Warriors vs. Celtics NBA Finals Game 3 Best Bets

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Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Derrick White #9 of the Boston Celtics. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

The Boston Celtics are favored to beat the Golden State Warriors this Wednesday, but are they healthy enough to beat the NBA odds?

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 – 09:00 PM EDT at TD Garden

What the Numbers Say

Are the Boston Celtics toast already? They still have home-court advantage in the 2022 NBA Finals after earning the split in the first two games at Chase Center, but for the most part, the Celtics have been outplayed by the Golden State Warriors thus far.

Don’t tell that to the sharps. Well, some of them, at least; Boston opened as 2.5-point home favorites on the Game 3 NBA odds board at Heritage Sports, and are –3.5 as we go to press, with the BMR consensus reports showing 53-percent support for the C’s.

Should You Ignore the Projections?

The quants are on Boston, too. Well, some of them, at least; FiveThirtyEight project the Celtics to win Wednesday’s matchup by 7.5 points. And ESPN’s Basketball Power Index pegs Boston’s chances of victory at 80.6 percent (!), which is about the same as Boston –9 according to Wizard of Odds.

As someone who actually watched the first two games of this series, I’m not convinced. These projections deserve some side-eye because of the multiple Celtics who are playing through injury; Golden State’s combination of talent and depth helped them win Game 2, and it could be the determining factor for our NBA picks in Game 3 and beyond.

What Happened to Jayson Tatum?

That’s one of the big problems for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum is Boston’s best player, at least according to the eye test; his plus-4.9 Box Plus/Minus at Basketball Reference ranks second on the roster. But he only shot 3-of-17 in Game 1, and 8-of-19 in Game 2.

Tatum is also threatening to break the NBA single-season playoff record for turnovers. He’s sitting on 83 after adding another six to his total during the first two games; LeBron James holds the record at 94, which he achieved in 2019 as his Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Warriors for the third time in four years.

Part of the problem lies in Tatum’s right shoulder. It’s been acting up since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Miami Heat, when Tatum was diagnosed with an impinged nerve in his clavicle – a stinger, in other words.

It looks like Tatum got stung again Sunday night. He was clutching at his shoulder during the second quarter, and clearly wasn’t himself in the third, when Golden State took over the game and never looked back. Tatum played through the pain against Miami and got the C’s into the Finals; this latest bump in the road might send Boston directly into the ditch.

Is Robert Williams Okay?

Definitely not. Williams is still feeling the effects of the sore left knee that’s seen him bounce in and out of the Celtics lineup for several months now. This was originally diagnosed as tendinopathy, a condition that only gets worse through repetitive usage, like playing NBA basketball.

When healthy, Williams (plus-5.5 BPM, ahead of Tatum) is arguably Boston’s most important player at a position of need; Daniel Theis (minus-0.1 BPM) is a serviceable back-up center, but a significant step down in quality. Williams is definitely not healthy right now – the last four games have been a struggle for him.

On top of that, Marcus Smart (plus-0.5 BPM) has been slowed by a sprained right ankle that was first diagnosed as a mid-foot sprain after Game 7 of the Eastern semis against the Milwaukee Bucks. Smart was also bothered by a right quad contusion during that series. He’s clearly not 100-percent either.

None of these three players is on Boston’s official injury report at press time – nobody is. And that might explain why the projections are so far off the actual NBA lines for Game 3. Oh well. At least this tender trio didn’t have to log major minutes in Game 2 after the C’s emptied the bench in the fourth quarter.

Are the Warriors Healthy?

Relatively. Andre Iguodala (plus-2.7 BPM) sat out Sunday’s contest with a sore right knee, having only resurfaced in Game 1 after missing the previous month with a neck injury. But Gary Payton II (plus-3.7 BPM) made his triumphant return from a broken elbow and helped Golden State smother the Celtics 107-88 in Game 2, cashing in the Dubs as 4.5-point home faves.

We’re expecting more of the same here at the ranch for Game 3. All that extra time off between games will benefit Boston, but a small bet on Golden State still makes sense at their new price, and the Under should continue to have legs in this bruising series. What’s that? Another underdog-Under parlay? Don’t mind if I do.

NBA Pick: Warriors +3.5 (–108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Warriors +3.5 (-108)
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NBA Pick: Under 212 (–105) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Under 212 (-105)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.