The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics are both one victory away from securing spots in the 2022 NBA Finals. The leading scorers from both teams — Steph Curry from the Warriors and Jayson Tatum from the Celtics — are popular picks to win the 2022 NBA Finals MVP, with Curry the outright betting favorite at +120 odds, and Tatum the second favorite at +180 odds.
The Celtics defeated the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a 3-2 lead with the series returning to Boston for Game 6. The Celtics want to lock up the series on their home court and avoid heading back to Miami for a potential Game 7.
The Warriors missed an opportunity to sweep the Dallas Mavericks when they lost Game 4 the other night. The Warriors still hold a 3-1 lead, and they host Game 5 at home in San Francisco.
- Steph Curry (Warriors) +120
- Jayson Tatum (Celtics) +180
- Jaylen Brown (Celtics) +900
- Klay Thompson (Warriors) +1700
- Draymond Green (Warriors) +1700
- Andrew Wiggins (Warriors) +2200
- Jordan Poole (Warriors) +2500
- Marcus Smart (Celtics) +5000
- Al Horford (Celtics) +7500
If you follow the money, the Warriors at -135 odds and the Celtics at +125 odds, are the favorites on DraftKings’ future board to win the 2022 NBA Championship. It’s safe to say that both bookies and the public think the Warriors and Celtics will meet in the NBA Finals.
Warriors: Curry seeks First finals MVP
The Golden State Warriors won three NBA titles under Steve Kerr, but despite owning three rings, Curry has never won the finals MVP. Andre Iguodala won the MVP when the Warriors won their first title in 2015. When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, he snagged MVP honors during championship runs in 2017 and 2018.
Curry leads the Warriors this postseason with 26.7 ppg and he’s knocking down 38.4% of his 3-point attempts. He struggled to find his shot during long stretches of the regular season, but it looks like Curry found his groove again. At the start of the playoffs, Curry was +800 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP. Three weeks ago, Curry emerged as the favorite at 340 odds.
Curry is the top favorite on the board at +120, but will his jinx continue? If the Warriors win another title, which teammate could have a better NBA Finals than Curry?
Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are both +1700 odds. If we had to pick someone between the two, Thompson gets the edge because Green tends to rub people the wrong way. Plus, if there’s a chance that the Warriors can lock up the championship in six games, that gives an opportunity for “Game 6 Klay” to take center stage.
Celtics: One of the Jays for MVP?
Pick your “Jay” from Boston: Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown? Tatum is clearly the better player, but don’t overlook Brown. Tatum averages 26.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in the postseason while shooting 43.6% from the floor and 35.5% from 3-point range. Brown averages 23.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in the playoffs, but he’s shooting a little better than Tatum, with 48.4% from the field and 39.6% from downtown.
In the Eastern Conference finals, Brown is the leading scorer for the Celtics, averaging 25 ppg versus just 23.8 ppg from Tatum. Brown also unleashed a 40-point game already this series.
Tatum suffered a nerve impingement injury in Game 3 when he collided with Victor Oladipo. He played in both Games 4 and 5, but he said there have been some lingering effects.
“Yeah, it was bothering me,” said Tatum.
The Celtics and the Heat have been beating each other up in their series, with nearly every starter dealing with some ailment or another, except for Brown. By the time the NBA Finals roll around, Brown could be worthy of a flier for MVP at +900 odds, simply because his health is better than Tatum’s at this point. Tatum is second on the board to win the MVP at +180 odds.
The others: Time Lord and Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins wasn’t on the Warriors squad during their three previous title runs. He’s seeking his first ring, but we like him at +2200 odds as the non-Curry Warrior to woo NBA Finals MVP voters. Wiggins earned praise for his tough defense on Luka Doncic in the Western Conference finals, and let’s not forget his unleashing a posterizing dunk over Doncic in Game 3. Wiggins will most likely draw another difficult defensive assignment by keeping Tatum in check in the NBA Finals.
Other Celtics of note include a seriously banged-up Marcus Smart at +5000 odds, and Al Horford at +7500 odds, to win the NBA Finals MVP. Smart suffered a sprained ankle in Game 3 and missed Game 4 before returning to action in Game 5. He missed time earlier in the postseason with a calf contusion.
Horford, otherwise known as “Time Lord,” had a couple of stretches when he played like someone in his mid-20s and not an aging 35-year-old veteran. Horford is the Celtics’ leading rebounder with 9.3 boards per game, and he’s the fourth-best scorer with 12.9 ppg. But, the Time Lord picks his spots and has one outstanding offensive game per series, so he’s not expected to be the man during a best-of-seven series.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.