There's a lot of optimism in Boston surrounding the Celtics' chances of winning the 2022 NBA Finals.
But nowhere is there more positivity for the Celtics and Banner 18 than deep inside the predictive model at FiveThirtyEight.
FiveThirtyEight rose to fame predicting elections, but it also has models for various sports leagues. The site's NBA model has been bullish on the this season's Celtics longer than pretty much every basketball expert/fan.
The Celtics are now one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. They can punch their ticket with a victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night at TD Garden.
FiveThirtyEight's model is so high on the Celtics that it gives them better than a three-in-four chance of winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy in June.
Here's a look at where the four remaining teams in the playoffs rank in FiveThirtyEight's model:
- Boston Celtics: 76 percent
- Golden State Warriors: 16 percent
- Miami Heat: Six percent
- Dallas Mavericks: Two percent
That's a pretty wide margin.
Sure, the Celtics are the best defensive team in the league, have two All-Star caliber players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, several very good role players and an excellent rookie head coach. They have pretty much all the pieces needed to win a title.
But so do the Warriors. Golden State also has a lot more experience. The team's veteran core -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green -- won three championships in five consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2015 through 2019. Head coach Steve Kerr was on the bench for all of those deep playoff runs.
It's hard to quantify the value of experience, but we can't dismiss it entirely.
Oddsmakers do not agree with FiveThirtyEight's model. The Warriors are the title favorites at -140 odds, while the Celtics are second at +150, according to PointsBet.
A Celtics vs. Warriors matchup in the Finals isn't set yet. The Celtics need to eliminate the Heat and the Warriors still have to take care of business against the Mavericks. But it's by far the most likely Finals matchup and has the potential to be an all-timer if it does happen.