Nets vs. Celtics Eastern Conference First Round Series Prediction and Odds (Embrace Brooklyn as the Underdog)

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant vs. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics should make for one of the best player matchups of the first round.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant vs. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics should make for one of the best player matchups of the first round. / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

I can't imagine most teams leaping at the opportunity to be the No. 2 seed in the NBA Playoffs, but the Boston Celtics may be in that small group.

After turning their season around from a 16-19 team at the end of 2021, the Celtics went 35-12 the rest of the way to close out the No. 2 Seed in the Eastern Conference.

Their reward for their accomplishments? A first round series with the 7-seeded Brooklyn Nets after defeating the No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers at the Barclays Center 115-108; failing yet again to cover the number at home.

While the Nets haven't covered as a favorite at home, they now head to Boston for Game 1 as a rare underdog this season. So should bettors expect things to fare differently?

Let's dive into all the different series odds over at WynnBET Sportsbook.

Nets vs. Celtics Series and Exact Outcome Odds

Series Odds

  • Brooklyn Nets: +105
  • Boston Celtics: -125

Exact Outcome Odds

  • Celtics in 7: +350
  • Celtics in 6: +450
  • Nets in 6: +450
  • Celtics in 5: +550
  • Nets in 7: +600
  • Nets in 5: +650
  • Celtics in 4: +1100
  • Nets in 4: +1500

Nets vs. Celtics Prediction and Pick

I've faded the Nets throughout the entire year, but I do think this is a winnable series against the Celtics.

Brooklyn's stars match up more favorably than Boston's stars. While there's an argument to be made around the Celtics' role players having an advantage over the Nets, playoff basketball favors the half-court offense.

For three quarters on Tuesday, Brooklyn had it in the bag against Cleveland. More on how they let it nearly get away in a moment, but Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving took over, while also being remarkably efficient. Durant shot 56.3% from the floor while Irving shot 80%. Via ESPN Stats and Info, Durant and Irving became the third group in Nets history to each have 25 points and 10 assists in any game.

Even more noteworthy was Bruce Brown leading the Nets in field goal attempts, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Is there concern that the Nets can get picked apart after not putting their foot on the gas pedal enough? Of course.

The Celtics won 74% of their games since the start of 2022! They also finished with the best defensive rating in the league at 106.2, and the second-best net rating in the NBA (7.5). They've been an outstanding team, and a dominant force over the last three and a half months of the season.

Not having Robert Williams early on could be a key factor, as Boston's big man recovers from a torn meniscus. He could be back as early as late April, but by then it could be too late, something Brown hinted at as a key advantage for the Nets down low.

It may not be the right rationale, and Celtics coach Ime Udoka has been marvelous in Year 1 at the helm, but I simply trust the Nets more to do what they need to do to move on.

Nets reporter Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News Nets put the Nets' inconsistencies in perfect context, "This is who the Nets are. They might play with their food, and it might not always be pretty, but they handle business when it matters most."

In clutch situations this season, the Nets finished sixth in Offensive Rating, ninth in Defensive Rating, and eighth in net rating; all while not having Irving and Durant together, if at all for most of the year.

The Celtics, interestingly enough, finished with the fifth-worst net rating in the league in clutch situations.

Most of these games will come down to who closes out best and makes plays down the stretch, and I buy the Nets to do it slightly more than Boston.

Lean: Nets (+105) | Nets in 7 (+600)

Follow all of Ben Heisler's betting plays in real-time HERE

Which NBA Playoff teams deserve a futures ticket? Which squads are just plain "frauds?" We play a little "Fraud or Future" on the latest episode of BetSided Best Bets!