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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM

The NBA Western and Eastern Conference Championships get under way Tuesday and Wednesday night respectively. Today I’ll talk about how sharps are betting those series openers…as well as the series prices overall. I’ll also include a look at Futures prices to win the NBA Championship. There’s been a HUGE move in that realm in recent days.

Let’s go in order. Houston/Golden State starts tonight. I’ll begin there…first with a look at the overall series.

Houston vs. Golden State (Series)

Golden State –850

Houston +600

Golden State is a prohibitive favorite to win this series because they’re far and away the best team in the league this year, and because they enter with a rest advantage over the resurgent Houston Rockets. The Warriors have been off since Friday. Houston had to win a Game Seven Sunday to finish off their historic comeback. I’ve seen as high as -900 here. Sharp money does hit Houston at more than +600 just on principal (the Rockets are a #2 seed after all, and there’s always a chance of an injury for the Warriors). But, sharps fully expect GS to win this series handily. Bets on Houston reflect mathematical value on a huge longshot.

Houston at Golden State (Tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN): Las Vegas

Golden State opened at -9.5 offshore, but generally at -10 in Las Vegas. Right now I’m seeing -10.5, so there’s still support for the Warriors even at these high numbers. Some of that may be public money…but squares really aren’t that active on Tuesdays even this deep into the brackets. I would definitely expect sharp money to come in on Houston if +11 is broached. Those waiting for the apex on the dog may have to accept +10.5. The opening total was a high 219…but it’s been bet up even higher to 220.5. These were the two fastest teams in the NBA during the regular season…and playoff matchups tend to start out high scoring before slowing down later. Quants were happy to bet Over 219.

Cleveland vs. Atlanta (Series)

Cleveland –225

Atlanta +190

We have a bit of a tug-of-war here. Right now we’re on the high end of things from the Cleveland perspective. Generally speaking money is coming in on Cleveland whenever -200 is in play…but then on Atlanta when +190 or so is available. I’m reading this as coming from separate syndicates. Those preferring Cleveland see them better than 2 to 1 to win. Those believing Atlanta has a chance can’t believe they can get as high as +190 for a #1 seed that isn’t dealing with injury troubles.

Cleveland at Atlanta (Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT): Atlanta opened at -1, as I mentioned the other day. Some stores are testing Atlanta -1 with a -115 vigorish because action is leaning slightly the Hawks way thus far. Sharps aren’t on Atlanta with a passion or we would have seen a leap to -1.5 or -2 fairly quickly. Though, given the fact that the public usually likes to bet on LeBron…the move to -115 is somewhat telling of sharp sentiment in this opener. Think of it as a sharp “lean.”

The opening total of 198 was bet down to 197. That’s against the grain of how early series totals are usually bet. I’m hearing that’s because the numbers guys expect Cleveland to play at a slow pace, while Atlanta continues to battle inconsistency on long range shooting.

 

Odds to Win Championship

Golden State -200

Cleveland +300

Atlanta +900

Houston +1000

Wanted to add this in because we’ve had a huge move toward Golden State in recent days. Back when the LA Clippers were in great shape vs. the Rockets…Golden State was around +120 or +110. But, now that the most serious threat in the West is out of the way, sharps have really been betting Golden State aggressively to go the distance. It’s assumed they’ll survive the Rockets as huge favorites. They they’d be clear favorites over the Cleveland/Atlanta winner.

Think about it this way…if you think Golden State is the class of the league right now…do you want to bet them at -10.5 in their home games…or -850 to -900 to win the West? Clear value on anything just below -200 to win it all considering Cleveland’s injury situation and Atlanta’s disappointing postseason form.

I’ll be back with you midday Thursday to review sharp betting for both Game Two rematches. That will give us a chance to consider what happened in the openers and map out possibilities going forward.

Don’t forget that I post game day NBA Playoff selections right here at the website. You can purchase those with your credit card (along with my best baseball plays). If you have any questions about extended service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Please ask about combination packages for both basketball and baseball when you call.

Back with you again on Thursday. Thanks for reading!

 

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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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