The Chicago Bears came up huge for sharps, contrarians and sportsbooks last night, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-19 on Thursday Night Football. Roughly 3-out-of-4 spread bets were rushing to the window to back Tom Brady and the Bucs. However, despite this lopsided support, we saw the Bucs fall from + 6 to + 3.5. Why on Earth would sportsbooks drop the line to give out a better number to the public when they're already hammering the Bucs to begin with? No, books aren't being nice to the public out of the kindness of their hearts. It's because the house took in heavy smart money from respected pro bettors on the Bears, causing massive reverse line movement in their favor. The Bears cashed + 168 on the moneyline.
This game was a perfect teachable moment for new bettors. Simply put, if it looks too good to be true, it almost always is. A new bettor who loved the Bucs at -6 would see the line drop and double down on the Bucs -3.5. But you always have to ask yourself: Why is the line dropping? It's because sharp action caused the books to adjust the number. So while new bettors would double down on the Bucs in this situation, veteran sports bettors know the sharp play was the Bears. And you never want to go against sharp action. It won't win every single time. But it will win roughly 55% of the time. Last night was a perfect example of that.
Wiseguys also cashed the under. Roughly two-thirds of bets were on the over, yet the total fell from 45 to 44, another example of sharp reverse line movement. Many bettors also cashed a popular 2-team, 6-point teaser last night on the Bears (+ 3.5 to + 9.5) and the under (44 to 50).
Now it's on to Friday. Today, we have a relatively light slight with NBA Finals Game 5 and a winner-take-all Game 5 in the MLB playoffs between the Rays and Yankees. For an updated breakdown of Friday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 12:25 p.m ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss where smart money is flowing for tonight's NBA Finals showdown.
9 p.m. ET: Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers
This is Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. The Lakers lead the series 3-1 and can finish off the Heat and win the NBA Championship with a victory tonight. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 7.5-point favorite. Spread bets are split down the middle and the public doesn't know who to take. On the one hand, they like the idea of laying points with the Lakers but they're also worried about the Heat getting big points and a possible Tyler Herro backdoor cover. However, despite the bets being split down the middle, we've seen this line dip slightly from Lakers -7.5 to -7. in a vacuum, a line shouldn't move at all if the ticket count is even. So the fact the line moved a half point is likely due to pro money grabbing the hook with the Heat + 7.5. Sharp action has also hit the under, dropping the total from 217 to 216. Unders are 3-1 thus far in the Finals. Unders are 45-34-1 (57%) throughout the playoffs. Leading 3-1, the Lakers are -10000 favorites (99%) to win the title at BetMGM. The Heat are + 2000 to pull off the epic comeback.