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NBA Finals Betting Preview

We're still a few days away from the start of the NBA Finals, as Game 1 between the Celtics and Lakers won't be played until Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers and Celtics both won their conference finals in six games, giving each team a few days off before the Finals begin. Los Angeles eliminated Phoenix in six games on Saturday night with a 111-103 win as a 1.5-point road underdog at Bovada.

Kobe Bryant delivered the knockout blow with a game-high 37 points, and Ron Artest continued his recent playoff awakening with 25 points. Boston dropped Orlando in six games last Friday night with a 96-84 win as a 3.5-point home favorite.

Paul Pierce lowered the boom on the Magic with 31 points and 13 rebounds, while Ray Allen poured in 20 points. Celtics versus Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals. That series went six games with Boston winning 4-2 to claim the NBA title.

The Celtics were perfect at home in the series, but they were 1-2 in Los Angeles. The Lakers have home-court advantage this time (compared to Boston having it two years ago) and that could be the difference-maker this time around. If the regular season matchups between Los Angeles and Boston this season mean anything then bettors should expect some close games.

The Lakers and Celtics met twice this season and both games were decided by a single point. Their first matchup this season came in Boston on January 31. The Lakers were a 1-point road favorite and proved the oddsmakers right by winning 90-89. Kobe netted 19 points, including hitting the game-winning shot late in the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 21 points and 12 assists.

In the rematch in Los Angeles on February 18 the Celtics topped the Lakers 87-86 as a 3-point road underdog. One important thing to note about that game was that the Lakers played without Bryant due to an injured ankle. Ray Allen burned the Lakers with 24 points while shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range, while Gasol had 22 points to lead the Lakers.

The Lakers are the early choice in Game 1, down as a 5.5-point home favorite. Los Angeles is also the series favorite at -180, while the Celtics are a +150 underdog.