NBA Finals Game 1 Odds and Best Bets

The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks square off in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics favored by 6.5 points in Game 1.
Tatum and Doncic square off in Game 1 of NBA Finals
Two of the NBA's brightest stars, Tatum and Doncic, will look for their first NBA Title.

The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. After 226 days of basketball, the two best teams in the NBA will meet up in the NBA Finals for a chance to make history.

Boston hasn’t won a title since 2008, where they defeated the Lakers in six games en route to their 10th championship. On the other hand, Dallas finds themselves in a similar situation to their first and only NBA Championship in 2011, when they beat the favored Miami Heat in six games behind one European’s brilliance.

Looking ahead to Game 1, Boston will have the upper hand with over a week of rest and home court advantage. The question is, will Luka, Kyrie, and the Mavs stay poised enough to keep this contest close heading into the fourth quarter? The two times these squads matched up during the regular season, the Mavs were playing extremely different lineups than what they’ll be going to on Thursday night.

Luka, Kyrie, Tatum, Brown. Mavs. Celtics. Here we go.

Game 1 Best Bets

It's the NBA Finals, so we are rolling out best bet picks for the spread and total. Our team will share these picks before every game of the series, so bookmark and subscribe to never miss a best bet article.

Dallas Mavericks +6.5 vs Boston Celtics -6.5

With the long layoff both teams have faced heading into this series, history favors Boston to not only win Game 1, but cover it. Teams with a 3+ day rest gap, home favorites, and large favorites to win the series are 4-1 ATS in NBA Finals games (most notably the 2017 GSW and 2023 Nuggets).

While this game should stay neck-and-neck heading into the 4th quarter, we believe that Jrue Holiday and Derrick White will shine through on the defensive end and beyond the arc on offense as the best players down the stretch.

The Mavs are no stranger to struggling starts to series, losing against the Clippers by 12 and Thunder by 22 before defeating the Wolves by 3 in Game 1 of the WCF. Jason Kidd is a great coach, but he’ll need to see one game before making the crucial adjustments for the rest of this series.

With Porzingis coming back, Horford rested up, and Boston’s always trustworthy backcourt, Game 1 will be an uphill battle late for the Mavs. Since playoff expansion, the home team is 31-9 in Game 1 of the Finals, even more of a reason to take Boston before you overthink it.

This is a complex series that will provide many twists and turns that will go either 6 or 7 games. However, for Game 1 stick to history - meaning Boston’s spread will be a safe play.

Best Bet: Boston Celtics -6.5

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Total Score: Over/Under 214.5 Points

The last time the Celtics played in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the “over” hit against the Warriors. However, Dallas is no Golden State and vice-versa. Expect to see more two-pointers and long possessions from the Mavericks as both teams try to limit the open looks from beyond-the-arc. With Dallas’s rebounding and Boston’s stout perimeter defense, this game could be decided in the trenches and in the mid-range area, meaning the “under” is worthy of attention.

There hasn’t been a single Game 1 this postseason where the Mavs reached this 215 point total. As for Boston, they hit 215 points on the nose in Game 1 against Cleveland, pounded the mark against the fast-paced Pacers, and didn’t reach 215 points in Game 1 against Miami. With a much slower paced game, look for Mazzulla and the Celtics to accept a low-scoring outing in Game 1 and focus on the defensive end to limit transition buckets and open looks for the stars.

Pick: Under 214.5

Player Bets for Game 1

Our official player props article will come out tomorrow, but we've got some intriguing player bets that fall outside of that article. Here are 2 leader bets that stand out as offering great value.

Derrick White: First Quarter Leading Scorer

White could easily get hot in the 1st quarter of this game while he draws the lesser matchup of Tatum and Brown. Derrick White went for 15 and 16 points in the 1st quarter of the Miami series to close them out, while dropping 8 first quarter points against Cleveland to open that series.

White will benefit from the slower pace of this series and should continue his red-hot shooting from deep - 3.4 3PM on 40% shooting. Bet on him as the leading scorer in the first quarter of Game 1.

Luka Doncic: Game 1 Assist Leader

This is a no-brainer. Luka will get double-teamed early on by Mazzulla and Boston as they won’t make the same mistake the Wolves did, letting Luka take control of their series early on.

Averaging less than his normal numbers, 8.2 APG in the WCF, this series should see Luka consistently over the double-digit mark. 6/9/8 assists in Game 1s this postseason for Luka, who should serve as the leading playmaker for Dallas from the jump.

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