It's a classic Sharps-vs-Squares split in one Eastern Conference showdown

Apr 19, 2017 |
The Pacers may be down 0-2 to the Cavaliers, but they are 2-0 ATS in the series and public bettors like that trend to continue Thursday night.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
The Pacers may be down 0-2 to the Cavaliers, but they are 2-0 ATS in the series and public bettors like that trend to continue Thursday night.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Two of the NBA’s best teams look to put strangleholds on their first-round playoff series, as part of tonight’s three-game slate. Covers checks in on where the action is with Matthew Holt, COO of CG Analytics in Las Vegas.

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 7 Indiana Pacers – Open: +3; Move: +2.5; Move: +2

In the first two games of this best-of-7 series, Cleveland notched the SU victories, while the Pacers cashed out with ATS wins. Cleveland (53-31 SU, 36-45-3 ATS) barely avoided a Game 1 upset, 109-108 as a 9-point home favorite Saturday, then earned a 117-111 Game 2 victory Monday, again laying 9 points at home.

Though Indiana (42-42 SU, 41-42-1 ATS) couldn’t scratch out a road win, it continued to show well for bettors. The Pacers have covered in their last eight games, including three with Cleveland – one in the regular season to start the streak (a 135-130 OT road loss getting 8 points), and Games 1 and 2 in the playoffs.

CG books opened the Cavs -3 on Tuesday morning, quickly dropped the line to 2.5, then went to 2 this morning for the 7 p.m. ET clash.

“Amazingly, the public is the one betting Indiana against the spread. The sharps have been on the road favorite Cavs and moneyline bets have gone the same way thus far,” Holt said of action at CG books, including at The Cosmopolitan and Venetian on the Vegas Strip. “We’ve had four times more money wagered on Cavs moneyline on account, and 2.5 times more money wagered on Pacers moneyline over the counter.”

Money wagered on account is typically sharp action, while over-the-counter money represents public play.

No. 3 Toronto Raptors at No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks – Open: -1.5; Move: None

Milwaukee (43-41 SU, 38-46 ATS) immediately took away home-court advantage in this series, rolling to a 97-83 victory as an 8-point road underdog Saturday in Game 1. Toronto (52-32 SU, 45-38-1 ATS) bounced back with a 106-100 Game 2 win at home, but the Bucks again covered as an 8-point underdog.

Bettors are on Milwaukee for the 8 p.m. ET tipoff, but not in a significant enough way to make CG adjust the line yet.

“It’s heavy one-sided action on the Bucks moneyline, both over the counter and on account. And it’s one-sided action on the Bucks against the spread, on account and over the counter,” Holt said. “However, there’s not huge money wagered, as this is the least-bet game of the three tonight. But almost all the action has been on the Bucks.”

Holt added that CG has seen multiple sharp four-figure bets on the under, at the opener of 197 and at 196.5.

No. 2 San Antonio Spurs at No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies – Open: +3.5; Move: +3; Move: +3.5; Move: +4

Memphis was the proverbial one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest for Games 1 and 2 of this series, suffering a pair of blowout road losses. The Grizzlies (43-41 SU, 41-43 ATS) got rolled 111-82 on Saturday as a 9.5-point underdog, then lost 96-82 getting 10.5 points on Monday.

San Antonio (63-21 SU, 43-39-2 ATS) continues to have first-round fun at the expense of Memphis. The Spurs swept the Grizzlies last year (3-1 ATS), with three of those wins by 21 points or more, and the fourth a still comfortable 9-point victory.

“The Spurs are and have been our biggest liability by far all day,” Holt said, noting the move from 3.5 to 4 earlier today. “There’s almost eight times more money wagered on the Spurs spread over the counter than on Memphis, and two times more money wagered on Spurs spread on account. We’ve also seen one-sided action on Spurs moneyline, on account and over the counter.”

Holt added that the total moved from 185.5 to 187 due to sharp and public action on the over for this 9:30 p.m. ET matchup.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.

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