This 2022 NBA Finals matchup wasn’t fathomable a few months ago.
Boston sat at 18-19 heading into January. Meanwhile, Golden State struggled down the stretch, going 12-16 to close out the regular season.
But here we are.
The Celtics and Warriors square off in the 2022 NBA Finals, with Game One set to tip off Thursday in San Francisco. Golden State enters the Finals fresh off a 4-1 series victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Boston punched its ticket to the championship round after a 4-3 series win over the Miami Heat.
Luckily for bettors in Iowa, there are plenty of sportsbooks offering great deals this postseason.
How to bet on the 2022 NBA Finals
DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel have offers for first-time bettors.
DraftKings in Iowa
At DraftKings, if you bet $5 or more on the NBA, you’ll win $150 in bonus bets if your team wins. This offer is good through Game 7 if we get that far. Be sure to read through the terms and conditions, so you don’t miss out on your bonus bets.
BetMGM in Iowa
At BetMGM, if you make your first deposit of $10 or more on one of the NBA Finals games and either team hits a 3-pointer, you win $200 in bonus bets. New customers who use this offer won’t be able to use the first bet up to $1,000 free welcome offer, though.
FanDuel in Iowa
Just one more before we get back to the Warriors-Celtics matchup:
The FanDuel button below will give you a third option in Iowa. Their promotion works for golf, baseball and hockey too. You don’t even have to pick the right team for this one. Again, just take a moment to read through the rules so you can take full advantage of the promotion:
Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors: Betting odds for the 2022 NBA Finals
The Warriors are a 3.5-point home favorite to open the series, according to most sportsbooks in Iowa. The Golden State moneyline is -159 on BetRivers and the over/under on Caesars is set at 212.5 points.
These teams played twice during the regular season and split the series. Golden State won 111-107 on Dec. 17, 2021. Boston won 110-88 on March 16.
Why are the Warriors favored in Game One and overall in the NBA Finals?
Jordan Rongaus, Manager of Sports Operations & Betting Content at Bally’s Interactive, says Golden State has “multiple clear advantages in this game.”
The Warriors command a home court advantage for the series, boast arguably the most experienced championship core in basketball and just enjoyed a full week off before Game One.
“Industry-wide, bettors have been hesitant to back a team coming off a Game 7 win in Game 1 of the following series and rightfully so,” he told PlayIA via email. “The Game 7 winner historically (struggles) in Game 1 of the following series and to win the series all together.”
According to Bet MGM, the most likely outcome will be Warriors in six, Boston in six, or Warriors in seven. All three correct series scores are +400.
“Correct series outcome is a market where you will see a decent amount of fluctuation in the market from book to book,” Rongaus told PlayIA. “Each sportsbook can and will book these differently, whether they are siding with home court advantage, running potential game scenarios and projected prices going forward, etc. Every book will have a different philosophy here, while also being cognizant of not posting a clear market arb/hedge opportunity.”
What to know if you’re betting on the Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the fuel for Boston’s offensive engine. Both averaged more than 24 points per game against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, but defense is what sparked the Celtics’ turnaround earlier this season. It’s still a major factor in Boston’s postseason success.
The Celtics boast a defensive rating of 105.9 in the 2022 playoffs, according to Basketball Reference — that’s good enough for second of all postseason teams. Their offensive rating is solid as well, ranking seventh, but thanks to its defensive presence, Boston boasts the best net rating of the playoffs (+6.5). Golden State ranks second at +5.6.
Why is Boston’s defense so good?
Look no further than Robert Williams, who boasts the league’s best individual defensive rating per 100 possessions out of players with legitimate minutes (more than 400). Al Horford also ranks 10th in that department. Throw in Marcus Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, and you’ve got a recipe for a defense capable of switching successfully against nearly all NBA teams.
Thanks in part to defense, the over failed to hit in eight of the Celtics’ 18 postseason outings. That’s an under percentage of 55.6%.
Boston has been a cover machine these NBA playoffs, going 12-6 against the spread. The Celtics’ cover percentage of 66.7% is the best in the playoffs by more than 8%. The Celtics have typically covered by an average of 4.1 points in their 18 games this postseason. As away underdogs, Boston is 15-9-1 ATS this season.
What to know if you’re betting on the Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals once again, this time thanks to an eloquent blend of offensive firepower and lockdown defense.
Consistency from 3-point range has been an issue (by his standards) for Stephen Curry this season. His 38% from 3-point range is a career low, outside of 2019-20, when he played just five games. Still, the two-time MVP finds ways to impact the game. During the postseason, he averaged 25.9 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Draymond Green, the epitome of a defensive anchor, has looked better than ever this season. He ranks fourth in defensive rating per 100 possessions (out of players with more than 400 minutes). Green’s defensive rating of 103 points allowed per 100 possessions is his best since his 2016-17 campaign.
Keep an eye on Kevon Looney
The Warrior is an under-the-radar player to keep an eye on. The forward found his groove in the Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks, averaging 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and three assists over the five games.
Looney’s impact all depends on how much coach Steve Kerr decides to feature him. Golden State played Looney far less in its series against Memphis, opting to go with a small-ball lineup. Looney, more of a traditional big man, started just one game and played an average of 18:50 per game — nearly 10 fewer minutes on average than the series against Dallas.
Taking all this into consideration, Golden State has been one of the NBA’s best teams against the spread as a home favorite this year. The Warriors are 27-18-2 in that department. The Warriors covered in 56.3% of their playoff games this year, too.
Keep an eye on the total as well. Out of playoff teams that made it past the first round, Golden State ranks first with an over percentage of 62.5% (10-6).
How to watch the 2022 NBA Finals
ABC carries all of the 2022 NBA Finals games. Fans can stream action on the Watch ESPN app as well.
- Thursday, June 2 — 7 p.m. Game 1 at Golden State
- Sunday, June 5 — 7 p.m. Game 2 at Golden State
- Wednesday, June 8 — 8 p.m. Game 3 at Boston
- Friday, June 10 — 8 p.m. Game 4 at Boston
- Monday, June 13 — 8 p.m. Game 5 at Golden State (if necessary)
- Thursday, June 16 — 8 p.m. Game 6 at Boston (if necessary)
- Sunday, June 19 — 7 p.m. Game 7 at Golden State (if necessary)