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2023 NBA Finals Odds: Bettors Backing Boston Again After Celtics Salvage Season
What a difference one NBA playoff game can make huh?
Miami had a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, leading 3-0 heading into Tuesday night’s (May 23) Game 4 with the Heat staring at a golden opportunity to do the unthinkable: Sweep the Celtics.
No team has ever come back from an 0-3 playoff deficit and worse for the Celtics, pundits began wondering if the team had quit on young coach Joe Mazulla.
All that changed Tuesday after the Celtics won on the road in Miami.
It was a costly loss for the Heat. You never want to give a team that appears dead new life, and definitely not the defending East champion Celtics.
But that’s precisely what Miami has done. Game 5 is Thursday (May 25) in Boston, where the Celtics are 8-point favorites. If Boston wins that, then the pressure suddenly is on the Heat who would host Game 6 in Miami on Saturday (May 27). Lose that one, and it’s a dreaded Game 7 back in Boston on Memorial Day (Monday 29) which would be an incredibly daunting task in front of a bonkers Beantown crowd.
The Celtics still think they can make history, even though 150 postseason series when it’s been 3-0, not one team has managed to win four straight.
After Boston’s season-saving Game 4 victory, Celtics guard Marcus Smart said, “Now we've just got to go win another one. That's all that matters. We take it one game at a time. We understand the odds are stacked against us, but we're a team that believes in us no matter what, and we just have to keep going. All that matters is the next game."
As Yahoo Sports noted about the difference in the first three games of the series and Boston’s win in the fourth:
Miami entered Game 4 shooting 47.8% as a team from 3-point range — this after being the fourth-worst shooting team in the regular season (34.4 3P%). Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson, in particular, combined to average nine 3-pointers on 51.9% shooting from deep through three games. They fell back to Earth, finishing 3-of-13 in the 17-point loss, closer to their regular-season averages (33.9%).
Boston, meanwhile, shot the ball much better than in the first three losses. Entering Game 4, the Celtics were shooting 29.2% from 3, but responded by making 18 of their 45 attempts (40%) on Tuesday, closer to their regular-season average of 37.7%.
Boston's defense had a lot to do with that. As unlikely as it seemed that the Celtics could repair their disconnect on that end in two days, especially since it has been broken throughout these playoffs, they managed to come together for one night, and that translated into the dynamic offense they are accustomed to playing. They entered Game 4 shooting 29.2% from 3 as a team and made 18 of their 45 attempts (40%) on Tuesday, closer to their regular-season average (37.7%). Sixteen of those 18 triples were assisted.
Teammate Jaylen Brown agreed: "We want to come back to Miami. If that happens, I feel like we'll feel good about ourselves."
Bettors are feeling better about Boston’s chances too.
Early Monday morning, per FanDuel Sportsbook, one of our favorite gambling sites out there, the Celtics were +1600 to win the NBA Finals.
By Wednesday evening (May 24), they’re now down to +460.
That’s a serious swing after just one win, but it was a huge one.
Here are the latest odds from FanDuel.
2023 NBA Champion
Denver Nuggets -210
Miami Heat +390
Boston Celtics +460
2023 Eastern Conference Champion
Miami Heat -260
Boston Celtics +210
If there’s one team that could pull off the seemingly impossible, it’s this Celtics squad which was the preseason favorite to win it all.
But I don’t believe Jimmy Butler and Heat coach Eric Spoelstra will allow that to happen.
Still, better be careful Miami. Ya gotta win one of the next two games or you’ll be on the wrong end of history on a forever unforgettable NBA Memorial Day.