Not only are the Celtics now the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, with +195 odds as of Friday afternoon at DraftKings Sportsbook. They also have the third-shortest odds to win the championship, at +450, trailing only the Golden State Warriors (+300) and Phoenix Suns (+425).
Then, there’s the matter of NBA Finals MVP, a betting market that obviously fluctuates based on how teams are performing and where they stand in their respective postseason series. Jayson Tatum, for instance, has seen his odds surge with Boston jumping out to a 2-0 series lead over Brooklyn.
Tatum was +1500 to win NBA Finals MVP before the Celtics and Nets tipped off their best-of-seven set. Now, with Boston controlling Brooklyn and therefore on an attainable path to the second round, the Celtics star is +600 at DraftKings Sportsbook, trailing only Warriors guard Stephen Curry (+400).
Put another way, a $100 bet on Tatum to win NBA Finals MVP before the Celtics-Nets series began would have come with a potential $1,500 profit, whereas that same $100 wager now will net just a $600 win if the 24-year-old ultimately brings home the hardware. Big difference.
Here’s what the top of the NBA Finals MVP betting board looked like at DraftKings Sportsbook before Friday night’s games:
Stephen Curry +400
Jayson Tatum +600
Chris Paul +900
Devin Booker +900
Giannis Antetokounmpo +900
Ja Morant +1000
Joel Embiid +1100
Jimmy Butler +1400
Kevin Durant +1600
Jaylen Brown +1700
Luka Dončić +2200
Bam Adebayo +3000
Klay Thompson +3000
Jordan Poole +3000
Tatum’s co-pilot, Jaylen Brown, also has seen his odds rise since the start of the playoffs. Brown had been +2200 but now finds himself sandwiched between Kevin Durant (+1600) and Luka Dončić (+2200) at +1700.
Other Celtics prices worth noting: Marcus Smart (+7000) and Robert Williams III (+30000).
Williams hasn’t played yet this postseason after undergoing a knee procedure last month, but he reportedly is “close” to returning to Boston’s lineup. Smart this week was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year and continues to make an impact for the C’s on both ends of the floor.
The Celtics-Nets series shifts to Brooklyn for Games 3 and 4 after Boston took the first two contests at TD Garden. Whatever happens at Barclays Center could further impact the odds, but the Celtics’ current standing on the futures market — and Tatum’s place, in particular — definitely is worth noting.