Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM
The next two nights of NBA Playoff action bring pivotal Game 5’s in both the Eastern and Western Conference second rounds. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting the games sent for Tuesday and Wednesday Night on the TV schedule. I’ll go over the games in tipoff order…
Chicago at Cleveland (Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on TNT): Looks like a tug-of-war developing between Cleveland -5 and Chicago +5.5. Though, it’s possible that late day sentiment will be more weighted toward the underdog. The public is less likely to lay a number in a series that just saw two games decided at the buzzer. And, that’s particularly true in this case because of the hobbled status of Kyrie Irving. Note also that handicappers who prefer to take the prior game’s loser will be on Chicago here…and that the Bulls have a fairly big public contingent to begin with. Monitor line movements late in the day to see how much interest there is on Cleveland -5. We know that sharps who like the Bulls are pretty happy to get +5.5. Some of the quants weigh Pau Gasol’s likely absence heavily enough to get gradings to Cleveland. The Over/Under has dropped from 192 to 191 after the teams could only reach 170 the last time out.
LA Clippers at Houston (Tuesday at 9:35 p.m. ET on TNT): This is the only series that isn’t knotted at 2-2, as the Clippers have jumped to a 3-1 lead despite the Rockets initially having home court advantage. An opening line of Clippers -1.5 has been bet up to -2.5 and even -3 in some places as I post this. I’ve talked to a few sharps who are stunned that Houston has played so poorly in this matchup. Even Wise Guys who liked the Clippers weren’t expecting wins of 16, 25, and 31 points (which covered the spread by 23, 20, and 25 points!). Those who believe it ends tonight jumped in at -1.5 and -2. I’m not sure what it would take to bring in serious Rockets money given how bad the team has looked on defense. The opening total of 219 is down to 218.5 or 218. I’m hearing that’s from quants who believe Houston will cut back on their poorly thought out intentional fouling approach.
Washington at Atlanta (Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT): We move to Wednesday. Atlanta opened as a big 9-point favorite on the assumption that John Wall isn’t coming back for the Wizards. We haven’t seen much interest yet from sharps one way or the other. Tough to lay that big a price with an Atlanta team that blows hot and cold. I’m confident that Washington money is waiting to see if +9.5 becomes available. Those preferring the dog will take +9 if that’s the best they’re going to see. Remember, often a relatively “frozen” line out of the gate doesn’t mean a pass. It can mean sharps don’t like the favorite (favorite interest is typically expressed early in advance of public betting), and are waiting for a better price on the dog. Nothing happening yet on the opening total of 199.5 Three of the four games in this series have gone over so far by scooting into the 200’s. Old school guys like taking Unders the deeper you get into a series. That may show up in the hours before Wednesday’s tip.
Memphis at Golden State (Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT): Golden State is at -10 in this one after sitting at -10.5 in the first two games on their home floor. Sharps still respect the competitiveness of the Grizzlies. But, Golden State made some adjustments in Game Four that could be difficult for Memphis to deal with. There are already some early sharp suggestions on the dog (some +9.5’s being tested out there). Can’t imagine sharps laying double digits in a playoff game that has good defenses and a potentially slow pace. We’ll see if the public creates a tug-of-war down the road by laying the points with resurgent Golden State. The total is up a point from an opener of 194.5 to 195.5. Quants are being stubborn about their math. This series has landed on 187, 187, 188, and 185 so far with four very consistent Unders. Yet, the quants still think the right number is in the mid 190’s.
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Thanks for reading. I will be back with another sharps report Thursday around lunchtime to cover at least three Game 6’s set for Thursday and Friday. Should Houston stay alive against the Clippers, all four series will have a Game Six. If any series reaches a Game Seven, we’ll talk about that over the weekend. Then…next week…it’s time for the Eastern and Western Finals that will likely see a strong influx of public betting. Looking forward to it!
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