Warriors installed as Finals favorites over Celtics
- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
The Golden State Warriors are the favorites in the NBA Finals over a Boston Celtics team looking to make underdog history.
Caesars Sportsbook installed the Warriors as -160 favorites over the Celtics (+140) in an intriguing best-of-seven series that tips off Thursday in San Francisco. Golden State opened as a 3-point favorite in Game 1.
The Warriors entered the season at 10-1 to win the championship at Caesars Sportsbook and were among the title favorites throughout the year. They knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in five games to reach their sixth NBA Finals in the past eight years, a feat accomplished by only three other NBA franchises: the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and the Celtics.
While Golden State was among the top tier of title favorites, Boston began the season as a 50-1 long shot. Based on preseason odds, the Celtics would be the biggest long shot to win a title in the past 35 years, according to sports betting archive SportsOddsHistory.com.
Boston found its rhythm in the second half of the regular season and survived two Game 7s in the Eastern Conference playoffs to reach the Finals.
The Warriors and Celtics split their season series, each winning on the other team’s home court. Boston is the only team with a winning record against the Warriors since Golden State coach Steve Kerr took over in 2015-16.
Some big bets on each team are on the line heading into the NBA Finals. Two weeks ago, a bettor in Arizona placed a $25,000 bet on the Celtics to win the championship at 10-1 odds. The bet would pay a net $250,000 if Boston wins the title. In late October, a bettor in Iowa placed a $12,000 bet on the Warriors to win the championship at 10-1. The bet would pay a net $120,000. Both bets were placed with Caesars Sportsbook.
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