Is This NBA Finals Prediction Too Bullish On Celtics’ Title Chances?

FiveThirtyEight's projection model remains very high on Boston


Jun 13, 2022

FiveThirtyEight has been high on the Boston Celtics for a while, even giving them an 80% chance of beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals before the series began.

So, perhaps it should come as no surprise the website remains all-in on the C’s ahead of Monday night’s Game 5 at Chase Center.

FiveThirtyEight, which prides itself on statistical analysis, updated its NBA Finals predictions Monday morning, hours before tipoff, and gave Boston a 66% chance of winning the series, which is tied 2-2 after Golden State’s Game 4 victory at TD Garden. The Warriors, conversely, have a 34% chance of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy, according to the projection model.

Now, this obviously doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. The best-of-seven series essentially has become a best-of-three set with the teams splitting the first four games, and anything is possible at this stage of the season. But 66% sure seems high, even for the most optimistic Celtics supporters, especially with Game 5 and Game 7 (if necessary) taking place in San Francisco.

In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Warriors as 3.5-point home favorites for Game 5. So, it’ll be interesting to see what the FiveThirtyEight model says before Game 6 in Boston if the Warriors take care of business Monday night.

All told, FiveThirtyEight doesn’t expect the Celtics to return home trailing 3-2, giving Boston a 53% chance of winning Game 5 and then a 76% chance of winning Game 6. FiveThirtyEight gives the C’s a 53% chance of winning a potential Game 7 back at Chase Center.

Worth noting: FiveThirtyEight gave the Celtics a 77% chance of winning Game 4 at TD Garden, and the Warriors rode a fourth-quarter surge on the road to evening the series at two games apiece. So, again, nothing is a lock. Both teams have flashed their potential thus far.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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