Best Team In East? Four Bets To Consider On Celtics This Season

It could be a big season for Jayson Tatum before he signs his supermax


Oct 18, 2023

The Celtics are projected to be the best team in the Eastern Conference, but there will be plenty of questions for Boston to fulfill those lofty expectations.

President of basketball operations Brad Stevens made shrewd moves this offseason to give his team a new look after being eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Milwaukee Bucks challenged the Celtics in the conference arms race, and preseason gave fans the hope they were ready for the challenge.

If you’re buying in on the hype for the Celtics, these are four bets you should make on Boston this season. All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

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Derrick White Defensive Player of the Year 120-1
The expected starting lineup for Boston is Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown in the backcourt with Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis in the frontcourt. However, head coach Joe Mazzulla opened the door for a mix of different combinations, which means it’s possible the C’s run out Holiday and White in the backcourt with Tatum at power forward. If that’s the case, there might not be a ceiling on White’s minutes, which would help his case win Defensive Player of the Year. The 29-year-old’s defense is well-respected around the league, and he could take another leap after making All-Defense last season. That makes his longshot odds intriguing heading into the season opener.

Over 54.5 wins +100
The Celtics haven’t won 55 or more games in consecutive seasons since the first two seasons of the “Big Three” era. But Boston should be able to handle the competition this season, especially with Mazzulla getting more help on his staff. Obviously, health will be the biggest factor for Boston’s ceiling. But the Celtics should at least match last season’s 57-win total as long as Tatum and Brown play the majority of the season.

Eastern Conference No. 1 seed +165
Boston earned the No. 1 seed in the past two seasons, and despite the NBA trying to crack down on players taking rest days, teams will find a way to get their stars to manage their loads. That’s likely going to be the case for the Bucks, who need to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton fresh for the playoffs. Damian Lillard, like Tatum and Brown, doesn’t subscribe to load management, but there’s enough evidence from his Portland Trail Blazers career that he alone can only go so far. The Philadelphia 76ers are a mess, so Boston should earn the top seed for a third season in a row.

Jayson Tatum MVP +750
If the Celtics are going to win a minimum of 55 games and earn the top seed in the East, then Tatum has to be in consideration for MVP. The 25-year-old must take a huge leap in his game and be considered a top-five player in the league without any doubts. Nikola Jokic will be tough competition, and last season’s MVP Joel Embiid will carry the 76ers, but if Tatum can be a top-five or top-three scorer and demonstrate consistent, elite playmaking, the MVP could be his.

Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images

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