Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics – March 31, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 31, 2021 6:40 am PDT

Seventh in the west meets seventh in the east, as the Celtics host the Mavericks at the TD Garden in Boston. Although they sit in identical positions within their respected Conferences, their Divisional positions could not be different. The Mavericks top the Southwest Division, while the Celtics are one place above the Atlantic Division’s bottom spot.

Dallas ended a run of three straight defeats against the Celtics when they beat them a little over a month ago in a tightly contested matchup. The only difference between the two teams on the night was their three-point shooting. The Mavericks shot much better from deep, and they hit the winning three-pointer in the very last second to pick up the win. However, the Celtics have dominated things between the two in Boston, winning the previous four games played there.

The Celtics have also dominated proceedings over their last ten meetings with the Mavericks as they have averaged six more points per game. This has predominantly been down to better second-half performances as the average half-time score has been 51-51. One of the telling factors of their victories has been their superior rebounding which they will look to dominate again tonight.

Here is my Mavericks vs. Celtics betting preview.

Mavericks vs. Celtics Match Odds

Mavericks -1.5-110
Celtics +1.5-110
Mavericks To Win-116
Celtics To Win-102
Over 225.5 Points-110
Under 225.5 Points-110

The bookmakers have found it hard to separate these two, so much so that they initially installed the Celtics as the favorites, but most of the money has come for the Mavericks. Presumably, this is because, in such a close match, punters want to go with the best value. The points total looks a little high and could offer more value than the game odds.

When they met a month ago the Celtics, were the favorites and had to give the Mavericks a 2.5-point lead. The points total was also a couple of points lower, and they failed to reach that target, highlighting the value in tonight’s points total even more.

The Celtics have a poor record as the underdogs when facing west coast opposition as they have only won two of the eight games played as such.

Mavericks Analysis

The Mavericks have been inconsistent over their previous 11 games, as only once have they won back-to-back games during that period. They can’t seem to string two similar performances together right now. They appear to either win comfortably or lose comfortably; there is no in-between with them. This means it is essential for them to get off to a quick start in games.

Their record on the road is decent as they have won 13 and lost 11 of their 24 away fixtures this season. They have recently performed slightly better on the road and have picked up three wins from their previous four road trips. Their only defeat during that time was against the Pelicans. They trailed by 15 points after the first period and struggled to get back on terms, again highlighting the need to start well.

Here are the latest betting trends for Dallas:

Against The Spread

  • Dallas is 3-6 in their previous nine games against Boston.
  • The Mavericks have won four of their last six matches.
  • They have only lost two of their last six games against teams from the Atlantic Division.

Points Total

  • The total has gone under in 12 of their previous 17 games.
  • Four of their last five matches against Eastern Conference opposition have gone under the betting total.

Other Pointers

  • Dallas is 13-7 in their previous 20 matches.
  • The Mavericks have only won two of their previous nine games against the Celtics.

These two teams are not only closely matched by their rankings, but they are also closely matched in attack as they both averaged 112 points per game.

The Mavericks have a respectable field goal percentage of 47%, which they will need to maintain to win tonight. This is especially key seen as the Celtics have dominated the battle on the boards over recent games between them. Dallas is amongst the worst offensive rebounders in the league this season, highlighting the need to be accurate even more. They are also ranked last for steals in the NBA this season, so if they don’t rebound well, they could spend a lot of tonight without the ball.

They like to drive the ball to the basket as often as possible, which is highlighted by the fact that they don’t make many assists but have one of the lowest turnover counts in the league. Therefore, the Celtics will need to defend well around the key and remained disciplined in their shape.

Dallas has performed slightly better on the road in attack, and they have averaged a couple of points extra per game. In what is expected to be a closely fought contest, this could be vital.

The Mavericks have a marginally better defense that would be deemed above average this season.

Dallas’ Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic is having the season of his life, and he is up on almost all of his career averages. He spent a couple of games on the side-line recently, and although he scored 25 points on his return against the Thunder last time out, the Mavericks lost the game, so it wasn’t the return he would have been hoping for. Nevertheless, he was the difference between the two teams when they last met as it was he who hit the winning shot with one second to go.

The Mavericks will be without Redick and Cauley-Stein tonight, while Terry missed the game with the Thunder and remains a doubt.

Celtic’s Analysis

The Celtics come into this game in poor form, having only won three of their previous nine games. It did appear that things were beginning to pick up when they posted back-to-back victories over the Bucks and the Thunder, but a defeat against the Pelicans last time out has halted their momentum. The Celtics trailed by 17 points going into the final quarter and fought valiantly but ended up losing by six points in the end. This was the first game that had fans attend at the TD Garden, and it appears the pressure of the small crowd got the better of the Celtics. It will be interesting to see how they react tonight.

Generally, the Celtics have been good at home this season as they have won 13 and lost eight of their 21 games played in Boston. However, they have only won one of their previous four home fixtures against the struggling Magic.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

Against The Spread

  • They have won four of their last six games.
  • Boston has lost four of their previous five matches against Western Conference opposition.
  • The Celtics have only won one of their last six games against teams based in the Southwest Division.

Points Total

  • Six of their previous nine games against Dallas have gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their last five home matches has failed to go under the points total.
  • Their previous five games played on a Wednesday have all gone over the betting total.

The Celtics have an average offense this season which, as previously stated, matches up well against the Mavericks attack as they are ranked 16th and 17th in the league.

Boston’s most significant asset has been their three-point shooting which surprisingly is the main reason they lost to Dallas last time out.

Their defense has been hit and miss this season which is why they are ranked 15th, bang smack in the middle of the league. However, they have defended better at home, which is a good thing as the Mavericks attack better on the road.

The Celtics could have Romeo Langford back tonight, which would be a massive boost for them. Langford has missed the entire season so far as he returns from a severe wrist injury.

Thompson and Ojeleye will miss tonight’s game, but the Celtics are hopeful that they could have both Langford and Brownback tonight. This would not only be good for the team in terms of increasing their ability, but it would get the fans onside as they left the TD Garden disappointed last time out against New Orleans.

Mavericks vs. Celtics Betting Pick

Pick
  • Under 225.5 Points
    -110

The Celtics appear to be a perfect match for the Mavericks as they are strong where Dallas is weakest. However, given their poor form, I can’t bring myself to pick them just yet. As previously highlighted, they could see a lot of the ball tonight, and I believe they could be cautious in their approach as they won’t want to make many mistakes tonight as they look to win back the small but frustrated TD Garden fan allowance.

I will pick under the points total for tonight’s game. They have averaged a combined total of 208 points in their previous ten meetings, which backs up the pick.

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