If you live in the state of Connecticut, I have some great news for you.
On Wednesday, the Connecticut State Senate voted 28-6 in favor of a bill to legalize sports betting. The bill had already passed overwhelmingly in the House, 122-21. It now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont's desk. Lamont has long been a proponent of legalized betting and is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as early next week. The new gaming compact allows for both retail and online betting, including betting in person at the popular Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos. Connecticut is home to 3.5 million people, making it the 30th most populous state in the country. But Connecticut is also one of the wealthiest states in the country, ranking 6th in highest median income. It is also strategically located next to the lucrative New York city market. The goal is to have legalized betting up and running in time for Week 1 of the NFL season this Fall. With Connecticut set to legalize betting, we are now up to 28 legal states, plus D.C.
Now it's onto Thursday, where bettors have a loaded betting menu to choose from, including 15 MLB games, 3 NBA playoff games and 2 NHL playoff games. For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I'll be joining The Lombardi Line with Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher at 1:45 p.m. ET to offer a market update. I'll also be joining Rush Hour with Danny Burke at 7 p.m. ET to discuss tonight's late action.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for tonight's NBA playoff games...
7:30 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat
This is Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first round. The Bucks lead the series 2-0 and are coming off a 132-98 blowout win over Miami in Game 2, easily covering as 5-point home favorites. This Game 3 line opened with Milwaukee listed as either a pick'em or a 1-point road favorite. Respected money has poured in on the Bucks, pushing Milwaukee up to -1.5. One system to keep an eye out for is teams down 0-2 coming home for Game 3 on the first half line. Historically, they come out hungry and desperate and have covered the first half spread at roughly a 65% clip over the past decade. The Heat are -1 on the first half line. We've also seen some under money show up. Despite the public hammering the over, the total has fallen from 227 to 226.5. Up 2-0 in the series, the Bucks are now -1100 to advance to the second round (odds via BetMGM). The Heat are + 700 longshots to come back and win the series.
10 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
This is Game 3 of the Western Conference first round. The series is tied 1-1. After dropping the opener 99-90, the Lakers roared back with a 109-102 in Game 2, covering as 2-point road favorites. Now the series shifts to Los Angeles. This Game 3 line opened with the Lakers listed as a 6.5-point home favorite. The public thinks this line is a bit high and they are grabbing the points with Phoenix. However, we've seen this line move further to the Lakers -6.5 to -7. This signals some sharp "fade the trendy dog" action on Los Angeles as a rare contrarian home favorite. The total opened at 211 and has ticked down slightly to 210.5, signaling some under support. One big variable here is the health of Suns star Chris Paul. He is dealing with a shoulder injury and expected to play. However, his effectiveness will be in question after exiting Game 2 early. With the series tied 1-1, the Lakers are now a -350 favorite to advance to the second round. The Suns are a + 260 dog to come back and win the series.
10:30 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers
This is Game 3 of the Western Conference first round and the series is tied 1-1. The Blazers won the opener 123-109 as 1-point road dogs and then the Nuggets bounced back with a 128-109 win in Game 2, covering as 2-point home favorites. In tonight's pivotal Game 3, the Blazers opened as a 4-point home favorite. The public is split down the middle and doesn't know which side to take. However, reading between the lines, there appears to be liability on the Nuggets. Some books have dipped to 3.5 at times. This line has never risen to 4.5. This signals some respected money leaning Nuggets plus the points. The under is also taking in some sharp action. Despite a majority of bets going over, the total has fallen slightly from 228 to 227.5. The Blazers are -175 favorites to win the series. The Nuggets are + 145 dogs.
Remember to check the VSiN Betting Splits every day for money and ticket counts so you can tell who the public is betting on.