It’s a busy night for sportsbooks with four NBA games on the go. We talk with Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, about the betting patterns and line moves heading into tonight’s tipoffs.
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics – Open: +1, Move: +2.5
After falling behind 0-3 to the Knicks, the Celtics have won the last two games in this series and hope to force a Game 7 with a win Friday. Basketball bettors, however, have a different opinion on this game and have been pounding New York since the spread opened.
“We actually just went to Knicks -2.5,” Stoneback told Covers this afternoon. “We had taken a lot of the Knicks so far but we had one big bet, not from a pro but from casino players, and decided to bump it up.”
Stoneback says New York has the edge in bet count, at 3:1, and overall money count, at 2:1, over Boston. He doesn’t expect the spread to come back down before the 7 p.m. ET gametime.
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks – Open: -1.5, Move: -2, Move: -1
The home team has won and covered in each game of this series and the betting public has followed right along, taking the host to a perfect 5-0 ATS record. Early money on the Hawks pushed this spread half a point but it has since dropped to -1 with action showing up on the Pacers.
“It kind of surprises me,” Stoneback says of the money on Indiana. “We opened Atlanta -2 and we’ve taken more Pacers money, about 2:1 more Pacers money.”
The total for Game 6 has been trimmed from 188 to as low as 186.5 at some markets. Stoneback says there hasn’t been a lot of action on the total, but what has come in is sharp money on the under.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets – Open: +1, Move: -1.5
Early sharp money and a rush of public action flipped the favorite for this Game 6, with Houston clawing its way back into the series with back-to-back wins. Since moving to Rockets -1.5, some books have moved to -1 with more wise action buying back OKC as an underdog.
“It’s mostly small bets right now, but we’ll likely take a bit of a hit with the pros coming back to lay the one,” says Stoneback.
The total has come down from its opening number of 207.5 with sharp action siding with the under. These teams have played below the total in four of first five games of this series.
Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies – Open: -5, Move: -6.5, Move: -6
Blake Griffin’s injury has this Game 6 spread up in the air. Early money has come in on Memphis, which has won three in a row SU and ATS to put the Clippers on the ropes, but a limit play from a professional bettor knocked the spread back down to -6.
The total for this game, which sits at 179.5, has also taken substantial action at the MGM Mirage. Stoneback says a casino patron, not a sharp, put a big wager down on the over forcing them to move to 179.5 (Over -125).
“We took a large wager from a casino player which was bigger than our regular limit play,” he says. “We don’t extend our limits for pros but we will for casino bettors, guys who have done well on our blackjack and table games and want to get down on a game.”