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Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves Getty Images via AFP.
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves Getty Images via AFP.

The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors will face off during the 2022 NBA Finals. The Warriors hold home-court advantage, but that hasn’t hurt the Celtics much this postseason. Let's examine the matchup in our Celtics-Warriors picks.

The NBA Finals are just a few days away, and bettors don’t have much time before the books adjust for sharp money. The Warriors enter the series with several advantages, including home court, rest, and health. So they're sizable betting favorites.

But the math favors the Celtics. Boston has been the favorite to win the NBA Finals in FiveThirtyEight’s predictive model since the first round. The site now gives the Celtics an 83% chance of winning the title.

Boston owns the highest full-strength rating in the model. In contrast, the Warriors rank just 13th. Mathematical modeling may undervalue the ceiling of the Warriors’ star power. After all, it’s difficult to quantify Game 6 Klay Thompson. But the massive edge for Boston leads to betting value.

Here are my Celtics-Warriors picks and predictions for their NBA Finals matchup (odds via BetMGMDraftKings Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook; Pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Celtics vs. Warriors Odds Analysis

You’ll find the Warriors listed as -160 or -150 favorites across the most reputable sportsbooks. The Celtics are +130 underdogs. The books are giving Golden State a 1.5-game advantage on the main series spread markets, although the Warriors are just +155 to cover. Boston is between -184 and -210 on the series spread.

Of the exact score markets, Golden State 4-3 has been given the shortest odds between +310 and +350. Boston 4-2 is getting the next-shortest line between +370 and +400. Those both make sense because the home team would need to clinch the series at home, although road wins haven’t been a problem for Boston. The Celtics are between +550 and +650 to win the series during Game 7 on the road.

Stephen Curry is the favorite to win NBA Finals MVP at odds between +120 and +110. Jayson Tatum owns the second-shortest odds at +175 across the market. Jaylen Brown, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are the only other players with odds short of +2000.

Celtics vs. Warriors Picks

To win Series:Celtics (+130 via DraftKings) ???Series spread:Celtics +1.5 (-184 via FanDuel) ????Exact outcome:Celtics 4-3 (+650 via DraftKings) ????NBA Finals MVP:Jayson Tatum Finals MVP (+175 via BetMGM) ????

Check out our top-rated sportsbooks here

Celtics vs. Warriors Predictions

To win Series: Celtics (+130)

This is a three-star bet only because you’ll probably be able to buy it at a much better price after Game 1.

The Celtics lost their last two series openers—one of which even came at home—and they barely won their opening game against the Brooklyn Nets. So expect them to start out in a 1-0 hole. This line should move to around +175 or so once that happens.

Regardless, the Celtics should win this series because they play a more sustainable brand of basketball. The Warriors possess star power, upside, and a tendency to smash mathematical models with their game-breaking accuracy. But all good things must come to an end. Golden State’s 66% winning percentage in 2022 should actually be around 60%, according to ShotQuality. Meanwhile, Boston’s 63% winning percentage should be around 65%.

Further, Boston owns an advantage in two crucial metrics. They've posted a better free-throw rate (29.8% to 25.3%) and a lower turnover rate (14.6% to 15%). The Warriors have produced the better effective field-goal percentage (57.2% to 53.6%), but that mark feels unsustainably high. Golden State recorded an effective field-goal percentage of just 55% during the regular season, which wasn’t far off Boston’s 54.1%.

Golden State is due for some serious regression, and putting numbers in context reveals how unsustainable their performance has been. The team’s current 57.2% effective field-goal percentage is higher than any rate their previous championship rosters ever accomplished. The 2016-17 Warriors own the highest-ever effective field-goal percentage for an NBA champion at 56.7%. Only one other champion, the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers, finished with a mark above 56%—and they did that in the bubble.

The Warriors are good, but they're not superteam good. Regression is inevitable, especially against Boston’s elite defense. The Celtics allowed an NBA-lowest effective field-goal percentage of 50.2% during the regular season. They've only become better in the playoffs, as their postseason opponents own an average effective field-goal percentage of just 49%.

Look for the NBA’s best regular-season defense to stop Golden State’s unsustainable offensive run.

Series spread: Celtics +1.5 (-184)

It’s probably silly to play most series markets before Game 1, but this one feels like a lock at any price. The Celtics haven’t lost consecutive playoff games all postseason. They would need to do so at least once, but more than likely twice, to not cover here.

Boston’s incredible ability to bounce back from losses has been on display all campaign. The Celtics were at one point 11th in the Eastern Conference, yet they entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Boston is 26-11 straight up after a loss in 2021-22, the second-highest winning percentage after a defeat. The Warriors are just 20-13 after losing, which ranks eighth.

The Celtics can lose all their road games and cash this bet. Since the Warriors are a measly 25-23 straight up on the road, there's a decent chance of that happening.

Golden State has routinely failed to capitalize during big spots on the road in the playoffs. The Warriors held a multi-game advantage in each prior series before allowing the action to return to San Francisco. If the Warriors get up 3-2 over Boston, winning Game 6 is unlikely given their recent history. That makes this play a relatively safe one.

Exact outcome: Celtics 4-3 (+650)

The odds for this play are irresponsibly long. The Celtics are 30-20 straight up on the road in 2021-22, giving them the third-best road winning percentage. Yet the books are caving to conventional wisdom about home-court advantage. Boston won a do-or-die road Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round, and the Celtics later won Game 7 on the road against the Heat.

However, the Warriors own an incredible 40-10 straight-up home record. It’ll be difficult for any team to beat them in the Chase Center, but the Celtics have already done that in 2021-22. They bested the Warriors by 22 points in San Francisco in March, although Stephen Curry left the game with a foot injury. Still, he registered only three points and had gone 1-for-4 shooting before departing.

You’ll find odds for this play at +550 on BetMGM, so we’re getting a surprising amount of value through DraftKings.

NBA Finals MVP: Tatum Finals MVP (+175)

The NBA Finals MVP has come from the winning team in every series since 1969. Since I’m targeting the Celtics to win, I’ll also focus on their best player to secure the MVP award.

Tatum is averaging 27 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game in the playoffs. Stephen Curry, who's the favorite, is averaging 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per contest. Only one other player (Jaylen Brown) is averaging 20-plus points per game.

Tatum led the Celtics during their blowout win over the Warriors in March. While he scored 26 points along with Brown, Tatum also paced the team in rebounds with 12. He dished out one more assist than Brown, too.

I’m also targeting Tatum because of his clutch performances in do-or-die games. He scored a team-high 46 points during Game 6 against the Bucks. Tatum also produced a team-high 26 points in Game 7 against the Heat.

Tatum has flashed incredible clutch skill since his 360-degree spinning layup to win Game 1 against the Nets, and he offers the most value for Finals MVP. However, you may be better off waiting until after Game 1.

Where to Bet NBA Finals Picks

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

FanDuel SportsbookCaesars SportsbookDraftKings SportsbookPointsBetBetMGM

SEE ALSO: All picksodds, and sports betting news. Be sure to check out’s community forums and betting tools.

NBA Finals picks made on 5/30/2022 at 2:31 p.m. ET.