Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM
The injury that knocked Kyrie Irving out of the 2015 NBA Finals has had a significant dampening effect on betting enthusiasm here in Las Vegas and around the world. The Cleveland Cavaliers/Golden State series went to one of the biggest betting events of recent summers to a big question mark on one play.
In terms of SQUARES (the general public):
*It’s very hard for fans of Cleveland to invest with aggressiveness because it seems impossible that LeBron James can win four of the next six games by himself.
*What’s worse…Cleveland money was winning the whole night in Game One before an overtime collapse cost them everything! How can you come back big on a shorthanded team when you just lost a Big Game One bet you should have won? That overtime was a real punch to the gut. People don’t bet when they’re gasping for air!
*Golden State money that had already come in on the series price (or earlier Futures prices) is celebrating, but with no need to re-invest. Why lay eight points in Game Two when you’re already in great shape to see your favorite team win? Warriors fans here in Nevada are acting like the championship parade already started.
*What you might call “neutral” money from people who want to sweat a TV bet but aren’t avid supporters of one team or another…may find it hard to lay eight points with the home favorite in a letdown spot…but also hard to take the points with the shorthanded potentially disheartened Cavaliers. There was so much anticipation for Game One. And it was easier to pick a team to sweat at lines of 5.5 of 6. What remained of the “neutral” sports betting buzz may have been used up in Saturday’s exciting Triple Crown victory at the Belmont.
So, compared to Game One, I expect this will be a relatively quiet night for squares. More interest than a regular season game…but just a fraction of what might have been.
What about the sharps?
Game Two: Cleveland at Golden State Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
This first numbers up right at the end of Game One were either Golden State -7 or -7.5. depending on the store. It was assumed that Irving would miss Game Two because he was so hobbled heading back to the locker room. Once there was confirmation Irving would be out for the playoffs, stores moved to Golden State -8 in anticipation of the public betting the injury.
Sharps have generally been inactive so far…but some are taking Cleveland +8. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of +7.5’s out there as of lunchtime Sunday. We have a tug-of-war brewing between the public on Golden State -7.5 and Cleveland +8. But, I’m not sensing much enthusiasm from either side. Sharps are betting the eight for value rather than stepping in with really strong support.
There has been strong support on the Under though. Quants and film watchers are confident Cleveland will slow down its pace (even more than usual) without Irving on the floor. That led to the opening total of 202 falling to 200.5. Golden State has been an Under machine in the playoffs, and would have been again in Game One if not for overtime (196 at the end of regulation against the posted total of 204). Cleveland’s been playing low scoring games on the road…and is likely to slog through another halfcourt game with LeBron James running the point. If game day public betting comes in on the Over, we’ll see a tug-or-war on this betting option as well.
Odds to Win the NBA the Series
Golden State -700
It’s generally assumed right now amongst sharps that Cleveland has virtually no chance to come back and win this series. Maybe that perception will change after tonight…or if the Cavaliers have a great result in their home opener Tuesday. Futures bettors that got in on the Warriors around even money earlier in the playoffs are already mentally counting their winnings. Those who took flyers on Cleveland are cursing their bad injury luck.
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My next “sharps” report will be midday Tuesday to talk about Game Three in Cleveland. I’ll post on game day through the rest of the series for as long as it goes. Then, we’ll pick up again with NFL market reports when the Preseason begins in August. Thanks very much for reading and making this VegasSportsMasters feature such a big success!
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