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Rockets reward backers with shocking win

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

Houston SHOCKS Golden State in Game 4 despite falling behind 12-0 out of the gate! Western Conference Finals now knotted at two games apiece as the Rockets regain home-court advantage. A huge win for a South Point bettor who put $10K on the Rockets at plus 400 to win outright…and great news for one who put $50K on the Rockets to win the NBA title at 10-1. The future of sports coverage is NOW in VSiN City!

NBA Tuesday: Rockets close with 25-10 flourish to upset Warriors

As sports betting coverage becomes a bigger part of mainstream media, situations like THIS are going to become much more prominent. Houston’s upset of Golden State Tuesday night was HUGE both in terms of the championship chase…and for big money backers in Las Vegas.

*First, the Rockets have regained home-court advantage after dropping the series opener back in Houston. Instead of Golden State being a virtual lock to coast to another NBA Championship (prohibitive favorites in this series when up 2-1 with home court, and then in the next round vs. whoever wins the East), we know have a true battle for the Western Crown. We’ll have virtual market coin flips down in the Lone Star State, and only one game at Oracle where we now know the Warriors are beatable. 

*Second, some BIG bets grabbed headlines in advance of tip off. You probably heard about them on VSiN programming. If not, Jimmy Vaccaro tweeted out the news. One investor put $10,000 on the counter to bet the Houston Rockets to win Game 4 outright at plus 400 odds. That’s a $40,000 victory in hand. Also Tuesday, a $50K bet on Houston to win the championship at 10-1 on the futures board. That’s $50K to win $500K, which is now very much in play after the Warriors let the Rockets back in the series. Were Houston to win the West, it would be series favorites over Cleveland or Boston in the Finals. 

Let’s see how it happened…

Houston (plus 8) 95, Golden State 92 

2-point Pct: Houston 46%, Golden State 42%

3-pointers: Houston 12/38, Golden State 9/27

Free Throws: Houston 23/27, Golden State 13/14

Rebounds: Houston 41, Golden State 49

Turnovers: Houston 10, Golden State 16

Pace: 91.4 (for the series, 98.4, 99.8, 95.1, 91.4) 

What jumps out very obviously is Houston’s stellar defense. The Rockets were great in all facets except rebounding, and that’s no failure against a superpower like GS. You can see that Houston forced 16 turnovers in a surprisingly low tempo game. They also held GS to 42% inside the arc, while keeping three-point shooting in check. 

Houston made Golden State work for everything. That shortened the game and made it possible to steal. It also frustrated the Warriors into taking countless bad shots. Speaking of steals, how many pockets were picked?! That helped keep this one way Under its market total. Houston covered by 11 points…the game stayed Under by 40!  

At the macro level, a dramatic sequence of sea changes that made normal ebb and flow feel like a kiddie pool. 

*Golden State jumped out 12-0, on the way to an early 24-12 lead

*Houston went on a 42-22 run to snap the Oracle crowd out of its reverie

*Golden State, the KINGS of the third quarter, would run it right back 36-16

*Houston finished on a 25-10 tear, keyed by that fantastic defense

Golden State is still a favorite to advance. The first lines up for Thursday’s Game Five were pick-em or Houston -1. Let’s assume 50/50 games in Houston, and 80/20 again for the Warriors at Oracle. With three games left, that’s 1.8 wins for the Warriors, 1.2 for the Rockets…even with Houston enjoying home floor. Plus, it’s tough to imagine Houston playing THIS well defensively two more times in the series. 

We do have a series. And one high roller has a live ticket for half a million dollars. 

NBA Wednesday: It’s been lousy so far, but Cleveland-Boston is also knotted at two apiece

Fans and bettors were overdue for some great basketball. Let’s hope it happens two nights in a row. Here’s a recap of the four yawners so far out East. 

