Mavericks vs. Celtics Odds, Preview, Prediction: Value on Total Between 2 Juggernauts (November 23)

Mavericks vs. Celtics Odds, Preview, Prediction: Value on Total Between 2 Juggernauts (November 23) article feature image
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Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics Odds

Mavericks Odds+4.5
Celtics Odds-4.5
Over/Under218
Time7:30 p.m. ET
TVESPN
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

We are getting a terrific Thanksgiving Eve matchup between two star-studded NBA teams. The Dallas Mavericks head into Boston to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics in what should be a tightly contested game.

Let’s break down where the value is for this matchup.

The Mavericks' Record Doesn't Match the Metrics

The Mavericks haven't looked fantastic to the eye test, but the underlying numbers show just how efficient they've been.

Dallas ranks fifth in Adjusted Net Rating and sixth in point differential through 16 games. They are 9-7 overall, but almost all of their losses have been close one-possession games. The defense has been particularly impressive, Dallas ranks fourth in Adjusted Defensive Rating, according to Dunks and Threes.

Their offense is 11th overall, but that figure is slightly misleading. Most of their struggles have come due to 3-point inefficiency. The Mavs take the fourth-most 3s in the NBA, but rank 18th in accuracy hitting just 35.2% of their 3s. If you look across the roster, Luka Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber, and Tim Hardaway Jr all shooting well below their career 3-point averages.

The Mavericks offense is heavily predicated on spacers hitting catch-and-shoot 3s, so for them to still be a top-10 offense with guys shooting this poorly indicates to me that once the positive regression hits this offense will be fine.

Focusing on this matchup with Boston, I expect the shooters to be challenged as Boston does an excellent job of running shooters off of the three-point line. Boston’s defense ranks fifth-best in opponent 3-point frequency and second-best in corner 3-point frequency allowed.

This is a huge edge for Boston as Dallas ranks No. 1 in the NBA in corner 3-point frequency attempting 13.3% of their shots from the corner. Boston will run the Dallas shooters off the line and force them to make multiple passes in order to find a good look.


Celtics Are Rolling on Offense

For everything I said about the Mavericks, you can say about Boston except that they have actually won their coin-flip games more consistently. Boston ranks No. 1 in Adjusted Net Rating on the season and they have the best offense in the league scoring a ridiculous 119.2 points per 100 possessions.

Their defense has fallen off a bit without Robert Williams in the lineup, but they still rank a respectable 17th in adjusted defensive rating. The Celtics profile very similarly to the Mavericks in that they take a lot of 3s on offense and on defense they do a great job of limiting opponent 3s.

Both of these teams are winning the “math” game and the only difference between them has been that the Celtics are actually making their threes on offense. The Celtics currently rank fourth in the NBA making just over 39% of their 3s. They should struggle to maintain that level of efficiency against this Dallas defense that is designed to limit the 3-pointers. Boston must be able to make multiple passes and drives if they want to score on this stout Dallas defense.

One area where Boston may find some success is their ability to get to the foul-line. The Celtics offense ranks 12th in FT rate and Dallas has struggled to stop hacking on defense as they rank 27th in FT rate allowed. If Boston can draw some key fouls on Dinwiddie or Doncic it could be a long night for the Mavericks.

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Mavericks vs. Celtics Pick

I expect this to be a tightly contested game with a ton of three-point attempts and foul-line trips so I am going to roll with the over here. I mentioned it above but the Mavericks shooters are massively due for some positive regression.

I also expect Luka to visit the free-throw line frequently as Boston doesn’t really have any rim-protectors capable of deterring him from getting to any spot he wants in the paint.

The Celtics should also shoot a lot of free throws against this Dallas defense that ranks fourth-worst in FT rate allowed on the season. Both of these teams should shoot upwards of 35-40 3s, so if we get a combination of high-volume threes with free throws I expect this game to go over.

Take the over 217.5 in Boston on Thanksgiving Eve.

Pick: Over 217.5 (-109) or better

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 14, 2024 UTC