NBA

NBA Finals Betting: Head-to-Head Points Props to Target in Game 1 (Mavericks-Celtics)

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

The countdown for the 2024 NBA Finals is dwindling with Game 1 tipping off on Thursday, June 6th. Along with various game lines offered by FanDuel Sportsbook's NBA odds, head-to-head scoring props are also available for the series-opening game.

Each head-to-head scoring special features spreads, moneylines, and totals. This is an excellent and unique opportunity to dive into individual player matchups. Is one star poised to outshine another?

Which head-to-head props for Game 1 of the NBA Finals are enticing picks?

All NBA odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook and may change after this article is published.

NBA Finals Betting

Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic Over 59.5 Total Points (-104)

Jayson Tatum against Luka Doncic could be the most popular head-to-head scoring prop available as they will be the two best players on the court. FanDuel also has Tatum (-125) and Doncic (+210) with the shortest NBA Finals MVP odds.

I believe we will see both stars at the forefront for Game 1. While each defense has played well in the playoffs (top half in defensive rating in the postseason), Tatum and Luka could be matchup problems.

There's really no stopping these star players; they are probably going to get theirs no matter what. The individual matchups aren't really there for either defense, though.

First off, Boston has an elite defensive backcourt with Jrue Holiday and Derrick White. Holiday will likely defend Kyrie Irving, but at 6-foot-4, White lacks the size to truly stymie Doncic.

Tatum will be wrapped up guarding the power forward spot, likely leaving the task of Luka to Jaylen Brown. Brown has shown a defensive prowess at times, but he currently has the worst defensive rating in the playoffs in Boston's starting lineup (112.7). Doncic is also totaling 35.0 points per game (PPG) in head-to-head matchups with Boston this season.

PJ Washington will likely defend Tatum. Washington posted an impressive 109.9 defensive rating during the regular season, but this now sits at 112.8 in the playoffs. Tatum has been a thorn in Dallas' side, logging 35.5 PPG in this season's matchups. This success even dates back to 2023, with Tatum posting 33.0 PPG in last year's meeting versus Dallas.

Tatum and Doncic could coast to 60-plus combined points.

Jaylen Brown +1.5 vs. Kyrie Irving (-130)

Brown could be one of the X-factors for this series. His defense on Luka will be pivotal (if he draws that assignment), and he also has a chance to make a difference on offense.

The Mavericks already have a tough matchup with Tatum. They are banking on Derrick Jones Jr. to keep up his solid defense (110.2 rating in playoffs) as he will likely guard Brown. If Dallas cannot keep up with either one of the Celtics' star wings, they can probably kiss an NBA title goodbye.

Tatum will draw the headlines, but Brown comes off a monster Eastern Conference Finals (ECF). He averaged 29.8 PPG during the four-game series and won ECF MVP.

While Jones has been an excellent defender in Dallas, I'm concerned about his physicality when it comes to his chances of guarding Brown. Jones is giving up nearly 15 pounds in this matchup, and we know Brown isn't afraid of contact and driving to the bucket.

With Brown coming into this series in great form, I'm taking advantage of his +1.5-point spread versus Irving in head-to-head player points. I like Brown's chances of being within at least one point of Kyrie's scoring total in Game 1. He may even score more than Irving, making the -102 moneyline intriguing.

We know Brown has the ability to take advantage of a matchup with the Mavs as he logged 29.5 PPG in head-to-head matchups with Dallas in 2024. Irving is averaging 21.5 PPG against Boston this season. He has been defended by one of the league's best two-way point guards in Jrue Holiday, who has the lowest defensive rating (108.7) in the Celtics' starting lineup during the postseason.


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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.