NBA Finals Series Betting Preview: Celtics vs Warriors

An NBA Finals Nearly 60 Years in the Making

The last time the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors met in the NBA Finals, two giants named Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell ruled the hardcourt. In these 1964 Finals, Chamberlain’s Warriors were no match for the Celtics dynasty that Russell commanded. Now in 2022, the roles have changed as the NBA Finals series betting odds have the Warriors as the favorites while Boston enters as the underdogs.

Celtics vs Warriors Series Info

  • Matchup: Boston Celtics (51-31) vs. Golden State Warriors (53-29)
  • Locations: Chase Center (Golden State), TD Garden (Boston)
  • Series Start: Thursday, 9:00 P.M. ET
  • Broadcast: ABC

Celtics Embrace the Underdog Role

For the first time this postseason, the Boston Celtics will be the underdog. But prior to the start of the playoffs, Boston was nowhere close to being a favorite. Boston opened the NBA season at 20-1 to win the East and reach the NBA Finals.

The team then struggled for the first half of the season and entered 2022 as a 35-1 underdog to reach the NBA Finals. After going on a torrid run to end the season, Boston’s NBA Finals betting odds shortened to 12-1. Boston was only a slight favorite against the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets, however, a four-game sweep made everyone realize how legitimate of a threat Boston was.

But entering the NBA Finals, the public has mostly sided against Boston. The team’s NBA Finals series betting odds opened at even money on the speculative betting market (prior to the Conference Finals). Their series price now floats between the +120 to +140 range. Whatever the case, Boston is not expected to defeat Golden State per the line movement.

Warriors Are a Rebuilt Dynasty

Two seasons filled with roster turnover, locker room drama, and injuries, were not enough to bury the Golden State Warriors. No sir. In fact, the Warriors look better than ever and are giving everyone that 2014-15 vibe when they went on to win their first NBA Championship since 1975.

Golden State is taking plenty of money on the NBA Finals series betting lines and it’s a combination of hype and on-court dominance. The Warriors have looked unmatched in their run to the NBA Finals. They nearly swept Denver and Dallas, who had the two-time MVP in Nikola Jokic and the best player in the playoffs, Luka Doncic, respectively. And they also handled the upstart Grizzlies who were the higher-seeded team. The NBA betting odds finals, will be interesting indeed.

Unlike Boston, Golden State has consistently been a top-five team in the basketball odds to win the NBA title. This is still a franchise that has its core members from its championship-winning years in Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and coach Steve Kerr. And in the place of departed Warriors are ascending stars in Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.

Finals MVP: A Two-Star Race?

Stephen Curry and Jayson Tatum won their respective Conference Finals MVPs and are miles apart from their teammates in terms of odds to win the MVP. Curry (even odds), who has yet to win the prestigious award, is averaging 25.9 points and 6.2 assists in the playoffs. Golden State is 6-1 when he scores at least 30 points.

Tatum (+150) is just 24-years-old and is the leading scorer between the two teams with 27 points per game. He’s also pitching in 6.7 boards and 5.9 assists. Like Curry, Tatum has also had seven games of 30+ points and Boston is 5-2 in these games. Most notably, the Celtics are 7-1 when he shoots at 50% or better.

Two other key contributors in this series, who are longshots on the NBA Finals MVP odds, are Poole (25-1) and White (150-1). Both are their teams’ sixth men but could be the X-Factor when their stars “cancel each other out”. A big game from either could be what swings the series for their team.

NBA Finals Betting Trends and Trivia

The Golden State Warriors are the betting favorites to win Game 1. They opened as 3.5 point favorites, which has been bet up and down but stays at 3.5 points over the Boston Celtics.

The Warriors and Celtics have the third and second-most NBA Finals appearances, respectively. This will be Golden State’s 11th trip to the Finals and Boston’s 21st trip.

NBA Finals series underdogs have won half of the NBA Finals (3-3) beginning with the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ upset over the Warriors in 2016. The other two underdogs to win were Milwaukee last season and the Raptors two seasons ago.

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