Boston Celtics No Longer The NBA Finals Favorite At BetMGM Sportsbook

Written By Matthew Bain on March 21, 2023
Celtics no longer NBA Finals favorite at BetMGM, from

The Boston Celtics are no longer the betting favorite on BetMGM to win the NBA Finals.

That honor now belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks. Over the past week, Celtics odds have swelled from +310 to +400. Meanwhile, Milwaukee odds shortened from +400 to +325. BetMGM isn’t alone, either. The Bucks are now favored over Boston on most major US sportsbooks.


Simply put, Milwaukee has been the best team in basketball lately. The Bucks won 16 straight games from Feb. 23 to March 1 and have gone 6-3 since then to earn a 2.5-game lead over Boston for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics haven’t played poorly by any stretch of the imagination. But … just not as good as Milwaukee.

Jayson Tatum BetMGM MVP odds

BetMGM also released its latest NBA MVP betting trends.

  • Jayson Tatum still has the fourth-best odds, but they’ve lengthened from +4000 to +15000.
  • Tatum is drawing the fourth-highest ticket percentage (8.3%) and the fifth-highest handle percentage (8%).
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Why sportsbooks adjust odds

Massachusetts sportsbooks and sports betting sites across the country adjust odds for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is in reaction to bettor activity. You’d better believe gamblers flocked to Milwaukee futures wagers during and following that 16-game winning streak. And, as a reaction, bookmakers shortened the Bucks’ odds.

Interestingly, Boston still holds the advantage on BetMGM Sportsbook over Milwaukee in terms of ticket percentage and handle percentage. Overall, 13% of NBA Finals winner bets at BetMGM are on the Celtics, which is second to Denver’s 13.1%. Boston is also third with 13.5% of total NBA Finals winner handle, behind the Warriors (15.5%) and Nuggets (14.1%).

How MA launch affected BetMGM NBA betting

These big Boston numbers are no doubt fueled, at least partially, by the launch of MA online sports betting. Following launch weekend (March 10-12), BetMGM Massachusetts told Play MA that a whopping 74.1% of its NBA Finals winner futures bets in MA were placed on Boston. That’s a whole lot of tickets and handle.

BetMGM also released its Eastern Conference betting numbers:

  • The Bucks are the favorites at +140. Boston has +150 odds.
  • Still, the Celtics boast a higher ticket percentage (19.1%) than the Bucks.
  • But Milwaukee now has the highest handle percentage (21.1%).
  • And the Knicks are currently the biggest liability in the Eastern Conference. New York’s recent impressive play and the fervor of Knicks fans both contribute to this.

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Photo by AP/Jessie Alcheh
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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as Content Manager at Play MA in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register’s recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet’s high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he’s somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story. Matthew also led coverage of Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 in the California sports betting election battle for Catena Media.

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