BOSTON (CBS) — The way the Celtics are being talked about this offseason, you’d think that both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown retired after Boston was eliminated from the playoffs. Both rising stars are still on the team though, which means Boston’s title odds remain pretty good.
The odds are by no means great, as the Celtics still sit behind the NBA’s Super Teams. But the Celtics are atop the NBA’s second tier of title contenders according to a trio of betting sites, which is right where they belong.
The loss of Gordon Hayward this offseason certainly led to Boston’s title odds taking a bit of a hit. But the oddsmakers must really like Tatum and Brown to continue their ascension, Boston’s addition of veterans Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague, and maybe they don’t feel as bad about Kemba Walker’s balky knee.
And even the other teams in the East that did make moves this offseason are still behind the C’s.
Odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship ~
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) December 3, 2020
As you can see, there’s a pretty big drop off from the Clippers to the Celtics. But Boston is firmly entrenched atop that second tier of favorites.
While the Bucks and the Nets are ahead of Boston in the odds, the Celtics remain ahead of the team that sent them home last postseason — the Miami Heat. The Philadelphia 76ers are still behind the C’s too, even after hiring Doc Rivers to lead Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
It’s a perfect spot for the Celtics, who under Brad Stevens have overachieved when written off or taken lightly. But even with another impressive run last season, they’re going to have to prove that they’re in the same league as the Bucks and Nets throughout the year. Milwaukee still has Giannis to dominate, and the Nets are getting Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant back. On paper, they’re both significantly better than Boston. But games aren’t played on paper, so we shall see.
The Celtics will start their season with tilts against both of those teams, opening on Dec. 23 against the Bucks before facing off against the Nets on Christmas Day.