Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM
So far it’s been a relatively quiet opening week in terms of how both the sharps and the public are betting the 2015 NBA Playoffs. With so much information in play, opening numbers are fairly solid to begin with. To the degree the public is betting (which isn’t much), it tends to be on the most high profile celebrity stars (like LeBron James), which doesn’t give Wise Guys much square action to fade.
Also, as we move from game to game, oddsmakers know the historical tendencies that sharps like to play for percentages (usually variations of asking the straight up loser of the last game to bounce back with a better performance). So, it’s not exactly a stalemate…but it’s a quiet playing field so far.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at all eight series that move to Game Three of their respective matchups from tonight through Saturday. The only matchup that’s knotted at one game apiece is San Antonio vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. All seven others show one team having a 2-0 series lead over their opponent.
Cleveland (-4.5) at Boston (Tonight): Historically speaking, sharps generally look at a home underdog that’s down 2-0 for value in Game Three, before coming back on the favorite in Game Four. If the favorite loses Game Three, they’re the natural zig-zag team in the bounce back spot. If the favorite wins Game Four, recent history has been weighted heavily toward the superior team trying to get things over with quickly to get extra rest. Sharps haven’t acted yet here in Game Three, but probably would if +5 becomes widely available on the home dog after potential public betting.
Chicago (-3) at Milwaukee (Tonight): This one opened at -3, but has seen some places test 2.5. I think there’s a likely tug-of-war developing between classic strategy players on Milwaukee +3 and the public or other “Bulls money” on Chicago at -2.5. Some sharps will tell you Bucks on the moneyline to win straight up is the smarter play if you like that team to get a win in the series.
Golden State (-5) at New Orleans (Tonight): The Warriors opened at -5.5 before the game was bet down. Classic “ask the underdog to play well” spot down two-nothing. New Orleans covered both games out West, and has impressed thus far. Can they keep their energy going?
Dallas (-1) vs. Houston (Friday): It opened at Dallas -1.5 and was bet toward the Rockets. You’d have trouble finding any informed NBA bettor expecting a big effort from the Mavericks here given everything that’s going on with that team. We may see a game day move toward the Rockets from the Wise Guys. Game Four here might be as high as Houston -2 or -3 depending on what happens Friday.
Washington (-3.5) vs. Toronto (Friday): Very interesting situation. The game opened -3 and was bet UP. Toronto is supposed to be the “basic strategy” play because they’re down 2-0. And, the fact that they’re the series favorite should make that buy-in approach even stronger. But, the Raptors looked so bad in their home losses that many sharps are confident the Wizards will keep right on scoring. We talk about this a lot on these pages…sometimes a half point move is a HUGE sign of sentiment when it goes against the grain. Some stores testing Washington -4 as I post this.
San Antonio (-4) vs. the LA Clippers (Friday): Great game Wednesday Night in the only compelling series thus far. San Antonio opened at -3.5 and was bet up. That’s also against the grain for the historic approaches. I’m hearing that’s because the Clippers have such a bad bench…and this game is only two days after that overtime marathon. Those interested in Clippers value are reportedly waiting for Game Four Sunday.
Atlanta (-2.5) at Brooklyn (Saturday): Atlanta has been a big disappointment so far in terms of expectations. Is Cleveland the only real championship contender in the East? This one opened Atlanta -3, and was bet down in classic “basic strategy” fashion.
Portland (-3) vs. Memphis (Saturday): Portland is the must-win team here, causing an opener of -2.5 to be bet up to -3. Too early to know yet if we’ll see any tug-of-wars developing in Saturday’s matchups. These last two matchups aren’t high interest series for the public. I expect Memphis to get a lot of sharp support in Game Four Monday regardless of what happens Saturday.
I definitely have some opinions in a few of these games based on what I’ve learned “behind the line” all of these years. The “site switch” dynamics can be particularly profitable if you know how to read them. You can purchase my NBA Playoff selections every day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.
I’m planning another sharps report for early next week. We’ll see what happens through the weekend. The initial hope was to talk about a lot of important Game Fives. There may not be many if the teams leading 2-0 keep winning! We know that there will at least be a Game Five in San Antonio/LA Clippers. That fifth game is set for Tuesday…so let’s assume a Tuesday report for our next get-together. Thanks for reading. Let’s have a great weekend!
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