NBA

NBA Finals Game 2 Betting Picks and Prediction (Mavericks-Celtics)

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

Following a first quarter 15-2 avalanche, the Boston Celtics coasted to a Game 1 win, coming out on top 107-89. Among the Dallas Mavericks' three losses in Game 1 during the 2024 playoffs, they've lost by an average margin of 17.3 points each game.

However, Game 2 has been a different story with Dallas winning all three of the contests during the postseason, and each one came on the road. Boston now holds a 13-2 record in the playoffs, but both of their losses came in Game 2 of series. Could the script flip in Sunday's Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals?

After being favored by 6.5 points in the series-opener, FanDuel Sportsbook's NBA odds have similar lines on deck for Game 2 with the Celtics favored by 7.0 points (-110). Let's dive into the stats from Game 1. Which game lines are shaping up to the best bets for Sunday?

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

NBA Playoffs Betting

Mavericks-Celtics Betting Odds

Date and Time: Sunday, June 9th at 8:00 p.m. ET

Spread: Celtics -7 (-110)

Total: 215

Moneyline:

  • Mavericks: +225
  • Celtics: -275

Mavericks vs. Celtics Advanced Stats Breakdown

nERD via numberFire. Adjusted offensive/defensive ratings and pace via DunksAndThrees.

  • Mavericks:
    • nERD: 57.1 (12th)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 117.5 (7th)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 115.3 (18th)
    • Pace: 100.4 (8th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 48-34-0
  • Celtics:
    • nERD: 80.8 (1st)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 122.0 (1st)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 111.2 (2nd)
    • Pace: 97.7 (19th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 41-36-5

Mavericks vs. Celtics Best Bet

Mavericks +7 (-110)
Celtics Over 110.5 Points (-115)

Backing the Mavericks in Game 1 fell straight on its face. However, it's still hard to ignore Dallas' overall success on the road during the playoffs as they are 7-3 in away games. As previously mentioned, the Mavs have won Game 2 of each of their series in the playoffs while both of Boston's losses came in the second game.

Considering the Celtics' dominant Game 1 showing, I'm not sure if Dallas is capable of pulling off the outright upset. However, covering the spread seems realistic. The same success against the spread (ATS) is there, for the Mavericks are 7-3 ATS away from home in the postseason. In Game 2 during the 2024 playoffs, Boston is 1-2 ATS.

We should take a deeper dive before settling on the pick, though. Overlooking Boston's series-opening dominance on that notion alone could lead to a fool's errand.

Dallas' biggest concern entering Game 2 could be the play of Kristaps Porzingis. The former All-Star forward had missed 10 games before making his return from injury and didn't miss a beat with 20 points while making 8 of 13 shots (61.5%) in only 21 minutes of action. Porzingis would finish with a +13 plus/minus and was the heartbeat of Boston's first-quarter run with 11 points.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were drawing the headlines prior to the series. They seemed to be the Mavs' primary worry on defense, which makes perfect sense with Tatum and Brown leading the team in postseason scoring (both over 24.5 PPG). Porzingis roaring out the gate by pouring in 20 points was probably not on many people's bingo card. If the 7-foot-3 forward keeps producing at this level, the Mavs are in deep, deep trouble.

We can pull a few positive outlooks from Game 1 for Dallas, though. They trailed by 29 points in the second quarter and managed to cut the lead to 72-64 with 4:28 remaining in the third quarter. The Mavericks fought back into this game while lacking production from several key players.

Kyrie Irving posted only 12 points. While the veteran guard has seen his numbers dip against his former team, this was a new low in Game 1; Irving was totaling 21.0 PPG in previous head-to-head matchups in 2024.

Dereck Lively was another player that struggled as he played only 18 minutes off of the bench. Why does Lively's play carry notable weight? Dallas has few defenders that can truly stand a chance of guarding Porzingis. At 7-foot-1 with solid versatility, Lively could have the best shot to frustrate Porzingis.

Luka Doncic still put up 30 points, but he mustered up only one assist and was consistently picked on by switches on defense.

Dallas still won the paint battle in Game 1 while making only 7 of 27 three-point shots (25.9%). Keep in mind that the Mavs were shooting better than 37.0% from three in the playoffs prior to Game 1.

Most importantly, the Celtics scored only 107 points even with Porzingis' excellent performance. Dallas' offense woke up in the third quarter, posting over 20 points in under 8 minutes of action, and this was still without Kyrie contributing much at all.

I'm mostly hanging my hat on each team's past Game 2 performances in the 2024 playoffs. However, we can also circle several areas where Dallas actually has some room for growth. Will they continue to shoot under 30.0% from three? Will Irving, who has created a reputation for performing in the postseason, continue to barely score? Will Doncic -- who is totaling 8.4 assists per game (APG) in the playoffs -- barely facilitate from here on out? Improvements in each category are likely on the way.

Tatum (16 points) and Brown (22 points) were held to pedestrian outings by their high standards. Dallas' starting wings struggled on the defensive end in Game 1; Derrick Jones Jr. posted a 117.5 defensive rating while PJ Washington had a 114.1 rating. Huge games from Tatum and Brown could be imminent.

With this in mind and Porzingis' excellent Game 1 showing, give me the Celtics to go over 110.5 points (-115). The Mavericks' perimeter defense also faltered with Boston making 16 of 42 attempts from deep (38.1%).

Dallas has legitimate room for growth, and their past Game 2 performances gives me comfort in the underdog covering the spread. However, the defensive struggles in Game 1 are real. The Mavs' wings did not play well, and Porzingis is yet another difficult player to guard. I'm expecting the Celtics to edge out the Mavericks while totaling at least 111 points.


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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.