NBA Finals: Betting preview & TV schedule for Celtics vs Mavericks series

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Sixers 76ers celtics vs cavaliers nba finals
Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum reacts after a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

And then there were two. The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks punched their tickets to the NBA finals which will kick off on Thursday. The Mavericks are looking to become the first repeat Champions since the Golden State Warriors back in 2018-19, while Boston is headed to the finals for a third time in four years, hoping to finally buck the trend and bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 2008.

NBA Finals: TV schedule (per

Game 1: Mavericks vs Celtics, June 6 (8:30 PM EST, ABC) 

Game 2: Mavericks vs Celtics, June 9 (8PM EST, ABC) 

Game 3: Celtics vs Mavericks, June 12 (8PM EST, ABC) 

Game 4: Celtics vs Mavericks, June 14 (8:30 PM, ABC) 

Game 5: Mavericks vs Celtics, June 17 (8:30 PM, ABC)* 

Game 6: Celtics vs Mavericks, June 20 (8:30 PM, ABC)* 

Game 7: Mavericks vs Celtics, June 23 (8PM EST, ABC)*

* if needed

Boston draws homefield advantage for the opening stage of the 2024 NBA FInals and bursting out of the gates to a 2-0 lead would be huge for them. The Celtics went 37-4 at home during the regular season, but it is worth noting that both postseason losses did come at TD Garden. This could be something the Mavericks will use to try and assert their authority, but with Boston’s character on full display against the Pacers in game 3, keeping them down is going to be an incredibly difficult task.

NBA Finals odds

As things stand, the Celtics are favored to win the 7-game NBA Finals series at -210 while the Mavericks are slight underdogs at +175. It’s hard not to be bullish on Boston’s success, with the Celtics dominating the Eastern Conference and then tearing through the playoffs with relative ease.

The Celtics swept the Pacers to reach the NBA Finals and become Eastern Conference Champions having only dropped one game in the prior series against the Cavs and another lone loss in the series against Miami. In total, Boston went 12-2 in their postseason rampage and will look to find their fairytale ending against the Mavericks, having made it to the Finals in two of the last three seasons, but falling just short on both occasions.

NBA finals
Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton, left, strips the ball from Boston Celtics guard Derrick White, center, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Boston. At right, is Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0). (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

As for the Mavericks, they entered the postseason as the 5th seed in the West, but it didn’t take long for the pairing of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic to heat up and take over each series the team played. Much like the Kansas City Chiefs this past season, there wasn’t a lot of hope that they’d be able to make noise in the playoffs, but as time went on, the resiliency of the team grew and their confidence the same.

NBA Finals: Game 1 odds

Moneyline: Boston Celtics -6.5 (-110) | Dallas Mavericks +6.5 (-110)
Spread: Boston Celtics (-230) | Dallas Mavericks (+190)
Total: Over/Under 214.5

NBA Finals predictions

This is a really hard series to predict. While making the argument that the Celtics are yet to really face adversity this offseason and have faced shorthanded teams, that game 3 comeback against the Pacers stands out, and it’s not like they fell short of the mark against elite teams in the regular season either.

The Mavericks are playing the best basketball they’ve played all year and are doing so at just the right time ahead of the NBA Finals. Doncic and Irving might be one of the most dynamic backcourt duos we’ve ever seen and they dismantled the Timberwolves with ease. Will they be able to do the same against a Celtics defense that ranks at the top of nearly every metric in the playoffs thanks to a versatile rotation that seemingly has answers for every question? Only time will tell, but they’ll certainly provide more of a challenge than a Jimmy Butler-less Heat, or teams enduring spot injuries.

Mavericks nba finals
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic reacts after a call during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

It is worth noting that while the Celtics’ defense is brilliant, it has yet to find an answer for the dominance of Luka Doncic, who not only has a certain heartbreaking buzzer-beater that will be all-too fresh in the memory of Boston, but averaged 35 points per game in two regular season contests against them this year. Jaylen Brown was unable to stop Doncic from doing what he does best, and that might prompt some tinkering which could ink turn disrupt how the offense works in transition, especially if Jason Taytum is tasked with silencing the 25-year-old.

This series has everything a basketball fan could possibly want. The Celtics are extremely proficient from beyond the arc, and the Mavericks have one of the most scintillating backcourt duos in league history. Scoring could be off the charts and watching each team move pieces around in a coaching chess match over the course of the NBA Finals is going to provide some incredible moments.

When all is said and done, this is very much a must-win series for the Celtics. They’ve gotten to this point far too many times in recent years to fall short again. The core of this team can’t get much stronger and they were able to take advantage of a fairly tame postseason schedule to get to this point. Dallas has to be feared, but if there is ever a team who can combat the lethal scoring that the Mavericks provide, it’s one as explosive as Boston.

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum