The second round of the NBA playoffs opens Sunday with two games – one in each conference. We talk with Aron Black of Bet365.com about the action coming in and the betting patterns for these conference semifinal tilts:
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder – Open: -4, Move: -3
The Thunder have gone from Western Conference favorites to series underdogs against the Grizzlies, and bettors aren’t in love with OKC for Game 1 either.
Books opened the home side as 4-point chalk and immediately took money on Memphis, bumping the spread down a point. However, Thunder action is coming in and actually outnumbers the handle on the Grizzlies at 2:1. It’s a different story for those rolling the dice on the moneyline. Action on Memphis +130 to win SU is outnumbering OKC’s moneyline count at 5:1.
“Memphis has got a lot of support since this series line was released, going from small dogs to faves in the series,” Black told Covers.”That means we are pretty heavy on Memphis money, as I’m sure most places will be.”
The total for Game 1 is also on the move. The number opened as low as 185 at some books and has been bet up as high as 187 before settling around 186.5 at most markets. These two teams went 2-1 over/under in their three meetings during the regular season and are 20-8 over/under in their last 28 head-to-head encounters.
“It’s a definite contrast of styles for what these teams normally play,” says Black. “The up-tempo game for OKC is not what it was given that they don’t have the explosive (Russell) Westbrook bringing the ball up the court.”
“It’s going to be down to others on the team to get Oklahoma City the win,” he adds. “Durant is going to get his points, but Memphis is very good on the defensive side and the upset is not going to be a surprise if it happens.”
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks – Open: -4.5, Move: -5.5
Oddsmakers have tacked on one point since opening New York as a 4.5-point home favorite. The Knicks stumbled a bit against the Celtics, apparently letting their cockiness get the best of them. But Carmelo Anthony shook off his shooting woes and has won over the early action for Game 1.
According to Black, money is coming in at an even rate with bets showing up on the Pacers. Indiana finally snapped the home-court trend in its opening round series with a deciding victory at Atlanta in Game 6. The Pacers finished 4-2 ATS in their opening round series with the Hawks.
The total for Game 1 opened at 184.5 and has come down as low as 183 at some sportsbooks. The Knicks and Pacers played under in three of their four meetings this season and the under is 4-1 in their last five clashes in MSG.
“The total is seeing about 3:1 action to the over with the low 183,” says Black. “Indiana will obviously try to keep this one a very slow-paced game, so the low total is justified.”