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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

As soon as opening lines went up late Saturday Night, sharps made their opinions and intentions very clear for the NBA Championship series involving the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. They think Oklahoma City is the better team…and the early money is confident Oklahoma City is going to win the series!

The series price opened at OKC -125, which surprised casual followers who assume Miami is going to be a favorite in every series they play. Oddsmakers knew the sharps were likely to prefer the Thunder based on their own abilities to anticipate the market. But, an opener of -125 got hit anyway! The line quickly rose past the 130’s and 140’s and into the 150’s before settling at the -160 price we see as we go to press.

There’s certainly a chance that Miami money will come in at some point. Anyone liking Miami and sensing the market was going to wait at first to see what they could get. Maybe Heat support starts coming in at the current price…maybe it’s going to wait a little longer. For now…many TV pundits are picking Miami because they think they’re riding the favorite! Market makers have Oklahoma City not only as a favorite, but as a team that would win this series a little over 60% of the time

The Game One line opened at Oklahoma City -4.5…which is larger than the value of home court advantage by itself (usually about 3 points, but sometimes as much as 4 in the playoffs). That’s further confirmation that OKC is seen as the superior team (and a reflection of how well oddsmakers recognized sharp preferences in this matchup). Some stores are showing -5 based on early money…but we do know sharps who like Miami +5 and will take that line when they see it. Any sort of bandwagon effect is over. Oklahoma City money is in at the series price and the Game One line. Miami money if it’s going to come in will be at +5 on the Game One line and at around +150 on the series price return for the underdog.

The Total in Game One opened at 194.5, but was bet down to 194 or 193.5 depending on the store. There’s still plenty of time for that to change based on anything the coaches say to the press about their preferred approach. Both teams showed a preference for slowing things down in the last round. Miami wanted to contain Rondo, and didn’t fast break much themselves. Oklahoma City knew that the Spurs are great at transition treys and didn’t want to leave themselves exposed to that. Might there be a chance either team decides to pick up the tempo in the Finals because of a perceived matchup edge?

This could be a fascinating series for totals players to handicap because of the offensive talent, the defensive philosophies, and the potential for officiating styles to have a tremendous impact on game-to-game scoring. The math guys spoke early with their Under money. The “information” guys are still yet to act.

We know you’re looking forward to Oklahoma City-Miami as sports fans and Las Vegas wagerers. The TV ratings are going to be big by recent standards, as will sportsbook handle. Right now, you need to know that the market says OKC is the better team, but not so much better that it’s going to be a cakewalk.

Please remember that NBA Championship packages are available right now from the sharpest minds in handicapping here at this website. You can also go game-by-game with your favorite industry legend starting with the opener on Tuesday Night. Interleague baseball is up DAILY…and you can expect MAJOR RELEASES from all the VSM guys in very short order. Be sure you’re checking the front page ads here on the home page and all the features listed on the “buy picks” pulldown each and every day. That’s the BEST way to find out about blockbuster releases before the games start.

We’ll continue to monitor market developments for you in the NBA Finals and MLB Interleague action this week. If you’re going to beat the market, you need to THINK LIKE A SHARP and BET LIKE A SHARP! There’s no better place to develop those skills than VegasSportsMasters!

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