Having overcome a rough start to 2020, the Boston Celtics are now one of the hottest teams in the NBA again, winning 13 of their last 16 games – a run which included statement victories over the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers, along with the Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks, have been the three standout favourites for the NBA title ever since the books were opened, and very little has changed in that regard ever since.
There is a chasing pack, jostling for position behind the two LA franchises and the Bucks. But the odds appear to be drifting on each of the outsiders, including the Celtics, as the gap between the perceived top three teams and the rest of the NBA widens in the eyes of the punters.
Boston opened as a +2400 shot to win its 18th championship, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, you can still get that sort of price today with some NBA betting sites. This is despite Jayson Tatum moulding into a superstar, Gordon Hayward producing at a high level, and Kemba Walker fitting like a glove at point guard.
The Celtics have been priced as short as +1400 with some sportsbooks at times this season, but since the trade deadline passed without any reinforcements being brought in, the odds have taken a slight climb.
Eastern Conference rivals Miami added some much-needed pedigree in Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder, while Philadelphia signing Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson will bolster the Sixers’ bench through the remainder of the campaign.
The Indiana Pacers also look stronger now that Victor Oladipo is back from a quad injury, so Celtics fans are understandably concerned that they stood still at the deadline.
That said, anything around +2200 or more may be worth a look for bettors looking to back Boston. Behind their two All-Star players in Walker and Tatum are Hayward who has hit form again, Marcus Smart who is among the league’s best on defense, and an array of further defensive talent off the bench.
Boston’s shortcomings at the center position are well-documented and may ultimately be what holds them back. Coach Brad Stevens will need to get uber-creative in the playoffs if the Celtics are to make it out of the East at the expense of Milwaukee, the red-hot Toronto Raptors, and the rest.
The best price for Boston to make it out of the East is now +800. The shorter priced teams are Milwaukee (-200), Miami (+750) and Philadelphia (+800). Toronto at +750 may be surprising to some given their 14-game win streak.
There is some Celtics interest in other outright betting markets, such as Defensive Player of the Year, in which Smart is an outside bet with the Lakers’ Anthony Davis a short-price favorite.
Tatum is in the mix for Most Improved Player, but Brandon Ingram and Luka Doncic are rightfully the frontrunners.
The Atlantic Division Winner market sees the sportsbooks finding it tough to separate the Raptors and Celtics. Both are around +110, with some betting sites marginally favoring one over another. The 76ers are six games back from Toronto, and are a +1400 shot to win the division with most bookmakers.
With outright markets, it is always looking at all of the betting sites Canada has to offer. You are likely to find value this way, as odds can vary massively from one NBA betting site to another.