Warriors severe NBA Finals underdogs to Celtics per ESPN, FiveThirtyEight

Two notable forecasters call Dubs heavy Finals underdogs that originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

That’s what matters.

With the 2022 NBA Finals beginning Thursday night in Game 1 at the Chase Center, the Warriors will begin to close the latest chapter of their historic dynasty on the bay.

However, according to two notable forecasting models, Golden State will start Thursday as a huge underdog against the Boston Celtics.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index — a measure of the team’s overall strength that takes into account efficiency, schedule strength, pace, days off and preseason expectations — gives the Warriors a mere 14 percent chance of conceding Boston defeat.

FiveThirtyEight thinks a little more of Golden State, but not much, and puts the Warriors’ chances of bringing home a title at 20 percent.

The odds are surprising given that the Warriors will end up with more wins (53) than Boston (51) and will go into Game 1 with significantly more rest. Golden State sent home the Denver Nuggets in five games, defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in six and put the Dallas Mavericks to bed in five. Boston, on the other hand, defeated the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round but had to end its last two series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in seven games.

Still, it should be a tight series. The Celtics and Warriors had the two best defensive ratings in the league during the regular season, with 106.2 and 106.6, respectively. Golden State, led by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on offense, is averaging the most points of any playoff team (114.5) while the Celtics are eighth (107.1).

RELATED: Expert predictions for Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals clash

For the record, the FiveThirtyEight model was wrong before. It gave the Warriors just a 27 percent chance of defeating the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals, only to watch Golden State easily handle their dealings against Luka Dončić and company.

Curry and the Warriors will try to prove these models wrong once again by parading through San Francisco in their fourth championship parade in eight years.

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