When DraftKings Sportsbook moved the line on Game 5 of the Miami – Milwaukee series from 3 to 3.5 on Monday, the bettors hit it so hard that the sportsbook moved it back to 3 points in less than an hour.
So, yes, people are still wagering on the Bucks – who have looked all but dead in their series against Miami. Milwaukee lost the first three games of the semi-finals series before taking Game 4 on Sunday in overtime. All that, yet money is still being wagered on them to win the Eastern Conference title and the championship.
“We took steady action on them (Sunday) at 40-1 to win the title and 18-1 to win the East,” said Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk management at SuperBook USA. “There were a steady stream of bets coming along, a few hundred dollars each time made via the mobile app. There were three tickets for the title, one of which was for $500, and seven tickets to win the East ranging from $100 to $400. We had to move them down to 30-1 (for the title) and 13-1 (for the Eastern Conference).”
Keep the faith
The Bucks, Clippers and Lakers were the favorites to win the title throughout the season and through the COVID-19 shutdown. As recently as a week ago the Bucks were still one of the trio of favorites, then came their losses in Games 1, 2 and 3, along with an injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo – and they looked cooked.
The entire legalized US sports gambling market is keeping an eye on the Greek Freak’s status for Tuesday’s Game 5. He was wearing a walking boot on his sprained right ankle Monday, and the team was listing him as “questionable” Tuesday morning. His availability will likely be a game-time call.
The line moved significantly this morning as money stared coming in on Miami, shifting to 4 or 4.5 at the major books. Apparently, the Giannis factor has a lot of Heat backers convinced that this thing ends tonight.
“What happened in this series is that the bettors established early on that the Heat was the better team,” said Johnny Avello, head oddsmaker at DraftKings Sportsbook. “The favorite usually comes back after a Game 1 loss, but that didn’t happen this time. Although the bettors did play the Bucks hard in Game 4.”
When DraftKings moved the line from 3 to 3.5, it got “gobbled up,” Avello said.
“It was hard to find any lines at 3, they were all mostly at 2 or 2.5,” he added. “So 3.5 was seen as good value.”
But this morning, things changed.
“Eighty-six percent of bets and 83% of money on the spread is on the Heat, and 74% of bets and 88% of the money on the moneyline is on the Heat,” said Kevin Hennessy, a spokesman for FanDuel Sportsbook.
In the championship futures market, Milwaukee is now +2800 at DraftKings, +2400 at FanDuel and +2000 at PointsBet. That’s clearly an indication that there is a wide variation of opinion on whether this team that was so strong from November through March can not only do something no NBA team has ever done before – come back from an 0-3 deficit – but also move on to defeat the winner of the Toronto-Boston series and the Western Conference victor.
Under bets continue to be the way to go
Miami won Game 1 by 11 points after being listed as a 5-point underdog, then won Game 2 by 2 points as a 5.5 point underdog. They won Game 3 by 15 points as a 5-point underdog. In the Bucks’ 118-115 overtime victory on Sunday, Milwaukee was a 2-point favorite and ensured the cover when Wes Matthews stole Andre Iguodala’s inbounds pass with 2.2 seconds left.
The “Over” hit in that game as the teams combined to score 233 points (the line was 220); and in Sunday’s nightcap the “Over” also hit as Houston and the Lakers went three points over the line of 223.
But that was a HUGE over/under aberration.
In the 14 conference semifinals games that have been played this far, the “Under” has hit 11 times – including both of Monday night’s games when the Raptors offensive ineptitude kept them from coming anywhere close to the 212 over/under line, and the Clippers and Nuggets finished a half-point shy of the line of 220.5. Under bettors were thankful that Nikola Jokic missed a 3-point attempt with 6.1 seconds left. Over bettors were not so pleased.
But with the way the Unders have been hitting, it should not have been a surprise. The “Under” also hit in Games 6 and 7 of the Oklahoma City – Houston first round series, along with Game 7 of the Utah Denver first round series when the final score of 80-78 missed the Over/Under number by a mere 49.5 points.
Tonight’s over/unders are 217.5 in the Miami-Milwaukee game and 222.5 in the Lakers-Rockets game.
The key contributor for the Lakers in Game 2 against Houston was Rajon Rondo, who should continue to see an uptick in usage tonight given the intangibles and the production he brought to Game 2. Rondo’s assists Over/Under is 5.5 at PointsBet, and his point total over/under is 8.5 at FanDuel, which also lists the Over/Under for his total points, rebounds and assists at 16.5. Rondo had 10 points, nine assists and three rebounds in Game 2.