The 2022-23 NBA preseason is officially underway, and the Boston Celtics have the best odds to win the championship. Last season's runner-up is favored to win the NBA Finals, despite suspending head coach Ime Udoka for the entire year just one week ago for violations of team policies.

The Celtics lead the way with +600 odds to win the championship at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Milwaukee Bucks are second with +650 title odds. At +700, the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are tied for the third-best odds.

Boston took a 2-1 series lead over Golden State in last season's NBA Finals before the Warriors won three straight games to claim their fourth title since 2015. Udoka won the Eastern Conference in his first year as the Celtics head coach.

The odds suggest that Udoka's absence might not have much of an impact on Boston's quest for a title. Joe Mazzulla, a Celtics assistance since 2019, has taken over as the team's interim head coach.

Boston is led by a young core of All-Star-caliber players that are expected to only get better in the upcoming season. Jayson Tatum is coming off a sixth-place finish in the MVP race at 24 years old. Jaylen Brown averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in his age-25 season.

Marcus Smart is back after winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. The Celtics had the league's No. 1 defense last season.

The Celtics overtook the Warriors as the 2022-23 favorites early in free agency. Boston bolstered its bench by acquiring Danilo Gallinari and Malcolm Brogdon.

Gallinari has since torn his ACL, keeping him sidelined until late in the regular season, at minimum. Starting center Robert Williams is expected to miss up to three months after undergoing knee surgery.

Blake Griffin agreed to a one-year deal with the Celtics Friday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Griffin averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 56 games with the Nets last season.

Brooklyn was swept by Boston in the first round of last season's playoff. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have returned to the Nets after it seemed likely that both players would be traded in the summer.

Milwaukee's championship defense came to an end in Game 7 of the second round against Boston. The Bucks were unable to overcome the loss of Khris Middleton, who missed the entire series with a knee injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in the series.

Boston plays its first preseason game Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics end their preseason schedule on Oct. 14.

The Philadelphia 76ers visit Boston on Oct. 18 in the first game of the regular season.

Boston Celtics, Eastern Conference Champions 2022
The Boston Celtics celebrates with the Eastern Conference Bob Cousy champions trophy after defeating the Miami Heat in Game Seven to win the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 29, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Eric Espada/Getty Images