So often in the NBA, it’s the talent that wins championships, and oddsmakers seemingly have depicted that by keeping the Boston Celtics atop the betting board despite a reported suspension coming to head coach Ime Udoka.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Wednesday night that Udoka was facing a “significant suspension” due to a violation of team rules and followed it up Thursday by noting the suspension could be for the entire 2022-23 season. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the violation of team rules was Udoka’s “improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a fellow Celtics staffer. Boston is not expected to fire Udoka, though the head coach reportedly is considering resigning.
The Celtics, who had yet to officially announce any suspension as of Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET, reportedly will look to Joe Mazzulla as the interim coach. Mazzulla was promoted to Udoka’s top assistant this offseason after Will Hardy left the staff and joined the Utah Jazz. The 34-year-old has been with the Celtics organization since 2019 and is considered a rising star in the league, but has not served as an NBA head coach.
The numerous and continuous developments, however, have not prompted bookmakers to make any wholesale changes regarding the Celtics.
Boston remains atop the betting board at all major sportsbooks to win the NBA Finals with perhaps the biggest change occurring at BetRivers Sportsbook, where the Green moved from +550 to +600 to win the title. It dropped the C’s from outright favorites to co-favorites with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics also remain the favorite to defend their Eastern Conference title and claim the competitive Atlantic Division at all major sportsbooks.
The Celtics’ win total market did see a slight adjustment, dropping two wins to over/under 54.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and company are scheduled to officially start their regular season Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston also is expected to be without starting center Robert Williams to begin the season as the big man recovers from surgery.