Happy NBA Playoffs Opening Day! The eight-game regular season restart is over and now the real fun begins. Bettors still have some time to place their postseason series bets. Of course, they will be updated throughout each series and get adjusted after each game. But now is your last opportunity to place a pre-series bet before the numbers start to really move.
Over the past 24 hours, we've seen some notable series price movement on two matchups in particular. The first is the Nuggets-Jazz. News broke yesterday that Jazz starting point guard Mike Conley (14.4 PPG, 4.4 APG) left the bubble to witness the birth of his son. He is expected to return at some point during the playoffs, but will have to quarantine for a minimum of 4 days. With Conley likely to miss at least a portion of the series, the Nuggets have moved from -220 favorites to -278 favorites at BetMGM. This signals an implied probability shift of 68.8% to 73.5%. The Jazz moved from + 160 to + 220.
Smart money has also made an appearance in the Rockets-Thunder series price. This was already the shortest and most competitive price of any series. The Rockets opened as -182 favorites and the Thunder a + 150 dog. Pro money has grabbed OKC, dropping Houston to -152 and the Thunder to + 120. Houston star Russell Westbrook will miss game one with a quad injury.
One thing to keep in mind with series prices is that the public is psychologically biased toward wanting to bet teams with big plus money payouts. Simply put, they want to get rich quick and bet a little to win a lot. However, pros don't automatically gravitate to plus-money dogs. Instead, they look for value, oftentimes on favorites that are underpriced. They have no problem laying a minus number if they think it's short. One good example is the Boston Celtics -400 against the 76ers (+ 300). This translates to an 80% probability. With no Ben Simmons and a streaking, healthy Boston team, some sharps believe this price is lower than it should be.
Another buy-low opportunity is the Lakers -455 vs the Blazers (+ 340). Los Angeles played terribly in the bubble and public perception says they're vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Blazers were the talk of the restart and Damian Lillard lit the world on fire. This creates a perfect buy low, sell high opportunity to bet the Lakers, who would likely be much bigger favorites if not for the circumstances of the past two weeks.
Today we have four NBA games on tap. We also have 13 MLB games and 4 NHL games. Let's discuss a trio of matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
For an updated breakdown of Monday#39;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.
1:30 p.m. ET: Utah Jazz (44-28) vs Denver Nuggets (46-27)
This is the first game of the day and the first game of the NBA playoffs. The Nuggets enter as the 3-seed while the Jazz are the 6-seed. Both teams went 3-5 in the bubble restart. This line opened with the Nuggets listed as 3-point favorites. Pro money immediately poured in on Denver laying the points in the wake of the Conley news, driving the line all the way up to -5. That's when some value-minded sharp buyback hit the market at Jazz + 5, which has since settled the line down to 4.5. The public is all over Denver to the tune of roughly 75% of bets. This means Utah is offering contrarian value with an inflated line. The public is also taking the over. However, after opening at 217.5, smart money has hit the under and dropped the line down to 215.5.
7:10 p.m. ET: Washington Nationals (8-11) at Atlanta Braves (13-10)
This NL East showdown features two teams playing well in recent days. The Nationals just took two of three against the surprisingly feisty Orioles. Meanwhile, the Braves are riding a two-game winning streak at the hands of the division rival Marlins. Both of today's starting pitchers own high ERAs. The Nats will start Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 9.69 ERA) and the Braves counter with Touki Toussaint (0-1, 7.27 ERA). The Braves opened as short -125 home favorites and the Nats a + 115 dog. Two thirds of bets are laying the price with Atlanta. However, it's not just public money. Sharps have steamed the Braves all the way up to -140. Favorites are winning at roughly a 65% clip this season.
8 p.m. ET: Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
The Bruins lead this best-of-seven series 2-1 after earning a gutsy 3-1 win in Game 3 as + 100 dogs. This Game 4 line opened with Boston listed as a short -110 favorite and the Hurricanes a + 100 dog. Pros have gotten down hard on Boston, driving the Bruins up to -125. Some books are closer to -130. There are a couple of injury notes to keep in mind here. The Hurricanes will be without top-line scorer Andrei Svechnikov, who is likely to miss the rest of the series with a leg injury. Bruins sniper David Pastrnak remains a game-time decision with an undisclosed injury. Boston will once again turn to Jaroslav Halak in goal after starter Tuukka Rask opted out prior to Game 3. Halak gave up one goal and made 29 saves in the Game 3 win.
Remember, the sports betting market is fluid and constantly changing due to action coming in. Stay up to date with the latest odds by visiting our free VSiN NBA Live Odds Page for Vegas sportsbooks and for other legalized states.