In an interesting matchup, to say the least, the Boston Celtics will take on the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. It’s the East Coast versus the West Coast, featuring (arguably) the most celebrated team in NBA history against the most decorated team of the last 8 seasons. Who will win? That is always the question for the ages.
We have a better one, since sabermetrics heavily favor the Celtics, and the betting money heavily favors the Warriors. Our question is which wins out in the modern NBA? The math or the money?
To wit, basic sabermetrics say Boston is the better team by 1.5 points per game on a neutral court. Moderate sabermetrics suggest the Celtics have an 83-percent chance to win the NBA title. Advanced sabermetrics (same link, using Elo option) finalize the Boston advantage at 68 percent—which is major. Yet … bettors, never the wisest measurement since emotion is involved, favor the Warriors by a lot.
We firmly believe the NBA has been rigged since the mid-1990s. When we watched the 1995 and 1996 NBA Finals, we came away believing everything was manipulated for the best possible TV ratings and revenue. Little has changed our minds since then, as small TV markets like Indianapolis, Portland, and Sacramento have seen their very talented teams get whistled out of the postseason inexplicably.
Meanwhile, big TV market teams—and moderate TV market teams with international appeal, like Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Toronto—have benefited from those same whistles. Basketball is the easiest sport to fix, since the officials decide when or when not to blow their whistles. When a team or a player suddenly goes ice cold from the floor, it’s almost always about the refs swallowing their whistles.
Just Google that phrase and read on for days. It’s an education, to say the least.
But we digress: What will happen? Will the NBA choose to let the math dictate the Finals? Or will it let the money choose the next champ? You know what we always say here: Follow the money. For that reason, we fully expect the Warriors to win it all, and for kicks, it may go 7 games, too, to maximize the TV revenue.
(Sidebar: We’d love to see a World Series with the cheatin’ Giants against the cheatin’ Red Sox, too, for this same reason. What would happen? Math or money? But in truth, no … we don’t want to see that World Series at all, for obvious reasons. Shit; we hope we didn’t just jinx ourselves for October 2022.)