2024 NBA Finals Expert Picks Roundtable for Celtics vs Mavericks

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives the ball against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) in the second half at TD Garden.
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Andrew Wilsher


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Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan. For Andrew Wilsher media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2024 NBA Finals! After some epic series in the NBA playoffs that saw a host of Game 7s take place, we’re down to two teams as the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics prepare to do battle for the NBA Championship. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have been on a tear, leading the Mavs past the Clippers, Thunder and Timberwolves en route to the NBA Finals, while the Jayson Tatum and the Celtics have mostly coasted past their opponents in the East. Which team will be standing tall when it’s all said and done? We’ve asked 5 of our NBA experts here at Pickswise to give their NBA Finals series predictions. But before we dive in, make sure you keep an eye on our NBA picks as we give predictions on the side and total for EVERY NBA Finals matchup.

Prop Holliday: Boston Celtics in 6 over Dallas Mavericks (+500)

Odds available at Bet365 at time of publishing.

This Celtics team in the regular season, when fully healthy, were in a class by themselves. A combination of the Eastern Conference falling apart from injuries (Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the entire New York Knicks) and Kristaps Porzingis being injured the entire postseason has made many forget how good they really were. I believe the Celtics have 5 of the best 7 players in this series and enough options on defense to neutralize Kyrie Irving, similar to what we saw in the Mavericks’ series against the Thunder.

With that in mind, I’m rolling with the Celtics in 6 at +500 with Bet365. I was fortunate enough to grab the Mavericks winning it all at +2200 just before the playoffs started and will be riding that one until the end. If this series goes 7, I would take Luka to pull it out, but unfortunately, I do not think it gets there.

You can get the best odds on the Celtics to win in 6 games over at Bet365, where new users can sign up now and IMMEDIATELY receive $150 in bonus bets from a first wager of just $5, regardless of whether that bet wins or loses! Click here to join Bet365 to wager on the NBA Finals.

Ahaan Rungta: Boston Celtics in 6 over Dallas Mavericks (+500)

Odds available at Bet365 at time of publishing.

These NBA Finals should be a classic back-and-forth between 2 rosters constructed very differently. The Boston Celtics have been the best offense in the NBA all season long and even without starting center Kristaps Porzingis, they have looked the part so far in the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks have had a much tougher path in the postseason but have used a well-balanced defense and an elite playoff run from their top-2 scoring duo to breeze through 3 playoff series, all of which they opened as underdogs in.

The elephant in the room for the Celtics will be a challenge they have not dealt with yet in these playoffs: how to guard one of the game’s best offensive players ever in Luka Doncic. While Boston has the best sum of 2-way talent of any starting lineup in the league, their team defense is far from perfect, ranking among the league’s worst in the playoffs in transition points per possession, pick-and-roll ball-handler points per possession and spot-up shooting points per possession allowed. Whether Boston decides to heavily blitz Doncic or not is a game-by-game mystery, but the MVP finalist is also one of the best playmakers in the NBA and has proven he is matchup-proof as a scorer if you decide to guard him one-on-one.

On the other side of the ball, Boston’s starting offense is historically good but Dallas’ trade deadline acquisitions and postseason roster alignment inserted 2 solid defensive wings into the lineup and gave the Mavericks elite rim protection and helped their side defense. The biggest turnaround of them all is the rise of Derrick Jones Jr., who has defended several Hall of Fame matchups in these playoffs and is still among league leaders as a defender in the playoffs in isolation points per possession allowed. Where Boston has clear advantages is in their top-2 scoring duo and their ability to take advantage of the mismatches Dallas does have on defense. For that to come to fruition, Jayson Tatum has to play better than he has, especially in clutch time. So far, Tatum has been one of the least efficient stars in the playoffs as a scorer but clearly has the track record to make Doncic and Kyrie Irving work on defense.

If Porzingis is indeed healthy and ready to go in full at the start of the series, the Celtics’ talent may just be too much for the young Dallas Mavericks roleplayer group, who will need to get hot on their open threes to steal some games in Boston. Assuming that Porzingis will be available for most of the series, expect Boston to raise banner #18 and win this hard-fought series in 6 games.

Read our full Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics Game 1 predictions

Germantas Kneita: Dallas Mavericks in 6 over Boston Celtics (+550)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.

I’m going with the Dallas Mavericks in this one. They have shown the ability to go away from home and pick up wins. Luka Doncic is the best playmaker in the series and the Mavericks have big wings like P.J. Washington, who they can use against Jayson Tatum. The Celtics have hardly been tested so far as they’ve come across injury-hit sides. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Mavericks come out firing early and wrestle control of home court away from them. The Mavericks have 2 of the best closers in the game and over a 7-game series, I expect that to be telling. It helps that the Celtics are favorites and you can get great value on the Mavericks.

We also have a Mavericks vs Celtics Same Game Parlay for Game 1 of the NBA Finals at +638 odds

Filip Tomic: Boston Celtics in 6 over Dallas Mavericks (+500)

Odds available at Bet365 at time of publishing.

Aside from Irving, nobody else on this Mavericks roster has been on the biggest stage — at least not in the NBA. Doncic and Donte Exum have played in some big games overseas, but playing in the NBA Finals is a whole new level. On their way to the finals the Mavs pretty much relied on their interior defense to stop the likes of Paul George, SGA and Anthony Edwards, forcing them to rely more on their perimeter shooting and it worked. However, they have not faced a team with so much weapons on offense as the Celtics have, so that will be a challenge in its own. The Mavs’ top-heavy roster makes them rely way too much on just 2 players, but then again if Doncic goes supernova anything could happen.

In the 2 regular-season meetings it was all Boston. The C’s dominated both games, winning by 9 and 28 points. Both teams were pretty much at full strength in those games and the 2nd meeting was played in early March at TD Garden after Dallas made all those moves at the trade deadline which got it to this point. It’s hard to ignore what the Celtics have done all year long. They were the best team in the regular season and have been in the postseason, as well. Depending on the availability of Porzingis this goes either 6 or 7 games.

Read the rest of Filip’s analysis and his MVP pick in his 2024 NBA Finals series predictions

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