Warriors Celtics Odds: NBA Finals Betting Strategy, Picks

Written By Eli Hershkovich on May 31, 2022 - Last Updated on June 1, 2022
Warriors Celtics Odds

The 2022 NBA finals odds tip off on Thursday night. Below is our Warriors – Celtics odds breakdown — for Game 1 and the entire series. Click the odds below to place a bet.

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Warriors – Celtics Odds: Series Prices

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Eli Hershkovich

Consider it a trend if you must, but teams coming off a Game 7 win are 32-51 straight-up (38.6%) in the first matchup of the following series. Each of the conference finals included one such result.

Although there are three days in between the Celtics’ conference-clinching win over the Heat and Game 1, my biggest concern revolves around Robert Williams (knee), along with Marcus Smart (ankle) in lesser fashion. They’ll undoubtedly play through their respective injuries, yet their effectiveness throughout isn’t a given ⁠— especially defensively — after undergoing physical attrition in a pair of lengthy series.

Ime Udoka’s squad is known for its top-rated Defensive Efficiency (DE), surrendering 1.05 points per possession and an average of 33.2 points in the paint during the playoffs.

Nevertheless, Boston rarely switches on screens with Williams, and Golden State generates the league’s highest percentage of off-ball action (via ShotQuality). Steve Kerr’s bunch doesn’t run much through the low-post, either, which is Williams’ strength.

While Smart has triggered plenty of defensive success against the Warriors, as Steph Curry has tallied a 29.0% field goal clip with Smart as the closest defender, Golden State’s prowess for constantly accruing matchup advantages via ball screens could force Udoka to modify his approach with “Time Lord.” It’ll be even more concerning early on if Williams is hampered by his lateral quickness.

What’s The Bet?

That isn’t to say the Celtics won’t hang championship banner No. 18. They’re built to handle Golden State’s most-utilized offensive sets because of their length on the wings — Smart included (if he’s his normal self).

Couple that with Jayson Tatum & Co.’s ability to exploit the Warriors’ susceptible isolation defense, exposing Curry and Jordan Poole with ball screens of their own, and the title is there for the taking. Gary Payton II’s potential return from an elbow fracture would improve the Warriors in that regard, but not enough to flip the script.

However, as previously noted, I’m not expecting these positive notions to come to fruition until after the franchises battle to open their first finals matchup since the 1963-64 season. Hopefully, there’s Game 2 value as a result.

Eli’s Warriors – Celtics Odds: Bet Boston spread and/or moneyline if it loses Game 1.

Warriors – Celtics Game 1 Odds:

Mo Nuwwarah

I’ve had this series circled for a couple of weeks now, waiting for my chance to bet the Celtics. I finally get it, and I should be thrilled with my position. When NBA Finals result markets hit the board last week, I shopped around and grabbed Celtics +250 to beat the Warriors. Now that the matchup has come to fruition, I’m in at a far better number than the +130 or so consensus.

And yet, I find myself just shrugging at my seemingly profitable spot. The Celtics looked downright poor at times in Game 6 and Game 7 against the Heat. Tatum’s tremendous shot-making carried them home, as they mostly attempted to gag away Game 7. ShotQuality supports my eye test here, as that metric awarded the Heat a 114-110 victory.

If Boston struggled to get up good looks against the banged-up Heat, how will they fare against a Warriors defense that was even better over the course of the regular season?

On the bright side, the Celtics do match up well here on paper. They have the length on the wing and defensive chops at guard with Smart and Derrick White to cause real problems for Curry. We have seen nasty perimeter defenders like Fred VanVleet stifle him before in the playoffs. Smart certainly fits the bill.

Generally, few teams defend the perimeter better than Boston. Per Cleaning The Glass, they ranked elite in preventing makes from everywhere and above average in preventing attempts in general.

Strength Of Competition And Efficiency

I’m worried about the Celtics’ performance in the clutch. They tried to puke the series away in epic fashion against Miami and generally got outplayed by the short-handed Bucks in several games. The Warriors bring a similar championship steel. They won’t let the moment overwhelm them.

However, I keep coming back to one thing: the teams’ respective paths to the Finals. The Celtics endured a far tougher slate of opponents. One could argue they beat three of the top six or so team en route to this series in Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami. Meanwhile, the Warriors got one of the easiest paths I can remember, beating a Denver team that stood no shot, a Grizzlies team that probably wasn’t ready anyway and lost its best player, and a Dallas team with a mediocre-at-best roster.

Despite this, the Celtics have posted a far better efficiency differential, +7.4 to +5.3 in the playoffs.

Mo’s Warriors – Celtics Odds: I’m just riding with my Celtics +250 ticket, but I don’t mind a play on the Celtics at +130. This is a huge step up in competition for the Warriors. I expect the market is overvaluing them based on their dominance against an awfully weak set of opponents.

Continue the discussion in our Discord betting chat, where bettors discuss all of their favorite NBA futures bets and daily wagers. You can also follow TheLines on Twitter.

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Eli Hershkovich Avatar
Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich