2024 NBA Finals Betting Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks

2024 NBA Finals Betting Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks

The start of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks is imminent. It’s been a thrilling season, matched with equally thrilling playoffs that have been packed full of storylines. After toppling the once scorching hot Minnesota Timberwolves, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves in the NBA Finals, just one season after purposely missing the Play-In Tournament.

They'll face the Boston Celtics, who have been the unquestionable #1 team in the NBA all season long.

To highlight how much of an adventure this NBA year has been, we’re throwing it back with a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ approach to wagering on these NBA Finals. There’s plenty of value to be found among some interesting markets and it can be overwhelming, so we thought it’d be fun to help guide you to your perfect Finals bet.

We’ll ask a series of questions, and your answer to each will determine your path, and ultimately your recommended wager(s) to place on the Finals!

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1. Who Wins the NBA Finals?

  • Boston Celtics – Scroll down to Question 1A
  • Dallas Mavericks – BET Mavs to Win (+188 FanDuel) or scroll down to Question 1B
  • Can’t decide – Scroll down to Question 2

We start off with the straightforward pick - who you believe will win the NBA Finals.

1A. Will Jayson Tatum Win Finals MVP?

  • YES – Bet Tatum to Win Finals MVP for -115 at DraftKings
  • NO – Scroll down to Question 1C

The Celtics are the strong favorite to win the NBA Finals, with their best odds to be champion at -210 on DraftKings. An improvement from last year (Nuggets were -400 favorites) but not an appealing price, so we're looking elsewhere.

Tatum is the Finals MVP favorite at -115 which are much better odds than the Celtics to win, and it correlates well with them winning it all.

RELATED: Dimers' NBA Finals Betting Preview

1B. Will Luka Doncic Win Finals MVP?

  • YES – BET Luka Doncic to Win Finals MVP (+205 DraftKings) or scroll down to Question 2
  • NO – Scroll to Question 1D

If you're picking the upset, you'll get slightly better odds on Luka Doncic to win the series MVP over the Mavs to win. There's not much to say about Luka's potential to win the award - if the Mavs pull off a series upset, it's going to be with Luka stealing the show.

That doesn't mean you can't sprinkle on someone else though, so if you're looking for a longshot, you have options below.

1C. Will Jaylen Brown Win Finals MVP?

  • YES – BET Jaylen Brown to Win Finals MVP (+700 FanDuel) 
  • NO – Scroll down to Question 2

Should someone on the Celtics NOT named Jayson Tatum win the Finals MVP, then it’s likely going to be Jaylen Brown. His odds are excellent for the clear #2 choice on his own team at +700. 

This isn't as clear-cut a situation as many other teams who are operating with a very clear No. 1 option - Brown has averaged just 1 point fewer than Tatum in this postseason, while Tatum delivers on the boards and dimes. He swiped the ECF MVP out from under Tatum who was still favored before the final game of series was over.

1D. Will Kyrie Irving win Finals MVP?

  • YES – BET Kyrie Irving to Win Finals MVP (+2200 DraftKings)
  • NO – Put $1 on each of the rest of the Mavs and skip to Question 2

If the Mavs win the Finals and Luka Doncic somehow doesn’t secure the Finals MVP for whatever reason (injury, poor play, voters are drunk, etc), it will be Kyrie. Kyrie is scoring nearly 10 points more on average than Dallas' next leading scorer after Luka and nearly 4 assists more. No one else is taking over and winning games for the Mavs in a Finals MVP-worthy effort - if Kyrie and Luka don't show up, the Mavs are losing.

That being said - this is the world of sports betting where literally anything can happen. If you're firmly in the Mavericks' camp, you can put $1 on each of the remaining Mavs players two win Finals MVP ($4 total). They're all +50000 to win the award at FanDuel, meaning if one of them does, that $1 returns $500.

