Mavericks vs. Celtics Preview: Where to Find Betting Value on Over/Under

Action Network analyst Austin Wang breaks down Sunday’s NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics.

Mavericks vs. Celtics Odds

Mavericks Odds +5.5
Celtics Odds -5.5
Over/Under 216.5
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Two of the hottest NBA teams collide Sunday when the Dallas Mavericks take on the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden.

Both teams have followed similar paths this season. Each had some front-office changes and hired a new head coach during the offseason, with Jason Kidd and Ime Udoka taking over the helm of the Mavericks and Celtics, respectively.

They both had disappointing starts to the season as well, but have since turned things around.

These teams have clawed their way back and are the fifth seed in their respective conferences. Both are known for their strong, disciplined defense and slow pace of play.

And both coming into this game with plenty of momentum, so which team will prevail in this spot? Let’s break down this matchup below.

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Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have won and covered in 12 of their previous 15 games. They are on the second game of a five-game road trip out to the East coast. After facing the Celtics, they’ll have to battle the Nets and 76ers in their upcoming games.

The Mavericks bounced back well last game in a 113-100 win over the Houston Rockets. They put up a pitiful performance the game before in a blowout loss against the Knicks, where they shot only 6 for 44 from behind the arc, so it was a nice game to get themselves right.

Dwight Powell tied a career high with 26 points and added 12 rebounds to take advantage of a Rockets team without Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate. Robert Williams and Al Horford will be a much taller task for the Mavericks’ frontcourt.

The injury report could be lengthy for the Mavericks. Jalen Brunson (right thigh contusion) and Dorian Finney-Smith (right arm contusion) are questionable for the game. Marquese Chriss, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Theo Pinson remain sidelined.

Spencer Dinwiddie will likely get another start if Brunson sits again. He has played extremely well since being traded to Dallas. He gives the team another ball handler and playmaker, which takes some pressure off of Luka Doncic.

As a result, Doncic’s shooting and play has improved. However, he’ll have Marcus Smart and Derrick White hounding him all night and could lead to some struggles.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have won 16 of their previous 18 games. Ironically, the two losses came against bottom feeders of the Eastern Conference in Indiana and Detroit.

The Celtics’ chances to improve their spot in the Eastern Conference standings is much more likely than the Mavericks’ situation out west. Through Saturday’s games, the Celtics are only 3.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed.

In their last game, the Celtics beat the Pistons in a 114-103 win. I want to emphasize the Celtics held the Pistons to only two field goals in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics have upped their offensive proficiency of late. Since the All-Star break, the Celtics are ranked second in Offensive Rating (120.1) and Net Rating (8.8) overall.

However, those numbers could be inflated due to a soft schedule and playing some poor defensive teams. The Mavericks’ stifling defense will be the toughest task they have faced in a while.

There are no notable names on the injury report, so we should see the typical starting five and rotation. Jayson Tatum has scored 30-plus points in five consecutive games and has been on a ridiculous tear.

Again, those numbers might be misleading against some bad defensive teams. Also, with the heavy minutes he has been playing, there could be some regression coming.

Mavericks-Celtics Pick

Those that follow my weekly NBA totals market update will know the Mavericks and Celtics are two of the most prolific teams for unders. As of Sunday, Dallas games have gone 44-23 (65.7%) to the under and Boston contests have gone 37-29-2 (56.1%) to the under.

In addition, since the 2015-2016 season, games between elite teams (defined as those with a 60% win percentage and greater) after the All-Star break are 113-72-3 (61.1%) to the under, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog.

Both of teams here focus heavily on their defense and play at a slow tempo. So, I anticipate a game with playoff intensity as these teams are fighting for playoff seeding.

That said, my top pick is the total staying under 217.5 points at -120 odds and I would play this down to 215 points.

Pick: Total Under 217.5 (-120)