NBA Finals Game 1 Picks and Preview

Celtics vs. Warriors NBA Finals Game 1 Picks: Is Golden State Laying Too Many Points?

The Boston Celtics visit the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

The Warriors advanced with a 120-110 home win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks on Thursday while the Celtics survived Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals by beating the Heat 100-96 on Sunday. 

Here’s a complete breakdown for this contest, including betting odds and free NBA picks.

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors 

Thursday, June 2, 2022 – 09:00 PM EDT at Chase Center

The Warriors opened at -3.5 at BetOnline and the total has been set at 211. FiveThirtyEight has the Celtics as 1.5-point road favorites, projecting them to win 55 percent of the time. There’s a massive 5-point gap between the projections and the actual odds, should we take the road team and the points or hammer the total? 

Projected Starting Lineups and Roster

Boston Celtics

*Notates expected starter *

C: Robert Williams III*, Daniel Theis

PF: Al Horford*, Grant Williams, Luke Kornet
SF: Jayson Tatum*, Aaron Nesmith, Sam Hauser

SG: Jaylen Brown*, Payton Pritchard, Nik Stauskas
PG: Marcus Smart*, Derrick White

Golden State Warriors

*Notates expected starter

C: Kevon Looney*, Jonathan Kuminga

PF: Draymond Green*, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Andre Iguodala
SF: Andrew Wiggins*, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica

SG: Klay Thompson*, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee
PG: Stephen Curry*, Gary Payton II, Moses Moody

Key Points to Consider

  • Last 5: The Boston Celtics, coming off a 100-96 road win against the Miami Heat on Sunday, have won three of their last four games.

  • Last 5: The Golden State Warriors, coming off a 120-110 home win against the Dallas Mavericks last Thursday, have won four of their last five games. 

  • Momentum: The Golden State Warriors have been on an upward trend, winning five of their last six games SU and ATS.

  • Head-to-Head: These two teams last met on December 17 and the Golden State Warriors won 111-107 on the road.

Team Leaders in the Playoffs

Boston Celtics: 

  • Jayson Tatum: 27.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists

  • Jaylen Brown: 22.9 points and 6.8 rebounds

  • Marcus Smart: 15.5 points, 6.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds  

Golden State Warriors: 

  • Stephen Curry: 25.9 points, 6.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds

  • Klay Thompson: 19.8 points and 4.3 rebounds

  • Jordan Poole: 18.4 points and 4.5 assists

  • Andrew Wiggins: 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds

Betting Trends

The Boston Celtics are:

  • 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven playoff games as an underdog

  • 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 games as an underdog

  • 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 road games  

  • 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 road games against a team with a winning home record 

  • 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings in Golden State

  • 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings

The Golden State Warriors are: 

  • 18-39 ATS in their last 57 Thursday games
    0-3-1 ATS in their last four NBA Finals games

How to Bet This Game

In Game 7 against the Heat, the Celtics came out with a sense of urgency offensively and decided to just defend Jimmy Butler how they defended Kevin Durant. Can they do the same to Stephen Curry?

The Celtics will look a lot different offensive wise against the Warriors than they did in the series against the Bucks and Heat. I anticipate them to get more at the rim. Celtics head coach Ime Udoka created an infrastructure in Boston. They have a true team culture and he connected with his troops to bring the best out of them. The Celtics are now 27-5 when Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams III, Marcus Smart and Al Horford all play in the same game since January 8.

“I think it’s alright to be proud of ourselves today and to enjoy this. We’re not satisfied. We’ve got a long way to go. This wasn’t the goal all season. This was just a step in getting to where we want to get to,” Jayson Tatum said after Game 7 against the Heat.

The Warriors got weapons on weapons. Their motion offense becomes lethal when slashers and versatile bigs are mixed in and firing. Anyone can go off for 25 or more points every night out of Curry, Thompson, Poole and Wiggins.

The X-Factor for Game 1 is Kevon Looney, he gives the Warriors rebounding, size, physicality, easy baskets and alters the game defensively. The other X-Factor is Andrew Wiggins, he elevates the Warriors on both ends and is perfect in this role. 

Overall, the 2022 Warriors are better than the 2015 Warriors. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins bring a burst of athleticism, energy and scoring outside of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson but to me, the Celtics are the more complete team on both ends, they play better on the road than at home and I like their value catching points on the road.  

NBA Pick: Celtics +3.5 (-105) at BetOnline

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