Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Last Friday, I talked about how sharps (professional bettors) had been attacking the matchups in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the NBA Playoffs. Today, I’ll look at the West.
MONDAY: PORTLAND AT DENVER
This is the last series to get started because the Nuggets had to go seven games to take out the San Antonio Spurs. (And, no, I have no idea why the Spurs didn’t call a time out at the end of Game Seven! High school kids know they’re supposed to do that.) Portland is well-rested after eliminating the disappointing Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
Monday night’s game went up on the board at Denver -3.5. Home court advantage by itself is usually worth at least three points in the NBA Playoffs. Many sharps consider it to be worth 3.5 or four points at altitude. Oddsmakers basically opened with the thought that these two teams are dead even in quality. Early sharp money nudged the line up to -4.
It’s telling that the line didn’t go any higher, and that we started to see some buy back on the Blazers at the four. I think sharps are basically mixed on this game. It’s hard to love a Denver team that took so long to shake the Spurs in a #2 vs. #7 matchup in the seedings. Portland looks too much like a “one-man team” for others. We may see a tug-of-war between Denver -3.5 and Portland +4 just from sharps.
I’m not sure what the public will do here. Squares normally like cheap home favorites. But, Denver isn’t a traditional TV team. I’d bet many squares didn’t know before the playoffs started that the Nuggets were the #2 seed in the West. Let’s monitor the markets together. Right now, I’m not expecting any fireworks. Those would have happened by now because the line was up on the board soon after Spurs/Nuggets ended.
The Over/Under opened at 216.5. Some stores are now testing lower numbers because only Under money is coming in so far. The first three second-round games all stayed Under by a good bit. Philadelphia/Toronto landed on 203 against a total of 223.5, Boston/Milwaukee landed on 202 against a total of 223.5, and Houston/Golden State landed on 204 against a total of 204. The market missed ‘em all by about 20 points!
For the series, Denver is -145 to advance (Portland +125 or +130 to spring the upset), which is what you’d expect for a home team at altitude in what is otherwise an evenly matched battle. Sharps with an eye on Portland would rather pick their spots on a game-by-game basis than ask them to win four times.
Neither is given much of a shot to win the league title. They’d have to go through the Golden State/Houston winner and the East champion. Monday morning at the Westgate in Las Vegas, Denver is 25/1, Portland 40/1.
TUESDAY: HOUSTON AT GOLDEN STATE
You probably watched the wild series opener Sunday afternoon. That may have been the ugliest “exciting” game I’ve ever seen. Both teams were sniping at the refs and each other. Golden State turned the ball over 20 times and still won. Houston missed 33 three-point attempts while getting badly outrebounded. So, a lot of those misses were virtual turnovers. As I mentioned above, the game stayed Under by 20 points.
Nobody was surprised when the Game Two line opened shorter than the Game One closer. Golden State closed at -6.5 in a game they only won by four points. All the old school “zig zag” bettors were going to take Houston. Neophytes who never heard of the “zig zag” but like betting bounce backs with good teams (same principal) were going to take Houston. Oddsmakers opened at Golden State -5.5 ready to drop even further if needed.
As I write this Monday morning Las Vegas time, that 5.5 has held. Some squares like taking Golden State whenever they’re affordable at home. Though, the Warriors going 1-3 ATS in their first four home playoff games might put a damper on that. I think 5.5 is a pretty good line. We’ll have to see if game-day action moves it tomorrow.
This Over/Under dropped to an opener of 220.5. Early betting drove it further down! Most stores are at 220. Some are testing 219.5. Sunday’s meeting had a very slow pace. I personally think both teams are due to shoot better from outside than 21 of 69 combined.
With a 1-0 series lead, Golden State is now -425 to advance here in Las Vegas. Houston is +325 to win four of the last six games. If you thought the Rockets had a chance to spring the upset…you’re getting a better price now than you were before the series. In futures odds to win the NBA championship, Golden State is still the favorite at -150. Houston is 7/1. (That’s right, Houston is a little more than 3/1 to beat Golden State, yet only 7/1 to win it all.)
I will be posting NBA selections for paying customers through the playoffs. 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.
I’ll be back with you Friday with a market update that will focus on what’s happened in the “site switches” for all the Game Threes. Big weekend ahead at Vegas sports books with the NBA Playoffs and the Kentucky Derby.
Thanks for reading. See you at the end of the week.