Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, May 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Could we have two sweeps in the 2015 Conference Finals?! The market certainly has that as a strong possibility, given that both 3-0 series leaders are favored in Game Four. But, either the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers could stub their toes over the next two nights. In fact, that’s the next nagging injury due to happen to LeBron James!
I’ll take the games in schedule order. Sharps are still trying to get a read on both series. Most syndicates are dealing with choppy waters right now because of misreads on either side or total action.
Houston at Golden State (Tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN): Golden State opened at -5. There have been some stores testing -4.5…but Warrior money comes back in after the dip. Many sharps took a bath in Game Three, as the Rockets were pounded at lines near pick-em before getting obliterated by 35 points. Oddsmakers reacted by putting the number for Game 4 more in line with the Golden State/Memphis series. The Warriors were around -10 at home vs. both Memphis and Houston, but -4 at Memphis and then a stunning +1.5 in Houston. The market clearly overreacted to Houston’s road covers. To the degree the public is betting here, it’s on the juggernaut that just won a blowout at what looks like a cheap price to them. We’ll have to see if sharps get more aggressive with the dog +5 before tipoff. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a tug-of-war between Golden State -4.5 and Houston +5. But, sharps may not be all that enthusiastic about pulling their end of the rope.
The Over/Under opened at 214.5, and was bet down to 213.5 at most spots. The market continues to chase the scoreboard…as totals that first started around 220 have overshot the actual on-court sums of 216, 197, and 195. The Warriors made it a tactical priority to slow down James Harden’s penetration in the last two games, which kept both from even reaching 200. The Warriors are 1-8 to the Under in their playoff battles with Memphis and Houston. Quants are having trouble dealing with Coach Kerr’s adjustments.
Cleveland at Atlanta (Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT): Cleveland has been relatively stable at -8 in this game, which is where it opened. No reason to bet early as sharps want a better sense of the injury situation and that status of Horford off his “Flagrant 2” foul that got him ejected from Game Three. Sharps tend to shy away from favorites of that size unless there are very clear blowout indicators. Those are tougher to have with Cleveland, who isn’t a “run up the score” kind of team. There’s at least a possibility for a big sharp move on the dog in the hours before tipoff Tuesday afternoon…so keep an eye on that.
Nothing happening yet on the opening total of 193.5. We had our first regulation Over of the whole Conference Championships (East or West) Sunday night in Cleveland (regulation scoring landed on 208…which continued the tendency of Cleveland playing higher scoring games at home than on the road). That will certainly be part of the thought process once likely lineups are pinned down for both teams.
Odds to Win the NBA Championship
Golden State -250
The market has settled into the fairly safe assumption that it’s going to be the Warriors and the Cavaliers in the League Finals that begin next week. Golden State is a healthy favorite, literally. They’re the best team in the league and the healthiest by a mile. Many sharps are discussing whether it’s going to be a 4-0 sweep or a 4-1 cakewalk. We’ll talk more next week about how the Wise Guys are betting. Remember that those who think Cleveland has a chance to surprise are going to stay quiet while the public expresses early support for the hot favorite…so the current buzz doesn’t really reflect the full picture.
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If Golden State and Cleveland finish off sweeps, I won’t see you again in the blog until next week when the Finals are ready to get rolling. If we have some Game Five action…I’ll check back with you in a timely manner to discuss sharp betting. Thanks for reading!
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