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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Boston’s 101-91 victory over Miami Friday Night in the NBA Playoffs was notable for several reasons. One that’s very important to handicappers if not the mainstream media is that it brought a recent favorite run to an astonishing 16-3 against the Vegas spread!

Something like that in the regular season would jump out. But, in THE PLAYOFFS?!

That’s when dogs are supposed to be gold. That’s when games go right down to the wire, making it difficult for favorites to get the money. That’s when the public drives the lines up way too high on media darlings. Favorites aren’t supposed to cover spreads at this pace over so many games!

What’s happened?

Several factors are in play here in our view:

*Lines have been relatively low in many games, making it easier to cover. It’s not like a bunch of 10-point favorites are winning by double digits. A lot of 1-5 point favorites are winning the games they’re supposed to win.

*There aren’t any public bandwagon teams still alive at the moment. The LA Lakers often had trouble covering tall numbers when they were championship caliber because the public loved betting the Lakers. The public never lined up on the Spurs even during their amazing 20-game win streak. The closest thing we have to a public team right now is Miami…but bettors who were enamored with the Heat still remember the bath they took in last year’s championship round.

*The market has gotten very sharp about the ebb and flow of playoff series, particularly about how series trailers will rise up and play great in Game Three at home. Boston was a 2-point favorite Friday Night when +2 would have been more in line with historic norms. When they won 101-91, they won as a favorite instead of as an underdog. The current line for Sunday’s Game Four is Miami -1. The old zig-zag theory doesn’t give you as many dogs as it used to. It gives you cheap favorites.

*Coaches have learned to swallow bitter pills in games that are going to be tough to win. You saw this in Game Three of the San Antonio/Oklahoma City series. The Spurs fell behind, and coach Gregg Popovich rested his stars through most of the second half. Dogs won’t cover spreads if their stars are resting in the fourth quarter. The tendency for teams to pace themselves for the long haul has lessened the number of “down-to-the-wire” wars we used to see.

Will favorites continue to get the money from this point forward in the playoffs? The laws of math say no. And, we should be coming on a set of games where teams are less likely to swallow a loss without fighting about it for awhile. That being said…the market is much better now at the ebb and flow elements than it used to be, which means “intangibles” no longer favor dogs the way they used to. We expect the math to take care of itself, and that classic handicapping will still rule the day from this point forward.

Basketball isn’t roulette. Don’t try to bet “hot” or “cold” categories. That doesn’t even work in roulette! Handicap each game as it comes based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players on the floor, and time proven indicators regarding ebb and flow dynamics. Respect that the market is better than it used to be, which means you should pass on your own opinions more than you used to (seek out the strongest opinions from our website handicappers!).

This weekend’s basketball schedule

Saturday: San Antonio (+3.5) at Oklahoma City (total of 201.5)

Sunday: Miami (-1) at Boston (total of 180.5)


Recent Playoff Trends

Favorites are 16-3 the last 19 games

Overs are 10-5 the last 15 games


Saturday’s Highlights at VegasSportsMasters

*Wayne Root, currently on an amazing 11-0 run, has a “No Limit” play in the Spurs-Thunder game and two bonus baseball plays for just $25.

*Jim Feist is 8-2 over the last nine days in the NBA playoffs. He has tonight’s Spurs-Thunder winner plus baseball o a $20 report.

*Kelso Sturgeon is releasing another 75-unit baseball PARLAY, yours for a $25 charge to your major credit card. He swept his most recent 75-unit baseball PARLAY one week ago.

*Tony Salinas is on a hot run of late, and is looking for a 4-0 board sweep with Saturday’s basketball and an MLB Triple Crown for $20.

The best plays on the board from the biggest names in handicapping are always available for you right here at VegasSportsMasters. Check the home page of this website daily for big play bulletins. That and the listings on the “buy picks” page are your best sources for special announcements from our industry legends. Hot handicappers are waiting to hear from you!

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