- The Golden State Warriors host the Boston Celtics for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night
- Golden State is favored by four points, while the Celtics own a 12-6 record against the spread this postseason
- Read below for Warriors vs Celtics Game 1 Finals odds and our betting preview
The 2022 NBA Finals get underway on Thursday night. Golden State hosts Boston at Chase Center after having almost a week off after dispatching the Dallas Mavericks in five games. The Celtics are battered and bruised after two physical, seven-game series, and come into Game 1 as four-point underdogs.
In their sixth Finals in eight years, the Warriors are odds-on favorites to win the title. They have homecourt advantage and have won all nine of their games in San Francisco this postseason.
Warriors vs Celtics Game 1 Finals Odds
|Golden State Warriors||-4 (-110)||-168||Over 212.5 (-110)|
|Boston Celtics||+4 (-110)||+142||Under 212.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Jun 1st at FanDuel Sportsbook
Celtics Must Adapt to Warriors Offense
The Warriors are different, particularly on the offensive end. They pose a fresh challenge to a defense, which has caught numerous teams off guard over the years. Dallas’ defense took time to adapt to the Dubs’ motion even after impressing against Phoenix. Only two teams have beaten the Warriors in a Game 1 in the Steve Kerr era (the 2016 Oklahoma City Thunder and 2019 Toronto Raptors). The Mavericks are the most recent example of early series struggles against the Warriors, but they are not alone in being overwhelmed by the Dubs.
Golden State’s play is miles away from that of Milwaukee, Miami or Brooklyn. While this Celtics defense is great, and matches up well with the Warriors on paper, they will be asked more questions than they have faced in the previous series. It is in particular contrast to the often stagnant, Jimmy Butler-reliant offense of the Heat. Boston cannot afford defensive lapses, and must be locked in to defend multiple actions in each possession.
At the other end of the floor, the Warriors’ defense has been overlooked at times in the build up to this series. Jordan Poole and Steph Curry will be targeted by the Celtics, but Curry did a great job when attacked by Luka Doncic in the last round, and Kerr can roll out strong line ups without Poole. It’s as yet unclear if Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr and Andre Iguodala will be available for Game 1, but there are positive signs, and that trio only enhances Kerr’s options. Payton could get some minutes guarding Jaylen Brown.
Klay Looking More Like Klay
The Warriors’ ceiling this season was always dependent on how Klay Thompson looked upon his return. With 30 to close out Memphis and 32 to close out Dallas, he’s looking near his best on the offensive end. While not the elite defender he once was, there has been improvement in his foot speed through this postseason, too.
Boston is going to experiment with attacking Thompson in Game 1. He will have to spend some time guarding Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, and how he fares in such matchups will dictate a lot of the decision making from Kerr and Ime Udoka in this series. On offense, Thompson’s tough-shot making ability is going to be invaluable in the halfcourt against such a strong Celtics defense.
The Warriors have a significant rest advantage coming into the series opener, which should play into the hands of the older team. Thompson will benefit as much as anyone – Golden State is incredibly hard to beat when Thompson and Andrew Wiggins are hitting shots.
NBA Finals Game 1 Prediction
Seven of the Warriors’ nine home playoff wins in 2022 have been by more than four points. Their 120.8 offensive rating at home is 4.6 points per 100 possessions better than any team achieved in the regular season. Their defense has maintained the same high standards, sitting just 0.2 points worse than it was in the 82-game marathon.
— ²³ (@PlayoffDraymond) May 29, 2022
Golden State’s team total is set at 108.5, a mark they have passed in seven of nine home games this postseason. Even against Boston’s defense, there’s value backing the over here. Both teams will need to push the pace to minimize the number of half court possessions, where each offense could struggle to score.
A same-game parlay on the Warriors moneyline and team over is the best bet for Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals. History and rest are on the Dubs’ side.
Pick: Warriors moneyline and to score over 108.5 points (+128)