Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Picks for Jaylen Brown, Mavericks-Celtics Game 1)

Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Picks for Jaylen Brown, Mavericks-Celtics Game 1)

At long last, the NBA Finals are just a day away, and I’m ready to lock in three plays for Game 1 – all of which end up being on the Boston side. 

Earlier this week, I made my official prediction for this series (Boston Celtics in 6), and like many NBA fans, I’m ready for this series between Boston and the Dallas Mavericks to start. 

This season, I’ve bet on the NBA every day that there have been games, and while we’re not positive on the year at the moment, a Celtics preseason future could get us there – depending upon how these Finals go. 

We’re starting strong in Game 1 with three plays – two props and one side – with Boston entering the game as a 6.5-point favorite.

Find Peter Dewey’s NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on  BetStamp here.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jaylen Brown has been terrific in the playoffs, averaging 25.0 points per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

Brown has been much more efficient than Jayson Tatum, and he finds himself with a points prop that is four points lower than his co-star in Game 1. 

I love the OVER here for Brown, who has cleared 22.5 points in nine of his 14 playoff games, including all four of his matchups in the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the return of Kristaps Porzingis could eat into Brown’s usage, I don’t expect KP to return to his normal role in his first game back from a calf injury. Brown has played a ton of minutes, clearing 40 in three of his last five games, and he’s taken at least 17 shots in 11 of 14 games this postseason. 

JB has some serious value at this number ahead of Game 1. 

Jrue Holiday may not win an ECF MVP or Finals MVP, but he has been a massive difference maker in his first season in Boston.

Holiday’s defensive prowess makes him a staple in Joe Mazzulla’s rotation, and dating back to the second round he’s really stuffed the stat sheet overall. 

Holiday is averaging 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game over his last seven games, clearing 22.5 PRA in six of those contests. 

I imagine Holiday will draw the assignment on either Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving, and he should play heavy minutes in Game 1. Betting on Boston props is a little volatile since we don’t know Porzingis’ usage, but this number has dropped significantly for Holiday compared to the 25.5 and 26.5’s that we saw in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

The only NBA champion on the Boston roster should continue his strong play in Game 1. 

This week, it has felt like the trendy pick is to take the points with Dallas, who had a tougher road to the NBA Finals.

I’m going the other way. 

An interesting trend for Game 1 of the NBA Finals surfaced this week, showing that since 2005, the favorite is 16-3 ATS in Game 1. 

Celtics are currently 6.5-pt favorites in Game 1 of the NBA Finals vs. Mavericks.

Since 2005, favorites in G1 of the finals are 16-3 ATS, including 21-9 ATS over the last 30 years ⤵️

I think that bodes well for a Boston team that covered in two of its three Game 1s so far this postseason and was 37-4 straight up at home in the regular season. The C’s also posted a 26-21-2 against the spread record as home favorites this season, winning those games by an average margin of victory of 14.4 points.

I have a lot of respect for the run Dallas made, but Jason Kidd’s team has struggled in Game 1s since he took over, going 1-5 straight up and losing four of those five games by seven or more points. 

Boston – the best team in the NBA all season long – has been disrespected in my eyes entering this series. It went 12-2 on its run to the Finals and easily posted the best net rating of any team in the playoffs. 

I’ll lay the points with the C’s in Game 1.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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Peter is a senior editor for Sports Illustrated Betting. He has worked as a writer and editor for BetSided, NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering the NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, and more. He is a hoops fanatic with a soft spot for his New York Knicks.

Follow @peterdewey2