With the NBA back in full swing and the march to the Big Dance getting closer each day, basketball is currently dominating the sports betting space. However, hoops will take a back seat on Saturday night as Vegas hosts one of the most highly anticipated boxing fights in recent memory.
Deontay Wilder is set to face Tyson Fury at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the WBC heavyweight title, with the fight starting Saturday around 11 p.m. ET. This is a rematch for the two undefeated fighters. The first fight took place Dec. 1, 2018, and resulted in a controversial split decision. Many pundits believed Fury should have been awarded the victory.
Wilder (42-0-1) enters as the reigning WBC heavyweight champion, a title he has held since 2015. Of his 42 wins, 41 have come via knockout. The "Bronze Bomber" is 34 and stands 6 foot 7. Fury (29-0-1) stands a towering 6 foot 9 and hails from Manchester, England. The "Gypsy King" is 31.
At Circa Sports, Wilder is listed as a slight -115 favorite with Fury a -105 dog. The over/under for rounds is 10.5 with the over juiced to -125 and the under + 105.
Here are the exact result odds
Wilder by KO/TKO/DQ + 140
Fury by decision + 180
Fury by KO/TKO/DQ + 485
Wilder by decision + 1325
Wilder is known as a ferocious puncher who can knockout an opponent at any moment. Fury is known more of a tactician. We haven't seen much line movement thus far, aside from some books inching further toward Wilder -120. One would imagine that Wilder will be hungry and looking to avenge the controversial split decision. It also feels as though this line will rise higher to Wilder -130 or more as public money pours in on Wilder. As always, remember "bet the favorite early and the dog late." So if you like Wilder, grab him sooner rather than later. If you like Fury, wait it out for some additional plus money. I'll keep you updated as we get closer to fight night and the big bets start to roll in.
Friday's action features 17 college basketball games, 9 NBA games and 7 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's discuss a handful of NBA games getting hit with smart money on Friday night.
7:30 p.m. ET: Indiana Pacers (32-23) at New York Knicks (17-38)
The Pacers sit comfortably in the Eastern Conference's 6th spot for the playoffs. Indiana is six games games ahead of 7th seed Brooklyn and only two games behind 5 seed Philadelphia and three games behind 4 seed Miami. Meanwhile, the Knicks are totally out of it and own the 5th worst record in the NBA. This game opened with Indiana listed as a 5.5-point road favorite. The juice is heavy on the Pacers (-5.5 at -115), signaling a likely move to -6. This would qualify as a tanking spot in favor of Indiana. In game 55 or later, road favorites with a win percentage of 47% or higher have gone 57% ATS against teams with a win percentage of 34% or lower (since 2005 via Bet Labs Sports). This is also a revenge spot for Indiana. The Pacers lost to the Knicks 92-85 three weeks ago. We've also seen smart money hit the under, dropping the total from 212.5 to 211.5.
8 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics (38-16) at Minnesota Timberwolves (16-37)
These non-conference opponents are polar opposites in terms of won-loss records and the direction they're trending in. Boston is 8-2 in the last 10 and owns the 4th best record in the NBA while also currently occupying the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota is spiraling out of control (1-9 last 10 games) and owns the 4th worst record in the league. To make matters worse, star Karl Anthony Towns is out with a wrist injury. This line opened with the Celtics listed as 6.5-point road favorites. Despite Kemba Walker being out with a knee injury, pros and Joes are both backing the Celtics and the line is trending up to 7. This would qualify as another tanking system to bet against Minnesota and back Boston. The Celtics are 32-20-2 ATS overall and 15-10-1 ATS away while the Wolvers are a putrid 18-33-2 ATS overall and 6-20-1 ATS at home. Pro money has also leaned on this under, dropping the total from 230.5 to 229.
8 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets (38-17) at Oklahoma City Thunder (33-22)
In a possible postseason preview, Denver currently the No. 2 seed in the West while the Thunder are the 6th seed. The public sees Denver with a better record and a short spread and says Nuggets all day. This line opened at a pick'em. Right off the bat, why is the line so low? Shouldn't Denver be favored by more? Sharps smell a rat. Despite two-thirds of bets backing Denver the line has flipped to Oklahoma City -1. This sharp reverse line movement signals wiseguys buying low on the Thunder at home to win straight up. OKC is quietly one of the best ATS teams in the NBA (36-19).
10:30 p.m. ET: New Orleans Pelicans (23-32) at Portland Trail Blazers (25-31)
Both of these Western Conference teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to postseason play. Portland is four games back of Memphis for the 8-seed while New Orleans is 6.5 games back. This line opened with New Orleans listed as a 3-point road favorite. With Damian Lillard out with a groin injury, pros immediately steamed New Orleans, pushing the line up to -4. These two teams met two weeks ago and the Pelicans crushed the Blazers 138-117. Both of these teams have been profitable to the over this season, with New Orleans 31-22-2 and Portland 30-25-1. The over is 235.5. Non-division overs are 54% this season.