Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Philadelphia visits Boston tonight in Game Seven of their Eastern Conference second round series. Sunday Night, the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs tip off the conference finals with Game One of their Western Conference showdown. Let’s see what the sharps (professional wagerers) are thinking in those two games.
PHILADELPHIA AT BOSTON
The sharps have been fairly quiet on the team side thus far. An opener of Boston -5.5 is still sitting there as we write this up. We’ve talked at length with many sharps about what they expect here. Here’s a quick summary.
Generally speaking, sharps see this as another competitive game. You’ll note that money hasn’t come in on the favorite…and that always happens right away when sharps like the favorite. We can therefore deduce that it’s dog or pass. We understand many sharps are waiting to see if the public hits Boston on game day in a way that would drive the line up to Boston -6. Sharps would then come in fairly aggressively on Philadelphia +6 in a series where the Sixers are already 4-2 ATS.
To the degree there’s any interest on Boston…it would be at a line of Boston -5. That’s the history players who prefer home teams in Game Sevens. They don’t like the hook in what’s likely to be a defensive matchup. Remember that lines are higher than they seem in games with low totals. You really have to impress to win by more than 5 in a low scoring game.
The total has dropped from 171.5 to 170.5, which isn’t a big move…but is a telling move because what was already a low total went down even lower. It’s also telling because the public generally bets Overs, but sharps didn’t wait to see if that was going to happen before jumping in. They felt the opener was too high, and didn’t want to risk losing Under 171.5 or Under 170 because they waited too long. Note that the other two Game Sevens played this year in the playoffs both stayed Under by double digits.
OKLAHOMA CITY AT SAN ANTONIO
Let’s talk about the series price first. Sharps surprised oddsmakers by coming in strong on San Antonio. The opener went up around -170 or -175, and oddsmakers who were publicly interviewed were confident that sharps would hit the underdog at that price, but the public would hit the favorite. They said they couldn’t imagine going higher because sharps would jump all over the Thunder. Well, sharps hit the Spurs! The line kept moving up on action to Spurs -200. There’s been some buyback in spots at that high price. We’re seeing mostly -190 and -200 out there as or press time.
If you study pointspread records, you know that San Antonio has been consistently underrated and underpriced all season. Oddsmakers may have had another misread here with that opener.
In terms of Game One, an opener of San Antonio -5 was bet up to Spurs -5.5. That’s support, but not any sort of bandwagon effect. It looks like sharps who preferred the Spurs went the series route rather than asking for a decisive Game One victory.
There definitely was a bandwagon effect on the total. An opener of 201 was bet all the way up to 204.5 before settling down. Both of these teams like to attack the basket. The Spurs are good at making three-pointers but relatively soft inside by playoff standards. Plus, a playoff series typically starts off higher scoring than it’s going to end up being later on. Oddsmakers badly misjudged what sharps were thinking about the total in this first game.
A fascinating basketball weekend awaits, as Game Sevens are always dramatic, and the Thunder/Spurs series is the first matchup that seems to have the nation truly excited because championship caliber teams are playing each other. Don’t forget that the sharpest minds in the handicapping industry post their top plays every day right here at the VegasSportsMasters website. Click on the “buy picks” button to see all of today’s blockbuster options.
*Kelso Sturgeon has a 50-unit KNOCKOUT play in Philly-Boston…as the loser gets knocked out of the playoffs while the winner advances to face Boston Monday Night.
*Red hot JIM FEIST is 15-8 his last 23 basketball releases coming off Thursday’s easy cover on Miami over Indiana. And, he swept the board Friday Night in the bases Both sports are covered on today’s “blowout” report.
*The full roster of VSM legends has posted combination packages in both sports, so link up with your favorite master and head straight to the winner’s circle!
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