Cleveland at Boston (8:35 p.m. ET. on ESPN, series tied 2-2)

Game 1: Boston (plus 1.5/204) 108, Cleveland 83

Game 2: Boston (-1/205.5) 107, Cleveland 94

Game 3: Cleveland (-6.5/207) 116, Boston 86

Game 4: Cleveland (-7/204) 111, Boston 102

Game 5: Boston pick-em, total of 206

Not much stats can tell us so far, beyond the fact that Cleveland is MUCH better when it brings intensity on both sides of the floor, and Boston is MUCH better performing in front of its home crowd. Maybe that combo shows up Wednesday. Maybe we’ll have to wait for Game 7. 

NHL Playoffs: Caps getting early sharp support in Wednesday’s Game 7

Up until Rockets/Warriors, the battle for the Stanley Cup was carrying the load for drama and entertainment of late. More of the same expected Wednesday when Washington and Tampa Bay hit the ice for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. 

Washington at Tampa Bay (8:05 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, series tied 3-3)

Game 1: Washington (plus 160) 4, Tampa Bay 2 (Shots: Washington 32-21)

Game 3: Washington (plus 170) 6, Tampa Bay 2 (Shots: Washington 37-35)

Game 3: Tampa Bay (even) 4, Washington 2 (Shots: Washington 38-23)

Game 4: Tampa Bay (plus 110) 4, Washington 2 (Shots: Washington 38-20)

Game 5: Tampa Bay (-160) 3, Washington 2 (Shots: Washington 30-22)

Game 6: Washington (-135) 3, Tampa Bay 0 (Shots: Washington 34-24)

Game 7: Tampa Bay -140 or -145, total of 5.5 (Under -125)

It’s interesting that Tampa Bay has lost some market respect at this site compared to earlier in the series. A Game 7 opener of -150 was already lower than the -180, -200, and -160 we saw in earlier meetings. Early action dropped the line to -140 or -145 depending on the store. Be sure you watch VSiN programming all day Wednesday for the latest. The city of Las Vegas is anxious to see who the Golden Knights will play next week!

Why has Washington earned respect? Might be that 6-0 sweep in shot counts. Tampa Bay doesn’t mind ceding flow of play as long as it can cash quick opportunities when they arise. Washington’s done a better job of creating more opportunities, while winning scoreboard 19-15. The tally is 15-9 at even strength.

Enjoy both of Wednesday night’s big playoff games in the NHL and NBA. We’ll recap the stats for you tomorrow. 

MLB: Checking in on marquee Tuesday tussles

Not quite the thrills we were hoping for from the diamonds. Let’s start with the huge Interleague battle that everyone gave up on after a few innings. 

Cleveland (-120) 10, Chicago Cubs 1

Total Bases Plus Walks: Cleveland 28, Chicago 16

Starting Pitchers: Bauer 6 IP, 0 ER, Chatwood 2.2 IP, 4 ER

Bullpen: Cleveland 3 IP, 1 ER, Chicago 6.1 IP, 6 ER

The “football score” we see in offensive bases paints the more accurate picture of dominance. Was more like a 7-4 game if you divide those by four (because it takes four bases to score a run). Cleveland clustered its bases well, including six walks off Chatwood in his 2.2 innings (10 for the game). The Cubs didn’t get anything across until a meaningless ninth inning solo homer. Cleveland makes it back to the .500 mark at 23-23, which is still good enough for first place in the disappointing AL Central. The Cubs fall to 25-20 in the crowded NL Central race. 

Atlanta (even) 3, Philadelphia 1

Total Bases Plus Walks: Atlanta 17, Philadelphia 11

Starting Pitchers: McCarthy 5.2 IP, 1 ER, Velasquez 4.1 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Atlanta 3.1 IP, 0 ER, Philadelphia 4.2 IP, 0 ER

The battle for first place in the NL East resumed, with Atlanta avenging its Monday night loss. Pitchers’ duel, helped by clean sheets from both bullpens in terms of earned runs. Atlanta scored one unearned run off Velasquez, and one more off the bullpen. Atlanta is now up by 1.5 games on the Phils, with a 29-18 record compared to 27-19. 

