Only four teams remain in the running to win the 2022 NBA championship, and we are already certain to have a different champion than in the previous season for the fourth year in a row.
Celtics, Heat, Mavs, and Warriors Remain in the Mix for the Title
The Milwaukee Bucks entered this year’s playoffs as defending champions and the favorite to win the East. But losing Khris Middleton early in their opening series against the Chicago Bulls proved to be their undoing.
After taking a 3-2 series lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bucks could not close out the series, bowing out with a blowout loss in Sunday’s Game 7 in Boston.
In addition to the champs exiting before the conference finals, last year’s runner-up, the Phoenix Suns, also fell in blowout fashion in a Game 7 on Sunday.
The home team won the first six games of the Mavs vs. Suns series, but the Mavs bucked that trend in a big way in Game 7. Phoenix was run out of the Footprint Center by Dallas in a 123-90 rout that was over before halftime.
While the West’s #1 seed saw its season end in the second round, the East’s #1 seed remains alive. The Miami Heat will take on the Celtics for the East title, with the series starting tonight in Miami.
In the Western Conference, Luka Doncic and the Mavs are in the conference finals for the first time since their NBA championship season in 2011. They will meet the Golden State Warriors, who are back in the NBA’s final four after two playoffs-less seasons.
Let’s take a look at the current 2022 NBA championship odds from BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook, who are three of our trusted sportsbook partners.
If you live in a state with legal online sports betting and are interested in NBA betting or betting on any sport, you can’t go wrong with any of those books when it comes to reliability and variety.
Odds to Win the 2022 NBA Finals (as of May 16, 2022)
- Golden State Warriors +135
- Boston Celtics +200
- Miami Heat +430
- Dallas Mavericks +650
- Golden State Warriors +130
- Boston Celtics +210
- Miami Heat +430
- Dallas Mavericks +650
- Golden State Warriors +120
- Boston Celtics +200
- Miami Heat +400
- Dallas Mavericks +600
2022 NBA Championship Contenders
Boston Celtics (Best Value 2022 NBA Title Odds: +210 at FanDuel)
The Celtics are seeking their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010, when they lost to the Lakers in seven. They were last in the Eastern Conference finals in the 2020 bubble, losing to the Heat in six games.
That should have been part of an ascent, but they were largely mediocre for a season and a half. But midway through this season, things clicked for Boston, who is 41-13 since an 18-21 start. Now, first-year head coach Ime Udoka and the Celtics are eight wins from the franchise’s first NBA title since 2008.
The Nets were a mess, and the Bucks were without Middleton, their second-best player. But that takes nothing from how impressive Boston has been in the first two rounds.
They swept KD and Kyrie, and responded to three deficits against the Bucks, which included two pivotal wins in Milwaukee.
Things certainly continue to break favorably for Boston, with Miami’s Kyle Lowry injured and sidelined for at least the opener.
But the fact that the Celtics enter the Eastern Conference finals as solid favorites–at FanDuel, they open the series at -175 to win it, while the Heat come in at +145–despite Miami’s homecourt advantage serves as a testament to their meteoric rise and success over the last few months.
Miami Heat (Best Value 2022 NBA Title Odds: +430 at Caesars Sportsbook & FanDuel)
From 2000 to 2002, the top seed in the Eastern Conference advanced to the NBA Finals each year: the Indiana Pacers in 2000, the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, and the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets in 2002.
Since then, the #1 seed in the East has reached the NBA Finals only three times: 2008 (Boston Celtics), 2013 (the Heat), and 2016 (Cleveland Cavaliers).
So, along with being up against the odds at this point, the Heat are also up against recent history. If there is anything positive to note, it’s that the 2008 Celtics, 2013 Heat, and 2016 Cavs all went on to win the NBA championship. So, if Miami gets there, that bit of recent history is in their favor.
The Heat have been a bit overshadowed by other teams throughout this NBA season, but they have just gone about their business without having any real sustained wobbles. Their longest losing streak this season is four games, which occurred in late March. The response to that short skid? A six-game win streak that wrapped up the top seed in the East with time to spare.
In the second round against the Sixers, the Heat lost a 2-0 lead in Philadelphia, with the series tied heading back to Miami for Game 5. But like the Celtics did when challenged against the Bucks, the Heat responded and responded resoundingly. They throttled the Sixers by 35 in Game 5, then took control of a close Game 6 in the third quarter and coasted to a series-clinching win in Philadelphia.
The odds may be against Miami, but don’t expect the Heat to let the Celtics coast to a conference title.
Golden State Warriors (Best Value 2022 NBA Title Odds: +135 at Caesars Sportsbook)
In the two second-round series in the East, both winning teams caught a bit of good fortune. The Celtics did so with Middleton out the entire series, and the Heat benefitted from the Sixers being without Joel Embiid for Games 1 and 2.
In the West, things worked out similarly for the Warriors. Golden State did not have to face Ja Morant for the final three games of their series with the Memphis Grizzlies, after he suffered a knee injury in Game 3.
The outcome may well have been the same regardless, but either way, the Warriors have a championship in their sights once again, much to the dismay of many.
Despite the Denver Nuggets possessing the back-to-back NBA MVP in Nikola Jokic, it was ultimately no surprise that Golden State dispatched them with alarming ease. After all, the Nuggets were shorthanded and more or less Jokic, Jokic, Jokic, and a supporting cast of players with more prominent roles than they would have on many other teams.
The Warriors faced more of a challenge in the second round against the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies but ultimately advanced in six.
There are some differences from Golden State’s last Western Conference title-winning squad, with Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn and rising star Jordan Poole now part of the Splash Brothers.
But the core of the team remains, on the court and on the sideline. And that core has a level of championship experience and success that none of the other remaining teams can match. That is going to be very, very tough to beat.
Dallas Mavericks (Best Value 2022 NBA Title Odds: +650 at Caesars Sportsbook & FanDuel)
The Mavs are the most unfancied team in this quartet of NBA championship contenders, but they have one of the best individual talents in the field and are riding high on confidence heading into their showdown with the Warriors.
Early on, it looked like the Mavs would suffer yet another first-round playoff exit. Without Luka Doncic, they lost their playoff opener at home against the Utah Jazz, immediately relinquishing home-court advantage.
But they responded by winning Games 2 and 3 behind big performances by Jalen Brunson, and after a Jazz win in Game 4, reclaimed the upper hand in the series with a dominant Game 5 win and overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to win Game 6 in Salt Lake City.
The Mavs found themselves up against it again against the Phoenix Suns, who coasted to a 2-0 series lead. But that would be the high point for the Suns, who won only one more game and lost by 27 and 33 in Games 6 and 7.
There’s plenty to be said about Doncic, certainly. He has performed like one of the biggest stars in the NBA is expected to in the playoffs.
But he hasn’t done it alone, as Brunson and the supporting cast have stepped up in a major way. In addition to Brunson, who is averaging 22.9 PPG in the playoffs, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, and Maxi Kleber have all made valuable contributions.
Dallas has also been outstanding defensively in important moments. They shut down the Jazz in the second half of Game 6 in the first round and put the clamps on the Suns in Games 6 and 7.
All of that will have to continue to be the case for the Mavs to continue this run. Will it?
Betting on the 2022 NBA Finals
Would you like to learn more about betting on the NBA Finals this year? Check out our handy NBA Finals betting guide.
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