Today’s biggest bets and line moves: Money both ways in Celtics-Pacers Pick’em
Friday night features a fairly full plate of NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball. Covers checks in on the action and odds movement for a few games, with insights from Eric Osterman, manager of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.
Boston sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, but is actually tied with Indiana, so this 8 p.m. ET clash could determine who has home-court advantage if these two meet in a first-round playoff series. The Celtics (47-32 SU, 37-41-1 ATS) beat Miami 112-102 as 1-point road favorites Wednesday, halting a three-game ATS skid while winning SU for the fourth time in five games.
Indiana was a firm No. 3 in the East much of the season, but hit the wall over the past month-plus, including a recent 1-7 SU slide. However, the Pacers (47-32 SU, 40-39 ATS) won and cashed their last two games, rolling over Detroit 108-89 as 2.5-point road underdogs Wednesday.
“We’re at pick ‘em right now, and it looks like the money is spread around,” Osterman said. “Some Pacers at -1.5, Some Celtics at -1.5. There’s a little more support for the Celtics, on straight bets and parlays.”
Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder – Open: -9; Move: -8.5; Move: -8; Move: -7.5; Move: -7; Move: -6.5
Oklahoma City has been in an ill-timed rut of late, dropping to No. 7 in the Western Conference in the process. The Thunder (45-33 SU, 39-39 ATS) were on a 2-7 SU and ATS purge before beating the Los Angeles Lakers 119-103 as 12.5-point road faves Tuesday.
Detroit is clinging to the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of Brooklyn and Orlando, and one game ahead of ninth-place Miami. The Pistons (39-39 SU, 40-35-3 ATS) are coming off home-and-home series losses to Indiana, falling to the Pacers 108-89 as 2.5-point home favorites Wednesday.
Although this line has dropped 2.5 points, The SuperBook hasn’t seen much money to back it up.
“The line has just been kind of creeping down,” Osterman said. “Not really a lot of action. We’re mostly coming down with the market.”
Denver still has an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the West, but only has four games to make up a two-game deficit on Golden State. The Nuggets (52-26 SU, 40-38 ATS) did themselves no favors with a Tuesday road loss to the Warriors, but rebounded with a 113-85 throttling of San Antonio laying 4.5 points at home Wednesday.
Portland is fourth in the West for the moment, but only a half-game behind third-place Houston, thanks to an 8-1 SU tear. The Trail Blazers (50-28 SU, 44-33-1 ATS) walked over Memphis 116-89 giving 10.5 points Wednesday.
“That’s gonna be a good game,” Osterman said. “We’ve gone with the market so far. The money we’ve seen has actually come in on the Blazers, mostly parlays from the public.”
Columbus went on a five-game winning streak to move into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with 94 points – the same total of ninth-place Montreal. The Blue Jackets (45-31-3-1) saw their hot streak halted Tuesday in a 6-2 home loss to Boston as -135 favorites.
New York is nothing but a spoiler in this 7 p.m. ET puck drop. The Rangers (31-36-9-4) have dropped nine of their last 12 games, including a 4-1 setback to lowly Ottawa as -175 home favorites Wednesday.
“You can see Columbus’ situation reflected in the price,” Osterman said, noting the Blue Jackets’ need for a victory. “What we’ve seen so far is some money on the Blue Jackets’ puckline at +110 or +120. People seem to like that better than laying -240 on the road with Columbus.”
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers – Open: -134; Move: -126; Move: -120; Move: -116; Move: -122; Move: -123; Move: -127; Move: -123; Move: -121
Chicago is off to a disappointing start, winning its season opener at Texas, then losing five in a row. On Thursday, the Cubs (1-5) fell to Atlanta 9-4 as +112 road underdogs.
On the flip side Milwaukee is out of the gate at 6-1, winning its last five in a row. The Brewers blanked Cincinnati 1-0 as +107 pups Wednesday.
Despite the recent form of both teams, bettors seem to like Chicago.
“We’ve seen some action on the Cubs in this game,” Osterman said of the move down from Brewers -134 to -121. “People are looking for the Cubs to show some signs of life. Jose Quintana is a decent starter, so bettors are showing a little support for Chicago.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.