Sportsbooks are bracing for another wild night of NBA playoff action after Monday’s games stunned and entertained basketball bettors, with underdogs improving to 4-0 ATS in the second round. We talk to Aron Black of Bet365.com about the wagering action on Tuesday’s two postseason battles:
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks – Open: -5.5, Move: -6
The Knicks blew their home-court edge with a loss at MSG in Game 1 and after an early half-point move, money is leaning slightly toward the Pacers at 2.5:1, according to Black. New York faithful feel more comfortable backing the moneyline than giving the points, with SU action on N.Y. (-250) outnumbering Indiana at 4:1.
“The line for Game 2 looks to give a little too much credit to the Knicks and I can see this one coming back to Indiana a little bit,” says Black. “It’s an intriguing Game 2 and (Carmelo Anthony) is capable of pulling off victories on his own. But how much is that shoulder hindering him?”
The total for Game 2 has dropped from 184.5 to 183 at some markets but Black says the majority of action is on the over. Indiana and New York topped the 181.5-point total in Game 1 and have split the over/under in their last 10 meetings.
“The big question for (the Knicks) is can they get the offense going enough to take down the tight defense of the Pacers?” says Black. “They ended up with almost all they could handle against the Celtics and did not score well. So, taking that into account against the Pacers, if this series is going to be played in the halfcourt and slow paced as it will be, then it clearly gives the Pacers an edge given how they love to play that style.”
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder – Open: -3, Move: -2.5
Oklahoma City avoided the Game 1 upset but couldn’t cover the spread. Early money is on the Grizzlies, as was the case for Game 1, taking the points and rolling the dice on Memphis’ moneyline at +125.
“What can only really be deemed a choke in Game 1, the bettors are taking the Grizzlies to complete the job in Game 2,” says Black. “Obviously, with a player like (Kevin) Durant, a close game is never too far out of reach to win by himself, but Memphis should have played the fourth quarter better and finished the job.”
Black says bettors shouldn’t count out the Grizzlies, who were down 0-2 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round and battled back to win four in a row. Memphis opened as a series underdog and was bet up to -115. The adjusted series prices have the Grizzlies at +135 following Game 1 with OKC coming back at -155.
“The line should stay pretty steady before the game but we will probably end up hoping that the Thunder go two up given how the money is coming in so far and how I expect it to go before the game,” he says.
The total for Game 2 has bounced between 186 and 186.5 – the same number for Game 1, which finished 93-91 and played under the total. Memphis and Oklahoma City have played under in only two of their last seven meetings.
“Total money is split and it’s not a surprise,” says Black. “If Memphis controls the play and OKC does what it has to do on offense by playing Durant in isolation, then it could be a very low score. Kevin Martin did a great job and was a very big part of the reason they won, but can he come up with that each game?”