Player prop bets dominate postseason wagers:

The way SuperBook NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman sees it, the NBA Finals come down to the Boston Celtics ‘strong defense against the Golden State Warriors’ creative ability to produce big shots from the perimeter.

More specifically, it boils down to Warriors’ sharpshooter Stephen Curry versus Celtics guard Marcus Smart, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Those superstars of the postseason have reinvented NBA betting as bettors sharpened interest on individual play over final results.

“Betting on player props in all forms is up during the playoffs,” said FanDuel Sportsbook spokesman Kevin Hennessy, whose shop offers online betting across 15 states.

Examining same-game parlay products, Hennessy said nearly 100% of the markets go to NBA player props.

“Consumers are focused on a lot of players, and we have found overall that NBA bettors are consuming the NBA differently than they were five years ago,” Hennessy said. “You see people focused on the box score, on highlights on Twitter, on plays other than the final score.”

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, bottom, reaches for the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and guard Klay Thompson, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, bottom, reaches for the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and guard Klay Thompson, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco.

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So while the Warriors are a 3.5-point home favorite in Thursday’s Game 1, the total of 211.5 points will still draw significant betting traffic at numerous sportsbooks. The increased offerings by shops like FanDuel aim to appease the new and ravenous betting appetite.

As soon as Sherman’s SuperBook posted the proposition of Curry’s over-under point total at 27.5, the first wager the shop took was on his over.

“People want it. They want to bet on Steph Curry’s point total,” Sherman said.

Can Marcus Smart keep Curry in check?

That’s available for wagering, too. At the SuperBook, Smart’s over-under for steals is 1.5.

Curry’s total for turnovers at FanDuel is 3.5, with the over offering a +128 payout and the under bringing in -172.

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“The starting point for this series, as I see it, is Boston’s defense,” Sherman said. “Beyond Smart, you have Robert Williams.”

The Celtics’ center has an over-under for rebounds set at 6.5.

“What he’s done during the regular season, contending for that defensive player of the year, too, has been special,” Sherman said. “And Jaylen Brown’s been playing excellent defense while Jayson Tatum is getting after these guys the last couple rounds, too.”

On the court, bettors will keep a close eye on how Golden State’s shots stack up against Boston’s disruptive defense with the outside guys containing the Warriors’ superstars.

“I think they’ll be up for the challenge,” Sherman said.

Curry’s Western Conference Finals performance most likely weighed on bettors. The two-time MVP scored more than 30 points twice against the Mavericks. He also added three games with 29 or more points against the Memphis Grizzlies before that.

Smart, undoubtedly, has reviewed the footage. Sherman says Curry’s 27.5 points betting total is “the right number.”

“You have to be impressed with (Smart). It’s few and far between when a guard wins defensive player of the year,” Sherman said. “For him to do that, you know he’s going to frustrate Steph. But Curry’s so good… it’s not just his shooting, he’s so good moving without the ball. The backdoor cuts. You still expect him to get his (points) because he just does not do one thing.He’s so dynamic.

“It’s going to be a challenge for Smart, but out of all the people who’ve sought to frustrate Curry, Smart will have the best opportunity.”

For those who want to stick with Smart, his totals are 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists.

Boston Celtics 'Marcus Smart blocks the shot of Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Monday, May 9, 2022, in Milwaukee.  (AP Photo / Morry Gash)

Boston Celtics ‘Marcus Smart blocks the shot of Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Monday, May 9, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo / Morry Gash)

Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson round out top Warriors wagers:

Surprisingly, FanDuel bettors made Jordan Poole the Warriors’ No. 2 favorite betting. The shooting guard scored 14 points or more in four games during the 4-1 series victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

Poole’s Game 1 points over-under is 15.5 at Tipico Sportsbook, which offers his assists and rebounds total each at 2.5. Tipico set his total three-pointers at 1.5.

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“Our traders see Jordan Poole as the player of the series who can be a game-changer from the player-prop perspective,” FanDuel’s Hennessy said. “He’s coming off the bench, but we’ve already seen he’s capable of putting up some big offensive numbers and scoring 30-plus points when needed.

“We are expecting bettors will be looking at his points line and betting the over on him if he gets the minutes and shots.”

After Curry (5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds) and Poole, Klay Thompson is the third-most bet on Warrior. His totals are 20.5 points, 2.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum leads bets for Boston:

The most heavily bet Celtic, of course, is Tatum, who scored 26 or more points in five of the seven games against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Tatum also added eight or more rebounds and five or more assists multiple times.

His totals for Game 1 are 28.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Boston’s next-most popular prop player is Brown, whose 40-point Game 3 effort against the Heat was part of a five-game blitz of 24 or more points. He also had six or more rebounds in six of the seven games.

Brown’s totals are 24.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists – he had three or more assists in three of the games against the Heat.

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At Tipico, the over 10.5 for Boston veteran Al Horford’s points total is the most popular wager, and FanDuel reports Harford is drawing the Celtics’ third-most betting traffic behind Tatum and Brown.

The most popular props at FanDuel are the “first basket made” and “method of first basket” offerings.

Brown is the +370 favorite to score first, with Curry at +550. A Curry three-pointer is the +900 (9/1) favorite to be how the first basket is scored, followed by a Brown layup (+1300) and a Tatum layup (+2300).

Dec 17, 2021;  Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) goes for a shot against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the second half at TD Garden.  Mandatory Credit:  Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports:

Dec 17, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) goes for a shot against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports:

Who will win it all?

Algorithms dictate live in-game player props as the game develops, but Sherman said far more bettors invest on the props established before tip-off.

“There’s obviously a lot more thought that goes into that,” he said. “It’s harder to bet on the fly versus knowing what the number is pre-game and handicapping that.”

While bookmakers relished a triumphant NBA season in their favor thanks to the eliminations of future-book favorites Brooklyn, Phoenix and Milwaukee, Sherman placed his own preseason future bet on the Warriors to win the NBA title at 13/1 odds.

Meanwhile, two SuperBook bettors who allowed the season to play out a bit positioned themselves for a glorious reward. One bettor is holding a $ 5 ticket for the Celtics to win the title that was made when Boston’s was operating below .500 in January.

The Celtics’ title odds then were 150/1, so that ticket could be worth $ 750 at series end. Another bet $ 2 on the Celtics to win at 100/1.

Even though he has money elsewhere on the Warriors, Sherman said he foresees the Celtics winning an intense series, and wouldn’t mind laying down a bet on Boston, especially if they lose Game 1 and heighten from their current odds of winning the series at +130.

Defense, he knows, does not slump.

“As solid as they are defensively, you also see the effort they bring. They do not let up on these guys,” Sherman said of Boston. “That’s the thing: If they can frustrate these guys enough – and that’s what they live for – Boston’s going to make this a very competitive series. I like Boston.”

In other words, he likes Smart over Curry.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA Finals 2022: Celtics vs. Warriors: Best player prop bets:

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