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Player prop expert Gray Gutfreund has narrowed down his top NBA bet for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He has his eyes set on Jayson Tatum as the Warriors are set to battle the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals this Thursday.

Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics Player Prop Pick: Can We Trust Jayson Tatum in Game 1?

After a thrilling Game 7 victory over the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics officially punched their ticket to the 2022 NBA Finals. The Celts appeared in four different Eastern Conference Finals in the last six seasons and they finally got their win. Their series victory was on the back of their electric wing duo: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The All-Star tandem has carried Boston all season long. But, the two players are defended wildly differently. The 24-year-old Tatum is forced to deal with double teams as much as any perimeter star in basketball right now. Miami sent two defenders at Tatum throughout Game 7 and much of the series, which allowed the 3-time All-Star to showcase his improved playmaking ability. Look for JT's passing prowess to be on full display on Thursday night, where I'll be trusting the rising superstar.

Warriors vs. Celtics Game 1 Start Time and Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: June 2, 2022
  • Game Time: 9:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: ABC

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Warriors vs. Celtics Game 1 Line Movement

Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 Prediction

Jayson Tatum Over 4.5 Assists (-134) (Bet $134 to win $100)

*Odds Available at FanDuel at Time of Publishing*

I'm surprised that the books are even giving this line to us, as the value is too great to pass up. Jayson Tatum recorded at least 5 assists in 5 of 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Boston forward even averaged 5.6 assists and 11.0 potential assists per game in 7 games against the Heat. This line undoubtedly feels a full assist short, especially when considering the Celtics' reliance on Tatum.

Jay Tay is posting 5.9 assists and 11.9 potential assists per game this postseason, cashing this over in 13 of his 18 playoff games. Another huge positive of Tatum's playoff run has been his ability to maintain his effectiveness despite massive playing time each and every night. He's logged 40+ minutes in all but four of his playoff games, averaging 41.0 MPG this postseason.

Tatum's massive workload will be critical for him to maintain his solid assist totals. And, with just a 3.5-point spread on Game 1, the Duke product should be locked into his huge role. Over the final 35 games of the regular season, Tatum averaged 5.9 assists per 40 minutes. This is directly in line with his 5.8 AST per 40 minutes this postseason, furthering the point that this line should be set at 5.5 assists.

The Golden State matchup shouldn't limit the St. Louis native's potential to rack up assists in this series. Tatum averaged 5.0 assists on 10.5 potential assists per game in two meetings with the Warriors during the 2021-22 campaign. And, Golden State should offer a bit of a pace-up spot in comparison to the Heat. The Warriors' postseason pace of 97.8 possessions per 48 minutes ranks 5th among the league's 16 playoff teams. Meanwhile, the Celtics played at a pace of just 93.5 possessions per 48 last series.

Jayson Tatum has officially arrived as a superstar. And, a strong all-around performance in Game 1 of his first-ever NBA Finals series would cement his standing among the league's stars. Expect the 6'8" forward to dazzle in San Francisco on Thursday night, and make things easy for his teammates while doing so.

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Article Author


Gray is a massive New York sports fan, and is an NBA & NFL oracle. He’s a passionate writer with a strong background in statistics, and loves putting out player props! You can follow him on Twitter @PropBetGuru.


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