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Jaylen Brown (7) of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Jayson Tatum (0), as we round up the 2024 NBA Finals consensus picks and expert predictions ahead of Game 1 on Thursday at TD Garden in Boston.
Jaylen Brown (7) of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Jayson Tatum (0) against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 21, 2024 in Boston. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images via AFP.

With Game 1 of the NBA Finals starting tonight, we've rounded up the 2024 NBA Finals consensus picks and expert predictions for Mavericks vs. Celtics with the best NBA odds.

Ahead of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, everyone has an opinion on which side to back in this series. Most favor the Celtics, who enter Game 1 as 6.5-point home favorites to beat the Mavericks tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC) at TD Garden.

Boston's dominance is underscored by its standing as the consensus favorite in the NBA championship odds. The Celtics have secured victories in 12 of their last 14 postseason matchups. This sentiment is echoed in our NBA Finals odds & betting preview.

However, there are still those backing the underdog Mavericks, including one of our NBA experts who thinks the Mavs can capture their first title since 2011.

To complement our NBA Finals expert picks, here's a look at the top consensus NBA picks from across the industry, as well as the best odds via our best NBA betting sites.

NBA Finals odds to win series, MVP

MarketMavericks Celtics
Series winner+188 via FanDuel-210 via Caesars
Series spread+1.5 games (-120 via Caesars)-1.5 games (+106 via FanDuel
Series total gamesOver 5.5 (-165 via BetMGM)Under 5.5 (+138 via FanDuel)
Finals MVP favoriteLuka Doncic (+225 via bet365)Jayson Tatum (-115 via Caesars)

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NBA Finals consensus picks

ExpertPublicationSeries prediction
Andy BaileyBleacher ReportMavericks in seven
Dan ShaughnessyBoston GlobeMavericks in seven
Andrew CallahanBoston HeraldCeltics in six
Zack CoxBoston HeraldCeltics in six
Tim CowlishawDallas Morning NewsMavericks in five
Mike CurtisDallas Morning NewsMavericks in six
Zach LoweESPNCeltics in six
Jason McIntyreFOX SportsMavericks in six
Steve AschburnerNBA.comCeltics in six
John SchuhmannNBA.comCeltics to win
Michael C. WrightNBA.comMavericks in seven
Greg AnthonyNBA TVMavericks to win
Stephen NohSporting NewsCeltics in six
Peter DeweySports IllustratedCeltics in six
James Edwards IIIThe AthleticCeltics in five
John HollingerThe AthleticCeltics in six
Jon KrawczynskiThe AthleticMavericks in seven
J.E. SkeetsThe AthleticMavericks in seven
Howard BeckThe RingerCeltics in six
Danny ChauThe RingerCeltics in six
Michael PinaThe RingerCeltics in five
Charles BarkleyTNTCeltics to win
Shaquille O'NealTNTMavericks to win
Kenny SmithTNTCeltics to win
Jeff ZillgittUSA TodayCeltics in six
Dan DevineYahoo! SportsCeltics in six

Top NBA Finals predictions

Zach Lowe (ESPN)

The Mavs can win this. They have the best player, and if Irving sizzles, they could have the best two. In that scenario, they're champs. With Porzingis out or limited, I'd pick the Mavs. But assuming Porzingis can give this a real go, Boston should have barely enough answers at both ends. It knows what it is up against -- that it will have to summon a new energy and focus, and reach a higher level than was required in the East. Everything for so many years has been leading to this moment -- this chance.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)  

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Howard Beck (The Ringer)

By now, no one should underestimate the Mavericks. They have the star power, the firepower, and the defense to compete with anyone. But the Celtics just have more of everything—shooting, playmaking, versatile defenders, the ability to play big or small—as well as previous Finals experience. I’ll go Boston in six.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

Dan Devine (Yahoo! Sports)

The toughest time Dallas had in these playoffs came against Oklahoma City. With Porzingis back, Boston is basically a bigger, better and even more balanced version of the Thunder — one that also has much more experience on the big stage and more high-level shot creators and shot makers. Luka will put the fear of God into them, but the Celtics have been the best team in the NBA since the season started; they’ll be its best team when it ends, too.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

Andy Bailey (Bleacher Report)

Dallas has the two best closers left standing in Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Those two are surrounded with size (thanks in large part to the acquisitions of Gafford and Washington), defensive versatility and talent that knows it's there to lift the stars. When these games get tight (and they will) Luka and Kyrie will make just enough more plays than Tatum, Brown and White to win this series in seven.

Pick: Mavericks in seven (+800 via DraftKings)

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Tim Cowlishaw (Dallas Morning News)

Dallas goes where Luka goes, and Luka is the best player in the league today. Certainly, he’s the best player in the league still active. I think the Celtics can do a better job on Kyrie Irving than the Wolves did — probably with Jrue Holiday guarding him — but there’s not that much to be done against Luka ... Boston has been just as good as Dallas (maybe better) at closing out games, but I’ll still take Doncic with the ball in his hands for the final shot over Tatum, Brown and the rest. Sometimes teams just get on a roll, and Dallas is on one.

Pick: Mavericks in five (+1500 via BetMGM)

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Mike Curtis (Dallas Morning News)

The Celtics will be the toughest opponent the Mavs have faced during these playoffs, and the same can be said for Boston because of Dallas’ superstar backcourt and versatility on both ends of the floor. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are in a good rhythm, and if their offense is taken away, they can resort to a potent lob game with their two big men, Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II. I don’t foresee many blowouts, and I think almost every game will go the distance, but I’m choosing the Mavericks in six games.

