Published on Monday, May 17th
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Final Season Standings with Updated Futures Market (odds from Barstool Sportsbook)
|Playoff Seed||Team||Record||Percent||NBA Title Odds|
(Before Rd 2)
|NBA Title Odds|
|West #3||Golden State Warriors||53-29||.646||+300||+120|
|East #2||Boston Celtics||51-31||.622||+400||+200|
|East #1||Miami Heat||53-29||.646||+700||+400|
|West #4||Dallas Mavericks||52-30||.634||+1800||+600|
Eastern Conference Finals: Series Preview & Predictions
#2 Boston Celtics vs. #1 Miami Heat
Series Spread & Odds: Celtics -1.5 (+107), Heat +1.5 (-139)
Key Injuries: (BOS) – Marcus Smart is questionable for Game 1 with a sprained foot suffered in Game 7 versus the Bucks. (MIA) Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for Game 1 with a hamstring injury, while P.J. Tucker is questionable with a strained calf.
Regular Season Meetings: (Celtics 2-1)
November 4 (@MIA) – Celtics win 95-78
January 31 (@BOS) – Celtics win 122-92
March 30 (@BOS) – Heat win 106-98
Series Outlook: These teams met in the NBA-bubble version of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, playing all games in Disney World isolated with limited fans. Fast forward 2 years, and despite the stakes being the same with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line, the stage couldn’t be more different with home-court advantages back in play. The Heat ultimately advanced 4-2 over the Celtics in 2020, and had relatively the same core as they do now. The Celtics on the other hand, have since traded away Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker, added Al Horford, Derrick White and Coach Ime Udoka, and have seen considerable leaps in the play of their young core, most notably in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Grant Williams. Despite being an interesting reference point to the AAU Tournament atmosphere in Orlando, this Eastern Conference Finals comparison do not seem all that relevant in 2022.
Miami is seeking their 4th NBA Title, having last won back in 2013 with LeBron James in the midst of his prime, and with Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade on the roster. The Celtics are chasing their 18th banner, with the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen last hoisting the Championship trophy back in 2008. Boston’s last trip to the NBA Finals came in 2010, but are now favored over the Heat to come out of the East despite their lower seed.
The current version of the Heat is an underrated, well-rounded bunch that play a physical brand of basketball and hold the top-seed for a reason. While Jimmy Butler is unquestionably their go-to scorer, he has a solid supporting cast that play tough defense and can score from the perimeter. Bam Adebayo has also been a force inside, although he’s been less than 100-percent in the postseason with a quad injury that has limited his production. Luckily for the Heat, they haven’t played since May 12th and have had time to rest up. Contrarily, the Celtics are fresh off a convincing Game 7 win on Monday, and head to Miami on short rest. It will be interesting to see how this factors in to Game 1, but I expect this to be a gritty, defensive-minded series with the more mentally-tough team emerging. Execution from 3-point range will also be critical in this series given the elite defensive play of both teams.
|Series Value Picks|
|Series Winner||BOS (-175)|
|Spread – Series Outcome||BOS -1.5 (+107)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||BOS / BOS (+150)|
|Series Correct Score||BOS 4-1 (+500)|
Western Conference Finals: Series Preview & Predictions
#3 Golden State Warriors vs. #4 Dallas Mavericks
Series Spread & Odds: Warriors -1.5 (+105), Mavericks +1.5 (-137)
Key Injuries: (GS) Otto Porter is questionable for Game 1 with a foot injury, while Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II are doubtful to play in this series. (DAL) Tim Hardaway Jr. hasn’t played since January with a foot injury and is unlikely to return for the playoffs.
Regular Season Meetings: (Warriors 2-1)
January 5 (@DAL) – Mavericks win 99-82
February 27 (@GS) – Warriors win 107-101
March 3 (@DAL) – Warriors win 122-113
Series Outlook: The Mavericks were +1800 to win an NBA Title before Round 2, and now enter the Western Conference Finals at a significantly reduced +600 odds. Dallas is fresh off an utterly dominant Game 7 in Phoenix that was not close from the opening tip. Luka Doncic set the tone by scoring the first 8 points for the Mavericks, who cruised to a 33-point victory over the Suns. Doncic has healed up and regained his peak form, with hamstring concerns fully in the rear view. The biggest question mark for Dallas this season has been finding a consistent 2nd option to pair with Doncic, and Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie have really stepped up to the challenge. The backcourt duo combined for 54 in Game 7, and if they continue to produce like that, will be a tough out for any opponent.
The Warriors will enter this series with an extended rest, having wrapped up their Round 2 series with the Grizzlies back on May 13th. The Splash Brothers are seeking their 4th NBA Title, having won in 2015, 2017, and 2018, while the Warriors franchise looks to add a 7th banner. The Mavericks lone NBA Title came in 2011 over the Miami Heat, with Dirk Nowitzki earning Finals MVP honors. Doncic looks like Nowitzki 2.0 and if you’re riding with Dallas there’s value on his MVP odds at +600.
The Warriors find themselves in the 3-seed after late season skid that coincided with Steph Curry being out, but they now look as formidable as ever. Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 14 of 31 beyond the arc to eliminate Memphis in Game 6, and there will be little that Dallas can do if they heat up like that. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole have both been reliable contributors for the Warriors this postseason, and their production will be a big factor if the Mavericks shift their attention to swarming Curry and Thompson. Dallas is certainly riding a wave of momentum from their big upset over the Suns, but face a new challenge here with the elite perimeter scoring of the Mavericks.
|Series Value Picks|
|Series Winner||DAL (+190)|
|Spread – Series Outcome||GS -1.5 (+105)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||DAL / GS (+450)|
|Total Games Played in Series||Over 5.5 (-150)|
BONUS PICKS – NBA FINALS MVP 2022
Jayson Tatum +250 (was +440 before Round 2)
Luka Doncic +600