NBA Championship Betting Preview

With a tip of the hat to Yogi Berra, it’s “deja vu all over again” as the 2010 NBA Championship is set to tip off.

[ Article courtesy of Sportsbook ]

Just as they did two seasons ago, the storied Boston Celtics and LA Lakers will represent their respective conferences in this year’s NBA Final. LA is looking serve a cold dish of revenge, as they were dumped 4-2 in that 2008 Final. This time around, online sportsbooks have the Lakers as the series favorites, listed at -175 while the Celtics are +155 underdogs.

So where’s the money going and is there any good value in NBA betting on the series. Let’s look at some betting numbers of note for this matchup at Sportsbook:

Boston has been a healthy play for the sports betting public the last few weeks, posting a 7-2 mark against the spread in their last nine starts. They’ve also been covering at an impressive clip on home court, going 7-2 ATS the last nine times they’ve played in front of the hometown faithful.

Over/Under bettors might want to jot down that in the Celtics last 11 games overall, they have recorded 3 Overs, 7 Unders and 1 Push. As for the Lakers, they are 10-2 SU in their last 12 overall, but for bettors, keep in mind they have not paid off very well at the STAPLES Center in their last 20 games, only going 7-12-1 ATS (but they are 17-3 SU in those 20 starts).

The Celtics owned the Lakers the last time they met in the finals, going 4-2 SU but they were even more dominant when it came to against the spread numbers as Boston covered in every single game of that 2008 championship (6-0 ATS).

Celtics’ Injuries:

Despite the few days off that both teams have enjoyed prior to the start of the championship series, both teams are less than 100 percent. Most notable amongst the banged up Celtics is starting point guard Rajon Rondo. He is suffering from muscle spasms in his back but he expects to be ready for Sportsbook tip-off on Thursday. “I'm about 67 percent today,” quipped Rondo to ESPN. “I won't be 100 percent by Thursday, but I'll be like 94.7.” While Rondo says he will be somewhere close to 100 percent for the opener, the same probably can’t be said of Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

Lakers’ Injuries:

Bynum has been playing for a bulk of the postseason with slightly torn meniscus in his right knee and had the problem area drained on Tuesday according to reports. Bynum will have to undergo offseason surgery and despite having the area drained, he told ESPN that it doesn’t feel any better. “I think I just need to fight through it until we get the surgery done,” he said. “This is the last hurrah; this is the last show, so I'm ready to give everything.”

Going into Game 1, has the Lakers as a 5.5-point home favorite and the Total is set at 192. In Boston’s last nine games when listed as an underdog of 6-points or less, there have been 6 Overs and 3 Unders. The Lakers are only 3-6-1 ATS in their last 10 when favored by 6-points or less.

Early betting action at Sportsbook has been pretty even, with 57% of the volume coming in on the Lakers. I’ve made a small series wager on the Lakers at -175, as I think with the additions, the commitment to being tougher defensively (something that caused them issues in the 2008 loss) and a nicked up Celtic roster gives a nice edge to the Lakers. Look for them to get some revenge and hoist the Championship trophy.

Enjoy the championship series.