Pricing Carmelo

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


I was going to talk some more college basketball today. But, the news broke about Carmelo Anthony moving from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks...and THAT became the biggest story in sports.

It's also a story which presents an interesting challenge to Vegas oddsmakers. How do you adjust the Power Ratings for each team?

  • Do the Knicks become a borderline power in the East because they have two offensive superstars in their lineup? Should they move up to be the equal of somebody like Orlando in the numbers?
  • Do the Knicks become worse because there was SO MUCH turnover that it's going to take awhile to adjust? Miami didn't play its best ball right away after bringing the three musketeers together. Should the Knicks be priced more like a 7th or 8th seed until they show us something?
  • What about Denver? They just lost Anthony and Chauncey Billups. And, the remaining players know that a rebuilding period has officially begun. Most professional athletes HATE being in rebuilding years. Will that cast a pall over the season that would necessitate a drop in 4-5 points in the Power Ratings?
  • Maybe the new Nuggets are happy to be out of New York. They don't have to play in anyone's shadow. And, they're still in the playoff picture, just on the other side of the country. Maybe Denver falls back less than the media is expecting. Maybe the Nuggets who stayed home are happy they'll get to touch the ball more often!

I can tell you I've been doing a lot of research to try and anticipate how the market is going to handle these teams. The media seems divided on whether or not it was a smart move. Some stat guys love Carmelo because he's always put up great numbers. Some old school sharps think he's extremely overrated because he doesn't play much defense and only rebounds the balls that bounce to him.

If the media loved this trade, pricing would be relatively easy because media hype is worth a few points. If sharps loved this trade, we could set the line to make sure they don't pound any openers. The fact that there are mixed signals everywhere has driven oddsmakers a little crazy.

The safest path for a Sportsbook Director (my positon at Cal-Neva) is to post your best shot, then move quickly if you see sharps pounding the opener. The public isn't betting much pro basketball now, but could conceivably get involved in a high profile situation like this. Worry about the sharps first, and the public later.

What do I think? The Knicks will probably be a better regular season team than a playoff team with this lineup. It's the defensive powers that win in the postseason. New York is the exact opposite of that. And, it's not like Denver has reached the championship round during the Carmelo years. I'm open-minded about team improvement in New York. I do expect some early growing pains. With Denver, I've seen enough fire sales over the years in basketball and baseball that I need to watch this team very closely. Sharps love to fade teams who are just going through the motions.

We'll all get a good read on the market together when the teams take the court this week:

Milwaukee at New York

Boston at Denver on TNT

New York at Cleveland
Denver at Portland on ESPN

New York at Miami on ESPN

The Knicks get a couple of manageable games, then run into the powerful Heat Sunday Night. The Nuggets get thrown to the wolves with Boston and red hot Portland before the weekend even gets here.

There are always new challenges for oddsmakers, handicappers, and big bettors. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Miami...and now with Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and probably a third superstar at some point down the road in New York, the era of the super teams may have just begun. Bring it on! Vegas is always ready for new challenges.

My unique position in the middle of the legal sports betting markets allows me to keep my clients ahead of the curve no matter what develops. You can always purchase my BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card. Or, sign up for the full season. If you have any questions, call my handicapping office at 1-877-822-2276.

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