Sharps Looking for Big Home Court Swings



I talked recently about how to value home court advantage in the playoffs. It's a bit trickier than in the regular season because:

  • Everyone will be playing in front of packed houses.
  • The normal ebb and flow of a competitive series can elevate or reduce home court advantage in a given game.
  • Trailing teams who give up hope rarely play to expectations on their home floor.
  • Everyone likes betting the bounce backs, and oddsmakers have to defend against THAT money while trying to get home court value right.

Oddsmakers have to juggle a few things at once whenever they post playoff numbers. Early action from the sharps in Thursday Night's games suggest that professional bettors believe that home court advantage wasn't getting its just due.

  • Cleveland opened at -4½ at Chicago, which got bet down to -3½ fairly quickly. Remember, the public doesn't bet openers...they tend to get down in the few hours before TV games. Early line movements in the playoffs are generally directly connected to sharp action. Cleveland was an 11-point favorite at home. That means the initial line adjustment was only 6½ points (small for the playoffs).
  • Oklahoma City opened -2 vs. the LA Lakers, which is already a lot of respect for an inexperienced #8 seed hosting a league power. Sharps bet the line to -2½ and to -3. Remember that the Lakers were -8 (off an even higher opener) in their first home game. Sharps saw a 10-point adjustment, and thought it wasn't enough.
  • Portland opened at pick-em vs. Phoenix, and got bet up to -1. Phoenix was an 8-point favorite in their home games. The adjustment of 8 was seen as too small by sharps. Though, it's important to note that they didn't keep driving the Blazers up to -2 or -3. We can deduce that sharps are giving Oklahoma City the most home court edge of Thursday's three games.

I want to put this on your radar now, because these line adjustments are going to be a big story this year. From games 4-7, everyone hops back and forth one game at a time. The West in particular is so competitive this year that what you see in the first round is likely to repeat itself later on. We can deduce that the Lakers won't be getting much respect on the road against the Utah/Denver winner! And, that could hold true in the Western Finals as well against whoever survives the other half of the brackets.

It's probably true that Cleveland will be seen as road warriors too, given the relatively small adjustment for the site switch in Chicago. Cleveland will play the winner of the Boston/Miami series in the next round. Expect Cleveland to be pricey at home, and respected on the road.

In fact, that's probably a good idea for a quick handicapping exercise for you. What would you make the Lakers and Cleveland at home in the next round against their possible opponents? What would you make the lines on the road? How about the Lakers against somebody like Dallas or Phoenix in the Western Finals? What would you post in the likely Cleveland-Orlando series in the East?

Start watching how the likely series winners respond to road challenges...and whether or not they can ride the surge of an enthusiastic home crowd in crunch time. I can't emphasize this enough for the NBA Playoffs...EVERY POINT MATTERS!

We've seen a lot of games already come right down to the wire. That's not going away any time soon. When it's all said and done, the difference between hitting 50% and 55% over the course of the whole playoffs could well come down to your ability to recognize that extra point or two when they're available. You think a dog should be +4½, and the sportsbooks are offering +5½. The games that land on five are going to matter between now and mid-June. Let me say it again. EVERY POINT MATTERS IN THE NBA PLAYOFFS!

If you're concerned that you're in over your head when betting the postseason, or you'd just like some extra games to supplement your own picks...the best thing to do is sign up for my personal service by calling 1-877-822-2276. You can also get my BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card.

The buzz is really picking up here in the Nevada sportsbooks now that the playoffs have started. March Madness is a lot of fun. The NBA brings in more of a hardcore professional fan. I look forward to giving you a taste of the experience here in these web articles. I hope you'll sign up with my playoff package so I can show you once again that the best information comes DIRECT FROM NEVADA!


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