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NBA Best Bets Of The Day (6/14)

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Welcome to Hoops with Noops! Unfortunately, like all things, the NBA Finals must come to an end, and it seems like that end is near. The Boston Celtics hold a lead that no team in NBA history has ever lost and stand on the precipice of another championship. They have been close to a title for the last few seasons and have faced constant doubts about their ability to be great in big moments.

Admittedly, there hasn’t been many tight spots they have had to play through, but that doesn’t belie their postseason success. The Celtics have lost only two games in the playoffs, which few teams have ever done. If they win Friday, Boston will be just the eighth team in NBA history to win 80-plus games in the regular season and playoffs combined with 20 or fewer losses. Whether you think this team deserves to be listed among the very best teams of all time, you have to admit they’ve had one of the best seasons of all time.

Honestly, I hope Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving find a way to ruin things a bit and extend the series by winning Friday. Let’s review the last game, see how the odds have adjusted, and try to find some value in the betting markets.

NBA Best Bets for Friday

Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics

Current Line – Celtics -1, 210.5
My Projection – Celtics 106, Mavericks 105
Key Injuries – Kristaps Porzingis is questionable

Game 3 was a nightmare for the Mavericks. For the first time in the series, they took the lead into halftime after holding the Celtics to just 50 in the first two quarters. Boston did win the third quarter by 16 points, but Dallas fought back and were down just three points with a little more than six minutes left in the game. Two minutes later, still down only three points, Luka Doncic picked up his sixth foul and left the game. The Celtics outscored the Mavericks 13-9 to close out the win and take a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the NBA Finals. Kyrie Irving scored 35 points, seven more than he scored in Games 1 and 2 combined. Dereck Lively II had a double-double and Dallas was +6 points in his 30 minutes on the floor. Luka did foul out, but the Mavericks were +9 points in his 38 minutes. Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play. Despite all of that Dallas lost for the third consecutive time and are on the brink of elimination from the NBA Finals.

Game 3, with the knowledge that Porzingis would not play, closed with the Mavericks favored by three points and the total set at 213.5. The spread has moved 2 to 4 points depending on where you look. Some books have the Celtics -1 and some have the Mavericks -1. It seems like Celtics -1 is more prevalent and the line at sharper shops. This is a good example of how little the market values moving the spread across the 0, aka moving from -1 to +1 or from +1 to -1. The adjustment could be due to the status of Porzingis who is “fighting like hell to play” in Game 4 or the market has moved the number simply because Boston has been the much better team through three games. The total has been adjusted downward like it has after every game in this series. Pace has held fairly steady around 92 possessions per 48 minutes, but games are averaging 202 points with a high of 205 points. I agree with the adjustments and have the same projection I had for Game 3, which makes my numbers virtually identical to the current odds.

I don’t see any value in the full game markets, but thankfully sportsbooks offer a diverse set of options beyond the main markets. Jayson Tatum, despite his Game 3 performance, has been more of a rebounder and passer than a scorer in the postseason. He hasn’t attacked much in the post or the midrange and is shooting threes and attacking the basket which are efficient shots but ones that defenses are prepared to try to stop. This has caused him to shoot less effectively and shoot less free throws than he normally would. The FTN model projects Jayson Tatum to score 24.22 points, he’s averaging 25.2 points per game in the playoffs, and the books are hanging his point total at 27.5. Once again, I’ll take the under on Jayson Tatum’s point prop.

Bet

Jayson Tatum Under 27.5 Points (-108, DraftKings Sportsbook)

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