Two teams are trying to fight off elimination on the road while two others are looking to get the leg up in their first-round NBA playoff series Wednesday night. We talk to online sportsbooks about the action and betting patterns for tonight’s NBA games:
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks – Open: -8, Move: -9
The Knicks can move on to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win at home Wednesday. Bettors seem to like New York’s chances, with both sharp and public money coming in on the favorite.
According to Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for CarbonSports.ag, sharp action immediately bought the Knicks -8 and pushed the number to -9, which hasn’t stopped bettors from gladly giving the points.
“That early sharp action on the Knicks was sharps taking advantage of the early number and knowing that if anything, this line was going to move up and they were correct,” Stewart told Covers. “I believe we'll see late sharp action come in on the dog. If we were to go to Knicks -9.5, we'd see sharp money on (Boston).”Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers – Open: -6.5, Move: -7
Home is where the heart is in this series, with the home side winning and covering in all four games. Atlanta has momentum after winning Games 3 and 4 but the Pacers are one of the best home sides in the NBA, at 32-11 SU.
“This game has had quiet action so far, but the action we are seeing is more on Indiana,” Aron Black of Bet365.com told Covers. “Series like this, where you have totally different results from both teams home and road, makes punters a little shy. But I expect that most will look at the first two games and start backing Indiana to take the lead at home.”
According to CarbonSports.ag, around 75 percent of the action on Game 5 is on the Pacers and Stewart wouldn’t be surprised if this spread closed at Indiana -7.5. As for the total, Stewart says sharp money came in on the under at 188 and has pushed the number to 187.5.Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – Open: -8, Move: -9
If Russell Westbrook were still playing, and not out for the remainder of the postseason, the Thunder would be around 13-point favorites at home Wednesday. However, OKC is without its All-Star point guard and bettors aren’t sold on giving that many points, with action fairly split heading towards the 9:30 p.m. ET tipoff.
“Given the combo of no Westbrook and a Houston team, which is proving more difficult to beat now given the changes in strategy from the first game,” says Black, “the OKC money is not flowing in as it was early in the series.”
Stewart says that barring any action from some notorious betting syndicates, the spread should close at -8.5. He also warns that the total for this matchup, which has bounced around from 208 to 207.5, could start to decrease.
“I do believe that this total is a bit inflated as is and if anything, we’ll see sharps come in and pound it under 208 and we will close around 207.5 or 207,” he says.