NBA Finals Odds: Celtics Rare Championship Favorites In Series Price Vs. Mavs

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
NBA Finals Odds

Bettors have reached the final stage of the 2023-24 campaign, with NBA Finals odds solidified in the market. Boston swept Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, clinching its second Finals birth in the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Dallas’ 4-1 series win against Minnesota punched its ticket for the first time since 2011. The Dirk Nowitzki-led Mavs upset LeBron James and the Heat for the franchise’s lone ring.

Let’s assess the NBA Finals odds between the Celtics and Mavericks, as Boston is favored in the championship round for the first time in decades. Click on any NBA betting title odds below to place a wager. These prices are the best available in your state.

‘odd’ territory For Celtics

This matchup constitutes the first time the Boston Celtics have been a series favorite in an NBA Finals since 1986. They were listed as underdogs before the Finals tipped off in 1987, 2008, 2010, and 2022. Most recently, the Warriors bested them in six games, with Jayson Tatum shooting just 6-of-18 (33.3%) and totaling 13 points in the finale.

Make no mistake — the betting market has respected Boston all season. The Celtics were underdogs just three times in 2023-24, tied for the fewest by any team to reach the Finals this century. Conversely, the Mavericks were underdogs 42 times before this series, the most by any team to reach the Finals this century.

Earlier this week, BetMGM Sportsbook cited roughly 80% of the bets were flowing in on Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Mavs to win their second NBA title. Per the table above, Boston is a -210 favorite to win it all, yet its market rating hasn’t swayed bettors from steering away an upset. After all, Doncic is the only player besides Michael Jordan to average over 30 points per game in the NBA postseason throughout his career.

For those in line with that sentiment, the best price on Dallas to claim the Larry O’Brien Trophy is in the +180 range.

Many options exist for a more explicit outcome in Celtics vs. Mavericks, including the series’ duration. As expected, price shopping is well worth your time. For one, BetMGM offers plus-money on Boston to win the series by two games or greater. Elsewhere, Caesars Sportsbook has this same market set at -130. Thus, BetMGM’s price point is more appealing if you believe in Tatum, Jaylen Brown, & Co.

NBA Finals Odds: Series SpreadS, Total Games, Exact Outcome

Significant Injury News

Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis (calf) has reportedly taken part in multiple scrimmages and is expected to play in Game 1 on Thursday night, barring a setback. He’s been sidelined since April 29.

Porzingis’ workload throughout this series is unknown. Outside his limited postseason action, the Celtics have employed two lineups with at least 100 possessions (via Cleaning The Glass). They both rank below the league average in terms of opponents’ efficiency at the rim.

In the regular season, Boston’s defense was well above the norm in rim efficiency and frequency allowed.

Although Dallas’ offense heavily relies on mid-range jumpers from Doncic and Irving, the 2023-24 regular-season scoring champion ranks in the 93rd percentile of rim efficiency during the playoffs. Collectively, the Mavs’ starting lineup is the fourth-most effective unit at the rim during this stretch — behind three of the Celtics’ lineups.

Boston’s rim protection should greatly improve if the 7-foot-2 Porzingis is near full strength. However, he’ll likely have a minute restriction early on. When Porzingis is on the bench, Doncic and Irving will inevitably attack the aging Al Horford in drop coverage, especially in pick-and-roll.

Moreover, the Celtics ranked in the 44th percentile of mid-range frequency allowed with Porizingis and the rest of their usual lineup in the regular season. When he’s playing, Doncic and Irving will undoubtedly hunt their fair share of looks from this vicinity.

Then again, Dallas’ perimeter defense may also regress after surrendering a 28.3% 3-point clip in their first three playoff series. Porzingis delivers Boston with a more lethal five-out attack, hitting 37.3% of his triples on 5.1 attempts per contest. In his lone regular-season action against the Mavericks, he tallied a 4-of-8 (50%) outing from deep, leading to a 28-point rout.

Will Midseason Repairs Pay Off?

Before the trade deadline, Dallas was 29-23 and slated for the eighth seed in the playoffs. Nevertheless, the Mavericks’ rebounding, shot-blocking, and overall team defense have been substantially enhanced since acquiring P.J. Washington from Charlotte and Daniel Gafford from Washington.

Will these moves result in the franchise’s first championship since the Nowitzki era?

The 2019 Toronto Raptors accomplished this feat after adding Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka ahead of the deadline. The same goes for the 2004 Detroit Pistons, which bolstered their frontcourt with Rasheed Wallace midseason. But there’s an important distinction: Dallas wasn’t considered a true title contender before reeling in Washington and Gafford. Toronto and Detroit each possessed preseason odds of +1850 or better.

Hence, bettors interested in Dallas’ NBA Finals odds should determine whether the Mavs’ defensive prowess is sustainable, even with an imposing offensive threat like Doncic on their side.

How To Watch

All games will be broadcast exclusively on ABC. All times listed below are Eastern (* = if necessary).

  • Game 1: Mavericks at Celtics, June 6 (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • Game 2: Mavericks at Celtics, June 9 (8 ET, ABC)
  • Game 3: Celtics at Mavericks, June 12 (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • Game 4: Celtics at Mavericks, June 14 (8:30 ET, ABC)
  • Game 5: Mavericks at Celtics, June 17 (8:30 ET, ABC)*
  • Game 6: Celtics at Mavericks, June 20 (8:30 ET, ABC)*
  • Game 7: Mavericks at Celtics, June 23 (8 ET, ABC)*

NBA finals odds: game 1 spread, moneyline total

Photo by Associated Press