2024 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Performance Surpasses Past Champions

2024 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Performance Surpasses Past Champions
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The opening game of the Eastern Conference final lived up to the hype, with the top-seeded Boston Celtics getting pushed to overtime by the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers before eventually coming out with a 133-128 victory in Game 1 of the seven-game series.  

Much of that success can be attributed to Jayson Tatum, who scored a game-high 36 points on 12/26 shooting, while the backcourt combo of Jrue Holiday (28 points on 10/16 shooting) and Jaylen Brown (26 points on 10/20 shooting) did their best to keep Joe Mazzulla’s team in the game at TD Garden on Tuesday evening.  

Brown’s late three-pointer with 6.1 seconds to go in regulation was key in sending Game 1 to overtime in the first place, where Tatum took care of the rest by scoring 10 points and burying the Pacers in Beantown.  

Now, the Celtics are up 1-0 against the Pacers heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Using Sports-Reference.com, BetMassachusetts.com took the percent chance results for teams going into Game 2 that are up 1-0 to see how likely the Celtics can keep the lead.

We found that it is an even 50% chance for the Celtics to win or lose the series. Then, using SportsOddsHistory.com, we found the average preseason odds for each Eastern Conference championship team and NBA championship, and compared it to the Boston Celtics preseason odds.

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NBA Teams Results When Up 1-0

 Won Series 

Lost Series 



Note: Results data was from all NBA teams up 1-0 in an Eastern Conference final series during the past 10 years. Something to keep in mind when perusing MA betting apps this week.

Since 2014, teams that take a 1-0 lead in the conference finals have moved on to the NBA Finals five times, while the other five wound up watching the championship series on TV like everyone else.  

In Boston’s last six Eastern Conference final appearances dating back to 2017, the C’s have gone 2-4 in Game 1’s, with victories in 2024 and 2018, offset by losses to the Cavaliers in 2017, Heat in 2020, 2022 and 2023.  

It’s worth noting that Boston advanced to the NBA Finals once during that stretch, doing so in 2022 when they came back to beat Miami in seven games after losing the opening game of that series.

Average Eastern Conference NBA Champ Preseason Odds


Average Odds

Boston Celtics Odds



Note: *Odds data was from the past 10 years of Eastern Conference championships and NBA Finals. Preseason odds for the Celtics were as of June 12, 2023. 

Compared to other recent Eastern Conference final teams, Boston’s preseason championship odds rank slightly longer than their peers, with the Celtics’ preseason title figure of +550 falling off the 10-year average of +456.  

The Celtics will look to get another step closer to capturing the club’s first Larry O’Brien Trophy since 2008 on Thursday evening when Game 2 of the East final tips off in downtown Boston.  

USA Today photo by David Butler.

Average NBA Finals Champs Preseason Odds

Average Odds+

Boston Celtics Odds



*Rounded up to nearest whole number 

Since 2014, the average preseason title odds of the eventual league winner have been +952, which falls well short of the lofty expectations that Mazzulla’s team drew in 2024, when Boston garnered odds of +550.  

We’ll know for sure whether Boston has what it takes to take home another NBA title in the weeks ahead, though for now, we know that the Celtics hold the upper hand in the seven-game series over their rivals from the Hoosier State. 

Stick with BetMassachusetts for all things Massachusetts sports betting.



Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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