The conference finals are drawing near, and oddsmakers have determined their lean on the likeliest NBA Finals matchup.
The Celtics play a pivotal Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, after the Lakers took a 3-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Boston came into the conference semifinals as the favorite to win the title and has +165 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook prior to Game 5. And increased public action on Los Angeles has made it the favorite to come out of the Western Conference at +400.
That means oddsmakers are expecting a Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals matchup, with +290 odds on the teams being the finalists. This would be the 13th time the sides would play each other in the NBA Finals and the first time since 2010 when Los Angeles beat Boston.
The Celtics went 2-0 against Los Angeles in the regular season, with both matchups needing overtime to be decided.
If the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals, they would be the first No. 7 seed in league history to do so, but the Warriors hope to be on the right side of a 3-1 comeback starting with Game 5 on Wednesday.
Basketball Reference and FiveThirtyEight project the Denver Nuggets to advance out of the Western Conference, giving them a 38.9% and 39% chance, respectively, to reach the NBA Finals. FiveThirtyEight has a closer projection for the Lakers at 38%, but Basketball Reference projects a 29.8% chance of Los Angeles reaching the NBA Finals.
There are very few guarantees in the playoffs, so these numbers are sure to change, especially if the 76ers and Warriors are able to knock out the Celtics and Lakers, respectively.