NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | June 15

NBA Tips & Best Bets
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

Please basketball gods, don’t let the NBA Finals be a clean sweep. It’s already been an underwhelming last few weeks, with the Celtics sweeping the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Mavericks getting rid of the Timberwolves in five games – albeit a relatively tight five games. Boston was the deserved favourite heading into this series – they have been the best team in the league all season long, after all – but a sweep wasn’t a particularly common tip. It is, however, very much on the cards. After a barnstorming third quarter, the Celtics took the Mavericks first home game from them to take a 3-0 lead in the series, a deficit from which it is virtually impossible to recover from. But can the Mavericks, at the very least, save a bit of face by avoiding a sweep? These are our three best tips for Game 4 of the NBA Finals. 

Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks

Celtics -1.5 @ $1.93 | GetSetBet 

Of course, this is not the result that any neutral wants, but it’s hard to ignore the hard evidence that we have in front of us. The Celtics have simply been too good all series for the Mavericks, and while the last two games have been close after a Game 1 blowout, the enormous differential in the respective depths of talent has been plain to see with the last couple of games on the line. There is no denying just how good Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but their next best player is probably PJ Washington, who would maybe get a few minutes off the Celtics bench were he playing in Boston. When push comes to shove, the Celtics have five guys who can take over; in Game 3 it was Jaylen Brown doing a bulk of the damage in the third quarter, which the Celtics won 35-19 to open up what proved to be a game-winning lead, but on any other night it could be Tatum, Porzingis when he is playing, while even Derrick White and Jrue Holiday are perfectly capable of heating up and, if they don’t, are fantastic at playing their role and stepping up when required. The Mavericks put together a brilliant comeback in Game 3, albeit one which proved to be in vain, but the Celtics looked like the better team when the series was on the line, and that is because they are. They and Celtics fans would no doubt like to see them win this series on their home floor, but the fact that Boston has now won three from three by an aggregate of 32 points, but is only 1.5 point favourites with most betting sites for this game, is too difficult to ignore. 

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Celtics -1.5 @ $1.93
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Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks

Under 211.5 total match points @ $1.89 | BlueBet 

We are taking our medicine here. Admittedly in a couple of previous games we have banked on the over and it hasn’t happened, and there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that the total points lines being set by NBA betting sites are simply too high for this series. Largely that is a product of the Mavericks’ stuttering offence – or perhaps more aptly, the Celtics’ stifling defence – but even the Celtics haven’t exactly been putting massive scores on the board, with totals of 107, 105 and 106 across their three games. With Dallas having failed to hit triple figures once this series, all three games have seen the total fall well short of the over/under set by betting agencies; the first game yielded just 196 points, the second 203 and the third 205. That is a trend which is impossible to ignore. What’s more, though neither team has been shooting the lights out, it is not as though these low scores are a product of really poor shooting which will likely turn around in this game; aside from the Mavs in Game 1, both teams have been hitting mid-high 30s as a percentage from long range. It’s simply been a relatively slow series with some solid defence being played, as is often the case in the NBA Finals, and if that continues then this game will be the fourth in a row to have gone under the points total. 

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Under 211.5 total match points @ $1.89
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Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks under 105.5 total match points @ $1.90 | PlayUp 

Sticking with the unders here, and a bet which is far more likely to come through if the above two do as well. The Mavericks have been a good offensive team this season, boasting an offensive rating of 117.0 – good for sixth in the league – and though that dropped a little in their first few playoff rounds, it wasn’t significant and was pretty typical given the added defence which comes in the playoffs. But against the Celtics, they have been absolutely stifled. As mentioned above, they have failed to hit triple figures even once across their three games, and their offensive rating has dropped way down to 102.1. Kyrie Irving’s struggles in the first couple of games were a major reason why they scored so low in those two games as their star guard had just 28 points across the two games on 13-37 shooting, but he bounced back in impressive fashion with 35 points in Game 3 and they still managed just 99 points, with Doncic scoring 27 in that one too. The simple fact is that the Mavericks do not have a whole lot of offensive firepower outside of those two; PJ Washington has been okay with an average of just under 15 points in the three games this series, but no one else has averaged more than Daniel Gafford with 9.0 per game – which would have him sixth on the Celtics. Tim Hardaway Jr is barely in the rotation, Maxi Kleber is afraid to shoot, and guys like Derrick Jones Jr, Dereck Lively II and Josh Green just aren’t particularly proficient offensive players – at least not at this point in their careers. What’s more, in that latest game Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play – he might not in Game 4 either, but he is questionable and if he plays his length will make scoring even more difficult for the Mavs. For a team which hasn’t yet hit 100 this series, a line of 105.5 looks way too high. 

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Mavericks under 105.5 total match
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James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.