Matchup: Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks
Date/Time: November 3, 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports Southwest
NBA Betting Odds From Bookmaker Sportsbook
Spread: Dallas -9.5
After opening the season at home with a victory, the Boston Celtics dropped their first road game to the Houston Rockets. Their trip around the Lone Star State continues on Monday night with a date in Dallas against the Mavericks. The Mavericks have topped the century mark in all three of their games and have won two of those contests. The Celtics scored 121 in their win over the Nets and just 90 in their loss to the Rockets. Oddsmakers are looking for a high-scoring affair as the Mavericks are around a 10-point favorite on their home floor.
The Boston Celtics offense looks a lot different with Rajon Rondo back on the floor. The Celtics’ floor general only played 30 games last season due to injury, but has led the team in both rebounds and assists in each of their first two games. The Celtics are one of the younger teams in the NBA and that’s been evident in their season stats so far. Rookies James Young and Marcus Smart have seen some time on the floor alongside second-year player Kelly Olynyk and third-year player Jared Sullinger. Elder statesman, in a relative sense, Jeff Green leads the team with 17 points per game.
Brad Stevens certainly learned a lot in his first NBA season, leading the Celtics to a 25-57 record. The Celtics were one of the worst shooting teams in the league in what was clearly a rebuilding year. The roster was composed of journeymen and high draft picks and went through a lot of growing pains. In Stevens’s second year, improvement should be expected, but it’s not a certainty. Marcus Smart has struggled in his transition to the NBA and the Celtics are struggling to get to the free throw line fort he second straight season.
The task at hand for the Celtics is very difficult against the Dallas Mavericks. The lone loss on Dallas’s ledger is a one-point defeat at San Antonio. Entering play on Sunday night, the Mavericks were leading the NBA in field goal percentage and had made almost 59 percent of their two-point attempts. It seemed like it could take some time for the Mavericks with the additions that they made in the offseason, but that really hasn’t been the case. Chandler Parsons struggled against the Spurs, but has scored over 20 points per game over the last two games and the Mavericks have scored an average of almost 63 points in the first half of their three games.
Where the Mavericks have had trouble is on the defensive end of the floor. The Mavs have allowed over 100 points in each of their three games and they rank among the league’s worst in three-point defense. That normally wouldn’t be a concern in a small sample size, but that problem is a holdover from last season’s team. With older guys like Shawn Marion and Vince Carter replaced by players like Tyson Chandler and increased playing time for Brandan Wright, the Mavericks should find a groove soon.
Free NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks
There are so many ways that this Mavericks team can hurt an opponent because their depth is second to maybe only the San Antonio Spurs. There’s a lot of experience on the floor at any given time and the Celtics are reliant on a couple of players for leadership. The Mavericks don’t have a whole lot of incentive to blow out Boston, so the big number is rather scary, but the Mavericks are still trying to build chemistry on both ends of the floor and that should keep them focused.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.