This is the 22nd trip to the championship round for the glorious franchise and this season was one of the most surprising. For Celtics futures backers the luck of the Irish will pay a hefty penny if Boston is able to win their 18th NBA Championship, as they would be the largest preseason underdogs since 1984.
Let’s dive into their season from a betting perspective.
While the road wasn’t easy, the Celtics found a way when times were at their toughest — and road is not just a turn of phrase. They won three times in Miami, and are 7-2 away from home these playoffs.
They have solidified themselves as true road warriors, a trait that will serve them well when they open on the road in their Finals’ matchup against the other Warriors of the NBA, in Golden State.
With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper and take a glimpse at how the Celtics’ betting odds moved all season to understand how Ime Udoka led his team to the promised land in his first season as head coach (with all odds via FOX Bet).
THE CELTICS’ CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON
October 19: +4000 (bet $10 to win $410 total)
January 20: +6000 (bet $10 to win $610 total)
February 17: +2500 (bet $10 to win $260 total)
March 1: +2200 (bet $10 to win $230 total)
April 12: +900 (bet $10 to win $100 total)
April 30: +600 (bet $10 to win $70 total)
May 31: +130 (bet $10 to win $23 total)
At the beginning of the season, FOX Bet had the Celtics’ odds to win it all at +4000 — right in the middle of the pack, suggesting they were destined to make the playoffs but likely to lose early.
Speaking of which, with FOX Bet having them at 40-1 to win the title in the preseason, the Celtics would be the largest underdogs, by far, to win the title since 1984 (as far back as odds are available).
Below are the current top-5 largest underdogs to win it all in since 1984:
1: 2015 Warriors, +2800
2: 2011 Mavericks, +2000
3: 2019 Raptors, +1850
4: 2004 Pistons, +1500
T-5: 2014 Spurs, +1200
T-5: 1994 Rockets, +1200
* Per FOX Sports Research
Those odds lengthened quickly as the Celtics jumped out the gate with two straight losses and struggled to get their footing early in the season.
By January 28 their odds were sitting at +6000 and people were wondering if Head Coach Ime Udoka would make it through the season. They had a record of .500, just lost their 25th game, and looked like anything other than a title contender.
Then a remarkable thing happened. They only lost six more games for the remainder of the regular season.
The Celtics went 26-6 in the last 32 games as their defense rose to the top of the league in defensive rating, opponent field goal percentage and opponent three-point percentage.
Boston’s title odds shrunk from +6000 to +2500 by the All-Star break and then continued their descent to +2100 by the beginning of March.
By the time the season ended, the C’s sat at +900 to win it all, and were a surprising second-seed in the Eastern Conference. Jayson Tatum played his way onto first-team All-NBA, Marcus Smart was Defensive Player of the Year, and no one was calling for Ime Udoka’s head. The turnaround was complete.
After they quickly dispatched the talent-heavy Brooklyn Nets in the first round, their odds shortened even further to +600. The number continued to shrink after their grueling seven-game matchup against the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks. And now that they have outlasted the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals the Celtics go into the NBA Finals at +130 and are four wins away from a well-earned trophy presentation with living legend Bill Russell.
FOX Bet trading analyst Steven Hemke admires how the Celtics have battled through the competitive East this season.
“The Celtics came into the year not getting much support from the futures perspective with the loaded East trailing the Nets, Bucks, 76ers, Heat, and Hawks in preseason odds at around 40-1,” he explained. “As the season went along it became apparent that they were one of the better contenders and their odds reflected such. If bettors got in early on the Celtics, they will surely be rewarded if they can finish this season off with a Championship.”
So, there you have it, folks. The Celtics are on the verge of betting history if they can knock off the mighty Warriors. If you think Boston can add another feather to Lucky the Leprechaun’s cap this season, make sure to place your wagers at FOX Bet.
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