2. How Many Games Will There Be in the NBA Finals?

  • 4 or 5 – Scroll to Question 2A
  • 6 – Scroll to Question 2B
  • 7 – Scroll to Question 3

There are two options for a seven-game series: either it’s competitive or it isn’t. If you think these teams are more closely matched than they’d appear, you’ll have a few options. If you’re expecting a sweep or gentlemen’s sweep (4-1), the Celtics will most likely be your play.

Our model's breakdown of the NBA Finals in a pretty pie chart

2A. Do the Celtics sweep the Finals?

  • YES – BET Celtics win series 4-0 (+700)
  • NO – Scroll to Question 2C

This is a bit of a fun one to look at for one main reason. It's +550 for a 4-game series regardless of the winner, with the Mavs at +2400 for a sweep. You're getting +150 better by picking the Celtics to sweep, the far more likely result.

We give a sweep by Boston a 12.3% probability of occurring, translating to fair odds of about +700, a fair price here.

2B. Do the Celtics win the Finals?

  • YES – BET Celtics win series 4-2 (+470 FanDuel) 
  • NO – BET Mavericks to win series 4-2 (+550 FanDuel) 

If you’re envisioning a competitive series, this is the end of the line for you. Pick your winner and lock them in to win in either six games. A 4-2 series win is our model's third most likely result (for both teams combined)

We give the Celtics a 17.8% probability of winning 402, while their odds translate to 17.5%, giving us the slimmest of edges

It's also the shortest odds for a Mavs exacta victory, meaning the books favor this one the most, however based on our 10.5% probability, you should be getting +850 over the +550 on offer. 

2C. Do the Celtics win the Finals?

  • YES – BET Celtics win series 4-1 (+340 FanDuel)
  • NO – BET Mavericks win series 4-1 (+1500 BetMGM)

You should only be here if you expect the series to end in exactly 5 games. If you're thinking the series is short but won't be a sweep, here's your target. It's the same odds for the Celtics as them to win in seven games at FanDuel, but you can see the difference in our probability is 24.5% for a 4-1 victory compared to 19.7% for the Celtics in 7 games.

+340 also implies a 22.7% probability, with our model saying a 4-1 victory for the Celtics should be priced at +300.

For the Mavericks, we give them just a 4.5% probability of winning in five games, so we want to see odds of +2300 here to get a fair price.

3. Will the Finals Reach Game 7?

  • YES – BET Celtics Win 4-3 (+450 BetMGM), Mavericks Win 4-3 (+750 FanDuel) or Over 6.5 Games (+225 BetMGM)
  • NO – We didn't send you here. Start over!

This is a very specific market, but if you’re high on the likelihood of a Game 7 and bet on all three of these plays, you’ll guarantee yourself two of these wins if the series goes the limit

The series reaching a Game 7 is tied as our second most-likely combined result at 28.2%, with the Celtics coming away as champions in 19.7% of total sims. At +450 for the Celtics, this is a solid price as our fair odds would be +400. You need +1100 on the Mavs side to get our model's appropriate odds.

You've reached the end of the adventure! Now, go place your bet!

Be sure to check back for more NBA Finals betting content before Game 1 tips off on Thursday night!

Responsible Gambling

Please remember to enjoy gambling responsibly. Responsible gambling means setting limits, staying in control, and understanding that luck is just part of the game. Make informed choices, set a budget, and know when to take a break. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER.

Dave Garofolo
Content Producer

Dave Garofolo, a seasoned fantasy sports and betting enthusiast with a special affection for MLB and NFL, uses his deep knowledge to craft game previews for the NBA, MLB, and NFL. He also brings his expertise to the golf world with tournament previews and parlays for the PGA TOUR and major golf tournaments. Additionally, Dave offers valuable props for NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAAM basketball, along with best bets for MLB, NHL, and NCAAM. 

When not delving into the world of sports, Dave is an avid advocate for New Haven pizza, enjoys reading comic books, gardening, and spending time with his cats. His broad interests and detailed sports insights ensure that his contributions are both engaging and informative.

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