NBA Finals Betting Tips: Can Doncic upset the odds and beat the Celtics?

By Alex Brinton

Latest NBA Finals Odds

6 June 2024

After an 82-game regular season and six weeks of playoff basketball, we have arrived at the NBA finals. 

The Boston Celtics will face off with the Dallas Mavericks in a best-of-seven series to decide the destination of the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

At the moment the Celtics are heavy favourites to win the series at 1.44.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics came into the season as second favourites for the title at 5.3, behind the Milwaukee Bucks, and after a fantastic regular season which saw them finish with a record of 64-18 - seven wins better than anyone else in the league - they moved into the favourite slot at the start of the playoffs, 2.68.

The Celtics, through no fault of their own, have had one of the easiest journeys to the NBA finals in recent years. The Eastern Conference was already looking a lot easier than the West but injuries to star players on all three teams they have faced certainly eased their path. Other star players in the East; Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Jalen Brunson also all picked up injuries at some point in the playoffs.

As a result, the Cs playoff record is a very impressive 12-2, but they are yet to be properly tested. 

The duo of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown will be vital to the Celtics chances of winning a championship. Tatum struggled in the 2022 finals but if they are to be successful this time he needs to be able to step up to the next level especially on the offensive end of the floor. 

The health of stretch forward Kristaps Porzingis could be crucial in this series. While they have still been able to perform well without him, his three-point shooting and ability to protect the rim on the defensive end are both massive assets. He is also a former Dallas Maverick, so he will be able to add some extra insight into how to play against their star, Luka Doncic.

Dallas Mavericks 

In contrast to the Celtics, the Mavericks have had a less than smooth journey to the NBA finals. Despite entering the playoffs in the best form in the league, winning 12 of their last 15 matches, they were priced at 16.0 to win the title.

Things were not going well for the Mavericks until the trade deadline in February where they added PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford to their roster. They finished the regular season as the fifth best team in the West, which made their journey to the finals less than simple.

All three of the teams faced by the Mavericks won over 50 games this season and were at full strength, in comparison to the Celtics whose toughest contest was the 48-win Cleveland Cavaliers, who missed Donavon Mitchell for part of the series. 

Frequently, NBA playoff series are decided by who has the best player, there is no doubting this is where Dallas have the advantage. At 25-years-old Luka Doncic is already one of the league’s biggest stars and probably its second best player. The 6ft 6in guard is arguably the most complete offensive player in the league, thanks to his combination of shooting ability, dribble, power and the vision and quality to execute some of the best passes in the league.

After seemingly struggling for fitness in the first two rounds of the playoffs he exploded into life in the Western Conference Finals averaging 32.4 points per game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, including a stunning 36-point performance in Game 5 where he seemingly couldn’t miss. 

Doncic is joined in the backcourt by former Celtic and 2016-champion Kyrie Irving. After struggling to find his feet for the last six or seven years Irving looks back to his best. His ability to finish around the rim and dribble the ball has never been seen before in the NBA. His performance as part of Cleveland’s 2016-title winning team will live long in the memory for basketball fans. 

The Result

The Celtics are favourites for the series and with their record so far this season it is easy to see why, but for me they are too short at 1.44.

For me there are a few bets that stand out. 

The Mavericks to win Game 1 @ 3.0

The Cs are yet to be properly tested, they have been made to work hard in games but they are yet to come up against some really high class opponents who are at full strength. I think the step up in quality could be too much for the Celtics to handle and the Mavericks will pinch Game 1. 

The series to be over 5.5 games @ 1.58

This bet would have hit in nine of the last 14 NBA Finals so feels safe to back here. The teams are also relatively evenly matched if you look at the Mavericks record in the last 15 games of the season and the playoffs. The only times this bet hasn’t clicked is when series have involved historically great NBA teams with the 2017 and 2018 Golden State Warriors and last season’s Denver Nuggets featuring. Neither of these teams appears to be in the same class so I feel comfortable backing this.

The Boston Celtics to win 4-2 @ 5.4

Like in football, correct score bets aren’t the easiest to get right but I feel like the Celtics to win in six games is the right bet. NBA history is certainly in their favour. At the end of the regular season, they boasted the fifth best points differential of all time - the four teams above them all won the title. If the Mavericks were to win, they would be the third biggest underdogs, according to the odds, to win a finals since 1970. 

But that being said the Celtics are vulnerable and don’t have the best player in the series. I think it is fairly easy to see a situation where Doncic and Irving shoot the lights out in two of the six games but generally I think the Cs have the perfect players to throw at the Mavs. Tatum, Brown, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are all great defenders who can guard lots of different positions. As the saying goes, “offence wins you games, but defence wins you championships.”

Latest NBA Finals Odds

We use cookies to manage user login sessions, enhance user experience, perform essential site operations and tailor advertising and other content to reflect your specific interests. By clicking "I Accept" you consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies for the purposes we outline in our Cookie Policy.