Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM
It’s been a few days since we’ve had a chance to review sharp sentiment in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. There are seven games set for Friday and Saturday that will cover all but one of the matchups. The other, Miami-New York, looks to be close to completion with a series sweep favored to conclude Sunday afternoon.
Let’s take the games in schedule order, and see that sharps are thinking about the matchups and the likely series results.
ATLANTA AT BOSTON
Boston opened at -7.5, and was bet up to -8. That’s a high price for a 4-5 matchup. But, Boston gets Rajon Rondo back while Atlanta will be missing a keys scorer because of a late game knee injury the other night. Note that the line didn’t move beyond -8, but also that there wasn’t any buy back on the underdog. Sharps expect Boston to close out the series given their acceptance of that line. Boston will be about -8 in three more home games if it goes the distance, and will be in position to win at coin flip lines in Atlanta. Sharps who bet Boston before the series (and there were a lot of them) were very happy to see Paul Pierce have such a big game in Rondo’s absence the other night.
CHICAGO AT PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia is a home favorite of -1.5 in a game that hasn’t seen much movement. We’re hearing that sharps would come in on Chicago at +2 because the team is in a bounce-back spot off a loss and played so well without Derrick Rose during the regular season. They might settle for +1.5 near tip-off if they have to. But, they’re hoping to get that extra half point in a game that could go down to the wire. Half points matter more to sharps in basketball games that are expected to be close. Sharps still expect Chicago to win the series. We talked to many, though, who were very surprised by how badly the team played in Game Two.
LA LAKERS AT DENVER
Oddsmakers anticipated home court respect for Denver by opening the line at -3.5. Sharps still took Denver and bet the line up to -4. That’s where it sits as we go to press. That may surprise many of you who see the Lakers as the much superior team here. Sharps respect this home floor, and you’ll recall that they were treating this as more like a 4-5 matchup rather than a 3-6 matchup in the early series prices. If you thought Denver offered value at the series prices…then THIS is the game that they were going to win to make a series upset possible. Sharps don’t buy the public belief that the Lakers are much better. That’s why LA was favored by 4.5 and 5 at home, and Denver is favored by 4 here.
INDIANA AT ORLANDO
Indiana has been so dominant the last two games that it feels like this series is almost over. Yet, it’s just 2-1 Pacers because Orlando sprung an upset in Game One. Indiana opened at -4.5, but was bet up to -5. Oddsmakers have been giving the Pacers respect with these lines, as Indiana was -9.5 at home, but only dropped to -4.5 or -5 on the road. Sharps may still step in here because the Pacers have won the last two games by 15 and 23 points. The only thing keeping the line stable at this point according to our reports is the number of “old school” bettors who like taking home dogs who trail 2-1 in a series. Orlando isn’t out of the series yet. Trends and systems guys are willing to give them a look.
MEMPHIS AT LA CLIPPERS
Memphis was a popular choice with sharps before the series started. They got support here at the opener of Clippers -3.5. We’re now seeing Clippers -3 everywhere. A lot of sharps really loaded up on Memphis before the series. Those guys already “have” Memphis in this game in that sense. Yet, the number still dropped because of Grizzly money. Clippers fans are actually 1-0-1 ATS in this series with an upset win and a push. Has the market given too much respect to Memphis? Or, is this going to be one of those evenly matched series where it’s just best to take the dog and hope for a bunch of thrillers?
OKLAHOMA CITY AT DALLAS
The biggest move from either Friday or Saturday on a team side happened here. Oklahoma City opened at +1 but is now -1.5. Dallas looked so out-of-it in the second half Thursday night, as they fell behind 3-0 in the series, that many sharps now think the Thunder will wrap things up on Saturday. This series didn’t look like it was going to be a sweep with those tight first two games. And, Game Four still has a short price. But, sharps gladly took early value on the assumption that this is going to be it.
SAN ANTONIO AT UTAH
The Spurs opened at -5.5, and are either at -5.5 or -6 as we go to press depending on where you shop. This is only Game Three of this series. So, it’s possible that Oklahoma City will have advanced past the first round while San Antonio has only taken the floor twice! They wouldn’t play each other until the finals, so it probably won’t be much of an issue. Sharps fully expect the Spurs to coast through this first round series. But, they know that if Utah is every going to have a good game…it’s going to be in Game Three in front of a loud home crowd. This line might have jumped as high as -8 otherwise, given the Spurs victory margins of 15 and 27 in the first two games.
We didn’t mention totals today because there just weren’t any dramatic moves in the Friday and Saturday games. The biggest sharp indicator on an Over/Under was the Under in Atlanta/Boston, as an opener of 174.5 has been bet down to 173.5.
Don’t forget that the best minds in handicapping post their best plays right here at the showcase website in the sports wagering industry. You’ve probably noticed a lineup change in recent days that made the VSM lineup even more lethal!
Be aware that:
*Kelso Sturgeon has a first round GAME OF THE YEAR going Friday Night.
*A few of the VSM superstars may have something special going for you in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Keep an eye out for that Saturday morning.
*Major basketball releases are likely from multiple VSM sources Saturday and Sunday because of the busy schedules and exploitable situations that come up in Games 3 and 4 of a first round series.
*Baseball lines are softer when the sports betting world is focused on other events. That means some very big baseball plays are likely to cash for the VSM legends this weekend.
Think like a sharp…act like a sharp…and bet like a sharp!