The Lakers took another step toward winning the championship on Friday, defeating the Heat 124-114 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals to take a 2-0 series lead. This game was a perfect example of not only picking the right side but also timing and getting the best number. The Lakers opened as a 7-point favorite. With Dragic and Adebayo both out for Miami, we saw two-thirds of bets rush to the window to lay the points with the Lakers. This lopsided support pushed the Lakers from -7 to -10.5. Los Angeles won by 10. This means if you bet the Lakers early anywhere from -7 to -9.5 you cashed. But if you were late to the party and took -10 you pushed. If you bet LA -10.5 you lost. On the flip side, if you patiently waited out the line move and grabbed the Heat + 10.5, you also cashed.
The total opened at 218 and got bet down to 216.5. It sailed over and landed on 238, easily cashing for the two-thirds of bettors who took the over.
Leading the series 2-0, the Lakers are now -5000 favorites (98%) to win the NBA Title at BetMGM. The Heat are + 1600 longshots.
Now we turn our attention to a loaded Saturday. We have roughly 30 college football games to choose from today.
For Saturday betting analysis and line movement updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning on NESN from 10 a.m.-Noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action.
In the meantime, let's discuss four Saturday matchups receiving sharp action from respected bettors.
Noon ET: Baylor at West Virginia
Baylor (1-0) enters this Big 12 clash coming off a resounding 47-14 win over Kansas in which the Bears easily covered as 17-point favorites. Meanwhile, West Virginia (1-1) is coming off a 27-13 loss to Oklahoma State, failing to cover as 5.5-point dogs. This line opened with Baylor listed as a 2.5-point road favorite. The public is all over the undefeated Bears, which briefly pushed the line to Baylor -3. However, despite roughly three-out-of-four bets laying the points with Baylor, we've actually seen this line fall to -2 or even -1.5 across the market. This signals sharp reverse line movement on home dog West Virginia (ideally at + 3). WVU also has value as a contrarian conference home dog on a short spread.
Noon ET: Missouri at Tennessee
This SEC showdown features two teams trending in opposite directions. Missouri (0-1) fell to Alabama 38-19 last week, although they covered as 28.5-point dogs. Tennessee (1-0) earned a hard fought road win over South Carolina 31-27, pushing as 4-point favorites. This line opened with Tennessee listed as a 10.5-point home favorite. Spread bets are split down the middle and public doesn't know who to back. However, we've seen this line rise to Volunteers -12.5. Anytime bets are split but you see a line move, there's a good chance it was the result of smart money. In this case, pros laid the points with the Vols.
Noon ET: South Carolina at Florida
South Carolina (0-1) fell to Tennessee 31-27 last week, pushing as 4-point dogs. On the flip side, Florida (1-0) took down Ole Miss 51-35, covering as 14-point favorites. This line opened with the Gators listed as 18.5-point home favorites. Despite the big spread, public bettors are fine with laying the points because the Gators are ranked 3rd overall while South Carolina is unranked. However, value-minded pros seem to think this number is a bit high. Pros have hit the Gamecocks, dropping this line from Florida -18.5 to -16.5. South Carolina has value as an unranked contrarian conference dog with a line move in their favor.
3:30 p.m. ET: Memphis at SMU
Bettors are in for a treat with this clash of these undefeated American Conference teams. Memphis (1-0) is coming off a 37-24 win over Arkansas State. However, the program has been paused since that game on September 5 due to COVID-19 cases. This means Memphis is off a big layoff. On the flip side, SMU (3-0) is riding high, beating their three opponents this season by a combined margin of 146-66. This line opened with Memphis listed as a 3-point road favorite. Smart money has poured in on home dog SMU, pushing this line all the way down to a pick'em.