Betting on Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors dominated the Boston Celtics on Sunday to even up the NBA Finals at 1-1. After being outscored 40-16 in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Warriors were able to close the door in a 107-88 victory. The series now turns into a best of five with Boston holding home-court advantage, which brings up an interesting topic. Is the right team favoured?

Boston opened as a 3.5-point favorite for Wednesday night’s pivotal Game 3. The Warriors closed at the same number in Game 1. So the market tells you that these teams are even with the spread based on home-court advantage alone. However, the Celtics are the betting underdogs in the series despite having home-court advantage in three of the final five games. The current odds at BetMGM are Golden State -115, Boston -105. So if the teams are even, the value is with Boston at the lower price.

Is now the best time to bet on Boston?

I did not bet Boston to win the series at +135 before Game 1. I gambled and missed the price, and I think it’s improbable that we are getting it back. However, with a future bet already in the account for the Celtics to win the NBA title, it was worth it to hold out and see if a Golden State win to open the series could yield even better odds. I expected the two teams to split the first two games, but in the opposite order. Timing is everything, so let’s not make the same mistake twice.

If you are still looking to bet Boston to win the series, the time is now to enter the market. There are two ways this series will go based on Game 3 Wednesday night. If Boston wins and takes a 2-1 series lead, it’s unlikely the odds ever get more advantageous than the current number unless they drop Games 4 and 5. In that case, how confident would you be betting them down 3-2? On the other hand, if Boston loses Wednesday night and trails in the series 2-1, we are stuck in a position where we have to have enough confidence to bet them to win three out of the final four games. You will get a better price, but your win probability plummets, making it a high-risk wager. Taking the Celtics now at -105 with the series heading back to Boston is the best time to enter the market at a reasonable price.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum tries to drive to the basket against Warriors center Kevon Looney on Sunday during Game 2 of the NBA Finals. (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Don’t bet on the Warriors – bet on Steph Curry (+100)

Every dollar counts in sports betting. Long-term success is the accumulation of tiny edges gained throughout the year. After watching the first two games of this series, it’s pretty clear that Steph Curry will be the Most Valuable Player in any scenario that includes Golden State winning this series. Curry has scored 29 and 34 in the first two games while shooting 46% from beyond the arc.

Golden State’s secondary scorers have come up small so far, and it’s difficult to see them heating up against Boston’s defense on the road. There is plenty of series left, but Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins or Jordan Poole haven’t shown enough to put them remotely close to Curry. If you find yourself getting ready to place a bet on the Warriors to win the finals at -115, bet on Steph Curry to win MVP instead at even money.

Betting on more blowouts

The lack of suspense has been one of the fascinating factors of the NBA playoffs. Very few games have come down to the final possession, and that has continued into the first two games of the NBA Finals. Boston won by 12, and Golden State responded with a 19-point blowout that saw the Celtics wave the white flag by resting their starters for most of the final quarter.

In Boston and Golden State’s 34 combined playoff games before the finals, the losing team covered at only a 14% rate (5-29 ATS). Therefore, a Boston moneyline bet should be off the table Wednesday night. Instead, lay the -3.5 with the Celtics at -110 or play the Warriors moneyline at +135.

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