Peter's Points: Mavericks vs. Celtics NBA Finals Betting Odds, Prediction and Pick

Breaking down the odds and a prediction for the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic vs. Jayson Tatum. Kyrie Irving vs. Boston. Kristaps Porzingis vs. Dallas.

The stage is set for the 2024 NBA Finals, and we could be in for quite the series, especially since both of these teams have gotten a ton of rest since the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.

Game 1 – on June 6 – is still a few days away, but the betting markets for the NBA Finals are alive and well. Not only are there odds for the series winner, exact games and NBA Finals MVP, but bettors can also wager on series-long player props ahead of Game 1 as well. 

Using odds from DraftKings Sportsbook, I’m taking a deep dive into this series where the Boston Celtics are heavily favored to win their first title in the Jayson Tatum era – something that has been building all season long in the futures market. 

Dallas, who is the No. 5 seed in the West, won three consecutive playoff series as a road team and underdog, but can it win one more? Doncic and Irving certainly are as well-equipped as a duo could be to lead their team to the promised land. 

As someone who is holding a preseason future on Boston, there are several ways to play this series. But, before getting into my pick, let’s discuss the series odds, correct score and Finals MVP markets and how they may shake out.  

Mavericks vs. Celtics NBA Finals Series Odds

  • Mavericks: +175
  • Celtics: -210

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Based on implied probability, Boston has a 67.74 percent chance to win this series, while Dallas clocks in at 36.36 percent. 

It makes sense since Boston has home-court advantage in this matchup, but the Mavericks have played some great basketball as of late. Not only did they post the best defensive rating in the NBA over their last 15 games of the regular season, but they closed the season on a 16-4 run to earn the No. 5 seed. 

Since the trade deadline, when Dallas acquired PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford, it has been a totally different team. 

However, there is one thing that I’ve been tracking for years that is working against Dallas in this series. Since the 1996-97 season, every team that has won the NBA Finals finished in the top eight in net rating during the regular season. 

Dallas did not in the 2023-24 campaign. 

Is this the year that this trend breaks? It could be given how drastically the Mavs’ roster changed at the trade deadline. Dallas had a net rating of +1.3 before the All-Star break (around the trade deadline) and it ended up posting a +3.7 net rating in 27 games out of the All-Star break – which was good for 12th in the NBA. 

I try not to read into these trends too much, but this one has extended over 25 years, so it’s going to take a special team to break it. 

As for Boston, this has been the expectation for the team all season long. The C’s have been Finals favorites for most of the campaign, and they rolled through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs.

While Boston has been maligned for having an easier path to the Finals due to injuries to its opponents, the Celtics beat whoever was in front of them, going 12-2 on their run. It’s hard to be much better than that. 

Mavericks vs. Celtics Correct Score Odds

  • Celtics in 5: +340
  • Celtics in 7: +350
  • Celtics in 6: +475
  • Mavericks in 6: +550
  • Celtics in 4: +600
  • Mavericks in 7: +800
  • Mavericks in 5: +1200
  • Mavericks in 4: +1900

Since Boston is heavily favored to win this series, it has the three most likely outcomes in the correct score odds at DraftKings. 

Given Boston’s dominance on the road (6-0 this postseason), it isn’t crazy to think that this series could be over in five or six games, even though Dallas has yet to face a Game 7 all postseason. 

The Mavericks’ most likely outcome is to take the series in six games, with a four or five game win sitting as a massive long shot. Dallas has an implied probability of just 7.69 percent to win in five games and five percent to win in four games. 

NBA Finals MVP Odds

  • Jayson Tatum: -115
  • Luka Doncic: +205
  • Jaylen Brown: +650
  • Kyrie Irving: +2200
  • Kristaps Porzingis: +3500
  • Derrick White: +3500
  • Jrue Holiday: +5000
  • PJ Washington: +30000
  • Al Horford: +40000
  • Derrick Jones Jr.: +50000

Jayson Tatum is the odds on favorite to win NBA Finals MVP with Boston favored in this series, but can we count out Jaylen Brown?

Brown won the Eastern Conference Finals MVP award, yet he’s +650 to win Finals MVP. Tatum has played much better as of late, but he started the postseason off in a bit of a shooting slump, and will likely draw one of Washington or Derrick Jones Jr. for the entirety of the series against Dallas. 

Luka Doncic (+205) is also interesting since he leads the playoffs in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and 3-pointers made. 

Obviously, Dallas would have to overcome being a massive underdog for Doncic to win this award, but at +205 he presents some more value than simply taking the Mavs to win the series. It’s tough to see any other Dallas player winning this award based on the odds, unless Kyrie Irving has a massive series scoring the ball. 

Doncic has been a triple-double machine in these playoffs, so we know he’s going to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis, which would help him when it comes to the Finals MVP voting. 

Mavericks vs. Celtics Series Prediction and Pick

Even though oddsmakers don’t seem to think this matchup will be super close, I actually believe we’re in for a terrific series given how Dallas matches up defensively with the Celtics. 

Washington, Jones Jr. and Dereck Lively II are all versatile defenders that could match up with Tatum, Brown and Porzingis respectively on defense. On the Boston side of things, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are about as good of a duo as you can have to deal with the offensive expertise of Doncic and Irving. 

Dallas and Boston have both thrived in clutch minutes so far this postseason, and each team has All-Star closers that can take over a game. If Porzingis is back – and it seems like he is trending in that direction – both teams will also be as healthy as they’ve been all playoffs now that Maxi Kleber is back from a shoulder injury for Dallas. 

So where does Boston’s advantage truly lie? 

While the Celtics faced three banged-up teams to up the playoffs, they dominated a good chunk of their games, only losing on masterful Game 2 shooting performances by Miami (23-for-43 from 3 in Game 2) and Cleveland (13-for-28 from 3 in Game 2). In both of those games, Boston failed to make double-digit 3-pointers, but it has been one of the best shooting teams all season. 

Doncic and Irving present a challenge the C’s haven’t faced yet, but to say Boston isn’t battle tested is flat out wrong. 

The Celtics are 6-0 on the road in the playoffs and turned three games in the Eastern Conference Finals where their opponent – the Indiana Pacers – had a 90 percent win probability or higher, into wins. Regardless of who is on the floor, that’s impressive resilience from a team that has played in big games a lot in the Tatum-Brown era. 

Dallas’ role players are going to have to knock down shots in this series – and they have for most of the playoffs – but Boston has more offensive firepower when Porzingis is in the lineup. A lot of people are forgetting they rolled through the last two rounds without KP’s 20.1 points and 7.2 rebounds on the floor. 

Moving Al Horford to a smaller role should combat the problems Boston had defending the pick-and-roll this postseason, and Porzingis (if healthy) gives Boston elite rim protection against lob threats like Gafford and Lively. 

Dallas’ offense doesn’t have the ability to spread the floor like Boston’s does, and while I believe Doncic is the best player in this series, Boston has shown all season long that it is the best team. 

I don’t think Dallas gets run out of the building like Boston did to the East, but given the Celtics’ ability to win on the road in this postseason – and past postseasons – with this core, I think they clean this up in six games. 

Pick: Celtics in 6 (+475)


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.

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


Published |Modified
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.