Milwaukee (-140) 1, Arizona 0

Total Bases Plus Walks: Arizona 11, Milwaukee 8

Starting Pitchers: Koch 5.1 IP, 1 ER, Chacin 5 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Arizona 2.2 IP, 0 ER, Milwaukee 4 IP, 0 ER

The Diamondbacks’ disaster continues, as Arizona falls to 1-12 its last 13 games (including an active six-game losing streak). The offense has completely disappeared. Has using “humidor” baseballs at home killed their hitting confidence everywhere? Here’s the offensive number line from low to high over that 13-game slump. 

0-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-3-4-4

That’s six games, almost HALF at one run or less for the Arizona offense. Four should be more like an average than a peak.

Arizona did win offensive bases Tuesday, but that was keyed by SEVEN drawn walks. Only three hits (a double and two singles). The only run of the game scored on a Milwaukee sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Brewers are now 30-19 atop the NL Central. Arizona is 25-23, which gives you a sense of how great they were playing before the 1-12 free fall. 

Texas (plus 150) 6, NY Yankees 4

Total Bases Plus Walks: New York 18, Texas 20 

Starting Pitchers: German 3.2 IP, 6 ER, Hamels 7 IP, 2 ER

Bullpen: New York 4.1 IP, 0 ER, Texas 2 IP, 2 ER

Wanted to include this one to show that the Yankees are still vulnerable with their worst starting pitchers. Domingo German has seen his ERA jump from 2.55 to 5.59 after another bad start (struggles vs. Oakland and Texas in his last two starts now). Bullpen still hurled a shutout, but it wasn’t enough to allow the Yanks offense to come back. NYY did win home run count 3-2, but falls to 31-14 to the season. Texas is now 19-31. 

Sports Betting: Quick hitters from the sports betting capital of the world

A few notes we wanted to include…

*Much more competitive result for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces Tuesday night in its second game of the young season. Las Vegas (plus 18.5) at Washington only lost 75-70 in a double-digit cover. Vegas led 15-9 after the first quarter and 31-23 at the half. Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics found their form after that, winning the second half 52-39. Looks like the Aces are going to have trouble from long range this season. Las Vegas was just 1 of 9 on three-point attempts Tuesday, after managing 1 of 7 in Sunday’s season opener. Compare that to Connecticut shooting 11 of 21, Washington 8 of 31. Tough to spot opponents that many points from behind the arc every night. 

Also Tuesday in the WNBA, Los Angeles (-8) won at Indiana 87-70, in what could have been a letdown spot after a buzzer-beating win at Minnesota two days ago. Great start for the Sparks. Indiana is already 0-3. 

*An update on our brief recap of Week 1 college football betting at the South Point on Monday. Multiple reports on twitter and to us via back channels state that much of the big initial line moves were caused by sharp bettors with access to offshore accounts shooting middles on differences between Chris Andrews’ assessments and those from Central America.

That means some of the line moves weren’t caused by sharps expressing an opinion on the game with cash, but by sharps who didn’t necessarily have an opinion, but recognized a quick arbitrage opportunity. If you don’t have an opinion in Michigan-Notre Dame, it’s still smart to bet Notre Dame -1.5 or -2 and Michigan plus 6 or plus 7 because the key number of three is sitting smack dab between the options. If you LOVE either option, put more on that option (or just max bet the heck out of the side you prefer). But even bettors with offshore outs who hadn’t done any handicapping could position themselves for plus-EV scenarios. 

Don’t forget that College Football “Game of the Year” opportunities will be posted Thursday at the South Point at 10 a.m. Las Vegas time. Same rules as Monday. The first hour is only available at the counter in the South Point (no betting via app or at the Rampart). Limit is $1K per bet. You can place up to three bets at a time, but then must go back to the end of the line. 

*Gambling industry reporters David Purdum and Marc Meltzer tweeted today about Nevada Gaming Control authorizing sports books to offer wagers on the 2018 Golden Tee World Championship.

What is the Golden Tee World Championship? Golden Tee is golf-related arcade game where players use a track ball to launch digital tee shots designed to get as close to the pin as possible. Sixty-four competitors will test their accuracy June 8-10 at the Orleans in Las Vegas

After today’s authorization, sports books are clear to post odds on the competition and accept bets. 

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