Maybe Rajon Rondo knows something oddsmakers don’t.
Shortly after dispelling the Philadelphia 76ers in a surprisingly competitive seven-game series, the Boston Celtics star point guard was asked about his team’s next opponent, the Miami Heat.
“We feel we can beat Miami,” Rondo told Comcast SportsNet
. “Obviously we got to this point. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can, so we’ve got to go down there [Miami] and take care of business.”
Oddsmakers aren’t quite as bullish on the C’s chances against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Miami is an 8-point favorite in Game 1 against Boston. That’s the second largest spread in Game 1 of an NBA conference final since 1997. Update: The line has been bet up to 8.5 at several books.
PinnacleSports.com opened its series price at -500/+420 while bet365.com went a tad higher with the Heat as -550 faves. And that’s not even really the true price, mathematically speaking.
“We just sent out the Heat -8 on the first game,” Pete Korner, founder of the line consultant group Sports Club, told Covers
in an email, “so that translated into a Miami -800/+550 for a series price. Now again, that's strictly by the math.”
I won’t get into it here but there’s a formula that makes up a series price based off the odds for Game 1 of a series. If the Heat were -800 faves that would mean the Celtics would have just a one-in-nine chance of upsetting Miami.
“It's certainly high," Covers Expert Ted Sevransky
said of the series price. "That being said, all [the books] are looking to do is draw two-way action, and they're not going to do that unless the Celtics are 4/1 or higher."
Pro handicapper and database guru Marc Lawrence
says there have been 10 instances since 1991 where a favorite has given 7 or more points in Game 1 of an NBA conference final (see above chart). Those favored teams went 9-1 straight up and 7-3 against the spread.
Last note: The only team of those 10 to lose outright was the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers, who were led by, that’s right, LeBron James. The Cavs were -600 series chalk but lost to the Orlando Magic in six games.