The NBA Finals kick off on Thursday, June 2, 2022, pitting two of the best teams of the 2021-2022 season against each other in a best-of-seven series. Here is a look at the matchup and some bets to watch.
How to Watch: The NBA Finals will air on ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co DIS, and will be able to stream with the Watch ESPN App. Here is a look at the game schedule:
Game 1: June 2, 9 p.m. ET
Game 2: June 5, 8 p.m. ET
Game 3: June 8, 9 p.m. ET
Game 4: June 10, 9 p.m. ET
Game 5: June 13, 9 p.m. ET
Game 6: June 15, 9 p.m. ET
Game 7: June 19, 9 p.m. ET
Games 5, 6 and 7 are if necessary for the best-of-seven series. Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 will be hosted by Golden State and the remaining three will take place in Boston.
The Matchup: The Warriors come into the finals winning the Western Conference as the number-three seed. The Warriors had a 53-29 record during the regular season.
The Boston Celtics won the Eastern Conference as the number-two seed. The Celtics had a 51-31 record during the regular season.
The two teams faced off twice during the season with the Warriors winning a December matchup 111-107 with Steph Curry scoring 30 points and hitting five three-point shots. The Celtics won 110-88 against the Warriors in a March matchup that saw Curry hurt and play only 14 minutes and score only three points.
The Warriors have home court in the playoffs, which has served them well going a perfect 9-0 in the playoffs at home. The Warriors were 31-10 at home during the regular season. This could be a tough obstacle for the Celtics to overcome.
The Warriors are led by Curry who is averaging 25.9 points per game in the playoffs and hitting 38% of his three-point shots.
The Celtics are led by Jayson Tatum who is averaging 27 points per game in the playoffs. Tatum has broken out above 30 in several of the games, but was also held to 10 points on two occasions including each of the last two games. The Celtics are 2-4 in games and Tatum has 25 points or less in the playoffs.
Games that Curry has 25 points or less, the Warriors were 4-2, showing they may be more balanced without their star taking over every game.
Bets to Watch: Game 1 features the Warriors favored by 3.5 points paying -165 odds on a win straight up based on odds from Draftkings Inc DKNG. The Celtics pay +145 for a win in the first game.
The Warriors are averaging 114.5 points per game in the playoffs including strong scoring totals at home putting some value on the 108.5 team total for game 1 at odds of -115.
For the series, the Warriors pay out at odds of -150 to the Celtics at +130. For many, a longer series is expected, which could put value on the Warriors winning 4-2 in the series at +550 or 4-3 in the series at +310. The Celtics winning in seven games pays +650.
Overall odds show the series going five games paying +290, six games at +200 and seven games at +180. A sweep in four games pays +650.
If the Warriors win, it will likely be in large part to Curry leading the team in scoring. Curry to average 25 points per game in the finals and the Warriors to win pays +120.
Tatum is listed as the favorite to lead the series in points at +125 with Curry paying at +150.
The leader in three-point shots made shows Curry at +110, Tatum at +250 and Klay Thompson at +425.
Odds for MVP list has Curry as the favorite at +110 and Tatum close behind at +170. Outside of the top two scorers, the odds are high for another to win with Jaylen Brown paying +1100, Thompson paying +1500 and Draymond Green paying +1800 and all others over +2000. The leading scorer on the winning team has won 12 of the last 14 NBA Finals MVP awards.
Prediction: The Celtics swept the Nets in the first round and then were pushed to seven games versus both the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. The Warriors won 4-1, 4-2 and 4-2 in their three series and went a perfect 9-0 at home.
The Warriors seem like the strong bet here based on those odds and the series could be won in five or six games.
Tatum might lead the series in scoring, but assuming the Warriors win, the finals MVP trophy is likely Curry’s to lose.
Curry should also lead the series in three points made and I think he can average 25 points in the series along with the Warriors winning.
For those nostalgic bettors, “Top Gun” was released in 1986 and “Top Gun: Maverick” was released in 2022. Those two movie release years could have more than a movie title in common with the Celtics winning the NBA Finals in 1986 and are now four games away from doing the same the year of the sequel from Paramount Global Inc PARAPARAA.
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