Basketball bettors were left stunned after the San Antonio Spurs buried the Miami Heat under a barrage of 3-pointers to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday.
After the teams traded blowout victories, sportsbooks are dealing their slimmest spread of the series for Game 4 Thursday, thanks in part to the health of Spurs PG Tony Parker. His status for Game 4 has forced some markets to flip-flop the spread with Miami now pegged as a road favorite.
We talk with Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, about the betting action coming in and where the odds could end up by the 9 p.m. tipoff.
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs – Open: -2, Move: -2.5, Move: -1, Move: Pick, Move: +1
Some shops opened the Spurs as 2-point home favorites for Game 4 after blowing away the Heat Tuesday. And early action even forced those books to jump to -2.5. However, as news of Tony Parker’s tender hamstring spread, bettors began playing the underdog and have since moved the defending champs from +2.5 all the way to -1 (-115).
“Early Wednesday morning we dropped the Spurs to -1 and that didn't slow down the Heat money,” says Stewart, who opened San Antonio as a 1.5-point home favorite. “With 75 percent of the action on the Heat at +1, we went to pick'em late Wednesday evening. Again, money kept pouring in on the Heat and very early this morning we went to Heat -1.”
Stewart says about 70 percent of the action is now on Miami and expects that one-sided flood of money to move the spread to Heat -1.5 by tipoff. He points to the Heat’s ability to rebound from a loss, having not dropped back-to-back games since January and posting a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS record following a defeat this postseason.
“And all their wins following a loss have been blowouts, crushing their opponents by an average of 21.6 points,” notes Stewart. “So all this money backing the Heat makes sense to us and is one of the reasons why we're being so aggressive moving our number.”
As for the Game 4 total, the number opened as high as 188.5 at some books and took instant action on the under. Most markets are currently dealing between 187.5 and 187, taking balanced action at that over/under.
“Unless a sharp betting group takes a position on this total, I don't suspect we'll move off 187.5 as we're booking great two-way action at that number,” says Stewart.