Contrarian bettors and sportsbooks bounced back on Friday as NBA unders went 4-1-1 and underdogs went 4-2 ATS, including 3 outright wins. The Grizzlies (+ 3) upset the Thunder 121-92. The Nets (+ 5.5) took down the Kings 119-106. And the Celtics (+ 1.5) obliterated the Raptors 122-100.
The Celtics were the epitome of a sharp play. Boston opened at + 3. And even though two-thirds of bets were laying the points with Toronto, the line fell from Raptors -3 to -1.5. This was a dead giveaway that pros got down hard on the Celtics plus the points, causing huge reverse line movement in their favor.
Sports betting isn't just about breaking down matchups. It's about learning to read line movement and recognize situations. In the end, the goal is to look for spots where you can bet against the public, place yourself on the side of the house and be with the professional bettors. The Celtics game was a teachable moment and perfect example of a smart bet. Anytime you see the line move away from the popular side (Toronto) and toward the unpopular side (Boston), it's a sign that smart money has taken a position. It doesn't mean this type of play wins 100% of the time. But over the long haul, it will win more often than it loses.
Today the weekend kicks off with another all day sweat featuring 5 NBA games, 6 NHL games and 15 MLB games. Let's discuss a trio of matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
For more Saturday analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning on NESN from 10 a.m. ET to 12-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action across MLB, NBA, NHL and more.
1 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Clippers (46-22) vs Portland Trail Blazers (32-38)
This early afternoon Western Conference showdown is a massive mismatch in terms of motivation. The Clippers have far less to play for than the Blazers. Los Angeles is the No. 2 seed in the West. They are mathematically eliminated from the No. 1 seed as they sit five games behind the Lakers with four games remaining. The only concern for Los Angeles is keeping Denver in their rear view. The No. 3 seed Nuggets trail the Clippers by 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Blazers are fighting for their playoff lives. Portland is 3-1 in the bubble and only trails the Grizzlies by 1 game for the 8th and final playoff spot. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 4.5-point favorite. Sharps immediately grabbed the points with red-hot Portland, pushing the line down to 4. Some books are even down to 3.5. This is also a revenge game for the Blazers. They've lost both matchups to Los Angeles this season, 107-101 and 117-97.
4:05 p.m. ET: Detroit Tigers (6-5) at Pittsburgh Pirates (3-11)
The Tigers and Pirates combined for a mind-blowing 30 runs in last night's series opener, with Detroit winning 17-13 in 11 innings as a -110 favorite. The total of 8.5 went over by 21.5 runs! In Game 2, the Tigers send out Ivan Nova (0-0, 4.22 ERA) while the Pirates counter with lefty Derek Holland (0-0, 4.76 ERA). This line opened with Pittsburgh listed as a short -114 home favorite and Detroit a + 105 dog. Despite the public loading up on Detroit, we've seen a slight adjustment to Pirates -118, signaling a sharp lean toward the Buccos. The over is the more interesting play. The total opened at 9 and immediately got steamed up to 9.5. It's going to be a hot day in the high 80s with wind blowing out to center at 5 MPH.
7:05 p.m. ET: Minnesota Twins (10-4) at Kansas City Royals (5-10)
The Royals came up huge for the sharps in last night's series opener, shocking the Twins 3-2. Kansas City received huge reverse-line movement + 160 to + 127 despite receiving only one-third of bets. Tonight, Jake Odorizzi will make his season debut for Minnesota. Odorizzi had a career year for the Twins in 2019, going 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. The Royals counter with lefty Danny Duffy (0-2, 4.11 ERA). This line opened with Minnesota listed as a heavy -170 favorite and Kansas City a + 160 dog. The public says the Twins are the much better team and must bounce back and win tonight. However, despite receiving two-thirds of bets, we've seen Minnesota fall to -155. This signals some sharp action on Kansas City (+ 160 to + 145). Sharp action has also hit the over, pushing it from 9 to 9.5. The wind is blowing out to left center at 10 MPH.
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.