For the first time since 2008, neither preseason conference favorite will participate in the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics will look to become the biggest preseason long shot to win the NBA title, as they lack a single player with Finals experience. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are favored for the 24th straight playoff series and are looking for their fourth title under coach Steve Kerr.
Despite their differences in recent playoff history, on paper, this matchup is tied for the closest series price we've had in any NBA Finals in the past 35 seasons.
Boston (50-1) would be the biggest long shot to win the NBA title based on preseason odds in the past 35 seasons. The Celtics are the third-biggest long shot in the past 35 seasons to reach the NBA Finals, behind the 2020 Heat (75-1) and 2002 Nets (60-1), both of whom lost in the Finals. The biggest preseason long shot in that span to win the NBA title was the 2015 Warriors (28-1). This year's Warriors were 10-1 entering the season.
As of Wednesday, the Warriors were -155 favorites and the Celtics were +135 underdogs. That ties the closest series price in the NBA Finals in the past 15 seasons (the 2014 San Antonio Spurs were also -155 against the Heat).
Favorites are 15-2 ATS in Game 1 of the NBA Finals (16-1 outright) since 2005. The only outright upset over that span came by the Spurs (+5) in 2013 against the Heat. They are 7-1 ATS in the past eight Finals.
Odds from Caesars Sportsbook and research from SportsOddsHistory.com were used in this report.