NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | June 18

NBA Tips & Best Bets
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

The Mavericks thankfully managed to avoid an NBA Finals sweep with a win in Game 4, though it wasn’t a particularly interesting one as they blew out a lethargic Boston side which was probably more than happy to head back home and try to win the championship in front of their adoring home crowd. They will get that chance this Tuesday, in a game they will enter relatively heavily fancied to get the job done. So will they be able to become the first team to secure 18 NBA championships in Game 5, or will the Mavericks miraculously make a series of it and take it back to Dallas for a sixth game? Take a look at our best bets for the game below. 

Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

Under 209.5 total match points @ $1.88 | GetSetBet 

The total points line set by NBA betting sites has been gradually dropping with each low scoring game that this series produces, but all four games have still failed to go over what it is set at for Game 5. The opening game of the series yielded a paltry 196 points, while since then we have seen 203 points, 205 points and 206 points. In every game there has been one side fail to hit triple figures, and it has not purely been a result of really poor shooting – a stat for which there is always going to be a fairly high degree of variance. Neither team has shot particularly well from three-point range but nor have they gone completely cold from there, and under the bright lights of the NBA Finals and with the decrease in open looks that invariably come in games of significance, it’s no great surprise to see some dip in percentage anyway. And while the last few games have gone reasonably close to this line, they have generally looked likely to go under throughout. Take the last game for instance; courtesy of a 41-point second quarter only 96 points were scored in the first half, and even with a late-game onslaught Tim Hardaway Jr and Sam Hauser from beyond the arc the game didn’t reach the points line. With everything on the line in this game, the pressure will be as high as it has been all season – the Mavericks obviously needing to win to stave off defeat, and the Celtics needing to win to avoid going back to Dallas from where their opposition would be favourites to tie the series at 3-3 – and the defensive intent will no doubt match that pressure. It hasn’t been easy to score all season long and this game should be no different. 

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Under 209.5 total match points @ $1.88
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Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

Celtics -6.5 @ $1.89 | BlueBet 

Given they are coming off a 38-point thumping this might seem like a tough line for the Celtics to cover, but though the Mavericks did show what they are capable of – largely given the capacity for either Kyrie Irving or, in the case of Game 3, Luka Doncic, to completely dominate on any given night – that game will likely stand out as an anomaly come series end. There is no doubting that the Celtics are a far better all around team, with probably six players better than everyone on the Mavs with the exception of Irving and Doncic, and they showed as much in the first three games of the series. The first of those was particularly emphatic as they won by 18 points, and while the other two were a lot closer – both being decided by seven points – the Celtics were able to take control of the game when it mattered most. Indeed, Game 3 looked likely to be another big margin as the Celts, and particularly Jaylen Brown, took over with the game on the line in the third quarter to open up what looked like an unassailable lead. They subsequently fell in a heap while the Mavericks got hot in the final quarter and very nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but while the Celtics’ period of dominance felt like a product of their superior talent and far greater number of weapons, that of the Mavericks seems a little less to be repeated against a team with as much capability on both ends of the floor as Boston. They have covered this line in three of four games to date, and though admittedly two of those were by just a solitary point, they can secure the 18th championship in franchise history with another reasonably comfortable win, despite the best efforts of the Mavericks. 

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Celtics -6.5 @ $1.89
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Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

Celtics to win by 11+ @ $2.45 | PlayUp 

For the sake of a good contest let’s hope this doesn’t happen, but for many of the reasons outlined above this seems like a pretty good value bet. Aside from the fact that the Celtics are the better team and are playing on their home floor, there is also good cause to think that if they get a decent lead it is very likely that they will end up winning this one relatively comfortably. In the NBA Finals, and NBA playoff series in general, there is typically a fair bit of playing the score by teams; never was that more evident than in Game 4, which the Mavericks won by 38 points needing to win to stay in the series and with the Celtics comfortable in the knowledge that they have plenty more games up their sleeve to close it out, and would probably prefer to finish things off on their home court anyway – even if only subconsciously. The same applies this time around. If the Celtics manage to get a decent lead in the second half there is a good chance that things could blow out, with the Mavericks unlikely to mount all that much of a comeback particularly in the final quarter if they are down significantly. Obviously the Celtics have to get there in the first place, but with a bet like this there is always the risk of a backdoor cover by the underdogs whereby a late-game surge makes the scoreboard look more respectable than it should despite them never really being in the game. In a close-out NBA Finals game, if the lead gets big for the Celtics it will likely stay that way. At much better than even money odds with all betting agencies, that makes this a good value bet to round out the day. 

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Celtics to win by 11+ @ $2.45
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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.