NBA

3 Player Prop Bets for NBA Finals Game 1 (Mavericks-Celtics)

Annie Nader
Annie Nader@ANader33
3 Player Prop Bets for NBA Finals Game 1 (Mavericks-Celtics)

Player props can be useful in a variety of ways -- from taking advantage of them straight up to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy basketball on FanDuel. Here, we're going to focus on the former.

Using FanDuel Research's daily basketball projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- as a guide, here are some NBA player prop bets that look appealing via the NBA odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Please note: lines and projections are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All NBA odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook.

NBA Prop Bets

Derrick White Over 14.5 Points (+100)

Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks is set for tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The Celtics come in as 6.5-point favorites and the over/under is fixed at 214.5 points. Boston went 37-4 at TD Garden during the regular season and has gone undefeated in Game 1s up until this point. I think they're primed to come out strong against Dallas, so I want in on Derrick White's points prop.

White has played a major role in Boston's success, finishing the year with a league-best net rating. He averaged 15.2 points in the regular season and has been scoring 17.8 points in the postseason.

He's managed to clear 14.5 points in 9 out of 14 playoff games. I have him down to find similar success in tomorrow's game for a few key reasons.

White is netting 18.6 points and has scored over 14.5 points in six out of eight home playoff games.

The Mavs should look to control Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown from the get-go, which may leave White with an inordinately easy matchup in the first game. We've seen this happen in each series thus far, as he has scored 20, 25, and 15 points in Game 1s.

White's shot volume from downtown is beyond enticing. He's averaging 8.4 three-point attempts (3PA) each playoff game and shoots threes at an appealing 41.5% clip on his home floor.

I'd expect this shot volume to stick in the Finals. Boston's calling card has been outshooting their opponents from downtown. They averaged 42.5 3PA in the regular season (next-most averaged 39.5) and 39.8 3PA in the playoffs (next-most averaged 35.7).

While Dallas' inside defense has shined in the postseason, they do not have enough defensive wing depth to stop the Celtics and White from shooting threes at will.

I'd look for White to have a big Game 1 that leads into a huge series for him. You can find his NBA Finals MVP odds at +3500.

Al Horford Over 12.5 Pts + Reb (-102)

After missing out on over one month of playoff basketball, Kristaps Porzingis will make his long-awaited return in Game 1.

But lest we forget about Al Horford.

We've yet to receive clarity on how Boston's starting lineup will shake out for tomorrow. Porzingis has been a full-play at practice, so I'd expect him to get the starting nod over Horford. But even still, Horford is well-suited to surpass 12.5 combined points and rebounds (PR).

In the regular season, Horford averaged 15.0 PR off of 26.8 minutes per game. He's been averaging 17.2 PR and 30.4 minutes in the postseason. He's also cleared 12.5 PR in 12 out of 14 playoff games, including the four games where he came off the bench before Porzingis hit the sidelines.

I'm intrigued by the role Horford could play in this series. He's an excellent three-point shooter (41.9% 3P%) and should get left open in the corner a handful of times against a Dallas team that cannot afford to prioritize him.

As Boston's second-leading rebounder, Horford will need to be present on the boards in this matchup. Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively were the talk of the town when they put Rudy Gobert to shame in the Western Conference Finals, but Horford is capable of putting Dallas' young guns to work.

This is Horford's 17th season in the NBA, and he's still seeking his first championship. During these playoffs, he's proved time and again that he can sail past 12.5 PR and has even had a couple of 20-plus point outbursts. I think the market overreacted in setting Horford's line when they heard that Porzingis was set to return.

Derrick Jones Jr. To Score 10+ Points (+160)

The Celtics have two of the best defenders in the league in Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, both of whom were just named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team.

White and Holiday will be a problem for Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. This doesn't mean that Irving and Doncic won't be able to combine for 50-plus points on a somewhat consistent basis in the Finals, but it does mean that they will likely be forced into playmaking roles at a higher degree than normal.

The role players on Dallas should play a larger role on the scoring end than they did in the Western Conference Finals.

I'd expect these players to find particular success from downtown, as the Celtics surrendered 36.7 3PA (eighth-most) in the regular season. They've more or less continued that trend in the playoffs despite facing teams that ranked 8th, 15th, and 18th in 3PA per game (Dallas ranked 2nd).

PJ Washington and Derrick Jones Jr. both fit the bill of Dallas players who could find scoring success. Washington Over 11.5 Points is set at -120, but I'm a bit more interested in the number we are getting on Jones in the alt market.

Jones is averaging 9.8 points per game in the postseason. He has scored at least 10 points in 8 out of 17 playoff games (47.0% of contests) but these +160 odds imply just a 38.4% probability. He's also missed 10 points by just one point in two playoff games.

From a value perspective, Jones is catching my eye given that he is off the heels of a quiet Western Conference Finals despite playing 33.0 minutes as a starter. He's netting 37.7% of his points from behind the arc and is shooting threes at a 39.6% clip.

I'd expect his shot volume to rise now that he's in for a much friendlier three-point matchup. Since he plays an important role on the defensive end and will likely draw the matchup on Brown or Tatum, Jones should stick around for the majority of Game 1.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.