Warriors vs. Celtics Odds, Game 4 Preview, Prediction: Can Golden State’s Defense Adjust? (June 10)
Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images. Pictured: Draymond Green #23.
- The Golden State Warriors look to even the NBA Finals on the road in Game 4.
- The Celtics are healthy 4-point favorites at home and have the momentum after a big win.
- Matt Moore previews how he's betting Friday's matchup below.
Warriors vs. Celtics Odds
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The Boston Celtics defended their home court, survived a third-quarter barrage and took a 2-1 series lead in Game 3. Now they face a desperate Warriors team trying to avoid going down 3-1 before the series shifts back to the Bay. After an outstanding offensive performance in Game 2, can Boston bring the same amount of energy and assert total control of the series? Or will the Warriors snap back like Iron Man and even the series, regaining the home-court advantage for a final best 2-out-of-3?
And in all this, how do you find betting value? Let’s bet the Finals Game 4.
Warriors Looking for Answers on Defense
Everyone kind of … I don’t know, freaked out(?) when Stephen Curry’s ankle was rolled up on by Al Horford going for a loose ball. He walked off gingerly and was wincing in discomfort. That anxiety was exacerbated when Curry said after Game 3 that the play felt a little like the Marcus Smart play, which injured him in the regular season and cost him several months of action.
Except that what Curry was referring to there was the nature of the injury in that Horford landed on his legs the way Smart did. At media availability on Thursday, Curry confirmed he would play. He’s probably in discomfort and he’ll need treatment for what is being described as a foot sprain. But ultimately, Curry should be good to go and based on all evidence, I’d say the reaction to Curry’s injury was greater than any impact it will have going forward.
If you want to go the other way and be cautious about it, it’s probably best to remember his previous injury:
Re: Steph Curry: Any lower ankle/foot injury he suffers is going to garner attention. While his right has been the historically more problematic side, the 12 games he missed earlier this year were to the left. Important to remember that injury was a foot sprain AND bone contusion
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) June 9, 2022
Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter are questionable for Game 4, but both should be available — not that Iguodala being available is good news at this point as he’s struggled mightily in these playoffs.
Golden State’s problem is its defense. The Warriors gave up a 122 defensive rating in Game 3, 52 points in the paint, 17 points off turnovers and 24 free throws. Boston also generated 22 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr specifically cited rebounding as what Golden State has to “clean up” in Game 4.
To that end, you would expect Kevon Looney to see more action in Game 4 after playing just 16:49 in Game 3 with no foul trouble. Looney’s absence is directly related to the Warriors’ defensive performance. When the Celtics came out blazing, Kerr felt he needed to keep up with offensive firepower. However, in doing so, he gave up offensive rebounds, which only kept Boston’s efficiency high.
The Warriors are running out of outs. They probably have a few more adjustments they can throw at Boston, and they’ll come out desperate. However, the overall trend for this series has been that Boston is the superior team. If the Warriors are going to win this one, it’s going to take a bad Boston performance — maybe moreso than a good Warriors game — at least offensively.
What Adjustments Will the Celtics Make?
No major injury questions; Robert Williams will be listed as questionable, but he was dynamite in Game 3. Bear in mind he’s on short rest with knee inflammation as an issue if you decide to bet props.
The Warriors’ third quarter dominance had been a home play, but it showed up in Game 3 and now Boston is -45 in the playoffs in the third quarter, while being +16 in the first quarter, +78 in the second quarter and +70 in the fourth quarter.
While everyone’s focused on the third quarter play, might I suggest a Celtics second quarter -0.5 (-118 at FanDuel)? The Celtics are 14-6-1 in the playoffs in the second quarter and 2-0-1 in this series on pre-game lines. If you’re expecting the Warriors to come out and try to silence the crowd, you’ll have a live-bet spot as well.
As for adjustments, the real question is if Boston can keep sustaining this much pain from the Curry pick-and-rolls. The Celtics aren’t playing drop, their bigs aren’t retreating to the paint off pick-and-roll. But they’re also not showing hard on Curry and that gives him space to fire, which is how he’s having these scoring outputs.
Ime Udoka is wagering that the advantage Boston will have on the glass and in containing everyone else is enough to make that palatable for the Celtics. But anytime you’re giving up 1.3 points per possession, as the Celtics did in Game 2 on Curry pick-and-rolls, it’s going to test your gameplan discipline.
Everyone’s been playing Boston after losses and it’s been profitable — most of Action Network was on Boston for Game 3. After wins, however, they haven’t been as hot. The Celtics are just 7-7 SU and ATS in the playoffs after a win. Take out the Nets series and Boston is 5-7 straight up and 5-7 ATS after a victory.
One thing has been consistent in those games: Boston’s offense regresses. In games after a playoff win, Boston’s team total is 10-4 to the under. In wins after they go over on their team total (as Boston did in Game 3), their team total is 5-2 to the under. Boston’s offenses regresses after strong performances.
… Which is why my best bet is the Celtics team total under 108.5. You have a higher number with a market pushed up by the over in Game 3 and early money coming in on the under to move it down.
You have Boston coming off a strong offensive performance with expected regression, facing a Warriors team whose message postgame was centered on defense and rebounding.
The pace in this series has been slow, so Boston running up and down the floor seems less likely. The Warriors will make some key adjustments and Boston will likely struggle to score. However, Boston can absolutely win a defensive slugfest and they are more comfortable in those than the Warriors.
Even in playoff wins, the Celtics’ team total over is just 7-6-1. With the game a coin flip and the next adjustment to come from Golden State’s defense, I’ll take the under on Boston and stay away from the side and Warriors’ total.
(For what it’s worth, I lean Warriors ML and the under.)
Pick: Celtics team total under 108.5