After an exhilarating NBA season, it is time to crown a champion. The two teams left standing are the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, two worthy opponents to fight for the title. The NBA Finals are set to begin today, Thursday, June 2nd, at 9 PM ET (TV: Live on ABC).
The Warriors are currently 3.5-point favorites with the leading United States’ sportsbooks to claim the win in game one, though the Celtics are still worthy competitors given their impressive 2021-22 campaign. Either way, this should be an exciting conclusion to what has been, in some regards, a very unexpected year in the NBA.
Started from the Bottom, Now We’re Here
The 2021-22 season for the Boston Celtics is certainly one for the history books, even if the team doesn’t end up capturing the championship trophy. Going back to the preseason odds, the Celtics weren’t even pegged for a top-10 finish compared to other Eastern Conference foes including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers, two teams of which Boston took down to get to this stage.
The Celtics certainly proved the preseason odds wrong as they presented a balanced offense and league-elite defense to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. The Celtics are chasing their first title since 2008, a season where the team boasted one of the first bona fide ‘big threes’ in basketball in the form of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.
But to understand Boston’s road to the championship is to understand the effort it took to get to where the team is. After finishing first in the Atlantic Division, the Celtics entered the playoffs with an unenviable first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. While the Nets had a lower seed, most will remember that it was Brooklyn that had the preseason best odds to win it all. The Celtics didn’t see it that way and in a matchup with an unexpected result, the Celtics swept the Nets to advance to a conference semifinal meeting with the defending champion Bucks.
The Celtics opened their series with the Bucks with a loss at home but were ultimately able to rebound. Boston won games two, four, six, and seven to ultimately win one of the toughest playoff series of the entire postseason. Games six and seven were especially impressive as the Celtics won by double digits both on the road and at home in order to clinch a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. It was there that the Celtics were set up for a meeting against the Miami Heat, who were the top seed in the East.
Much like their series against the Bucks, the Celtics lost game one before going on to win games two, four, five, and seven. Game seven was especially impressive as the Celtics roared out to a double-digit lead only almost to lose it to a furious comeback from the Heat. In the end, Boston’s consistency was too strong for Miami’s attempt at a run. In the end, the Heat were left out in the cold as the Celtics secured their first trip to the finals in 12 seasons.
Living Up to Expectations
In many ways, the Warriors reaching the NBA Finals feels like an expected outcome. After all, the dominance of Golden State over the last decade has been well-established. But in 2021-22, the Warriors weren’t actually the favorites to reach this stage. That role belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers, who entered the season with the West’s top odds to win the NBA title.
The Lakers missed the playoffs while the Warriors prevailed, starting their postseason journey first with a win over the Denver Nuggets. Golden State won the first three games before dropping game four and winning game five in what is considered a gentleman’s sweep. This was followed by a tougher seven-game series win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Warriors won game one in a closely fought battle before dominating in games three and six, ultimately winning the series 4-2. This led to a meeting with the Dallas Mavericks, who were the NBA’s surprise playoff team in 2022. The Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals by taking down last year’s finals runner-up, the Phoenix Suns. The Suns and Mavericks battled in a seven-game series with Dallas ultimately taking down the West’s best in a seven-game series.
The Warriors went into battle, taking down the Mavericks in another gentlemen’s sweep, winning 4-1. In a lot of ways, everything looked easy for the Stephen Curry-led team, as the Warriors wins came by a margin of double digits including a statement game one win of 25 points. Golden State went on to dominate the series to secure their spot in the NBA Finals, their sixth such appearance in the last eight seasons. No doubt, the NBA has a dynasty on its hands.
Golden State Warriors vs Boston Celtics Game One Prediction
The Warriors are chasing history. Many people believed after the Kevin Durant era that Golden State’s dominance had come to an end. But with a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors proved that notes of their demise had been well over-exaggerated. Golden State finished a successful season with an even better postseason. Curry has been almost unstoppable, challenging even his record-setting career bests in several offensive categories. The health of Thompson cannot be overexaggerated as the sharpshooter finished the year ranked tied for fifth in points and seventh in assists. More importantly, he is in the top-5 for three-pointers made per game in the playoffs with a mark of 3.6 per game.
Thompson’s success is only part of the story as not enough has really been made of Boston’s road to the NBA Finals. No one expected the Celtics to reach that stage. Ranked above them were three other Eastern Conference teams, all of which have been eliminated. In short, the Celtics have already superseded expectations. And it’s not without strong performances on their part.
When it comes to the first game of this series, all eyes are on the Warriors. Golden State definitely has the edge, up -3.5pts with the U.S. sportsbooks. The Warriors will have home-court advantage throughout, definitely something worth keeping an eye on.
Golden State Warriors vs Boston Celtics Predictions & Game 1 Betting Picks Verdict
The odds seem about right as our pick is with the Warriors to cover the spread en route to a game one victory. As good as the Celtics have been, no one seems to be on Golden State’s level right now. It seems game one will show just how far above the West is when it comes to the NBA. So these are our two Game 1 betting picks for this preview:
- Take Golden State -3.5pts @ odds of -115 with BetOnline. It is -4pts at -110 with Bovada and EveryGame.
- Also, look for the over 212.5 total points in Game 1 @ -110 with EveryGame. It is -112 with BetOnline and over 213.5pts at -110 with Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.