With sports betting in their state now legal, Massachusetts bettors are overwhelmingly backing the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs, according to BetMGM and WynnBET data provided to PlayMA.
After winning Game 1, the Celtics were getting +280 odds to win the NBA Finals at BetMGM Massachusetts and +250 at WynnBET MA.
The NBA playoffs opened last week, with the Eastern Conference No. 2 seed Celtics facing the Atlanta Hawks. On Saturday, Boston won Game 1, 112-99, at TD Garden.
Here’s a closer look at the Massachusetts sports betting numbers for the Celtics in the NBA playoffs.
BetMGM MA: More than 2/3 of handle on Celtics to win title
In Massachusetts, 60.3% of all tickets bet on an NBA Finals champ are on the Celtics, with 68.3% of the handle on that bet, a BetMGM data analyst told PlayMA. That’s in contrast to 13.3% of tickets placed nationwide and 17.1% of handle.
Few inside the borders of Massachusetts think the Celtics will lose to the Hawks in the first round. In total, 93% of tickets and 97% of handle in MA have been placed on the Celtics (national figures with BetMGM are 84% of tickets and 90% of handle on Boston). The Celtics and Hawks will square off in Game 2 on Tuesday in Boston.
This isn’t the only instance of bettors in the Commonwealth showing their fervent support for a hometown team. In late March, betting in Massachusetts was so slanted in favor of the Red Sox that it shifted the MLB odds.
WynnBET MA: More bets on Celtics to win NBA Finals than Bucks, Suns
A spokesperson for WynnBET MA told PlayMA more than half (56.8%) of bets it received on an NBA Finals champ before the playoffs were on the Celtics. In addition, 60.2% of total handle was placed on Boston to win its 17th NBA title.
Here’s how those numbers compared to other teams (listed with pre-playoff odds):
- Boston Celtics (+300) … 56.8% of bets (60.2% of handle)
- Milwaukee Bucks (+300) … 6.3% of bets (6.2% of handle)
- Phoenix Suns (+450) … 6.3% of bets (5.5% of handle)
- Golden State Warriors (+1000) … 4.2% of bets (6.2% of handle)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+1200) … 3.7% of bets (3.2% of handle)
- Denver Nuggets (+800) … 2.8% of bets (2.5% of handle)
- Philadelphia 76ers (+1000) … 2.6% of bets (4.3% of handle)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+3000) … 2.4% of bets (2.9% of handle)
Celtics playoffs outlook
The Bucks are the No. 1 seed, which means the Celtics could be on a collision course with Milwaukee for the Eastern Conference Finals. Each of the teams has represented the East in the NBA Finals once the past two seasons.
Should the Celtics dispatch the Hawks, they could face the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2. This season, the Celtics were 3-1 against Philadelphia, including 2-0 at TD Garden. The Celtics have won five consecutive playoff series against the 76ers, and haven’t lost to Philly in the NBA Playoffs since 1982.
Beyond home team fandom, that’s another big reason betting on the Celtics in MA is so popular.
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