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Mavericks vs. Celtics Game One NBA Finals Prediction: Who Will Throw the First Punch?

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published June 6, 2024
6 min read

The Boston Celtics will host the Dallas Mavericks for Game One of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Months of hard work, long nights, and tireless preparation boil down to a couple of weeks as both teams race to be the first to four wins.

The Mavericks have roughly the same winning percentage as the Celtics when their starting five of Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., and Daniel Gafford are all on the court. They also had the best record in clutch games and have been outstanding in tight margins in the playoffs.

The Celtics were the best regular-season team by far and only lost two games in the playoffs. They did not take a path as challenging as Dallas did to get to the Finals, but they handled business and are healthy and rested.

Here, we will go over the betting odds for Game One of the Mavericks vs. Celtics NBA Finals on Thursday.

Mavericks vs. Celtics 2024 06 06 Game One Prediction

Mavericks vs. Celtics Game One Betting Odds for Thursday, June 6

The Mavericks are 59-40 (59.6 percent) against the spread and 14-11 (56 percent) ATS as a road underdog. They did not cover in either regular-season meeting with Boston but are 11-6 ATS in the playoffs.

The Celtics are 48-43-5 (52.8 percent) ATS and 26-21-2 (55.3 percent) ATS as a home favorite. They started the playoffs hot but are only 7-7 ATS overall and 2-6 ATS over their last eight games.

Dallas Mavericks+6.5 (-110)+200Over 215.5 (-110)
Boston Celtics-6.5 (-110)-250Under 215.5 (-110)

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Mavericks vs. Celtics Game One Prediction

Dallas Mavericks Preview

The Mavericks are simply a tough team to beat in tight windows.

After dominating clutch time during the regular season, they produced a 121.1 offensive rating in the fourth quarter of playoff games. For context, that would be the second-highest offensive rating in NBA history, and they did it in the most important time of the most important games of the year when defenses give their best effort and have multiple days to make adjustments between games.

Offense isn’t the only way the Mavs have gotten the job done, however. They allowed 111.1 points per 100 possessions and held opponents to 35.6 percent three-point shooting, both solid numbers considering the level of competition they faced.

The Dallas players also seem to be performing at their best at the perfect time. Luka made 4.6 threes per game on 43.4 percent shooting against the Timberwolves’ top-ranked defense, while Irving scored 36 points in the closeout game and shot 42.1 percent from three during the playoffs.

Quietly, one of the most important parts of Dallas’ team is their rotation of big men, namely Gafford and Dereck Lively II. Although neither is an All-NBA contender, their combined level of production equals that of an elite center.

Together, the pair averaged 17.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks on roughly 64 percent shooting in 43.6 minutes.

The key for Dallas defensively will be keeping Irving out of situations where he ends up defending as the low man, and staying out of rotation against a Boston team that usually has five shooters on the court at all times.

Bet on Dallas Mavericks at BetMGM 

Boston Celtics Preview

The Celtics are, in many ways, a victim of their own excellence. They have the highest net rating (+10.8) in the entire playoffs and only lost two games, yet the prevailing opinion is that they underperformed.

The truth likely lies between that and them meeting expectations. They deserve credit for handling the teams in front of them but have been in many games that were closer than expected, but again, they closed most of those games.

Jaylen Brown has been Boston’s best player throughout the playoffs, averaging 25 points and 6.1 rebounds on 54.1 percent shooting. Tatum hasn’t been as impressive but still played well and had his best series against the Indiana Pacers, averaging 30.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.

Boston wants to take a ton of threes and use its versatile lineup to contain everything in front of it on defense. That’s where the chess game will begin for Joe Mazzulla since Luka averaged more points per possession against switches than any other defensive coverage.

Kristaps Porzingis is expected to make his return to the court for the first time since he suffered a calf strain in Game Four against the Miami Heat. He scored 24 points in one meeting with the Mavs, and his ability to space the floor to 27 feet will be crucial since the Dallas bigs are excellent at defending around the rim.

The Celtics have the best clutch net rating in the playoffs but also slow from a pace of 98.71 in the first quarter to 84.57 in the fourth quarter. That puts pressure on their star players to make tough shots in the half-court and takes away some of the easy offense they generate during the earlier quarters.

Bet on Boston Celtics at BetMGM 

Mavericks vs. Celtics Game One Betting Pick

It’s tough to know how both teams are going to come out after roughly a week of rest. The Mavericks are more weathered because of their path to the Finals, while the Celtics could be in for a rude awakening after they faced a relatively easy journey to get to the final round.

The Celtics dominated the Mavs in both regular-season meetings but are only a couple of games over .500 at home in the playoffs over the last couple of years. Dallas, meanwhile, got a split on the road in the first two rounds and won three games in Minnesota in a five-game series in the Western Conference Finals.

We like the Mavericks to cover the large spread in Game One. We expect them to get a split and would also take them on the moneyline in both Games One and Two to guarantee a profit if they can produce the split.

How to Watch Mavericks vs. Celtics Game One

  • When: Thursday, June 6 @ 8:30 p.m. ET

  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

  • TV: ABC


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Grant Mitchell

Sports Betting Analyst, Content Specialist & On-Air Host

Online Sports Betting
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field. In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
Favourite Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: FanDuel Casino
4 years
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