BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics have one goal in Orlando: To win the franchise’s 18th NBA title. The oddsmakers don’t particularly like their chances at winning it all, but they like Boston enough to bump up those odds over the last few weeks.
Boston arrived in Orlando with +2000 odds to win it all, and those odds have improved slightly according to DraftKings’ most recent title odds. The Celtics still don’t crack the NBA’s top four, but they are still the second-best team in the East, according to DraftKings:
L.A. Lakers: +240
Milwaukee Bucks: +250
L.A. Clippers: +333
Houston Rockets: +1200
Boston Celtics: +1700
Toronto Raptors: +2200
Denver Nuggets: +2500
Philadelphia 76ers: +2800
Of course LeBron James and his Lakers sit atop that group, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks just a hair behind as the favorites.
But the Celtics do have a lot going in their favor as the NBA nears its restart. They’re at the top of the NBA’s second tier thanks to their chemistry, the emergence of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker’s immediate fit as a leader, and Brad Stevens’ great coaching. Mix in Gordon Hayward’s best season in green and strong play on both ends of the floor, and the Celtics went an impressive 43-21 before the season came to a halt on March 12. Boston currently sits third in the Eastern Conference heading into the eight seedings games in Orlando.
While there are concerns about Walker’s left knee, the biggest hurdle for Boston will be their road to the Finals, with the Bucks, Raptors and/or 76ers all standing in their way. The Celtics spit their regular season matchups with the Bucks, went 2-1 against the Raptors, but just 1-3 against Philadelphia. Unfortunately for the Celtics, the 76ers are their current first-round matchup if the playoff started today.
But the Celtics are a determined bunch down in Orlando, and they know that if they want to be the last team standing, they’re going to have to beat some good teams along the way.