Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 3:11 PM
As promised, I'm back to take a look at how professional wagerers have been betting the 2017 NBA Finals featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Game One is Thursday night on ABC. We could see some interesting developments in Nevada sportsbooks between now and then. This is a series people WANT to bet!
To this point, sharp action is laying out this way:
*Sharps who like GOLDEN STATE have already bet the Warriors to win the series (current price -250). Many did so earlier in the regular season or postseason at more affordable prices. Whether you're an old school guy who makes his own Power Ratings, or a young quant who crunches all the numbers...you're going to get the Warriors grading out as historically great. Wise Guys who saw this coming already have their money invested at better prices.
*Sharps who like CLEVELAND are more interested in the game-by-game lines right now. They can't believe a team with LeBron James and so many other weapons is getting around seven points. Most are waiting to see if +7.5 comes into play from public betting. Their money hasn't hit the board yet. But, it will. This contingent will be happy to get around seven points per game out West, and then lay very small numbers in Cleveland. They figure they'll win more than they lose to grind out a profit. Cleveland could lose the series in five games but still show a profit against the spread if they play competitive ball on the road.
Can we say that "sharps like" a team in this series? Well...frankly...a composite likes Golden State in the series but Cleveland in Game One against the number. Sharps bet PRICES not teams. Getting on the Warriors earlier at lower prices helped set up this dynamic.
On the total...
*Old school sharps are looking to bet UNDER because they're convinced that the championship round is going to slow down into something resembling history. This group has really taken it on the chin so far in the 2017 playoffs because Cleveland and Golden State have played so many Overs. But...this could be the series where things finally slow down...and the market has moved so high that value could now be on the Unders.
*Quants liked Over the opener at 225, then also 225.5 and 226. Once the number moved to 226.5, interest stopped. We have seen some stores come back to 226 as old schoolers finally jumped in. It's hard to know what the public is going to do here. Squares typically love to bet Overs. But, these totals are SO HIGH that they may just back off and only play team sides. Parlay players will probably keep doing their team and Over because they just can't help themselves.
You can see this is a complicated series to explain in terms of the smart money at the current lines. Were Golden State to rise to -8 or more...obviously sharps would load up on underdog Cleveland. Were Golden State to sink to -6.5 or -6...then sharps and "locals" in Nevada would load up on the Warriors. At least for now, the market is well-positioned to avoid exposure (except against all that early money on GS to win on the futures market).
Will we see any movement between now and Thursday night's Game One tipoff? I believe any move off the seven would cause a tug-of-war back to the seven. I do think there's some Cleveland money from sharps that hasn't come in yet because it was hoping for +7.5. If we're frozen on the seven, that money has to hit the board at some point. The total might test 225.5 or 225 if the public decides it wants to try an Under at this high number. That would just bring the quants back in who made it 226.5.
How am I going to play this game for my clients? I'll keep monitoring the money, then make a final decision Thursday morning. You can always purchase my game day selections in basketball and baseball right here at this website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155. You regulars know that I'm a grinder. You'll get my best shots every night. We bet for value just the way sharps do.
I'll be back early next week to report on what the sharps have been doing through the series. I can tell you firsthand that Las Vegas is treating this series like a heavyweight fight. It's not the Super Bowl...but there's going to be a very large handle considering that June isn't a big tourist month. This isn't like March Madness where you can schedule a weekend trip for either the first two rounds, or the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. This will be the biggest NBA Finals ever, because true superstars at the peaks of their careers are involved...and a popular local betting team is in revenge mode. I can't wait! See you next time.