What Sharps Think About Miami-Chicago

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


There's certainly a lot of excitement in Las Vegas and Reno this weekend for the start of the Miami Heat-Chicago Bulls series.

LeBron James of Miami has added to his legacy with some very clutch play in Games Four and Five of the Boston series. Chicago has the regular season league MVP in Derrick Rose leading their attack. And, the Bulls played their best ball of the postseason in the last two games of the Atlanta series.

THIS is the series everyone has been waiting for!

The West had some twists and turns with #1 seed San Antonio falling in the first round, and #2 seed Los Angeles getting shocked in a sweep in the second round. In the East, Chicago and Miami took care of business to set up a showcase series that will have sportsbooks packed for each and every game.

What do the sharps (professional wagerers) think about this series? Here's my take from talking to a variety of respected players.

*Sharps think Miami is the better team, and are trying to figure out how to bet the Heat for value. This is going to be tough because Miami is likely to be the public team. Fans have always wanted to bet on LeBron James. That's why he earned so much vitriol with recent postseason disappointments. He wasn't just losing games for Cleveland. He was losing money for Vegas bettors who want to load up on the league's superstars! Now that he's got a championship look to him, squares want to bet Miami. Sharps will have a challenge on their hands!

*Sharps don't particularly want to lay big points with Miami. The Heat's offense really got bogged down in the last two games vs. Boston. One went overtime. The other was very close until the final seconds. That means sharps are looking carefully at the Heat on the road. You'll note the standard opener across the market was Chicago -2 in Game One. It fell to Chicago -1.5 right away. The public doesn't bet the openers. The public doesn't even know when games open! That means it was sharp money that stepped in, figuring +2 was the best they'd see.

*I don't want to suggest that Miami is getting 100% support from sharps. There are some guys out there who like Chicago because of what happened in the regular season meetings…or because they think LeBron is going to choke under pressure…or because they like fading the public. This was most clear in early moneyline betting. Miami opened around -190 or -200 to win the series depending on the exact prop you were looking at and the time of evening Thursday. Sharps who think Miami is the better team didn't want to step in at such a high price, particularly with Chicago owning home court for the series. Chicago money hit the board right away, driving the line down to about -170 for the Heat in the series as we go to press.

How's that for confusing? Sharps hit Miami +2, and Chicago (+) for the series on the openers! It was different sets of sharps. My take is that more sharps think Miami is the better team. It's just not unanimous.

I've been posting Market Power Ratings through the college and pro postseasons. Here are my numbers for this series.

Miami 81
Chicago 79

If home court is going to register at 3 points in both places, then Chicago will be -1 at home, while Miami will be -5 down in Florida. If it's going to be 4 points, then Chicago will be -2 at home (the opener), while Miami is -6. Currently I'm expecting a tight swing here given the quality of defenses in play, and the tendency for each team to get conservative in big games. This series may ultimately have the smallest home court values we'll have seen in years in the NBA playoffs.

I'll talk about the Western Conference Championships the next time we're together.

I do expect to have some very strong NBA releases in the next few days. And, my BASEBALL BEST BETS are available daily for credit card purchase here at the website. This is a great week to get involved because the basketball is really heating up, baseball has been easy to beat so far, and we have the Preakness Saturday in Triple Crown Horse Racing.

Whatever the sport…whatever the challenge…whatever the nuances of the legal betting markets…the best information is always going to come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com. For more information on NICK BOGDANOVICH'S handicapping packages, call 1-877-822-2276.


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