Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals gave fans a bit of everything: an absolute dominant performance in the third quarter from the Golden State Warriors followed by a stunning comeback from the Boston Celtics in the fourth.
The Celtics put everyone on notice with the series opening win, and now the pressure is on them to follow up as the Warriors look to get their first win in the series on Sunday in Game 2.
Our NBA experts have several bets they are making ahead of Sunday’s matchup, including player props, a spread pick and a series prop. You can check out their analysis and Game 2 picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a pick to skip ahead|
|Game 2 Winner / Series Winner Prop|
|Celtics vs. Warriors Spread|
|Stephen Curry Player Prop|
|Andrew Wiggins Player Prop|
|Klay Thompson Player Prop|
|Stephen Curry Player Prop|
|Otto Porter Jr. Player Prop|
Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors
|Pick||Celtics Win Game 2 / Celtics Win series (+225)|
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: For three quarters of Game 1, most of us saw exactly what we expected. Stephen Curry came out firing. Boston’s defense looked confused early. Jayson Tatum was off and the Celtics looked overwhelmed by the Finals stage. When the patented Warriors home third-quarter run came, it felt like curtains.
And then the fourth quarter happened.
The question now is how we process all of that. Golden State’s post-game answers reflect the popular narrative: that Boston won’t get such hot 3-point shooting from Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Derrick White again, and that we shouldn’t make too much of one quarter. But I’m not sure that’s giving the other three quarters enough credit.
The Warriors felt like they delivered the knockout punch in the opening minutes. When Curry hits six first-quarter 3s and the crowd is rocking, we know how this plays out … yet the Warriors closed the quarter up four. Tatum never found his shot, Robert Williams looked lost early and yet the Celtics led at the half.
Yes, Boston got great 3-point shooting, but so did Golden State. Curry was awesome early, but then the Celtics adjusted, and the rest of the team was poor offensively. Draymond Green had a nightmare on both ends. Jordan Poole already looks borderline unplayable.
Non-Curry Warriors made just 43% of their shots. Non-Tatum or Brown Celtics made 67% of theirs, by contrast. And the big problem is that many of those looks were open, rhythm shots the Warriors couldn’t contest. Meanwhile, Golden State generated precious little offense outside of Curry.
Coming in, I liked the Warriors early in this series because Golden State had a rest and health advantage and because the Warriors whirring, movement offense usually takes a full game or two to decipher.
I liked Boston late in the series once they figured out how to defend and started finding some answers. The Celtics needed about 15 minutes to find those answers. It might’ve gotten late real early for Golden State.
The Warriors played like a team caught between generations. Klay Thompson looked old and was a turn style on defense. Green was awful. Andre Iguodala should not have been out there. The young guys aren’t ready yet. Boston has more two-way guys and more answers. Still, the Warriors are the Warriors. No one will be even a little surprised if they even things out at home. That’s certainly the public angle.
I think we need to give Boston more credit. This team smells blood in the water and they have to believe that if they can steal a second game here, this is a wrap. Books are giving Boston around a 40% chance to win this game. That feels a bit low, but even if it’s right, there’s serious value on Boston title futures.
If the Celtics win this game, I’d make them at least 85% favorites to win the title. At 40% to win Game 2 and 85% favorites from there, that’s 34% to win Game 2 and the series. Nudge either of those up a bit and you approach 40%. At +225, that’s barely an implied 30%, so we have a serious edge. Boston is so good that I have to give them a real chance to put a stranglehold on this series in Game 2. I have to play the number.
If you want to be more aggressive, a Boston sweep is +700 at BetMGM. That’s a steep ask against a proud Warriors team, but I’d make it more like +500 right now. If you want to be less aggressive and leave out Game 2, Boston -1.5 in the series is +100 at FanDuel. That basically means the Celtics have to win a best-of-5 Games 2 through 6, with home court advantage. At even odds, with a chance to steal Game 2 too, that looks tasty.
I’ll never count Golden State out and the most likely scenario is still 1–1 heading to Boston. But it’s getting late early for the Warriors and I’m looking to add to my Celtics title position.
