NBA Finals Odds: Will Celtics At Mavericks Game 3 Spread Make Betting History?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
NBA Finals Odds

Boston’s odds of winning the NBA Finals have grown substantially after taking a 2-0 series lead over Dallas, with the lowest championship price at among the best sports betting sites. However, the Mavericks’ odds for Game 3 are positioned to elicit a certain oddity for the first time in NBA Finals betting history. Let’s dive in.

Click any of the NBA betting odds below to place a wager. These prices are the best available in your state.

on the precipice of historic NBA finals odds

Suppose fifth-seeded Dallas closes as the betting favorite on the point spread in Game 3. In that case, it’ll be the first time that a bottom-four seed has been favored in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Moreover, the Celtics’ odds haven’t been underdogs in these NBA playoffs. They currently showcase moneyline odds. In Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Boston closed as a 3.5-point home favorite against Golden State. Nevertheless, Tatum & Co. were the No. 2 seed that postseason.

Will Mavs Mount A Comeback?

Basketball Reference’s Simple Ratings System (SRS) is a distinguished resource when comparing a team’s strengths and weaknesses to the betting market’s evaluation. Entering the NBA Finals, SRS had a wider gap between the Mavs and Celtics than all but one other Finals clash in the last 20 years. Although Dallas bettors managed a push in Game 2 (+7), Boston’s imposing form in the first two games isn’t a surprise.

Additionally, the Mavs’ 3-point shooting has regressed considerably in their last two games (24.5%) after hitting 37.2% of their triples over their first three series. How much of that is because of negative variance? Not as much as you may expect.

Against Boston, Dallas has connected on 33.3% of their open perimeter looks (4-6 feet of space) and 36.1% on wide-open 3-pointers (6+ feet of room). Those opportunities have been more frequent than not.

Conversely, Luka Doncic & Co. have made just 16.7% of their contested 3-pointers (2-4 feet of space), juxtaposed to a 29.7% clip versus their previous playoff opponents. The possession below illustrates the Mavs’ inability to generate quality shots in isolation consistently.

This play doesn’t result in a 3-point attempt, but we’ve seen Doncic create space countless times from behind the arc. Yet, Derrick White’s ball pressure and Jaylen Brown’s help defense force Doncic into a difficult runner. The Celtics’ length and defensive wit have given Doncic and Kyrie Irving fits throughout the first two contests.

Much of the Mavericks’ contested shotmaking this postseason has occurred at American Airlines Center, where they’ve drained 34.1% of these 3-point attempts. Variations of shooting splits are common, and Dallas’ Game 3 aspirations hinge upon Doncic, Irving, and their role players catching fire at home again. Otherwise, Boston will likely prevail.

First-Half Trend

Don’t underestimate oddsmakers regarding motivational spots. Since 2018, teams facing a 0-2 series deficit have gone 27-27-2 ATS in the first half (except for the 2020 NBA playoff bubble). A 50% clip may not give bettors pause, but consider this same situation went 28-3 ATS (90.3%) from 2015-17. Thus, sportsbooks have adjusted in recent years.

For reference, the Mavericks are to on the first-half spread in Game 3, eerily identical to the full-game line. Some operators even have this line as high as -2.

This information doesn’t insinuate the Celtics are a lock to care of business over the first 24 minutes. It means bettors are not receiving a discount like in past playoff matchups.

Last Updated on 06.11.2024

Will Kristaps Porzingis Play?

After returning for the first two games in this series on a minute restriction, Porzingis’ health is again questioned. Porzingis and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla initially didn’t express concern that his leg injury would impact his Game 3 status. However, they might have used a bit of gamesmanship — like the Mavs employed before Game 2, listing Doncic as questionable.

On Tuesday, the team announced that Porzingis suffered a dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg. The injury is unrelated to Porzingis’s prior right calf injury. His availability for upcoming games will be determined day-to-day. This news caused the Mavs’ spread to rise from -1.5/2 to at most shops.

The Celtics are plus-25 with Porzingis on the court in the 2024 NBA Finals and a net neutral without him.

Assessing NBA Finals MVP Odds

The NBA established the Player Impact Estimate (PIE), a valuable resource for the NBA Finals MVP market. It highlights a player’s impact (or lack thereof) in a superior fashion than PER. It measures a player’s all-around contribution to the game as a percentage.

In the last 27 years, the Finals MVP has been awarded 25 times to the PIE leader from the winning team. Surprisingly, Porzingis (22.3 PIE) is atop the board among qualified players.

But Holiday has become an intriguing candidate of late, considering Porzingis’ Game 3 status and Holiday (17.9 PIE) also tallying nearly double the minutes played in the series. Per the odds table below, the highest price on Holiday to win Finals MVP is  after his pre-flop odds were as high as +6600.

For context, Doncic’s PIE rating (19.7) is sandwiched between Porzingis and Holiday, with Brown (12.3) and Tatum (9.6) further down the list.

NBA Finals MVP odds

Photo by Associated Press