The NFL's opening night was a boon for public bettors -- and a nightmare for sportsbooks-- as the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (-9.5) won and covered 34-20 over the visiting Texans. Houston received sharp reverse line movement, moving from + 10.5 to + 9.5 despite receiving less than half the tickets. Some books even closed at + 9. But it was all for naught as Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to a 14-point victory. The total was an interesting story depending on when you bet it and what number you got. The public crushed the over to the tune of two-thirds of bets. Sharps were on the under. It opened at 55 and closed at 53.5. This means early Under 55 or Under 54.5 bettors cashed. Anyone who got the late Over 53.5 cashed. Bets on either side of 54 pushed. This speaks to the importance of shopping for the best line and getting a number at its peak value.
In the NBA, the Lakers (-5.5) beat and covered against the Rockets 110-100 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. It was another win for the public as two-thirds of bets laid the points with Los Angeles. Pros, however, did nail the under. The total opened at 220.5, closed at 218.5 and landed on 210. Unders are now 15-4 (78.9%) in the second round of the playoffs.
Today, we have another loaded sweat with 2 NBA games, 1 NHL game and 15 MLB games. Let's discuss a trio of matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
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 12 p.m. 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.
6:37 p.m. ET: New York Mets (20-24) at Toronto Blue Jays (24-19)
This Interleague matchup features both teams coming off a day of rest. The Mets just dropped two of three from the Orioles while the Jays took two of three from the Yankees. The Mets start ace Jacob deGrom (3-1, 1.69 ERA) while the Jays counter with Chase Anderson (0-0, 4.94 ERA). This line opened with New York listed as a hefty -170 road favorite and the Jays a + 160 home dog. Pro money has rushed to the window to back deGrom and the Mets, which has pushed New York from -170 to -190. Road favorites are cashing at roughly a 61% clip this season.
8:05 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Pirates (14-27) at Kansas City Royals (17-28)
Public bettors may be overlooking this showdown between last-place teams. But sharps certainly aren't. In a matchup between southpaws, the Pirates will trot out Steven Brault (0-2, 4.37 ERA) and the Royals will feature Kris Bubic (0-5, 4.89 ERA). This line opened with Kansas City listed as a -114 home favorite and the Pirates a + 104 road dog. Sharp action has come pouring in on the Royals, pushing KC up from -114 to -120. The Royals have won three straight games and just crushed the Indians 11-1 as + 200 dogs.
9 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors
This is Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The winner moves on to play the Heat in the Conference Finals while the loser sees their season come to an end. The Raptors are coming off a gutsy 125-122 double overtime win in Game 6 to force this decisive Game 7. This line opened with Boston listed as a 2-point favorite. The public is all over the Celtics. With two-thirds of bets laying the points, we've seen Boston tick up slightly to -2.5. We've seen some buyback on the Raptors at + 2.5, keeping this line at 2.5 or even dropping it back down to 2 at some shops. Essentially, we are looking at a sharp line freeze and slight reverse line move on Toronto, who also has contrarian value in a heavily bet game. This total opened at a super-low 204. Some books were closer to 205. Despite being so low, smart money has still hit the under, dropping it down to 203.5. The under is 5-1 in this series. Historically, Game 7s result in a lot of unders due to the high stakes, defensive emphasis and tired legs due to a long, grueling series.