The start of the 2023-24 NBA season is just days away, and the Celtics enter the new year with high expectations once again.
Boston’s offseason additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have oddsmakers viewing it in a high fashion after it fell in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. As the Celtics are among the favorites to win the title, some of their stars are also among the favorites to win some trophies this season as well.
Let’s take a look at how oddsmakers view the Celtics on the eve of the regular season.
(All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted)
Celtics team odds
Win total: 55.5
Odds to win most regular-season games: +250 (best odds)
Odds to win In-Season Tournament: +900 (tied for best odds)
Odds to make NBA Playoffs: -8000
Odds to win Atlantic Division: -280 (best odds)
Odds to earn No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference: +130 (best odds)
Odds to win Eastern Conference: +180 (tied for best odds)
Odds to win NBA title: +400 (tied for best odds)
When you look at team odds for just about every bet, the Celtics are at the top of the oddsboard.
Boston is once again among the favorites to win the title entering the season. In fact, the expectations surrounding the Celtics are the highest they’ve been in several years, according to oddsmakers.
The Celtics’ win total is their highest since the 2009-10 season, when they were projected to win 56.5 games. Their odds to win the Eastern Conference are the best they’ve been since the 2018-19 season, when they had -105 odds to win the conference entering the year. Their odds to win the NBA title are their best to enter the season since the 2008-09 season, when they had +350 odds to defend their title.
However, being the odds-on favorite to win the title in the preseason hasn’t bode well in recent history. The Warriors were the last preseason favorite to win the title, winning it all in the 2017-18 season when they had -187 odds to claim the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Last season’s Celtics were among the group of teams that were the favorite to win it all in the preseason that ultimately fell short, though they were the closest to winning it all among that group.
As it pertains to their win total, many stat projections and models appear to have the Celtics somewhere around the line oddsmakers set, which is also just short of the 57 games they won last season. ESPN’s Kevin Pleton’s model projects them to win 54.3 games. Nate Silver’s model projects them to win 56 games. The Action Network’s Matt Moore has them projected to win nearly 58 games.
Points per game total: 29.6 points
Odds to lead the league in scoring: +750 (fifth-best odds)
Odds to lead the league in 3-pointers made per game: +3000 (tied for the ninth-best odds)
Odds to make All-NBA first team: +150
Odds to win Clutch Player of the Year: +2500
Odds to win Defensive Player of the Year: +4500
Odds to make All-Defensive first team: +1800
Odds to win MVP: +800 (fifth-best odds)
The Celtics having players like Tatum are why their odds of winning a title are high. And once again, oddsmakers project Tatum to be among the best players in the league.
Tatum was among the favorites to win the MVP going into last season and even had the best odds at one point a couple of months into the year. But his odds dropped when he struggled following the All-Star break.
Still, Tatum had a career year last season. He scored 30.1 points per game (sixth-best mark in the league) to finish fourth in MVP voting and earned his second All-NBA first-team nod in a row. While he shot a career-low 35 percent from 3-point range last season, he finished sixth in 3-pointers made per game (3.2).
Tatum stated his personal goal over the offseason was to make one of the All-Defensive teams. He’s yet to do that, but he earned votes to make one of the teams in the 2021-22 season.
Points per game total: 25.6 points
Odds to lead the league in scoring: +15,000
Odds to make All-NBA first team: +3000
Odds to win Clutch Player of the Year: +7000
Odds to win Defensive Player of the Year: +5500
Odds to make All-Defensive first team: +2500
Odds to win MVP: +7000
Oddsmakers are projecting Brown to have a similar year that he had last season, when he scored a career-high 26.6 points per game.
Brown’s career year earned him his second All-Star nod and his first appearance on an All-NBA team, being named to second team All-NBA. It should be noted that this is the first year that All-NBA voting will be positionless, which could affect Brown as he was voted onto the All-NBA second team as a forward.
It’s likely that Brown will take a back seat to Tatum again in the pecking order in terms of who initiates the Celtics’ offense and scoring. But it doesn’t appear that the additions of Holiday and Porzingis will have drastically limit his scoring opportunities. He put up just over 12 shots per game in the preseason as he averaged roughly 26 minutes per game.
Assists per game total: 6.5
Odds to lead the league in assists: +2500 (10th-best odds)
Odds to win Sixth Man of the Year: +1900 (sixth-best odds on FanDuel Sportsbook)
Odds to make All-NBA first team: +2000
Odds to win Defensive Player of the Year: +1500 (tied for ninth-best odds)
Odds to make All-Defensive first team: +450
The veteran guard is the player second-most likely on the Celtics to earn some hardware for his individual performance this season, according to oddsmakers.
Holiday has been praised for his defensive prowess over his 14-year career, earning five total All-Defensive team nods. He made the All-Defensive first team for the third time in his career last season, recording 1.2 steals per game. He finished tied for seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting last year, receiving the most votes among all guards.
An interesting line for Holiday is his odds to win Sixth Man of the Year. The veteran guard has played in the starting lineup and off the bench this preseason, with Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla indicating that he’ll be flexible with his starting five this season. A player must have more games off the bench than starts in order to win the award.
Holiday averaged 7.4 assists per game last season, the fourth-best mark of his career. He recorded four assists per game over the preseason, but only played more than 25 minutes in a game once over his four appearances.
Odds to lead the league in rebounding: +20,000
Odds to make All-NBA first team: +3000
Odds to win Clutch Player of the Year: +10,000
Odds to win Defensive Player of the Year: +9000
Odds to make All-Defensive first team: +4500
Odds to win MVP: +13,000
Porzingis is a long shot to walkway with any awards this season, but he stands to have a better chance of making an All-NBA team this year than he did in most other years.
Prior to positionless voting, only three centers could be named to an All-NBA team. With Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid dominating the regular season over the last few years, both players were practically locks to make an All-NBA team ahead of the season.
It’s highly unlikely that Porzingis will make the All-NBA first team. But he was heavily involved in the Celtics’ offense during the preseason, and if he puts up similar stats to what he had last season (23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds per game) it isn’t unfathomable to think he could sneak his way onto an All-NBA team in the event Boston has a great season.
Other player props
Derrick White to win Sixth Man of the Year: +1300 (fifth-best odds)
Derrick White to win Defensive Player of the Year: +6000
Derrick White to make All-Defensive first team: +1200
Payton Pritchard to win Most Improved Player: +4000
Payton Pritchard to win Sixth Man of the Year: +5500
White could end up being the odd man out of the starting lineup at points this season. However, he started every game he played during the preseason and was viewed as the Celtics’ starting point guard prior to their trade for Holiday. But he’s coming off what’s arguably the best defensive season of his career, recording 0.9 blocks per game, which was the most among all guards. He earned a nod on the All-Defensive second team for his play on that side of the court.
Pritchard was one of the biggest winners of the Celtics’ offseason moves. With Boston’s decision to consolidate Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon into Holiday, Pritchard appears to be a regular rotational player again.
The fourth-year guard certainly showed promise in the preseason, too. He scored 15.6 points per game in the Celtics’ exhibition slate. Still, it might be tough sledding for him to earn either award as Most Improved Player typically goes to a player who turns into an All-Star and he might not have enough scoring opportunities to win Sixth Man of the Year.
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