How to bet NBA Finals winner, series length, MVP

In their sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight years, Tipico Sportsbook favors the Golden State Warriors at -150 odds against the Boston Celtics. It would be Golden State’s fourth championship in that span, led by a nucleus of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

In the time since the Warriors last won in 2018, the young Celtics have grown up and are more than up to the challenge of this edition of the Warriors. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have a +130 chance of winning it all. While these two are capable of picking up points quickly, the Celtics make their biggest mark on the defensive side of the ball. They finished the regular season with the Warriors for the league’s best defensive rating, and in the playoffs they were even better, conceding just 105.9 points per 100 possessions.

The Warriors weren’t nearly as good defensively in the postseason, but their offensive rating was five points better than they were in the regular season — and five points better than the Celtics. This is one of the areas I think the series will be decided on. Regardless of how good the Celtics can be defensively, Golden State will go into every game confident that at least three of Curry, Thompson, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins can score 15 points. No other team Boston faced this postseason had such offensive depth.

The Celtics themselves can only count on Tatum and Brown consistently hitting that threshold before moving on to Marcus Smart as a less-reliable third option. Against a Warriors defense that is also capable of playing at a high level, they would need to be nearly flawless in execution to win four games. Given her inexperience on this stage, that’s asking a lot.

The Warriors have 123 NBA Finals experience. The Celtics have zero. That’s important, and that’s why I think the Warriors will finish this thing in six games away

Choice of the Prince: Warrior in 6 (+550)

Steph Curry is the best player in the Warriors and quite possibly the best player in this series (although Jayson Tatum is climbing that list quickly). I don’t think he’s the type of player to go beyond himself or the team’s game plan to chase personal awards, but I think he wants to add that award to his mantle and gets perceptive in everything he does be to claim them. It’s not like he can expect more chances.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart likely on assignment to slow him down, Curry won’t garner many unquestioned looks. But great players have risen to the occasion, so I think even in a year where his shot counts have plummeted, Curry is going to stand out from the crowd to get away as MVP.

Choice of the Prince: Stephen Curry (-105)

Photo credit: AP Photo – John Minchillo

The last time we saw these two compete, Smart injured Curry while diving for a loose ball. It was the kind of game that really sums up Smart’s game: rush, reckless abandon, passion (and it may have unintentionally led to that finals match). You can be sure he will bring all of that to this series and if he can slow down Curry these teams are a lot more balanced than people think.

But don’t let the pretty 3-point shooting fool you. Curry also brings a lot of passion to the game, and he’ll let an opponent know with a little shimmy after splashing one in their face. Any idea that someone might disturb or stop him is likely to be annoying, so he’ll make an effort to calm a few people down. If this is a vintage Steph series, the Celtics are done.

Celts: I am Udoka

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Celtics may not have a player with NBA Finals experience, but their head coach does have a little. Udoka was on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio for back-to-back Finals appearances against the Miami Heat in 2013 and 2014. This young Boston squad will really depend on his leadership.

However, Golden State will likely be the toughest challenge for the rookie coach. The way they generate attacks through movement and the number of scoring options they have will force him to make several adjustments on the fly, and the right ones could give his team a chance. Of course, that other Popovich disciple on the bench across the way isn’t going to make things easy.

Warrior: Clay Thompson

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With Steph Curry likely having Marcus Smart by his side, Thompson will really have a chance to make his mark on this series. And no one is more ready for the moment than him. It’s been more than two years since Thompson ruptured his knee on this stage and it’s remarkable to be back in the finals in his rookie season.

That’s not to say Thompson will get a good duel as the Celtics have several really good defenders. But if he sees red, it doesn’t matter who’s chasing him on these screens. It will be totally draining for the Celtics if they contain curry and Thompson starts flamethrowing. And if both Splash Brothers leave at the same time, good luck.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.