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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 12:00 PM

We’ve had an abnormally long build-up to the 2015 NBA Championship series matching the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Both teams took care of business in their respective conference finals in short order. That’s allowed for a lot of preliminary betting for both the overall series and Thursday Night’s opener.

First, I want to point out that we have kind of a perfect storm brewing for very heavy betting action in this matchup. The public doesn’t always embrace the NBA Playoffs. But, activity has been very busy thus far compared to past championship rounds.

CLEVELAND is a public team now because of LeBron James. A lot of “squares” either love betting on him or against him. He’s the single biggest betting attraction in this sport.

GOLDEN STATE is a “local” team because of California’s proximity to Las Vegas. I’ve talked about this in the past. Whenever a team gets on a roll from either Los Angeles or northern California, there’s a big increase in betting action on those teams in Reno and Las Vegas. The Warriors have a lot of new, extremely confident fans who want to load up on their team.

I would expect many sportsbooks to be packed Thursday night and Sunday night for the first two games…with investors from both sides trying to out cheer each other. But, in addition to a split in public action, sharps aren’t necessarily in lockstep with how they see this series. Many of the quants are getting gradings to Golden State because the Warriors had such great numbers this year in the stronger Western Conference. But. Cleveland is playing its best basketball of the year right now, which has many of the “recent form” guys seeing value on the dog.

This is blowing up into a very big summer event!

Let’s talk about how sharps have been betting…


Odds to Win the NBA the Series

Golden State -240

Cleveland +200

Generally speaking, Wise Guys hit Cleveland at anything higher than +200, but Golden State at anything around -220 or lower. It’s important to remember that many sharps who liked Golden State entering the postseason got involved with Futures much earlier in the process. You could have the Warriors at plus money to go the distance midway through the Memphis series. And, they remained a relative bargain until the LA Clippers were knocked out of the Western brackets by Houston. So, sharps who have liked Golden State all along were already in at better prices.

I’m hearing several reports that local sportsbooks are heavy right now with “square” series bets on Cleveland. Sportsbooks are happy to take a position against the public because they like the Warriors to win this series themselves.


Game One: Cleveland at Golden State Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

This one has been up forever. But, we haven’t had any really significant moves off the opener of Golden State -6. Cleveland was getting some sharp action when there was concern about Klay Thompson returning from his concussion. Then Golden State’s news on Thompson was good while Cleveland’s reports on Kyrie Irving were relatively bad (his injuries aren’t improving with the time off), so that brought Warriors money back to the table.

Sharp action comes in on Golden State -5.5, and would come in on Cleveland +6.5. I don’t expect that to change between now and tip-off. I think if we could isolate “only” the smart money, we’d see a relative tug-of-war between Golden State -5.5 and Cleveland +6 because sharp syndicates aren’t unanimous in their reads. Square money that prefers the Warriors is more likely to bet -6 in Game One then -240 for the series in terms of raw volume. Really a crowded marketplace as we wait for the action to begin.

Great scenario for sportsbooks, who would love to see this go six or seven games.

You can purchase my NBA Playoff selections right here at the website with your credit card. I hope you won’t limit yourself to just basketball because the summer provides a great opportunity to build your bankrolls in baseball. If you have any questions about combination packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during regular business hours

I’ll be back with you again Sunday by lunchtime to talk about how sharps have been betting Game Two of this series. It will be very interesting to see how the overall market reacts to whatever happens in the opener. Maybe this perfect storm of betting interest is going to be short-lived. If we’re lucky, we’ll have two weeks of thrillers to dissect.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game! See you again Sunday.


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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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