the Mavericks catch the Celtics at a good time with an opportunity to pull even in the season series.
Winners of seven in a row, Dallas is at home, where it has gone 15–5, against Boston, which holds its own on the road with an 11–7 mark but was last seen allowing the Thunder to set a new franchise record for number of points scored in a loss a few days ago. After a defensive lapse like that, attempting to slow down Luka Doncic—who gave the C’s 42 points last time these teams met—will be a herculean task.
Despite Dončić’s big night, the Celtics still won that game, 125-112, at TD Garden in late November behind a combined 68 points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With clean injury reports for both sides, Boston is a slight favorite in Dallas. This is just the second time all season the Mavericks are a home underdog.
Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks Odds
Times: 7:30pm ET | TNT extension
Spreads: Celtics -3.5 (-110) | Mavericks +3.5 (-110)
Moneylines: BOS (-150) | FROM (+125)
Total: 231.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Celtics Betting Profile
Straight Up Records: 26–12
Against The Spread Record: 21–17
Over/Under Records: 19–17–2
Points Per Game (Rank): 118.6 (1)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 113.3 (15)
Mavericks Betting Profile
Straight Up Records: 22–16
Against The Spread Record: 13–23–2
Over/Under Records: 22–16
Points Per Game (Rank): 112.6 (19)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 110.3 (5)
Spread Bets: Mavericks +3.5 (-110)
Dallas has just one win against a team .500 or better on its current streak and it came in overtime against the Knicks behind Doncic’s 60-point performance. Otherwise, it’s beaten the teams on its schedule, which included the Rockets—three times. Boston presents a much more difficult challenge, akin to the visit from the Bucks a month ago, the only other time the Mavericks got points at the American Airlines Center—they lost, 106-105.
The Celtics had great success in the first matchup and outshot their opponent, 17-11, from beyond the arc, which was more or less the difference in the 13-point win. As is usually the case, Dončić didn’t get a whole lot of help beyond 26 points from Christian Wood. Though he and Wood outscored Boston’s top two scorers, the rest of the supporting cast in Boston outclassed Dallas’s.
There’s reason to believe that might not be the case when these teams see one another for the second time. The C’s were on pace for an all-time offensive season in the first matchup, and though they still lead the league in offensive rating, they’re down to 26th over the last 15 games with an 8–7 record to boot.
Given what the Mavs can expect from Dončić on the offensive end and their ability to slow opposing offenses down with their snail-like pace, this game should be tight late. One way or another, Dallas plays games down to the wire often with 25 clutch situation games, tied for the second-most in the NBA.
It doesn’t even have to go in its favor with 3.5 points of insurance, though things have more often than not with a 15–10 mark in such games.
Over/Under Bets: Over 231.5 (-110)
The point total for the game in Boston between these teams was set at 221 and was easily cleared with 237 points scored. The bar will be harder to clear this time around in Dallas, but the over hits in more than half of all Celtics’ and Mavericks’ games this season. That’s been the case in four out of the last five games for Dallas but it’s hit just twice over that same stretch for Boston.
It surely helps to have the league’s No. 1 scorer (Dončić: 34.3 ppg) and No. 5 scorer (Tatum: 30.8 ppg) playing when you’re in on the over. And it doesn’t hurt that the C’s and Mavs are No. 2 and 3 in three-pointers made per game, respectively.
Prop Bet: Luka Dončić Over 34.5 Points (-118)
Keep going to this well until it dries up. This is, of course, a ludicrously high over/under reminiscent of James Harden‘s final seasons in Houston. But Dončić is a truly gifted scorer who’s shooting the three ball better than ever and has hit the over in each of his last four games with 50- and 60-point outings in that stretch.
He’s already gone well over this figure this season against Boston and he’s averaging more than a full point more at home than his league-leading scoring average. Don’t overthink it.
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