Friday’s NBA playoff schedule reeks of desperation with two teams trying not to fall into an 0-3 series hole at home. We talk to sportsbooks both online and in Las Vegas about the betting action heading into Friday’s trio of games.
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics – Open: -3, Move: -2.5
The Boston Celtics used to be one of the biggest public favorites among NBA bettors, but all the action heading into Game 3 is on the visiting Knicks.
According to Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage, New York’s outstanding play down the stretch has made it one of the biggest public plays for the entire NBA season. Limit bets came in on New York early this morning and moved the spread to -2.5.
Similar action is showing up online, where bets on the Knicks -2.5 are outnumbering plays on the Celtics at 4:1 and moneyline bets on N.Y. is at a 7:1 lean.
“Normally in playoffs, Boston at home is a team that is hard to take on for a lot of bettors,” Aron Black of Bet365.com told Covers. “They have the experience and the good home crowd, but this isn’t the Celts of the 80’s for sure. Nor is it the Celts of the last two years.”
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers – Open: +3, Move +5.5
California teams, more specifically the Los Angeles Lakers, get a lot of love in Las Vegas. But, heading into Friday’s Game 2 matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, it’s been all action on the visiting team holding the 2-0 series lead.
According to Stoneback, it’s been all Spurs money with San Antonio’s ticket count outnumbering the Lakers’ at 7:1. Stoneback says the injury to backup PG Steve Blake has a huge impact on the betting patterns as well as the total for Game 3. That number has dropped from 189.5 to 186.5 as of Friday afternoon.
Blake is out for the playoffs with an injured hamstring while fellow guards Steve Nash (hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (ankle) are listed as doubtful, leaving the Lakers dangerously thin in the backcourt. Los Angeles will turn to second-year guard Darius Moore, who scored 10 point in over 23 minutes in Game 2.
“It’s made a major impact on the total,” says Stoneback. “Without Kobe and those other guards hurting, there is no shooting. Obviously, they need a shooter and when you’re down as many shooters as they are, it impacts the side and total.”
Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors – Open: +1.5, Move: -1, Move: +1
This spread has jumped the fence a couple times since opening with Golden State as a slight home favorite. The Warriors won over the oddsmakers with an impressive win in Game 2 – minus David Lee – but bettors are spreading their love between the two teams Friday.
“The first two games was very much Denver money, but this one we currently have about 2:1 on the Golden State spread compared to Denver,” says Black. “But the straight-up money is on Denver at 2:1. A lot of people figure they will get paid on the two early faves and then play on this game. But the bettors so far like Golden State and the over.”
Las Vegas is seeing some different patterns on this Western Conference matchup. The Nuggets are slowly gaining some momentum with bettors and could have this spread closing with the home side as an underdog. The total is also trending downward, moving from 212.5 to 211.5.
“I thought with coming back home and showing they can win without Lee, that the Warriors would get a lot of action. But we aren’t taking much on them right now,” says Stoneback.