For the second straight day, NBA favorites swept the board with a perfect 4-0 ATS showing. The Jazz (-1) crushed the Nuggets 124-87. The Raptors (-11) handled the Nets 117-92. The Celtics (-6) outlasted the 76ers 102-94. And the Clippers (-5.5) edged the Mavericks 130-122. Favorites are now 8-0 ATS over the past two days and an absurd 14-5-1 ATS (73.7%) in the playoffs.
The Jazz were a perfect example of a sharp play. The Nuggets opened as a 1.5-point favorite. Two-thirds of bets were laying the points with Denver, yet the line completely flipped to Utah -1. This is a classic dog-to-favorite reverse line move. Think of it this way: if the public was already betting Denver at -1.5, why would the oddsmakers drop the line to hand out a better number to Average Joes who are already in their favor? Anytime the line moves away from the popular side and toward the unpopular side, it's almost always the result of smart money. If a line looks fishy, there is a reason for it.
In the same vein, we must also offer condolences to anyone brave enough to bet the 76ers plus the points last night. In one of the most lopsided playoff games in recent memory, nearly eight-out-of-10 bets backed the Celtics, who opened at -5 and closed at -6. This meant that the 76ers had incredible contrarian value plus an inflated line. Philadelphia held a 94-92 lead with under 2 minutes left in regulation, but then Boston scored 10 straight points to end the game with a 104-92 win and cover. Talk about an awful bad beat for Philly backers.
Unders went 3-1 on Friday. They are 7-1 over the past two days and are now 12-8 (60%) in the playoffs. The under trend isn't surprising given the fact that we are now in the postseason and teams are putting more emphasis on defense. Plus, the public is biased toward wanting to bet overs and root for points anyway, so you are automatically in a valuable position to go contrarian and take unders with artificially inflated lines.
Today, we have a day off from hockey but we still have 5 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.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action across MLB, NBA, NHL and more.
4:05 p.m. ET: Boston Red Sox (9-18) at Baltimore Orioles (12-14)
Don't look now but the Red Sox are finally putting together a win streak. After dropping nine straight games, Boston has now won three in a row. The Sox have taken the first two games of this series, cashing 7-1 as -150 favorites on Thursday and winning 8-5 as -125 favorites on Friday. In the third game of this four-game set, the Red Sox will start lefty Martin Perez (2-3, 4.07 ERA) against Orioles veteran Alex Cobb (1-2, 3.76 ERA). This line opened with Boston listed as a short -115 road favorite and Baltimore a + 105 home dog. Pro money has come down on the Sox, driving this line up to Boston -120. Road favorites are cashing at roughly a 67% clip this season. After an impressive start, the Orioles have come back down to Earth and dropped six straight.
9:10 p.m. ET: Texas Rangers (10-15) at Seattle Mariners (9-19)
The Mariners upset the Rangers 7-4 in last night's series opener, cashing as + 115 underdogs. Tonight, Texas sends Jordan Lyles (1-2, 7.52 ERA) to the mound to face Seattle lefty Justus Sheffield (1-2, 4.12 ERA). This line opened with the Mariners listed as -125 favorites and the Rangers a + 115 dog. The public sees two teams with losing records and doesn't know who to take. The Rangers are appealing because they're getting plus money. But the Mariners are a home favorite with a short price coming off a win. However, despite tickets being split, this line had jumped up to Mariners -130. Some books are closer to -135. This signals respected money coming down on Seattle at home. Favorites are cashing at roughly 65% this year. The total is 9 with the under juiced to -115 or -120 depending on the book, signaling liability on a lower-scoring game.
9:10 p.m. ET: Houston Astros (15-11) at San Diego Padres (16-12)
The Padres took care of business last night, beating the Astros 4-3 as -125 home favorites. It marked the 5th straight win for San Diego and snapped an 8-game winning streak for Houston. In tonight's second game of the series, Houston will start Brandon Bielak (3-0, 1.69 ERA) against San Diego veteran Zach Davies (3-2, 3.25 ERA). This line opened with the Padres listed as short -118 home favorites and the Astros a + 108 road dog. Smart money has quickly come down San Diego, pushing the line up to Padres -125. Respected action has also hit the over, pushing the total up from 8.5 to 9. The wind is expected to blow out to right center at 5-8 MPH. San Diego is 13-8 as a favorite this season while Houston is 1-7 as a dog.
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 Live Odds Page for Vegas sportsbooks and for other legalized states.