NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals Betting Preview

The NBA Playoffs have reached their business end, and the conference finals are just around the corner. In the semifinals, there were plenty of shockers. While the top seed and heavily favored Boston Celtics made it through to the next round, the reigning champion Denver Nuggets weren’t so lucky and were stunned by an upstart Minnesota Timberwolves. The Indiana Pacers also continued their fairytale, knocking off the East Coast’s second-seed New York Netts to punch their ticket to the final four. 

Out West, the second seeds were also eliminated. The Oklahoma City Thunder have had a renaissance unlike any other this term, but they too have now been dispatched by the Dallas Mavericks. While many expected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to continue his trajectory to superstardom,  he was unable to help his team find a way past the heavyweight duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who progressed at OKC’s expense

So now, the stage is set and the Larry O’Brien Trophy looms on the horizon for our final four. Here is all you need to know ahead of the Conference Finals. 

Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers

The Celtics have been the stars of the show all year long. Fuelled by their shocking defeat to the eighth-seed Miami Heat at this stage last season, the TD Garden side dominated the regular season, securing top-seed status and finishing a mighty seven wins clear of second lace. 

They then secured redemption against the Floridians in the first round of the postseason, before dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers to boot. Coached by Joe Mazzulla and with a stacked roster featuring elite talent in the form of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it’s no surprise to see why NBA online betting odds make them the short-priced -150 favorites for the championship this year. 

With that being said then, the Indiana Pacers certainly have their work cut out. Under the guidance of head coach Rick Carlisle and with the dynamic duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner’s front and center, the Indianapolis-based outfit has thrilled everybody with their run thus far. They squeezed into the p; layoffs by securing the sixth seed out East, before kicking off a Giannis-less Bucks and finally the Knicks to reach the final four. Still, they are huge underdogs to progress to the finals. 

Key Factors and Matchups

Star Power: The Tatum and Brown duo is arguably the best in the league, and their performance will be pivotal in determining the outcome of the series. If Haliburton and Turner can deal with their two opposite numbers, they may well make a contest of it.  But if not don’t be surprised to see a clean sweep. 

Three-Point Shooting: Both teams rely heavily on the three-ball. The Celtics’ ability to stretch the floor with shooters like Derrick White could prove decisive. Haliburton once again is the keyman and he too is a sharpshooter who can change the tide of a game with his hot hand. Don’t rule out either side in the fourth quarter, as huge leads may well evaporate in seconds. 


The Celtics win 4-1, just as they have done in the first round and semifinals. 

Western Conference Finals: Dallas Mavericks vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Led by superstar Luka Doncic and second-in-command Kyrie Irving, the Mavs have had a rollercoaster campaign, but they are seemingly hitting form at the perfect time. Before the playoffs went under, the Lone Star state outfit was priced as long as +3300 with some bookmakers to win the championship. However, now, they are just one series victory away from the Finals. 

The problem for them however is that they are coming up against a Wolves side that has had a blockbuster campaign of its own one fancied their chances at the start of the campaign, despite reaching the postseason last year. However, the duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards have come of age and transformed their side into genuine contenders. 

Add to that the addition of defensive powerhouse Rudy Gobert – who just about managed to handle Nikola Jokic in the previous round – and it would take a brave man to bet against Minnesota at this stage.

Key Factors and Matchups

Luka Dončić Factor: The Slovenian sensation is the engine that drives the Mavericks. His ability to score, facilitate, and rebound will be critical. He topped the entire league when it came to points per game throughout the regular season, aided by a mighty 73 points dropped on the Hawks, his sixth most all-time. The Timberwolves will need to find ways to contain him without overcommitting and leaving other shooters open.

Perimeter Defense: Minnesota’s perimeter defense, bolstered by Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, will be tasked with limiting Irving and Hardaway Jr.’s shooting. Dallas will need to counter this with ball movement and off-ball screens.


Minnesota wins a blockbuster series four games to three. In a closely contested series that may well go down in history as one of the greatest ever, the ariel assault of Towns and Gobert coupled with Edwards’ newfound superstardom will get the Wolves over the line… just.