The NBA Finals starts tonight with Boston traveling to Golden State for Game 1 at the Chase Center. This is a superb matchup between two of the NBA’s best defensive teams, which makes betting on props an even bigger challenge.
Here at NBA.com we have an additional way to gamble on tonight’s game: the Pick’Em Contest!
Since the All-Star Break, there has been an open competition on getting the longest consecutive streak of questions correct. The current leader answered 19 consecutive questions, which puts them on track for the $10,000 grand prize!
With just 19 possible days remaining, there is still time to earn the top prize with a hot streak of correct answers during the NBA Finals. Tonight there are 10 questions, each with two possible answers.
Let’s take a look at five of tonight’s questions and give our picks for tonight’s NBA Pick ‘Em contest!
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Warriors vs. Celtics Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at the time of publication.
Warriors vs. Celtics Thursday Night Picks
Which Team Will Win The Game?
Golden State is an incredible 21-2 in Game 1’s with Steve Kerr as head coach. The Warriors will see a boost in their bench with the return of Gary Payton, Otto Porter, and Andre Iguodala. As a perfect 9-0 at home in the playoffs, including 9-0 against the spread, I see no reason to pick against the three-time NBA champions at home in Game 1.
PICK: Golden State
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Which Team Will Have The Most Steals?
Boston’s defense is playing at an extremely high level, having forced turnovers on 14.1% of their last three games against Miami. The Heat do not turn the ball over, and the Warriors actually ranked second during the regular season with the most turnovers per game.
Golden State’s up-tempo style puts them in vulnerable situations for steals, which will be the conduit for Ime Udoka’s switching defense to capitalize.
Which Team Will Make More 3 Pointers?
This will be closer than most think, as Boston shot a strong 36.1% from beyond the arc in road games. Jayson Tatum (37.5%) and Jaylen Brown (38.6%) have been fantastic from 3P range in the playoffs, but Marcus Smart (33%) and Al Horford (16.7% last two games) have been very streaky.
The Warriors shot 37.5% from 3P range at home during the playoffs, including 38.9% in their clinching win over Dallas. The Mavericks ranked among the NBA’s best 3P defensive teams all season. Despite Boston’s superior defensive prowess, I’m still backing the Warriors to make more three-pointers in Game 1.
Pick: Golden State
Will Robert Williams III Block More Than Two Shots?
Robert Williams’ recovery from knee surgery has been a battle throughout the playoffs. His minutes per game has dropped from 29.6 to 21.5 in the playoffs, and his production has seen a similar decline across the board. Williams has seen his scoring average drop 2.2 points and his rebounding average has dropped over four rebounds per game.
However, his defensive presence has remained strong.
Williams averaged 2.2 blocks per game, but has maintained 1.9 blocks per game in the playoffs despite the decreased playing time. He actually tallied two or more blocks in eight consecutive playoff games before Game 7 against Miami.
Williams is the healthiest he’s been since surgery, having almost four days off since Sunday. I’m backing Williams to post at least two blocks in tonight’s opening matchup.
Which Player Will Score More Points: Jaylen Brown or Jordan Poole?
I love Jaylen Brown in this matchup, as Jordan Poole’s liability as a defender will be exposed. Poole has maintained his 30 minutes per game, despite the return of the dominat trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Despite his struggles on defense, Poole continued to maintain his playing team against the Mavericks as a direct result of injuries to Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton, and Otto Porter. However, all three players are back for tonight’s matchup.
Poole has averaged 18.4 PPG in the postseason, but will have his biggest challenge against Boston. Jaylen Brown averaged more points during the regular season (23.6 PPG) and playoffs (22.9 PPG), and has favorable matchups against Poole or Klay Thompson. I think Brown is actually a sneaky bet to lead Boston in points per game for the series.
I’m backing Brown comfortably to beat Poole in Game 1 points.
Pick: Jaylen Brown
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