Celtics vs Mavericks: The Panel's Picks & Best Bets For The NBA Finals Game 2

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Celtics vs Mavericks: The Panel's Picks & Best Bets For The NBA Finals Game 2

Our Celtics vs. Mavericks Game 2 Picks

The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks opened their NBA Finals series on Thursday night.

Boston took a 1-0 series lead behind a strong effort at home - which was expected. Holding Dallas to a mere 89 points was not. 

The Celtics were relentless on offense, especially during the first quarter. Boston outscored Dallas 37-20, and Kristaps Porzingis's return sparked the Celtics. 

The Center poured in 20 points on Thursday night in a mere 21 minutes of action, allowing Boston to spread its offense while playing little defense.

Dallas never truly got going in Game 1. Sure, Luka Doncic led all scorers with 30 points, but Kyrie Irving went 6-for-19 from the field. 

Worse, the Mavericks shot 25.9% from three-point range while Boston made 16 shots from beyond the arc.  

Can Dallas pick up the pieces, or will Boston easily hold serve in Game 2, which will be played on Sunday night (8:00 pm ET, ABC, ESPN+)? 

Our team at The Panel has mulled over the stats, key players, and guides ahead of Game 2 to provide their predictions from sports betting sites.  

Boston Spreading Out Again To Cover Game 2

Boston knows an early kick like Game 1 is vital, but they must play better in the second half on Sunday night. 

The Celtics coasted a little as Doncic and Dallas improved defensively as the game went on. 

The Celtics are -275 on the moneyline with NBA betting sites.

That is because the spread has gone up from 6.5 to 7 points. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did not have to carry the full brunt of the offense.

If Dallas cannot figure out how to slow down Porzingis off the bench, Game 2 may be a carbon copy of Game 1.

Furthermore, Dallas must make their shots. Not all of Kyrie Irving’s 13 misses were on contested looks. 

There were openings. The Mavericks did get the deficit down to eight points in the fourth quarter before one last Boston run.

Jason Kidd and Dallas will also try to adjust for Porzingis. The known is that the Center will play limited minutes (calf injury), but any double-digit run will be fatal to the Mavericks’ chances Sunday night.  

Dallas Get The Public Vote

Many believe that the Mavericks may be a bit worn down, but Boston has to watch for Luka Doncic, while Dallas must try to slow down the Celtics, especially early. 

Bookmakers believe in Boston a little more, while the public longs for Dallas. Note that most of the main numbers are the same as those in Game 1. If it is not broken, the bookies figure there's no need to fix it.

Then there are those seven points. Home teams have fared well with a spread between 3.5 and 9.5 points, with a nearly 60% connect rate against the spread since 2003 (44-31-3).

Boston plays well with a good finishing kick and beginning at home, where their net rating (+11.6) ranks tops in the NBA. Look at how the Celtics played Game 2 in the last round versus Indiana (won by 16). 

The Panel believes Game 2 will start out close, but one in which Boston should again win and hold serve. The Celtics will cover again on Sunday night.

The Panel Pick 1: Boston Celtics To Cover 7 Point Spread @ -110 With DraftKings

Kyrie Irving To Atone For Game 1

This will be a considerable challenge for Kyrie Irving. Boston harassed the shooting guard early and often on Thursday night. 

Kristaps Porzingis, in particular, altered several of Irving’s shots early. That seemed to knock Irving off some.   

Dallas needs the second part of its dynamic duo more than ever. 

While Luka Doncic almost single-handedly started the Dallas comeback (the Mavericks were down by 29 at one point), Irving repeatedly could not get going. He has adjusted before. Look at the last series against Minnesota.    

The fourth quarter in Game 4 versus the Timberwolves comes to mind. After a slow Game 3, Irving responded with 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting. 

If Boston tries to bottle up Doncic, Irving will get more open looks. He has to drain a few more shots. 

Expect the Guard to put up on Sunday night.

The Panel Pick 2: Kyrie Irving To Score 25+ Points @ +115 With FanDuel

Boston Double Dipping On The Quarter Spread

Game 2 may be quite like Game 1. However, the Celtics are only laying 2.5 points during the first quarter of action.  

While most will be again on the many player and game prop totals, assists, and such, why not take a shot at the spread once more? 

Boston likes to come out fast. It showed in Game 1 with their 23-5 run, arguably putting the quarter away and, ultimately, the game. 

Sunday night expects to be a little different and closer. However, the Celtics pace is just that much quicker during the first 12 minutes. 

This allows some leeway as Boston might be the first to 30 points. Do not push for 35+ points like in Game 1. Currently, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are in the +140 to +150 range for Boston in the race for 30.     

Given the Celtics’ penchant for early offense, the 2.5-point quarter spread is at a solid price. Double dipping for once may not hurt as much on Sunday night.

The Panel Pick 3: Boston To Cover 2.5 Point 1st Quarter Spread @ -105 With BetMGM 

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