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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 11:00 AM

We have five big NBA Playoff games Friday and Saturday. Studying the market in those matchups will help get you in the right mindset for evaluating the second round. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting these so far.

 

FRIDAY

Toronto at Washington: Washington opened at -2 in most spots. It’s either sitting there, or at Washington -1.5 right now depending on where you shop. That sets up a likely tug-of-war between now and tip-off between Washington -1.5 and Toronto +2. In the past, Washington would be an auto-pick for bettors who like zig-zagging in the NBA Playoffs. But, in recent years, we’ve see a lot of cases where the superior team closes out a series in Game Six on the road because the team trailing 3-2 realizes how hard it will be to come all the way back. Complicating matters here is the fact that Washington won its first two at home by scores of 122-103 and 106-98. Tougher to love Toronto at the cheap price looking at those scores. Probably good two-way action in that tug-of-war. Total hasn’t moved off the opener of 214.5 yet. Might come down from that during the day, with the last two games landing on 204 and 207. Quants didn’t jump in. Old school guys are waiting to see if the public pushes it to 215 before coming in on the Under.

Cleveland at Indiana: Similar situation here, except it’s happening a half-point lower. Indiana -1 is getting money in the must-win spot. Cleveland +1.5 is as well because many assume the Cavs are ready to close it out after ripping Indiana’s hearts out with the trey at the buzzer the other night. Will probably be a heavily bet game because LeBron James’ games usually are. Sharps have had good success fading Cleveland all season, and riding Indiana lately. But, the Pacers haven’t really impressed much in recent action. That will keep sharp syndicates from hitting this game any harder. The total is hopping between 203.5 and 204. Every game has gone Under so far. Quants are hitting that Under 204…but not so hard that it sticks. Perception is the number has finally come down to where it should be after starting the series around 212.

Oklahoma City at Utah: The opener of Utah -5.5 was hit pretty hard out of the gate. It rose to -6, and then to -6.5. Thunder money comes in at +6.5. Right now, it’s a tug-of-war between those last two numbers. This should be a highly bet game at the sports books because it’s the late starter (prime time here in Nevada) and because Westbrook has a following (he played for UCLA). Quants have been all over Utah at home, which is why the lines have been so high there. Can’t argue with the math guys because the Jazz won those home games by 13 and 17 points. Old-timers will tell you that closing out a series is a different animal, one the quants don’t understand yet. Opening total of 206 has been bet up to 207. This has been a surprisingly fast series (Utah prefers slow basketball), with four of the first five games going Over.

 

SATURDAY

Milwaukee at Boston: Boston’s been painted -4.5 since the line went up. They barely covered that line back in Game Five. Sharps would normally back the Bucks at that price. But, long term history favors the hosts in Game Seven’s by so much that it’s tougher to do. I do believe a lot of old school guys will take +5 if it becomes available. One of Boston’s home wins went overtime. You can tell by the overall pricing that sharps think Milwaukee is the slightly better neutral court team. The total opened at 197, and has been bet down to 195.5. Game Seven’s are typically lower scoring because every possession matters so much (and refs are prone to swallow their whistles). That 197 was an adjustment down from 202 and 201…but sharps thought it should have come down even more. Note that the last two games only landed on 179 and 183. Squares (the public) have learned to stay away from Overs in Game Seven’s, focusing their bets on the home favorite minus the points, on the money line, or on money line parlays.

New Orleans at Golden State: An opener of Golden State -7.5 was bet quickly up to -8 and -8.5. That tells you Steph Curry is very likely to return. New Orleans looked GREAT against Portland. So, no way early money would pound the Warriors that hard unless Curry was ready to go. I do know some Wise Guys looking to bet the dog for value. They’re waiting to see if +9 comes into play. Golden State gets lackadaisical as a big favorite with this collection of talent. Kevin Durant doesn’t have the same killer instinct as the rest of them in terms of running up the score. Opening total of 222.5 has been bet up to 223.4 or 224 already. Sometimes defense lacks intensity in a series opener, before clamping down later. That, plus the quants noticed New Orleans had success at a fast pace vs. Portland. If both teams push the pace, this could be a track meet.

You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about long term packages that offer the best value. Those are available for the NBA, or for Major League Baseball.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. Bet smart. Cut down on your carbs (always good advice). I’ll see you again on Monday.

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