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NBA Finals Game 1 Preview

The NBA Finals get going tonight as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers add another entry to their long list of historical clashes.

This is the 12th time that the Celtics and Lakers have met up in the NBA Finals, and Boston holds a big edge in the matchup with nine wins.

The last matchup was just two years ago in 2008 when the Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games.

Game 1 Celtics vs Lakers Matchup Odds and Stats A lot remains the same for both Boston and Los Angeles since that last meeting in the Finals.

Boston still has the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, and the Lakers are still led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. However, there are some notable differences as well. Rajon Rondo, who was playing in only his second season in 2008, has developed into arguably the Celtics’ best and most important player on the court.

The Lakers have added another piece in supreme defender Ron Artest, and they'll also have Andrew Bynum, who missed the 2008 series due to injury. Bynum is still banged up with a knee injury, but he'll make more of an impact then he did two years ago on the sidelines.

Boston may have won two years ago but this time the Lakers are the defending champs and they are favored to repeat as a -180 series favorite.

The Celtics, like they have been throughout their playoff run, are the underdogs in the series at +150. The odds for tonight's series opener on the moneyline favor the hometown Lakers even more. Los Angeles is a big -230 favorite at Bovada in Game 1, while the Celtics are +190 underdogs. For spread bettors the Lakers are 5.5-point favorites.

It's no surprise the Lakers are favorites at home tonight considering how they've dominated at the Staples Center so far in the postseason. The Lakers are undefeated at home in the playoffs with a perfect 8-0 record. Their record isn't quite as sparkling ATS at 5-3, so bettors may want to keep that in mind if they're betting the spread tonight. They also may want to keep in mind how close both regular-season contests between L.A. And Boston were this year.

The Lakers and Celtics met twice during the regular season and both games were decided by a single point. Even more surprising is the road team won both games. Boston won 87-86 in Los Angeles as 3-point underdogs back on February 18, and in their last eight trips to the Staples Center they're 4-4 SU and 6-2 ATS.

It's important to note that Kobe Bryant didn't play in that game in February due to an injured ankle and the Lakers still almost got past the Celtics.

Game 1 tips off at 9 pm ET with coverage coast to coast on ABC. Game 2 follows on Sunday night, while the series heads to Boston for Game 3 on Tuesday.