Updated NBA Market Ratings
DIRECT FROM NEVADA
With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich
MARKET TRYING TO GET TEAMS FIGURED OUT AFTER EARLY SURPRISES
I've tweaked my estimated market ratings just a bit from the numbers you saw a week ago at this time heading into the playoffs. Let's run through those changes so you can see how oddsmakers and sharps are adjusting their reads on all the teams.
This time I'll present them in a matchup sequence rather than from best to worst. Remember that home court advantage is generally worth 3 points in the NBA. Oddsmakers will use 4-5 in some playoff series though. And, there will be adjustments even greater than that if a home team is in a must-win situation.
Miami (81) vs. Philadelphia (73)
The guys I've talked to are much more impressed with Miami so far than Chicago in terms of how they're playing right now. As a result, Miami has jumped to the head of the East in many personal Power Ratings. The market has responded to that...and is now pricing Miami as the more impressive team in my view (if you assume Philadelphia is better than Indiana, then Miami sitting at -5 at Philly would grade out higher than Chicago sitting at -4 at Indiana). It may have taken the Heat a while to live up to early expectations. They've climbed back into the favorite role (slightly) amongst industry insiders.
Chicago (79) vs. Indiana (72)
The Bulls didn't impress in their first two games vs. the Pacers, and really haven't played great in terms of big victory margins for a few weeks now. Oddsmakers have made a slight adjustment, and are thinking about dropping Chicago down even further at home. They never looked like they should have been laying -11 or -12 in the first two games of this series.
Boston (76) vs. New York (74)
Using four points for home court in this series rather than three would put you right on the numbers to this point based on those ratings. Boston looks to be a few points behind Chicago and Miami in terms of winning the East based on how sluggish they've been in this series and since trading Kendrick Perkins. New York has a habit of playing better than their rating for three quarters, but then awful in the last 12 minutes. If the Knicks win Game Three Friday Night, we may see this move to 75-75 given the tightness of the first two games.
Orlando (76) vs. Atlanta (72)
I'm having trouble rationalizing how the market has been pricing these teams thus far. I mentioned last week that Atlanta was seen as the worst team in the Eastern brackets by the markets even though they were a #5 seed. They went out and won Game One, then covered Game Two. Yet, they were still small home underdogs in Friday's Game Three as this goes to press. I'm not personally giving Orlando this much respect. I need to see more of Atlanta before deciding if I want to lift them higher.
LA Lakers (80) vs. New Orleans (72)
The Lakers haven't covered a spread yet, but they're still being priced to these numbers if you use 3 points for home court. They were -11 at home, and are -5 Friday in the Big Easy. The market has Kobe and Company as the best team in the West right now even with that 0-2 ATS start and a #2 seed. Somebody's gaining on them though!
Oklahoma City (79) vs. Denver (77)
This is a tough one to rate as Denver always gets a lot of home court respect in the playoffs because of altitude. We've seen the line move from Oklahoma City -5 at home to Denver -5.5 in Saturday's Game Three. I think the market is factoring in some extra "need to win and they're playing at altitude" mojo into that particular line. On a neutral court, Oklahoma City would be the favorite. I've talked to MANY sharps who are trying to find creative ways to take Oklahoma City on futures bets to win the West and even the whole league based on how well they've played since acquiring Kendrick Perkins.
San Antonio (78) vs. Memphis (76)
It looks like 5 points is being used for home court advantage here, with San Antonio sitting at -8 in Game Two when Manu Ginobili returned, but +2 Saturday in Memphis. That's not way out of line for a playoff series, but it's testing the limits. Many sharps liked Memphis in this series coming in, which is why the lines are lower than you generally see in a #1 vs. #8 matchup. I can't say San Antonio has been changing anyone's minds about championship skepticism in these first two games.
Dallas (77) vs. Portland (77)
Dallas was -5 and -4 at home in the first two games, while Portland was -5.5 Thursday Night in their home opener. That suggests evenly matched teams with home court getting a lot of respect. Most sharps I talked to had Portland as the better team coming in. They weren't counting on Jason Kidd finding a jump shot! I think the market sees these teams as even right now...but there's still sentiment to support Portland if they get back into the series.
I need to emphasize again that the numbers I just posted aren't my PERSONAL ratings on the teams. This is my estimate of the market ratings at this moment in time. Things could change again, possibly in dramatic fashion, based on what we see over these next few days. Once everyone's played two games in each city, you have a much better sense of how they stack up against each other and in the big picture.
I hope you'll join me Friday Night and all weekend for some very big SMART MONEY plays. The Wise Guys have started stepping out in recent days. My unique access to the market as Oddsmaker and Sportsbook Director for Cal-Neva allows me to get you my BEST BETS and the big moves from winning syndicates. These games go up a few hours before first tip here at the website. You can purchase them with your credit card, or sign up for the rest of the playoffs to enjoy big savings.
Be sure to check on my early season baseball too. If you have any questions, call my handicapping office at 1-877-822-2276.
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