to land Washington at in Game 2. 

Jrue Holiday OVER 10.5 Rebounds and Assists (-122) – 0.5 unit

Celtics guard Jrue Holiday has cleared 10.5 rebounds and assists in seven of his last eight playoff games, averaging 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game over that stretch.

Holiday turned in a 13 rebound and assist showing in Game 1 despite playing his fewest minutes in a game dating back to Game 2 against Cleveland in the second round.

The C’s are 8-0 over this eight-game stretch, and Holiday hasn’t needed to score to make a major impact on the game. After hitting his PRA in Game 1, I find this to be the safer option in Game 2 since he attempted just nine shots and was a clear No. 4 or 5 option behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Porzingis.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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.