Matt Moore: Steve Kerr’s Warriors are 16-8 against the spread as favorites after a loss in the playoffs. Essentially, you have to step back and ask if you think the Warriors are getting swept after going down 0-1. Boston was outplayed for three quarters and played a great fourth quarter. The Warriors played badly — and played the wrong personnel — and the Celtics stole the win.
The motivational edge here is huge. The Warriors know this is a must-win. The Celtics know they got the split and took home court. Teams are 47-34 ATS in Game 2 as a home favorite after a loss in the playoffs.
Boston’s performances have been uneven and inconsistent, even as it has advanced to the Finals.
I’m playing some alternate lines here as well. I’m willing to be wrong if the Celtics can take both games in the Bay. Golden State may not be as good as Boston, but it’s not so much worse as to go down 2-0.
|Pick||Stephen Curry Over 10.5 REB + AST (-125)|
Moore: The big adjustment that Curry talked about after Game 1 was essentially playing more minutes. Steve Kerr walked back the idea of Curry playing 45 minutes or more in the off-day presser Friday.
But there’s a gap between the 38.5 he played in Game 1 (with one minute of garbage time on the bench) and that 45. He had five rebounds and five assists in Game 1. I expect him to play more and have more opportunities, and I expect Boston to shoot slightly worse to increase the number of available rebounds.
I don’t want to go toward points and either of these because his line is already juiced too high there, but if the Warriors continue to look to push pace, which is likely, Curry will have chances to punish the attention he draws on the perimeter.
|Pick||Andrew Wiggins Over 22.5 PTS + REB (-120)|
Moore: I’ll play this prop every game until they bump this line up.
Wiggins got to 25 in Game 1 despite playing fewer than 35 minutes. He’s the best wing matchup the Warriors have against the Celtics. He’s the recipient of most of the passes off cuts, which is the natural counter to the Celtics switching pick-and-rolls, and he’s become a great rebounder with five boards in Game 1 despite Boston’s incredible shooting performance.
I’ll be hammering this consistently and I like Wiggins first scorer as well at +800.
|Pick||Klay Thompson Over 3.5 3-Pointers|
Munaf Manji: The Warriors had suffered four total losses in the playoffs prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. One player who has responded for the Warriors in big ways after those losses is Klay Thompson.
He’s averaging 25.7 points per game after a loss and, more importantly, has knocked down four or more 3-pointers in three of the four games after a loss.
Furthermore, in those four games, he’s averaging 12 3-point attempts for the Warriors. He’s also shooting 40% from 3-point land in the postseason.
I like the over 3.5 on his 3s and may ladder this play up as well for Game 2.
|Pick||Stephen Curry Over 10.5 Rebs + Ast|
Dan Titus: Curry fell just shy of 10.5 rebounds + assists in Game 1, but a boost in minutes will likely get him over this threshold in Game 2. He’s eclipsed 10.5 R+A in 60% of home games in the postseason and has gone over in six of his past eight games.
Despite his record-breaking first quarter, the Celtics’ defense locked in thereafter, forcing him to shoot 5-for-16 the rest of the game. Expect the Warriors’ role players to step up in Game 2.
Bettors should be encouraged with his nine potential assists and 12 rebound chances in Game 1. I’d play this up to -140.
|Pick||Otto Porter Jr Over 6.5 Points|
Joe Dellera: Otto Porter Jr. has seen his minutes fluctuate throughout the playoffs with a low of 6.8 minutes and a high of 25.6 minutes for an average of 20.9 minutes per game, but a median total of 23 minutes — however, this is primarily due to his health.
The key for Porter is his flexibility. He’s by far the best small-ball stretch five on the Warriors’ roster and in this series I think he will only see his minutes increase. He’s a capable defender, but can also score from the perimeter, which puts extra pressure on the Celtics’ bigs, namely Robert Williams and Grant Williams — two players who struggle to play in defensive schemes outside of drop coverage.
In Porter’s past five playoff games in which he has played 20-plus minutes (including his Game 1 performance), he has scored 13, 12, 10, 11 and 12 points. His points total for this game is currently at 6.5, which I expect him to clear in increased minutes.
If you’re feeling the alternate line of 10+ points (+290 at FanDuel) I certainly cannot blame you given his strong play of late.