NBA Perfect 10: 2024 Finals Betting Preview

After two short Conference Finals, the wait has been excruciating but it is finally time to dive into the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics, winners of 64 games this season, will battle the Dallas Mavericks, led by their dynamic backcourt of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The talk is nearly over, so let’s look at some of the odds and props that could make this one of the best series in recent memory. Let’s dive into this week’s Perfect Ten.

Boston Celtics (-210) vs. Dallas Mavericks (+175)

How They Got Here: The Celtics steamrolled through the regular season with the best record in the NBA at 64-18 and came into the Eastern Conference Playoffs as the prohibitive favorite to get the finals. They didn’t disappoint, winning 12 of 14 games and going undefeated on the road. Boston’s domination was all the more impressive considering that they played a majority of the playoffs without C Kristaps Porzingis. The former Maverick is ready to go for game one however.

The Dallas Mavericks were not the favorites in a Western Conference filled with contenders. They won 50 games during the regular season but took off after making two crucial moves at the deadline. The Mavs front office brought in forwards PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford and each became key starters in the Mavs’ rotation. Washington has shined behind the arc while Gafford has given the Mavs ferocious rebounding and a rim protector that they lack. Dallas has gone 12-5 during this playoff run.

Regular Season Matchups: The Celtics were 2-0 against the Mavs this season. They won at Dallas in January, 119-110 and then again in Boston in March 138-110. In the first game, Dallas did not have PJ Washington or Gafford yet but it is worth noting that the Celtics played without Porzingis. In game two in Boston, both rosters were at full strength in the Boston route. In the second game, the Celtics shooting was dramatically improved with Porzingis in the lineup, shooting nearly 56% after shooting 48% without him in the first matchup.

Keys to the Series: Boston is one of the few teams in the NBA that has the type of roster that can throw a variety of people at Doncic. Can they stop him? No they cannot. What they can do is make him work by throwing the likes of Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, and Jaylen Brown at him and forcing him into difficult shots. Boston did a good job during the regular season of making Doncic more of a scorer than a distributor and that may be the same approach they take here. When Doncic is really thriving, he is scoring in bunches but also setting up Gafford, Washington and Dereck Lively II for easy buckets.

The Mavericks are going to need to pick their poison defensively. Doncic is not a great on the ball defender but he is excellent at help defense. The issue will be who he guards. If they put him on Porzingis, the Celtics will certainly exploit him on the block. If he is on one of the Celtics’ guards, Doncic will need to stay active and avoid leaving the pair open for wide open three-point shots. Tatum and Brown could potentially be nightmare matchups for the Mavericks. Lively and Gafford got the luxury of matching up with non-offensive threats in the Western Conference, including the likes of Rudy Gobert of the Wolves, Luguentz Dort of the Thunder, and Ivica Zubac of the Clippers. They will not be so lucky in this series with Porzingis, Brown and Tatum in the frontcourt.

How the Celtics can Win: If Porzingis is healthy, the Celtics will be a nightmare for the Mavs’ defense. Porzingis and Horford will represent the toughest challenge that the Mavericks’ center group has faced by far in the playoffs. If they can pull them away from the basket or force Doncic to cover them, the Celtics will have mismatches elsewhere. Tatum and Brown, when they are fully focused, can’t be guarded one on one. The Celtics have lost twice in the playoffs and both times, they seemingly beat themselves. They were disinterested defensively and they gave up easy three-point looks. Head Coach Joe Mazzulla’s job is to limit those lapses and, if so, they will be raising up banner #18 in Beantown.

How the Mavs can Win: Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving represent the best and most dynamic backcourt in the NBA. At this point in his career, Irving has accepted his role as second fiddle with grace. He creates easy looks for himself and knows when to take over the game. He still has lapses of inconsistency as evidenced by a few games in the playoffs when his scoring was particularly low, but he is playing his best basketball in five years. Doncic is one of the three best players in the world at this point. You can pencil him in for a triple-double nearly every night. If he is scoring and distributing with great frequency in this series, the Celtics are going to have problems. He can create easy looks for his bigs and then take the game over when it is crunch time. The Celtics were accused of being comfortable front-runners all season. This Dallas team is certainly not one that wants to get into a series of last-possession games.

Finals MVP Odds - Here are the top picks for Finals MVP as we get set for Thursday night’s series opener.

  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (-115)

  • Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (+205)

  • Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics (+650)

  • Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks (+2200)

  • Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics (+3500)

  • Derrick White, Boston Celtics (+3500)

  • Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics (+5000)

  • PJ Washington, Dallas Mavericks (+30,000)

The Celtics have more candidates understandably given their star power across the starting five and unselfishness on offense. Tatum is the frontrunner and should be at this point. Brown won the ECF MVP and Tatum certainly has a chip on his shoulders to prove he is one of the elite players in the league. If the Mavs win the title, I can’t imagine anyone other than Irving or Doncic as a viable MVP candidate. Irving certainly has the redemption angle playing his old team. The same can be said for Porzingis here as well, playing the team that decided to move on from him.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.