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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

It’s been an extremely challenging several days for professional wagerers in Las Vegas. The old “tried and true” playoff approach of “dogs and Unders” has taken a bath in recent days. Favorites are 17-3 against the spread the last 20 days, while Overs are 11-5 the last 16 games.

Now, we’re not saying that sharps are taking a bath. They always do a great job of riding the rapids no matter which way the water is flowing. Stubborn old schoolers may be having some trouble. Sharps who are focused more on numbers, personnel adjustments, and market dynamics have been able to either cut their losses or show a profit. Yes, if DOGS had been on a 17-3 run, sharps would have made a fortune because they know how to maximize their value on dog edges. Sharps aren’t necessarily in dire straits during a run like this.

What’s interesting about Sunday Night’s Miami-Boston game is that sharps hit a dog early and made them a favorite. After sitting at +2.5 on the closing line in Game Three, Miami opened at +1 in Game Four because oddsmakers expected a lot of “bounce back” money on the Heat, and they knew sharps liked the Heat fairly strongly before the series to begin with. The Wise Guys didn’t think that was enough of an adjustment. They bet Miami +1, and Miami at pick-em, until the number settled at -1. As of press time today, there’s been another move up to Miami -1.5 which is a mix of public and sharp money (squares love betting on LeBron, and love betting on series favorites at cheap prices).

Could the number rise high enough Sunday from square action to bring sharps in on the Celtics? We’re hearing that some sharps would have interest in Boston at +2. That would create a middle opportunity if Miami were to win by exactly one (but not an opportunity on the pick-em because NBA games can’t end in a tie), and two “side” opportunities for a win/split on bets were Boston to win by one or Miami by two. Because this is expected to be a nailbiter, oddsmakers aren’t that interested in setting up those possibilities…so we may see the line stay at Miami -1.5 even if the public comes in more heavily on the Heat before tipoff.

Note that sharps did tempt fate by betting the Under in Sunday’s Game Four. An opener of 181 was bet down to 180. We have to note though that it’s not a very dramatic move considering how deep we are in the playoffs. In other seasons, or maybe even in the prior round, we would have seen a move down to 178 or possibly lower off an opener like 181. Most of the time, ALL sharps are betting Unders at this stage because the math guys know to apply a reduction for more defense later in a series. Today, only small subsets have been betting the Under given the regulation average of 187.3 to this point in the matchup.

What about Oklahoma City/San Antonio? Oddsmakers anticipated sharp interest on the Spurs in the bounce back as they head home for Game Five. That game opened San Antonio -4.5 even though Oklahoma City just played two impressive games in a row. Sharps hit the Spurs, which has driven the line to -5 as we go to press. Always remember that favorite money hits early. Sharps who like Oklahoma City will wait to see if they can get a better line after the public bets.

Yes, the Wise Guys aren’t at their usual level of aggressiveness this year because of the stunning Favorite and Under tendencies. They are in the market though…and many are on the plus side of the ledger because they were able to anticipate coaching adjustments and properly gauge the lack of intensity due from certain teams at certain times.

Remember that basketball selections from the sharpest minds in handicapping are available here at the VegasSportsMasters website every day. Link up with your favorite industry legend before tipoff to get tonight’s strong plays. Be sure you take care of business before 1 p.m. if you want to play the bases too.

We’ll continue to monitor sharp action throughout the NBA Playoffs and through baseball, with some special reports planned for the return of Interleague action on Friday June 8th. Things should be VERY interesting this year because the best two divisions in baseball play each other…the AL East vs. the NL East!

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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