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With the exception of the Washington Wizards and maybe the Utah Jazz, there has been no more surprising team in the 2016-17 NBA season than the Boston Celtics. The Celts showed progress a season ago finishing 48-34 and losing to the Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs. However, the strides they’ve made since last May have catapulted them into the league’s elite.

With three weeks remaining in the season, Boston leads the Atlantic Division, sits second overall in the Eastern Conference standings, and has already clinched a playoff berth. In fact, if the Jekyll and Hyde Cavaliers stumble down the stretch, the Celtics are poised to snatch the top spot in the East.

Much of their success can be attributed to six-year point guard Isaiah Thomas, who currently ranks third in scoring at 29 points per game after averaging only 18.9 points in his previous five campaigns. The diminutive Thomas is also shooting a career best 46% from the field and 91% from the free-throw line. He has morphed into a clutch MVP level performer and a legit on-court leader, displaying skills never shown before.

Acquiring the steady and savvy Al Horford in free agency to man the low post has also factored into Boston’s emergence. So has Marcus Smart’s tenacious defense off the bench. And Avery Bradley’s improved shooting from all areas of the floor. Plus, inspired front court efforts from center Kelly Olynyk and veteran power forward Amir Johnson.

All of this if great for the NBA as a whole and obviously for diehard Celts fans. But what do oddsmakers think of Boston’s chances from here on out? Let’s take a look at the betting odds provided by leading online sports betting sites.

Odds to win Atlantic Division
Boston -111
Toronto +125

It would be a minor collapse if the Celtics allow the Raptors to pass them, but not a catastrophe. Both have to face Cleveland one more time. The rest of their opponents range from average to downright awful (see Brooklyn, Orlando, and Philly).

Odds to win the Eastern Conference
Cleveland -325
Boston +600
Washington +800

Not surprisingly, the Cavs are the runaway favorites as they should be. Barring a LeBron injury, this won’t change going forward. Boston did beat the Cavs on March 1st, but it was without Kevin Love, and not inside the pressure cooker that is the NBA Playoffs. Perhaps more noteworthy is Washington’s price. The Wizards split the season series against the Celtics 2-2.

NBA MVP odds
James Harden -175
Russell Westbrook +120
Kawhi Leonard +650
LeBron James +1200
Isaiah Thomas +10000

Long story short, Thomas has no chance. Makes sense considering how amazing both Harden and Westbrook are playing, but it’s totally fair to say he’s been just as valuable as Leonard. He won’t win, but he deserves more respect than this number suggests.


Odds to win NBA championship
Boston +1800

Only Golden State, Cleveland, and San Antonio have better odds. The journey for Boston won’t be easy with those three teams potentially standing in their way, as well as the pesky Wizards and Raptors.

Staff 3/27/2017 11:52:00 PM Edit
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