Celtics at Warriors: NBA Finals Game 1 picks, odds

Celtics at Warriors: NBA Finals Game 1 picks, odds

Follow our live coverage for Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Golden State has waited a week since knocking off Dallas, and Boston is just a few days removed from winning Game 7 in Miami. Will the extra rest help the Warriors be fresher, or will it cause some early rustiness?

BetMGM has Golden State favored by 3.5 points over the Celtics in Game 1, and all of our experts picked the Warriors to win the NBA Finals’ opening game Thursday night at the Chase Center.

The Warriors are also favored to win the series. How will this matchup play out?

What time is Warriors vs. Celtics Game 1?

Time: Thursday, 9 pm (ET)

Channel: ABC (streaming on the ESPN app)

During the NBA playoffs, The Athletic‘s writers will make their straight-up picks. You’ll find picks, coverage and the latest odds here, Our in-depth NBA coverage is linked below the picks. For live NBA odds from BetMGM, click here,

NBA Finals schedule

Game 1: Celtics at Warriors | Thursday, June 2 | 9 pm ET

Game 2: Celtics at Warriors | Sunday, June 5 | 8 pm ET

Game 3: Warriors at Celtics | Wednesday, June 8 | 9 pm ET

Game 4: Warriors at Celtics | Friday, June 10 | 9 pm ET

Game 5*: Celtics at Warriors | Monday, June 13 | 9 pm ET

Game 6*: Warriors at Celtics | Thursday, June 16 | 9 pm ET

Game 7*: Celtics at Warriors | Sunday, June 19 | 8 pm ET

What are the odds for Warriors vs. Celtics Game 1?

Team Spread Total moneyline

+140

-3.5

212.5

-165

Warriors vs. Celtics Game 1 preview

Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. Golden State, vanguard of the NBA’s current high-flying, free-shooting, run-and-fun era of offense, will meet the Celtics, a throwback to the hard-nosed, sharp-elbowed, tough-and-snuff eras of Eastern Conferences past. They will decide a title. Let’s get busy.

Except, shhh, here’s a secret: The Warriors are the second-best defensive team in the league this season, a mere half-point behind Boston in defensive rating. With Draymond Green, Golden State can lock down its half court with the best. And the Celtics were a more efficient offense than Golden State was this season. Behind Jayson Tatum, they were more than a full point better by rating.

Normally before the finals, we’d wonder which team will more effectively dictate the style. If a team forces a game into its own hands, it usually wins. In this case, do we even know what kind of game each of these teams prefers?

On paper, the Celtics have a considerable size advantage, with a brawny frontcourt full of players seemingly as wide as they are tall. And that kind of team traditionally wants to bang the paint. The Warriors, on paper, can shoot the 3, and that kind of team typically wants to spread the court and draw out the bigs.

But Boston over the past two series has shortened its lineup to a seven-deep rotation, and it’s already fighting against the diminishing return of injuries. The Warriors found themselves in some trouble when the undermanned Mavericks found a way to outshoot them from deep. Maybe the paper is worthless.

History says the Warriors, winners of three titles since 2015, have a leg up on the surging Celtics. They’ve reached the finals in six of the past eight seasons for a reason. But the Celtics are no slouches. They’ve been hardened on a more difficult path through the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Golden State has an edge. But something we can’t see yet — some twist of fate, some bit of kismet outside the scope of science — will decide this series.

Warriors vs. Celtics expert picks and predictions for Game 1

Writer Straight-up pick

Andrew Schlecht

Jason Jones

Richard Deitsch

Michael Beller

Dave DuFour

James Edwards III

Or Moyal

Sam Vecenie

Cole Huff

Mike Vorkunov


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(Photo of Jordan Poole: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

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