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Early Public Betting Trends for NBA Conference Finals – See Money Splits for Celtics vs Heat & Warriors vs Mavericks

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

May 16, 2022 · 7:05 PM PDT

Jimmy Butler running down the court holding up 1 finger
May 12, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after a three-point basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter in game six of the second round of the 2022 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Public wagering mostly on Heat, Warriors ATS in Game 1 of East and West Conference Finals
  • Mavericks vs Warriors seeing a lot of action on over/under
  • See betting trends for Eastern and Western Conference Finals below

We’re down to the NBA’s version of the Final Four.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat takes tips off Tuesday (May 17), at 8:30pm ET on ESPN. The East’s top seed, Miami is a 1.5-point favorite.

The following day, the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors kick off Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals from the Chase Center, tipping off at 9pm ET on TNT. Fresh off dusting the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, the Mavs are 5-point ‘dogs against the Dubs.

Let’s look at the betting trends heading into these opening contests.

Eastern & Western Conference Betting Trends

Game 1 Spread ATS Handle% ATS Bet% Total O/U Handle% O/U Bet% Moneyline ML Handle% ML Bet%
Boston Celtics +1.5 44% 48% 204.0 43% 52% +110 65% 60%
Miami Heat -1.5 56% 52% 204.0 57% 48% -130 35% 40%
Game 1 Spread ATS Handle% ATS Bet% Total O/U Handle% O/U Bet% Moneyline ML Handle% ML Bet%
Dallas Mavericks +5.0 46% 45% 214.5 74% 72% +175 41% 42%
Golden State Warriors -5.0 54% 55% 214.5 26% 28% -210 59% 58%

Betting trends as of May 16th at DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Celtics vs Heat Betting Analysis

Money against the spread is in favor of the Heat, who are seeing 56% of the money, though only 52% of the of the total bets are against the spread.

Miami might be the least challenged team that’s made it to the Conference Finals. The Heat made quick work of the Atlanta Hawks in Round 1, while adding an extra push to the implosion that is the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2.

That doesn’t mean Miami hasn’t looked good as well, and they’re doing it old school: with a suffocating defense. The Heat hold the highest defensive rating of any team still standing, while holding teams to a paltry 97.5 points per game these playoffs.

On the other hand, the public likes the Celtics as the outright winner at +110 odds, with 65% of the moneyline bets on the visitors, and 60% of the bettors going after the straight up pick. In terms of total, the under is seeing  57% of the over/under money, taking 48% of the wagers.

Boston has probably had the most impressive run thus far, sweeping away Kevin Durant and the Nets, and then taking Giannis Antetokounmpo’s best bunch in bouncing the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games.

The Celts have the lowest offensive rating of the remaining four clubs, but you have to temper that with the fact that Milwaukee was the best defense in the playoffs, and Jayson Tatum and company worked their way past them.

I like the Heat rested and ready against a Boston team that was pushed to the max in Round 2 and with Smart ailing heading into the series. You may want to get on this before the line shifts to account for that.

The pick: Heat -1.5

Mavericks vs Warriors Analysis

Out West, the Warriors are seeing 54% of the bets against the spread, which is taking 55% of the betting money.

The Dubs have had an up-and-down run to the Conference Finals, looking like gangbusters in taking out 2-time league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Then they looked positively ordinary in beating the upstart Memphis Grizzlies in six. GState staggered in the final three games in wrapping up that series — with Ja Morant out with injury, no less.

Still, Golden State’s title pedigree is getting respect by the betting public. On the moneyline, 59% of wagers are on the Warriors at -210, also taking 58% of the betting money.

The Mavericks, however, provide a fresh face in the conference finals, with a newly minted superstar in Luka Doncic. He was a wrecking ball against the Suns, and is likely the best player left going in the playoffs. He averaged 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.0 rebounds against Phoenix.

He started the playoff party late too, missing the first two games against the Utah Jazz in Round 1, a series Dallas took in six.

The most convincing action on the betting trends is currently on the over/under, where 74% of the public are banging the over, with 72% of the money.

The 214.5 line is generous, considering the Warriors are leading the playoffs in scoring at 114.2 points per game. Dallas may be the lowest-scoring team left standing, but they have posted 111 points or better in three of the last four. Jump on that now.

The pick: OVER 214.5 points

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