Mavericks vs. Celtics NBA Game 1 Computer Pick: Dallas To Start Building Drama

Author:
Oddstrader
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Minnesota
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after a basket during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals at Target Center on May 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. David Berding/Getty Images/AFP

We’re headed to Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics.

Game 1 should set the tone for the entire series. Ultimately, the Celtics have had more rest and will return Kristaps Porzingis for Game 1 of the series. However, throughout the playoffs, the Mavericks looked like the better team overall.

That said, we used the AI Model to help us decide on the best bet at top-rated sportsbooks for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

NBA Pick


Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics

Thursday, June 06, 2024 – 08:30 PM ET at TD Garden


According to our AI Model, the Celtics are projected to win the first game of the series, 110-104. However, the Mavericks are currently +6.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, proving there’s value on the road team.

How Each Team Matches Up

The NBA Finals should be a tight series. It’s an intriguing matchup across the board.

When the Celtics are on offense, they’ve scored 120.8 points per 100 possessions. That’s good for second in the NBA. They’ve also shot a 57.2% effective field goal percentage and are still above average in turnover, offensive rebounding, and free throw rates.

However, while the Celtics are second in effective field goal percentage this season, Boston ranks 7th in turnover percentage, 10th in offensive rebounding, and 12th in free throw rate. These are above-average numbers but nothing to get crazy about.

On the other hand, Dallas has held opponents to 111.2 points per 100 possessions this season. They’ve also held teams to a 51.4% effective field goal percentage. Both of those rates are top-five in the NBA. But like the Celtics, the Mavericks are slightly above average in turnover percentage, offensive rebound percentage, and free throw percentage on the defensive end.

It’s a very even matchup on that side of the ball.

Offensive Firepower

Meanwhile, the Celtics are 6th in the NBA in points per 100 possessions and third in the NBA in effective field goal percentage. Dallas has scored 116.6 points per 100 possessions with a 55.1% effective field goal percentage.

They’ve been able to score at a higher rate thanks to 29.8% offensive rebounds and a 21% free-throw rate, both of which are higher than the Celtics’. However, the Mavericks have turned the ball away more often, giving the Celtics potentially more chances overall from the field.

While the Celtics are better offensively at getting to the foul line and earning offensive rebounds, they are also one of the best at limiting opponents on defense. Opponents have grabbed only 21.6% of offensive rebounds against Boston and have really struggled to get to the foul line against the Celtics with an 11.5 rate.

Still, Boston has allowed a 53.7% effective field goal percentage. That’s where the Mavericks can take advantage. If Dallas gets good looks and shoots the ball well from the floor, the Celtics will struggle to find an answer.

Kristaps Porzingis’ Return

Kristaps Porzingis is set to make his return for the Celtics. It’s unclear if he’ll start or come off the bench with Al Horford’s success. Either way, the Celtics will get an All-Star-level talent back for the NBA Finals.

In four games during the NBA Playoffs, Porzingis scored 12.3 points per game and grabbed five rebounds. He also shot 40% from downtown but hit only 38.9% of shots. If anything, he’ll be a dominant presence inside who can block shots and force bad looks.

He’s also a major threat from downtown and can score around the rim very well. This season, he scored more than 20 points per game and shot 51.6% from the floor. He was super efficient, which is something the Celtics desperately need.

The Pick

Ironically, Porzingis will face his old team, the Mavericks, and Kyrie Irving will play against his old team, the Celtics. There are many familiar faces in the NBA Finals this season. Porzingis and Doncic used to be close, but now it’s been reported that they had legitimate beef from their failed partnership in Dallas.

The drama will build. But for now, I’ll take the points in Game 1. It figures to be a tight matchup throughout the series. You can thank the AI Model if this bet hits!

NBA Pick: Mavericks +6.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

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