It was a thrilling night in the NBA playoff bubble on Tuesday as the Denver Nuggets posted a huge upset win over the Los Angeles Lakers 114-106 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets avoided the dreaded 0-3 series deficit and now only trail 2-1. Denver covered (and won straight up) as a 6.5-point dog, cashing + 215 on the moneyline.
The Game 3 spread never really budged from open to close, signaling some liability on Denver as books refused to go to + 7 and hand out even an extra half point to Nuggets backers. It was also the shortest line of the series (the first two games were Lakers -7 and -7.5). Reading between the lines, this meant books were showing slightly more respect to a Denver squad that once again showed its resilience in a "must win" game. A couple books even dropped from + 6.5 to + 6 right before tipoff, which indicated late smart money breaking Denver's way. Public bettors were able to cash the over, which rose slightly from 214 to 214.5 late. Overs are now 4-2 in the Conference Finals but unders still lead overall in the postseason 43-28-1 (60.5%).
Leading 2-0, the Lakers were -5000 to win the series (98%) against Denver at BetMGM, with the Nuggets a + 2000 dog. With Denver cutting the deficit to 2-1, the Lakers are now -834 favorites (89%) to win the series. Denver is + 550. If you had jumped on Denver at + 2000, you probably feel pretty good today.
Here are the updated NBA Title Odds at BetMGM:
Heat + 500
Celtics + 650
Nuggets + 1400
And here are the exact Finals prices:
Celtics-Lakers + 125
Heat-Nuggets + 2200
Celtics-Nuggets + 3000
Today we have a loaded slate on tap with 1 NBA game, 1 NHL game and 15 MLB games. Let's discuss a pair of big matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
For an updated breakdown of Wednesday'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 be co-hosting The Lombardi Line from noon-1 p.m. ET and then co-hosting Betting Across America from 3-5 p.m. ET.
8 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars
This is Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After dropping the opener 4-1, the Lightning rebounded in Game 2, posting a 3-2 win to even the series at one game apiece. This Game 3 line opened with Tampa Bay listed as a hefty -150 favorite and the Stars a + 130 underdog. We've seen a steady dose of Lightning money hit the market, pushing Tampa up from -150 to -155. Some books are closer to -160. The Stars, however, have value as a big plus money dog and an experienced team off of a loss. Historically, teams who made the playoffs the previous season tend to rebound off a loss in their game. The Stars are 4-1 after a loss this postseason. Dallas is also the designated home team in this one, which means they get the benefit of having the last line change. With the series tied 1-1, the Lightning are now -200 favorites (66.7%) to win the Cup at BetMGM. The Stars are + 170.
8:30 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat
This is Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After falling behind in the series 0-2, the Celtics roared back in Game 3, winning 117-106 and covering as 3.5-point favorites. This Game 4 line opened with Boston listed as a short 2.5-point favorites. The public is all over the Celtics with two-thirds of bets rushing to lay the points. This also included some early smart money on Boston -2.5. This lopsided action has pushed Boston to -3. We've seen some buyback on the Heat + 3, which has caused this line to stick and not move further toward the Celtics. Miami has value as a contrarian dog with a semi-inflated line. The total opened at 210.5 and has either stayed the same or ticked down slightly to 210 depending on the book. This signals some under liability. One big factor to consider here is the rest situation. Both teams are coming off 4-day layoffs. Presumably, this would benefit Boston as Gordon Hayward will receive more time to acclimate. However, it could also blunt Boston's momentum off of its big Game 2 win.