Who knew the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks would be battling for NBA supremacy?
We're only two-and-a-half weeks into the 2019-20 season, but the 7-1 Celtics sit alone in first place overall entering Monday's game against the Mavericks, who are right behind Boston at 6-3.
The C's have some adversity to overcome, though, as forward Gordon Hayward fractured his left hand in Saturday's win over the San Antonio Spurs and likely will miss some time.
We've also hit some adversity in our Celtics betting picks over the last few contests. But we're still in the green at 10-7-1 overall, and we're ready to bounce back like pre-injury Hayward.
Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total picks for Celtics-Mavs, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.
(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)
Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Hayward will be missed over the next few weeks, and Luka Doncic is playing like an MVP candidate. But the Celtics (-180) are 5-0 as favorites this season and have enough depth between Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to keep that streak alive.
Point Spread: Enes Kanter's expected return couldn't come at a better time against a Mavs team that ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounding. Kanter and Robert Williams help keep Kristaps Porzingis and Dwight Powell in check, while Marcus Smart pesters Doncic enough for the Celtics (-4) to cover at home and improve to 6-2-1 against the spread this season.
Point Total: The Celtics exploded for 135 points on Saturday despite losing Hayward. With a healthy Kanter in the mix against a Mavericks defense allowing 111.9 points per game (11th-highest in the NBA), the OVER on a 219.5 point spread seems like the play here.
Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 10-7-1
NBA Locks of the Night
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs (-11): Sure, this is a lot of points. But the Spurs are retiring Tony Parker's jersey before the game, and the Grizzlies have lost their last two games by a combined 48 points. Expect San Antonio to roll and cover at home.
Toronto Raptors (+10) at Los Angeles Clippers: The Raptors are on the second night of an L.A. back-to-back, while Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers have been on ice since Thursday. Assuming they didn't hit the town too hard Sunday night, Leonard's former teammates should have enough of a revenge factor to keep this one close.
Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 8-4
Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.
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