NBA Finals - Game 1
Boston +145 over Golden State

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The Finals

Game 1

Boston +145 over Golden State

9:00 PM EST. On paper, there isn’t much more the NBA could have asked for when it comes to The Finals. On one side, you’ve got a bonafide dynasty led by a generational talent that has changed the game and on the other, you’ve got one of the most successful and storied franchises in “The Association.”

We’re going to start with the team that’s been here before. The one that is well known in this market. The Golden State Warriors are finally running with a full stable for the first time in two seasons. The Splash Brothers are back together with Klay Thompson overcoming two devastating knee injuries to join Steph Curry in the Golden State backcourt. The Warriors would finish as the #3 seed in the Western Conference, which paired them with the #6 seeded Nuggets. Golden State would make quick work of Denver, sending the not ready for prime time Nuggets packing in just five games. The Warriors put up their usual NBA 2K like numbers against Denver, posting point totals of 123, 126, 118, 121 and 102. The market loves offense and the Warriors bring that to these NBA Finals in bunches.

Round two would arguably be the Warriors toughest test, as upstart Memphis was expected by many talking heads, including Chuck and Shaq, to take the next step and win the West. Six games later and it was the Dubs moving on. Just in case it wasn’t clear the Grizzlies were also not ready for great expectations, Golden State’s 110-96 win in Game 6 was the exclamation point.

Finally, the Warriors unexpectedly played the #4 seeded Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. So much for that dream match with the Suns, eh? Golden State frog stomped Dallas in five games with its only stumble coming on a night when few had their focus on basketball. The Warriors have covered five of their last six games. The Splash Brothers are producing at a high clip, averaging 45.7 Points Per Game (PPG) between them. Second year man Jordan Poole has enjoyed a breakout in these playoffs as well after posting 18.4 PPG. Those three players make up much of the Warriors offense (56.5%). If one were to just include Curry and Thompson, those two shooters are responsible for 40% of Golden State’s offense.

We know the Warriors can shoot and we know the Warriors and score. This is not news. That is why a point spread like this is going to look light for a team that averages 115 PPG and has been smashing point spreads just about every night. However, despite what we’ve seen out West, there is more to the game of basketball than just the long ball. Defense and special teams are on life support, but they still matter. To that point, the Warriors are sloppy as hell. Like, the second worst team in this league in turnovers sloppy. Golden State averaged 21 turnovers per game this season. Lucky for them, the Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Mavericks were not equipped to induce or take advantage of such sloppy play. These Celtics are not the Nuggs, Grizz or Mavs.

Usually, we aren’t that excited by the X’s and O’s, but there are exceptions to every rule and this series is it. We are absolutely going to be glued to the TV to see how Celtics coach Ime Udoka approaches the Warriors’ offense. Udoka has seen his stock rise as a game planner and in game adjuster in these playoffs. He was a wizard when he shut down his former team in Brooklyn after a four game sweep. The Nets just also happen to feature a couple of star players. The Celtics then played a hard fought seven game series with the defending champion Bucks. Boston handed Milwaukee a double digit loss on the road in Game 6, 108-95, and then waffled the Bucks 109-81 at home in Boston in Game 7. The C’s showed some real fight and overcame a hell of an obstacle down 3-2 after five games. With no rest for the weary, the Celtics rolled right into another hard fought seven game series with Miami. That series was fought tooth and nail and really could have gone either way in the late stages of Game 7. The Celtics survived.

There is a perception in the market that Boston is going to be running on fumes after such a long and winding road to The Finals, but we do not see it that way at all. This Celtics team would not benefit from sitting idle. They play hard, tight and tough. Teams like that do not want a night off. Meanwhile, the Warriors have been sitting on their duffs for over a week. At what point does the rust set in? Moreover, Golden State has won and won relatively easily. Meanwhile, the Celtics have been rolling around in the mud since Game 1 of the first round. Market perception is that the C’s are battered and bruised, while the Dubs are rested and ready.

As we preach, we are not in the business of predicting the outcomes of games, rather, finding the value or where we perceive the value to be and going with the best of it. If the Warriors are firing threes and they are dropping from all over the court, we are going to rip up this ticket, no doubt, but if Golden State is a little off because of its time off, it’s a whole new ball game. The Celtics are a battle tested team after three rounds, can one say the same for Golden State after a nice breezy spring? Yes, the core of these Warriors have been here before. They have championship pedigree. They are a trusted, well-known commodity. If this market feasts on what appears to be low hanging fruit, so be it. There is no doubt all the value tonight is on the Celtics, who can win this game outright. That’s how we’re going to play it.

Our Pick

Boston +145 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.90)