Tag Archives: Boston

12 Things You Need to Know Before Betting The 2022 NBA Finals

The matchups are yet to be decided, but here are 12 facts you should know before placing your NBA Finals bets. Some of these little-known facts and figures can be the keys to placing winning bets. But keep in mind, betting lines are subject to change. Online sportsbooks such as BetUS.com update their NBA odds regularly.

1. The winner of Game 1 has claimed the title in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals.

2. The home team has won Game One in 15 of the last 16 NBA Finals, excluding the 2020 championship, which was played on a neutral court. That trend could continue, so keep an eye on the NBA lines once the Finals are decided.

3. The team with home-court advantage has also won the championship in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals. Golden State will have home-court advantage no matter its opponent. Dallas would have homecourt advantage over Boston but not Miami.

4. Since the NBA Finals MVP was first awarded in 1969, only two players — Joe White (1976) and Chauncey Billups (2004) — are among eligible players on the outside looking in at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The other 51 are either enshrined, still active or waiting to become eligible. That means the MVP will be: Steph Curry (+225), Jayson Tatum (+250), Jimmy Butler (+550) or Luka Doncic (+650).

5. The East has not had consecutive titles from different teams since Detroit and Chicago won back-to-back championships in 1990 and 1991. The winner of Miami and Boston will try to end that streak after Milwaukee won last year.

6. The last time a team outside the top two seeds represented the West was the 2012 Mavericks, who won the title vs. Miami as a No. 3 seed. The last time a No. 4 seed did the same? The 2008 Mavericks, who lost the championship series to Miami. Could we see a rubber match?

7. The 2008 Celtics were the last No. 1 seed from the East to win a title without LeBron James on their roster. Miami has a chance to change that.

8. The last three head coaches to win NBA titles — Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Mike Budeholzer — were all first-timers. Golden State’s Steve Kerr has three titles, and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra has two, while Dallas’s Jason Kidd and Boston’s Ime Udoka are in search of their first rings as head coaches.

9. The average NBA Finals score has leveled out since skyrocketing to 236 points per game in 2017. Averages were about 217 PPG in both 2018 and 2019 before dipping to 214.5 in 2020 and sneaking back up to 221 in 2021. Keep an eye on the totals (or over/unders), as anything outside that range may give you a leg up.

10. Dallas finished 6-2 in the regular season vs. the three other remaining teams. Golden State went 4-4, Boston 3-4 and Miami 2-5.

11. How long will the series last? History says six games is the most likely result. Since the 1976 merger, six series have been 4-0 sweeps, 10 have ended in Game 5 and eight have finished in a do-or-die Game 7. The other 22 went six games.

12. Titles have been relatively even between the two conferences. The West holds a 26-24 advantage over the last 50 championship series, and the last 10 are split evenly at 5-5.

Smart bettors read between the lines, and keeping these twelve little-known stats, facts and figures in mind when laying your NBA Finals bets this year should improve your odds of making a profit as we send this year’s NBA season off to the history books.

Photo Credit: Designed by Freepik

FSM Scouting Report: Wish It Lasted Forever

Book/Movie Title: Wish It Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics

Total Pages/Duration: 226 (hardcover version)

Author/Director: Dan Shaughnessy

Pace of Play: Just like the 80’s Celtics, this book is fast paced in spurts with most of the action bunched in the middle. Motivated readers (i.e., Boston folks) will finish this in one sitting while most will take 2-3 days.

Strengths: The driving force of this book is the collection of Red Auerbach stories that are peppered in from start to finish. It makes the reader feel like Red is always there and that he could appear at any moment (not too different than his actual behavior).

Weaknesses: The author spends a little too much time talking about himself, his road to working the Celtics Beat, and the good old days of sports journalism (we think the first 40 pages of a 226-page book is too much time). While the book title indicates all stories would flow through Larry Legend, he does not pop up too often. It’s kind of like of all those Netflix movies with Bruce Willis on the movie poster. When you actually watch them, he shows up for about 12 minutes (and they are terrible). It would have been more appropriate to include Red Auerbach in the title of this book. There certainly seem to be more stories about him than Larry Bird.

Photograph by Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe

Unique Attributes: What this book lacks in new Larry Bird stories it makes up for in tales involving other team members. Bill Walton stories and his relationship to the Grateful Dead were particularly interesting as was learning which 1980’s in-flight movie was playing during various road trips. And perhaps the guiltiest pleasures came when reading about Bill Fitch’s slow demise as head coach. Random factoids are also presented and will keep you engaged. Did you know tanking was an issue way back in 1983? It was and it led to the creation of the lottery which delivered Michael “Air” Jordan to the Chicago Bulls and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon to the Houston Rockets.   

Scout’s Recommendations: In a recent episode of Family Guy, the lovable Homer Simpson rip-off Peter Griffin had to come to terms with the 80’s being dead. His jokes and gags no longer got laughs and no one understood his dated references. His family begged him to let the 80’s go which he did with some help from John Hughes. Had Dan Shaughnessy seen this episode prior to writing Wish It Lasted Forever, he may not have written it. While very interesting at times, this book seemed like an unnecessary trip down memory lane. Perhaps its creation was brought on by the confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or maybe it started as a memoir of sorts, meant to be passed around to old colleagues and basketball insiders. Whatever the reason, reading this book is just another reminder that the 80’s ARE dead. We recommend you skip this one unless you’re a Boston Celtics fan.     

FSM Movies: The Fighter Turns 10

FSM revisits this Bostonian boxing saga nearly a decade after its release. This review was originally published on freesportsmagazine.com in December 2010.

Based on the life of boxing favorite “Irish” Mickey Ward, The Fighter fails to deliver the knockout blow which could have made it an instant classic with moviegoers this holiday season. Much like Ward’s professional career, The Fighter flirts with greatness but falls just a hair short when all is said and done.

The timeline and some of the events presented in this tale are inaccurate but nothing that is too atypical for a movie “based on a true story.” Overall, The Fighter gets the point across and the viewer leaves the theater with a good Cliff’s Notes version of the Mickey Ward story.

For a movie about a fast paced sport like boxing, this film trudges along at a snail’s pace. The fighting scenes are spectacularly exhilarating though they are few and far between and when they do pop up, they are short lived. The bulk of this film is a series of surreal interactions between Mickey Ward , his family, and of course the obligatory love interest.

This is definitely not the first boxing movie that is not about boxing. The original Rocky film did an excellent job of telling a love story using the darker side of the sport as a backdrop. The Fighter attempts to employ the same strategy but there is simply too much going on in the movie. Is this film about a dysfunctional family? A drug addict brother? A man who has lost the belief in himself? By trying to go in so many different directions, the movie spreads itself thin and ends up lacking in substance.

In terms of acting, there are a few strong performances, most notably Christian Bale as Dickie Ekland, the half-brother of Mickey Ward who is battling crack addiction. Melissa Leo (of Homicide: Life on the Street fame) also delivers as Ward’s mother who is both loveable and annoying to the viewer, often time simultaneously. And Mark Wahlberg is his typical, average, muscular self.  He does well during the tough guy scenes and fails miserably when trying to invoke that sense of drama which really would have made this flick reach the next level.

Despite all the hype and Golden Globe nominations (it seems like the only prerequisite these days to get nominated is that a film is released in December), The Fighter is a movie you can wait to see in the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the price.

FreeSportsMag gives The Fighter a grade of C+