Pick: Mavericks in six (+550 via FanDuel)

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Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe)

Mavericks in 7. Please don’t be offended. It’s Jayson Tatum’s time. It’s Jaylen Brown’s time. The Celtics have the best roster, won the most games, and are 12-2 in the playoffs. But I still don’t trust them and have nightmares about Kyrie Irving winning it here.

Pick: Mavericks in seven (+800 via DraftKings)

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Zack Cox (Boston Herald)

The Celtics are so deep, and can threaten opponents in so many ways, that there isn’t one single path to victory for them in these Finals. But it’s on Tatum and Brown — who both are seeking to vanquish demons from prior postseason failures — to lead the way. If they play to their potential, meaning both outplay everybody but Doncic, Boston will hoist Banner 18.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

Peter Dewey (Sports Illustrated)

Dallas’ offense doesn’t have the ability to spread the floor like Boston’s does, and while I believe Doncic is the best player in this series, Boston has shown all season long that it is the best team. I don’t think Dallas gets run out of the building like Boston did to the East, but given the Celtics’ ability to win on the road in this postseason – and past postseasons – with this core, I think they clean this up in six games.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

Stephen Noh (Sporting News)

This is going to be Boston's biggest test of the playoffs. A convincing win should dispel notions that the Celtics had a Mickey Mouse path to a ring. The Mavericks probably won't let that happen. They went through a minefield to get to the Finals, and they've proven that they're a great two-way team ... Doncic is going to make this a close series. He's too good to stop. But the Celtics have the edge on both ends of the floor.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

Steve Aschburner (NBA.com)

This is the sixth time in eight years the Celtics have reached at least the conference finals and their second Finals in three years. Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have achieved almost everything short of a ring. Coach Joe Mazzulla’s job status was shaky in 2023 and Horford can’t wait to get off that “most playoff games without a title” list. Urgency alone doesn’t win championships, but urgency + talent + roster depth + experience + continuity + home court should be enough.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)  

Michael C. Wright (NBA.com)

Boston hasn’t been truly tested this postseason. No Jimmy Butler in the first round. Donovan Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton missed games in the subsequent rounds. Not only is this Dallas team mostly whole, but it’s also peaking behind a pair of the league’s best closers.

Pick: Mavericks in seven (+800 via DraftKings)

Jason McIntyre (FOX Sports)

I’d like to see a game before making a pick on the series. I’ll ride with Dallas — again — but it does seem like a tall order to expect them to go into a fourth straight playoff series without home court advantage and come out on top. The Mavs, however, have been delivering big-time in the playoffs, going 6-1 straight up and 6-1 against the spread (ATS) as underdogs. The Celtics, meanwhile, are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games because the market continues to price them based on their regular-season dominance.

Pick: Mavericks in six (+550 via FanDuel)

Jeff Zillgitt (USA Today)

The Celtics have too many offensive weapons and too many defensive options so unless their offense takes a dip for an extended time, the Celtics will win the title.

Pick: Celtics in six (+500 via bet365)

NBA Finals picks for Game 1, series

Game 1 predictions

Series predictions

How to bet on the NBA Finals

Before placing any bets, familiarize yourself with the basic types of bets you can place on NBA games from prop bets to spread bets to Over/Under bets. Figuring out what you want to bet on is almost as important as deciding which best sports betting apps you'll place your bets at. From there, study the teams, players, and recent performances. Consider factors like injuries, team dynamics, and home-court advantage. 

Look at key player matchups and how they might influence the game. For instance, if one team has a dominant center and the other struggles with interior defense, that could be a key factor. Consider how each team’s strengths align with the other team’s weaknesses. For example, a team that excels in three-point shooting could have an advantage over a team that struggles to defend the perimeter.

Injuries can significantly impact the outcome of a game. Keep up-to-date with the latest injury reports and player statuses. Even the absence of a key role player can shift the dynamics of the game. Examine how the teams have been playing in recent games. Teams peaking at the right time often carry momentum into the Finals. Look at win streaks, defensive and offensive efficiencies, and how they’ve fared against strong competition.

By incorporating these strategies into your NBA Finals betting approach, you can make more informed and potentially more successful bets. Always remember to bet responsibly and within your means.

2024 NBA Finals schedule

GameLocationDate
1TD Garden (Boston)Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
2TD Garden (Boston)Sunday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
3American Airlines Center (Dallas)Wednesday, June 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
4American Airlines Center (Dallas)Friday, June 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
5TD Garden (Boston)Monday, June 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
6American Airlines Center (Dallas)Thursday, June 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
7TD Garden (Boston)Sunday, June 23 at 8 p.m. ET (ABC)

NBA Finals FAQ

Who is favored to win the NBA Finals?

The Boston Celtics (-210) are the clear favorites to win the 2024 NBA Finals over the Dallas Mavericks (+188). Those -210 odds represent an implied probability of 67.74% that the Celtics win their first NBA title since 2008, and their record-setting 18th championship in franchise history.

When do the NBA Finals start?

The 2024 NBA Finals begin with Game 1 on Thursday, June 6 with tipoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET from TD Garden in Boston.

When do the NBA Finals end?

The 2024 NBA Finals will extend through at least Game 4, which tips off Friday, June 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET from American Airlines Center in Dallas. Should this series go the distance, Game 7 would tip off on Sunday, June 23 from TD Garden in Boston.

Who won the NBA Finals last year?

The Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat in five games to win their first NBA championship in franchise history.

Here are our best NBA betting sites:

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