Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Prop Bets for Dereck Lively II, Jaylen Brown in Game 5)

Will the NBA Finals end tonight? Here are three bets to place on the Game 5 matchup between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II.
Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Did the Boston Celtics save their final punch in the NBA Finals for a Game 5 at home?

The Celtics jumped out to a 3-0 series lead on the Dallas Mavericks, putting themselves in a terrific spot to win the title, as no team in NBA history (0-156) has come back to win a series after trailing 3-0. 

Then, Boston promptly was blown out by 38 points in Game 4 while shooting just 36.3 percent from the field. While momentum may be on Dallas’ side from Game 4, the C’s are now back at home where they have not lost since Game 2 of the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Boston is once again favored by 6.5 points at home in this series, but is that the best bet to place for Game 5? 

I’m actually backing Boston in a different way – and tossing in a pair of player props – for what could be the final day of the NBA season. 

NBA Best Bets Record to Date

  • 2023-24 season record: 382-386-13 (-6.08 units)
  • Overall record (last 2+ seasons): 1007-944-21 (+33.85 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.

  • Dereck Lively II to Record a Double-Double (+255) – 0.5 unit
  • Boston Celtics First Half -3.5 (-110) vs. Dallas Mavericks – 0.5 unit
  • Jaylen Brown UNDER 2.5 3-Pointers Made (-175) – 0.5 unit

Dereck Lively II to Record a Double-Double (+265) – 0.5 unit

Easily my favorite prop of the night, Dereck Lively II is a steal at +265 to to record a double-double for the third straight game.

The Mavs rookie has 25 rebounds over his last two games, and he’s scored 11 points in each contest, shooting a combined 9-for-11 from the field. 

It’s fair to worry about the points part for Lively, but with Kristaps Porzingis banged up and clearly at less than 100 percent if he even suits up, Lively should command both the offensive and defensive glass in this game. 

Plus, Jason Kidd has clearly given him the lion’s share of the minutes over the last two games in the Dallas center rotation. This is a value play for me on Monday night. 

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

Stop me if you’ve seen me write this before…

Boston is the best first half team in the NBA!

This season, the C’s are a shocking 65-34-1 against the spread in the first half of games, and I expect them to set the tone at home after an embarrassing loss in Game 4. 

Dallas did come out strong in the first quarter in both Games 3 and 4, but in Game 3 Boston quickly erased that deficit and ended up leading by just one at halftime (the Mavs came into that game as a favorite). 

Boston shot terribly in Game 4 – there’s no way to sugarcoat that – but I can’t expect a similar performance in Game 5 at home. The crowd should help Boston early on in the game, and Dallas is just 1-1 ATS in the first half at TD Garden in this series (the cover came by the hook in Game 2). 

This has been one of the best trends all season long, and I’m not going to go away from it with the C’s in a spot to win a title. 

Jaylen Brown UNDER 2.5 3-Pointers Made (-175) – 0.5 unit

Celtics star Jaylen Brown is the favorite to win NBA Finals MVP – and he should in my eyes – but I can’t back him in this prop given how he’s shot in this series.

Brown is just 6-for-25 from beyond the arc (24.0 percent) in this series, failing to clear this prop in every game. 

He’s only picked up three or more 3-pointers in five of his 18 playoff games this season, shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc overall. 

Dallas did a much better job defensively overall in Game 4, and I don’t see why Brown would settle for a ton of 3s given how successful he’s been at attacking the basket. 

We have to lay some juice, but the UNDER is the play on this prop in Game 5. 

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.