I’ve written about my takes on the series and Game 1 elsewhere, but it’s important to note my Game 1 lean toward the Warriors here because it will inform my angles below.
I like the Warriors to win and cover because they’ve been incredible in Game 1s and are 21-2 since the start of the title runs in 2015, and because the Celtics have a serious rest disadvantage coming off a tough Game 7.
I’m staying away from Celtics props in the opener, uncertain of minutes for Robert Williams or Marcus Smart with injuries, and uncertain of minutes and energy overall coming off two long, grueling, seven-game series.
Instead, I’ve got three Warriors angles for tonight’s Game 1. Below, I have laid out my favorite prop bets using the Action Labs Player Prop tool. Let’s dive into the Game 1 plays.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Jordan Poole, Over 15.5 points (+102) | Over 19.5 points (+260)
|Celtics vs. Warriors||Warriors (-3.5)|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | ABC|
Jordan Poole has been the ultimate X-factor for the Warriors. As the team waited for the return of Klay Thompson to reunite the Splash Brothers, a funny thing happened along the way — the Warriors somehow found a third Splash Brother.
Over the final 20 games of the regular season, Poole averaged a tidy 26/4/5 on ridiculous 50/45/91 shooting splits. Now, when teams get tired of chasing Curry and Thompson around all game, Poole comes in and runs just as hard, sprinting for those open shots.
Now that all three are playing, Poole has returned to a bench role, but he’s continued to be especially good in home games and he’s been a huge bellwether of Warriors success in wins. Poole has scored at least 15 points in 10 games this postseason and the Warriors are nearly unbeatable in those games (9-1).
When he fails to hit that mark, Golden State drops to just 4-3. When Poole’s shots fall — 64% in playoff wins — it pushes the Warriors over the top, but when they miss — under 33% in losses — they can fall short.
Game 1 is a great spot to bet Poole. In fact, it’s been a great idea betting on Poole early in these playoff series before teams have a chance to adjust and target him defensively. Check out these stark splits for Poole so far this postseason:
- Games 1 to 3: 24.0 PPG, with 19-plus in 8-of-9
- Games 4 or after: 11.1 PPG, under 15.5 in 6-of-7 and never more than 16
Those are massive splits. Poole has been a huge scorer early in series — and in those early home Warriors wins before the opponent can adjust to all that Golden State movement. Some of the early game numbers are inflated from a furiously hot start against Denver with Curry limited, but they’re still more than double his late-series production.
We get Poole over 15.5 points at plus money at FanDuel and you can just play that if you want. But you can parlay that with a Warriors moneyline win at +190 instead and it makes sense to play the two together since they’re clearly correlated events.
I’ll take it a step further and play the 20-plus line too. Remember, Poole has at least 19 points in eight of his nine games from Games 1, 2 or 3 these playoffs. And don’t forget to parlay the Warriors ML. Add that in and we’re at +396 for Poole to score 20 in a win at FanDuel. That’s an implied 20% and he’s done it seven times already this postseason. Let’s hope for an eighth.
Kevon Looney, Under 9.5 Rebounds (-118)
Kevon Looney has been an absolute monster for the Warriors over the past couple weeks. It all started with that huge game to closeout the Grizzlies.
At the behest of Curry and Draymond Green, Looney got his first start of the series and came through in a huge way. He had 22 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass alone. He was great against the Mavericks, too. He started all five games and averaged 10.6 points and 10.6 assists per game.
The past does not always predict the future, though. The Celtics are not the Mavericks. Looney was able to stay home in the paint and dominate the glass against the likes of Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Davis Bertans. However, the Celtics are a much tougher — and far better — rebounding team. Looney will not have as easy a time getting his numbers and he certainly won’t dominate the offensive glass like he has been recently.
Honestly, I’m not even sure how much he plays in this series. I expect the series to trend small as it goes along. It’s also important to remember that the Warriors could get Gary Payton II, Otto Porter, and/or Andre Iguodala back for the Finals. Looney was great when needed, but the Celtics are a different matchup.
Looney went over 9.5 boards in four of his past six games, but he also started and played 29.2 MPG in those outings. In his 10 previous games this postseason he averaged only 4.8 RPG and went under this line in every single one of them.
If you think Looney is not long for this series, you may be tempted to wait and play later when he starts to see his minutes cut. But this is a spot where you should get your bet in early, before Game 1 lineups come out. If Robert Williams can’t play, that could mean fewer Looney minutes and it’s no guarantee Kerr starts Looney anyway.
Looney was great last series, but this is a new matchup and it’s a great spot to go under. I won’t be surprised to see this line drop quickly as the series progresses and I’d consider an alternate under too if you can find one.
Klay Thompson, Over 2.5 Assists (+140)
You know Thompson will be amped to get back in an NBA Finals game since he’s worked three years to return to this level. And if you close your eyes and picture Thompson, you’re surely picturing a headband wearing gunner getting up a ton of shots.
But the truth is Thompson has quietly become a better passer and facilitator this season too. That’s carried over into the playoffs as Thompson is averaging 2.8 assists per game over his past 16 playoff games. He’s gone over 2.5 dimes in 12 of those 16, a 75% hit rate to this over that we’re getting at plus juice.
Two of those four unders came in double-digit blowout losses too, and since we’re not expecting that here, the bet plays even better. Remember, the Warriors offense is a shock to opponents’ systems early in a playoff series.
All that off-ball movement, the back cuts, the perpetual motion, it just takes awhile to adjust. That’s where Thompson can get some easy assists, just moving the ball quickly along to the next open man and letting the machine whir.
It’s more fun to bet on Thompson 3s, but his shooting can run hot and cold. His assists have been more reliable and we should not be getting plus money on the over-2.5 assists, let along +140. He’s over this line in seven of the past nine Warriors wins too, so this is another spot you could parlay with Warriors ML for a better, correlated payout.
If you really want to get wild, a Warriors win featuring 20 Poole points, three Thompson dimes and single-digit Looney rebounds pays out at +2243 as a Same Game Parlay at FanDuel.
Let’s have some fun and hope for a Poole Party.