December 16, 2020 | 5:46 PM
Only two months after the 2019-20 season ended, the 2020-21 NBA season is less than a week away. As a matter of fact, teams are already playing preseason games, with the Celtics losing their preseason opener to the 76ers on Tuesday night.
While the Celtics’ first preseason game resulted in a loss, oddsmakers are projecting the team to have another good season.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Celtics’ odds of making the playoffs at -1500, giving them an implied probability of roughly 94 percent. It also sets Boston’s over/under win total at 44.5. With the league playing just 72 games this season as opposed to the usual 82, 44 wins would give the Celtics a 61.1 winning percentage, which is down from the 66.7 winning percentage they had last season when they went 48-24.
FanDuel is also projecting another second-place finish for the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. It has the Celtics pegged to win the division at +250 (an implied probability of 28.6 percent), trailing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s Nets squad, at +140 to win the division. The 76ers and Raptors follow the Celtics, respectively, while the Knicks have the lowest odds to win the division.
The Celtics are in the mix to win the Eastern Conference, according to FanDuel. After making the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons, the Celtics have the third-best odds to win the East, sitting at +600 (an implied probability of 14.3 percent). The Bucks (+240) and Nets (+270) are ahead of the Celtics while the Heat (+700), who defeated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, are behind.
FanDuel is giving the Celtics the fifth-best odds to win the NBA title this upcoming season, tied with the Denver Nuggets at +1600 (an implied probability of 5.9 percent). Boston trails both teams from Los Angeles plus Milwaukee and Brooklyn with the Lakers having the highest-odds (+270) to win the title.
Jayson Tatum should have another strong season, according to FanDuel. The Celtics’ young star is 10th in MVP odds at +2600. Luka Doncic leads the way at +410 while back-to-back MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo is second at +480.
PointsBet Sportsbook sees Tatum being named an All-Star this season as a near certainty, placing -3334 odds (97.1 percent implied probability) for him to be named an All-Star. PointsBet also gives Tatum the 12th-best odds (+5000) at winning the league’s scoring title. Tatum’s 23.4 points per game were the 17th-best last season. With continued progression and the absence of Kemba Walker to start the season, it wouldn’t be a shock if Tatum was in the mix for the league’s scoring title.
Oddsmakers also see Jaylen Brown putting up another impressive season. FanDuel places his odds to win Most Improved Player at +3000, tied for the 12th-best. PointsBet puts Brown’s odds of being named an All-Star at +175, which is 14th-best in the Eastern Conference. Brown averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game during the regular season last year and averaged 21.8 points per game in the playoffs. With his seven-point per game increase last season plus Walker’s aforementioned absence, Brown might be a few steps away from becoming an All-Star.
Brad Stevens holds the best odds to win Coach of the Year at PointsBet SportsBook. His odds to win the award are at +900, with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at +1200 and 76ers coach Doc Rivers +1400. In his six seasons in Boston, Stevens has only been a finalist for the award once, finishing third in voting in 2018.
Marcus Smart is also in the mix again for Defensive Player of the Year. His odds to win the award are +5500 on FanDuel, tied for ninth-best in the league. Smart has made the NBA All-Defensive First Team the last two seasons and finished seventh in voting for Defensive Player of the Year last season.
FanDuel isn’t as high on the Celtics’ rookies’ odds to win Rookie of the Year. Aaron Nesmith has the 19th-best odds (+6500) to win the award while Payton Pritchard is tied for the 28th-best odds (+11000) to win the award. It shouldn’t be a shock that the Celtics’ rookies’ odds to win are that low considering they’ll likely be playing off the bench this season, giving them limited opportunities to shine.
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