Thanks to AZ Sportsbooks, Arizonans can bet on the NBA Finals for the first time.
It has been nearly nine months since sports betting became legal in the Grand Canyon State. We’ve seen bets placed on the World Series and the Super Bowl during that time. Now it’s the NBA’s turn to crown a champion.
The Golden State Warriors are taking on the Boston Celtics in what should be an entertaining matchup. With all this basketball excitement, who are the bettors in Arizona backing?
WynnBet: Bets on Celtics picking up steam
Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns got knocked out of the NBA Playoffs in embarrassing fashion. At the time, the Suns were the biggest liability for most AZ sportsbooks. According to WynnBet Arizona, Phoenix was the operator’s No. 1 liability in Arizona and nationwide to win the title.
Motoi Pearson, a senior trader with WynnBet, says they were one of the many sports betting operators that was able to breathe a sigh of relief when the Suns lost to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
“You try to price it as best as you can, and you try not to let it get away from you,” said Pearson. “Because if the Suns would have won, we would have taken a bath. For a lot of recreational gamblers, it’s not going to matter what the price is. No matter if it is advantageous or not, they’re going to bet it because it’s in their state, their favorite team.”
With the Suns out of the picture, Pearson says WynnBet has seen a lot of money start to come in on the Boston Celtics. Boston wasn’t even favored to win their 1st round playoff matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. Pearson says tons of bettors started to jump on the Celtics bandwagon while their championship odds remained low.
“You could have gotten better odds on them when the playoffs began,” said Pearson. “Whereas with the Warriors, I think we had them at 4 to 1 (+400) or 3 to 1 (+300) going into the playoffs.”
Pearson says a significant uptick in money on the Celtics to win the East turned into a big loss for WynnBet. He says now bettors are looking to get more bang for their buck on the underdog in the NBA Finals.
BetMGM: AZ Bettors are riding with the Warriors
Meanwhile, BetMGM Arizona Sportsbook remains one of Arizona’s more popular sports betting sites. The Suns were also BetMGM’s biggest liability to win the title earlier in the NBA Playoffs. However, Arizona bettors were also high on the Golden State Warriors.
Christian Cipollini, a Sports Trader with BetMGM, says Arizonans are still rolling with the Warriors heading into the NBA Finals.
“The Warriors are the favorites to win the NBA Championship and are the sportsbook’s biggest liability,” said Cipollini. “A Celtics title would be a good outcome for the book.”
BetMGM is hoping for an upset. However, they say the launch of sports betting in Arizona continues to be successful.
“BetMGM has seen excitement from bettors as legal sports betting expands into new states,” said Cipollini. “The sportsbook continues to see record betting on events with new bettors getting the opportunity to wager on their favorite sports.”
Warriors-Celtics 2022 NBA Finals Preview
It all comes down to this. The Golden State Warriors look to claim the team’s fourth championship in eight seasons. Meanwhile, a young Boston Celtics team looks to finally reach the pinnacle after coming so close in recent years.
Right now on AZ betting apps, the Warriors are the favorites to win the championship at .
On paper, these two teams appear evenly matched. The Celtics are well equipped to defend Golden State’s movement-based offense. However, the core of this Boston team has never been on this stage.
Meanwhile, Golden State’s core has seen this all too many times. The trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, led by head coach Steve Kerr has appeared in six of the last eight NBA Finals while collecting three championships. Many believe their experience and Golden State’s home-court advantage will win out.
Golden State has been the betting favorite to win it all for a while now. The franchise missed the playoffs in two consecutive seasons and now returns to basketball’s biggest stage after running through the West, having lost just four games across three playoff series against the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Mavericks.
However, don’t sleep on the Celtics. Boston’s young core of Jason Tatum and Jaylon Brown appears poised to stake their claim to the top of the NBA throne. The Celtics are the title favorite in the eyes of some computer projections. They also faced a more challenging road to the Finals, dropping six games and having to win two Game 7s.
No matter who wins, we should expect a fun and entertaining series to cap off an exciting first year of NBA betting in Arizona.
2022 NBA Finals – Game 1
East #2 Boston Celtics at West #3 Golden State Warriors
Series tied 0-0
Date: Thursday, June 2
Time: 6:00 p.m. MST
Location: Chase Center – San Francisco, California
TV Coverage: ABC