NBA

FanDuel Daily Fantasy Picks and Helper: NBA Finals Game 1 (Mavericks at Celtics)

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Picks and Helper: NBA Finals Game 1 (Mavericks at Celtics)

Since NBA DFS is easier to predict than baseball or football, it would likely get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Basketball players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right? Trust me -- it's not!

As a result, NBA daily fantasy is highly reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to ensure that you're up to date with key injuries. Our projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- update throughout the day to reflect current news. You can also turn to numberFire for player news updates as well as a matchup heat map and lineup optimizer to help give you an edge.

On top of all that, here at FanDuel Research, we'll come at you each day with this NBA DFS primer, which breaks down some of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's dive into Game 1's Dallas Mavericks-Boston Celtics single-game slate on FanDuel.

NBA Finals Single-Game DFS Picks for Mavericks-Celtics

Game 1 Preview

All NBA odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Date and Time: Thursday, June 6th at 8:30 p.m. ET

Spread: Celtics -6.5 (-108)

Total: 214.5 (-110/-110)

Studs to Target

Luka Doncic ($17,000) -- Could there be anyone else? Luka Doncic is the easy choice for your 2x MVP multiplier, regardless of format. He's just put up 60.4 FanDuel points per game (FPPG) in the Western Conference Finals and is averaging 56.0 FPPG across 17 postseason games. Even against Boston's second-ranked defense, Luka shouldn't have any issues racking up counting stats. He went for 77.1 and 65.9 FPs across two regular season matchups with the Celtics. The question isn't whether or not Doncic will be your MVP but rather how you'll fit his $17K salary into lineups.

Jayson Tatum ($15,500) -- If you're entering multiple lineups, or just want a contrarian entry, Jayson Tatum is the only other name I'd consider at MVP. He hasn't been as consistently dominant as Luka this postseason but has flashed a similar ceiling over his last seven games. He's averaged 56.4 FPPG over that stretch -- Luka's averaging 59.5 over his last seven -- and clipped 60 FPs three times. It's not hard to argue this is an easier matchup for Tatum, too. Per FantasyPros, Dallas gave up the ninth-most FPPG to opposing PFs this season, with Tatum himself torching them for 74.7 and 42.1 FPs in two regular season meetings.

Mid-Range Options

Kyrie Irving ($13,500) -- I don't love how Kyrie Irving matches up against Boston, but I'd be shocked to see them completely quiet him. Still, Irving hasn't been consistent enough this postseason to warrant auto-rostership, even if there's a sky-high ceiling. He averaged only 33.8 FPPG over the last two rounds, exceeding 40 FPs four times in 11 tries. Boston held him under 40 FPs in both regular-season matchups, and they have plenty of perimeter defenders to throw at him. You almost have to lock him into the 1.5x STAR or 1.2x PRO slot if you don't play Luka on Thursday, though my preference would be to fade him in Game 1 and come back if the salary drops later on.

Derrick White ($12,500) -- Coming off an Eastern Conference Finals that saw him average 44.5 FPPG, I was surprised to see Derrick White with a sub-$13K salary. Sure, he exceeded 20 real-world points only once in four games, but the periphery numbers (4.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.3 stocks) were rock-solid. Dallas is going to have their hands full with Boston's five-out offense, so I'm bullish there's even more scoring upside for White. We saw a 36-year-old Mike Conley reach for 35.5 and 40.1 FPs against the Mavs last round, and White's a much more dangerous player at this stage of their careers.

Value Plays

Dereck Lively ($10,000) -- It feels a little insane to call a rookie big man the X-factor for the NBA Finals, but that's where I'm at with Dereck Lively. Lively has the second-highest +/- (+6.8) and highest net rating (+13.4) on the Mavericks this postseason, and the only game they lost in the Conference Finals was with him sidelined. In theory, Lively matches up well against Boston's frontcourt. We saw that play out in their two regular season matchups, during which the rook went for 22.1 and 30.3 FPs. Daniel Gafford ($9,000) plays a similar role and comes via a lower salary, but Lively's outplayed (and outproduced) him when healthy.

Al Horford ($8,500) -- Kristaps Porzingis ($10,500) will play in Game 1, and he's certainly appealing at $10.5K. But I'm skeptical we get that much run from someone who hasn't played since April 29th. His return has opened up value with Al Horford, someone I'm happy to deploy as a salary-saver. Horford was excellent in the Conference Finals, averaging 31.5 FPPG while notching at least 30 FPs in three of four games. He went for 24.7 and 31.1 FPs across two regular season dates with Dallas, the most recent of which Porzingis played in.


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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.