Why All-Star Break Is Worst Time To Bet Celtics To Make NBA Finals Run

Don't chase a bad price at the window


Feb 21, 2023

The Boston Celtics’ price to reach the NBA Finals is getting ridiculous.

Armed with an NBA-best 42-17 record at the All-Star break and arguably the deepest roster in the league, Boston is undoubtedly a valiant contender to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But this racket is about betting the right team at the right time, not being late to the party and chasing bad prices.

Boston’s dominance on the court and popularity among bettors has all but evaporated its value in the Eastern Conference betting market. WynnBET, which just opened a shop at Encore Boston Harbor, is all the way down to +100 on a Celtics’ Finals run. That math implies a 50% chance of probability.

Celtics odds to make NBA Finals:
WynnBET +100 ($100 wins $100)
PointsBet +110
BetMGM +115
BetRivers +115
DraftKings +115
FanDuel +115
Caesars +135 ($100 wins $135)

So most books are mathematically saying it’s around a coin flip that the C’s win the East.

“That doesn’t even sound right,” one professional bettor told NESN. “The Celtics are a damn good basketball team, but they’re not unstoppable. Let’s not forget that they rolled through an injury-riddled Eastern Conference to make the Finals last year. Every bounce seemed to go their way.”

Obviously, you can’t fault Boston for facing Milwaukee without Khris Middleton, then Miami with a hobbled Jimmy Butler as Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry missed multiple games. But both those series went a full seven games despite the Celtics having more face cards in the deck.

Then there’s the elephant in the room: Celtics rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla.

Can he thrive on the biggest stage?

“Mazzulla is a big question mark for me,” the bettor continued. “He’s done a fabulous job with this group given all the circumstances and potential distractions. The playoffs are a different monster, though. And if Mazzulla isn’t making the right adjustments from game to game, it’ll show. A guy like (Mike) Budenholzer could coach circles around him in a seven-game series.”

If you shop around, you can find Milwaukee at +220 ($100 wins $220), Philadelphia at +700 ($100 wins $700) and Cleveland at +1100 ($100 wins $1,100). Sure, Boston is the team to beat and the Green Teamers currently have home court, but it’s silly to think it’s going to be a cakewalk to the NBA Finals.

And there’s no way I’m betting the C’s to win the East at even money.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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