The Boston Celtics were a popular pick to make a deep run in the 2020 NBA playoffs when the format of the league's season restart was first announced, and the excitement over the team's potential has only grown during the last few weeks.
In fact, oddsmakers have improved the Celtics' odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals since the schedule for each team's eight seeding games was revealed in late June.
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The Celtics had +2000 odds to win the championship at the beginning of the month. Now, with less than two weeks until the Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks on July 31, Boston's odds have improved to +1700.
Here are the latest title odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:
L.A. Lakers: +240
Milwaukee Bucks: +250
L.A. Clippers: +333
Houston Rockets: +1200
Boston Celtics: +1700
Toronto Raptors: +2200
Denver Nuggets: +2500
Philadelphia 76ers: +2800
All other teams have +3000 odds or worse
The Celtics have a fantastic head coach in Brad Stevens, a deep roster, three players averaging more than 20 points per game, and a strong team chemistry. They have plenty of positives as the season's restart nears. Boston's road to the Finals isn't likely to be easy, though.
A potential first-round matchup with an ultra-talented 76ers team would be an enormous challenge. Philly won three of the four games in the regular season series with Boston. Playing the defending champion Toronto Raptors in Round 2 also would be quite difficult. The Raptors almost always play the Celtics tough. And, of course, a possible Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks and likely league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo would be challenging as well. The Bucks have an elite defense and perhaps the best player in the sport. Milwaukee also made quick work of the C's in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.
This Celtics team is tougher than last year's, though. Kemba Walker has proven to be a tremendous fit as the starting point guard and a go-to scorer, while Jayson Tatum has emerged as an All-Star. Before the season was halted, there were very few players performing at a higher level than Tatum. We also should mention that Jaylen Brown is having his best season and Gordon Hayward is capable of dropping 20-plus points any night.
There are several reasons to take a chance on the Celtics given their current betting odds to win the NBA title. The Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Bucks are the clear championship favorites, and deservedly so after how well they played during the regular season. But the Celtics match up well against all three, and they've also beaten each of these teams once already this season. If the Celtics play up to their potential, it wouldn't be shocking if they were still playing into October.
Celtics Playoff Previews: vs. Pacers | vs. Heat | vs. Raptors | vs. Bucks | vs. 76ers