Dallas Mavericks: The Preseason Long Shot Eyeing NBA Glory

In an unexpected turn of events, the Dallas Mavericks stand on the brink of making NBA history as one of the biggest preseason long shots to win the title in the past 35 years. The betting public is rallying behind them, with approximately 80% of bets placed at U.S. sportsbooks this week favoring the Mavericks to upset the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, who are only the third Eastern Conference champions to be favored in the Finals over the last 24 years, face a determined underdog.

As of Thursday, the Celtics were -225 favorites at Bet ahead of Game 1 in Boston, with the Mavericks listed as +180 underdogs in the series. The Celtics were also favored by 6.5 points for Game 1.

The Mavericks began their season with 25-1 odds to win the title, which ballooned to as high as 50-1 at some sportsbooks in January. During the regular season, Dallas was the underdog in 42 games, more than any team to reach the Finals in the last 24 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information. However, strategic upgrades at the trade deadline and an impressive playoff run have catapulted them into the Finals.

Conversely, the Celtics have been the consensus favorites to win the title all season. They were underdogs in just three games, tied for the fewest of any team to reach the Finals in the last 24 years. Throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, they were favored by at least seven points in each game.

Luka Doncic: Leading the Charge

The current focus for Luka Doncic is on leading the Mavericks to a successful series against the Celtics, potentially securing his first NBA championship. Doncic has been a powerhouse, averaging 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in 17 postseason games, marking the longest playoff run of his career and his second Western Conference finals appearance in three seasons.

Reflecting on reaching the NBA Finals, Doncic said, “Amazing. First time here. Hopefully it’s not the last game. But never take it for granted. You never know if you are going to come back, so just enjoy the experience.”

Looking Ahead: Olympic Aspirations

Once the NBA Finals conclude, Doncic faces a quick turnaround if he intends to participate in the pre-Olympic qualifier tournament in Piraeus, Greece, from July 2-7. On NBA Finals media day, he addressed his plans to compete for the Slovenian national team. Depending on the condition of his knee, which is managing a sprain, Doncic plans to help Slovenia secure an Olympic berth.

“Yeah, I think we’ll see how my knee is. But if it’s good, I’m going to go play, yeah,” Doncic confirmed.

An estimate suggested that Doncic could play nearly 95 games by the time the NBA Finals end. However, the Slovenian star corrected this, noting, “More games. You forgot, what was it, World Cup before the season (smiling).”

Doncic has consistently played for the Slovenian national team whenever possible, including during the FIBA World Cup in Okinawa and Manila, where he helped achieve a seventh-place finish—the best in the program’s history.

Slovenian National Team: The Road to the Olympics

Doncic is included on Slovenia’s 16-man roster, featuring notable players such as Klemen Prepelic, Jaka Blazic, Zoran Dragic, Mike Tobey, Vlatko Cancar, Aleksej Nikolic, Ziga Dimec, Gregor Hrovat, and Edo Muric. Cancar is making a return from an ACL tear.

Slovenia’s journey begins with a match against Croatia on July 2 in Piraeus, followed by a game against New Zealand on July 4 in Group B. Doncic’s skills will be crucial as they navigate a group that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is reportedly committed to competing for Greece.


As the Dallas Mavericks gear up for the NBA Finals, they carry the hopes of their fans and the betting public who believe in their potential to make history. Luka Doncic stands at the forefront of this endeavor, determined to lead his team to victory while also keeping an eye on his Olympic aspirations. The upcoming games will test their mettle, but with their impressive playoff run and strategic upgrades, the Mavericks are ready to challenge the odds.


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