The Los Angeles Lakers were both great for the book and the bettors at Bovada last week as two of the most-wagered games were on the Lakers-Nuggets series and players were heavy in backing L.A. That worked out well for the players in one game but not in L.A.'s lone loss in the series so far.
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The bettors' big win was Sunday's 92-88 Los Angeles victory in the Mile High City to take a 3-1 series lead over Denver. Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake - not Kobe Bryant - hit the two clutch late shots to win that one. L.A. went off as a 1.5-point underdog and took nearly 78 percent of the action. Kobe being held to just 22 points - the over/under was 28.5 -- was the book's best player prop result. The top prop for bettors was Denver's Danilo Gallinari going over 15.5 points as he finished with 20.
Denver's one win in this series was the book's best result of the week. On Friday night at home, the Nuggets won Game 3 99-84. The result was never much in doubt after the Nuggets went on a 28-2 run to take a 24-point second-quarter lead. L.A. went off as a 3.5-point dog and took nearly 74 percent of the action on the spread. And the lean was more pronounced on the moneyline, with the Lakers taking more than 85 percent at +140.
Incidentally, of the eight first-round playoff series the book's and the players' biggest series would be one and the same: the Lakers beating the Nuggets. Los Angeles closed as a -500 favorite (Denver at +350) and took 91 percent of the handle. But because the odds are so short, it would still be a favorable result for the book as well.
The most-wagered game of last week was Thursday's 87-70 Miami Heat Game 3 victory at New York. Of course that was the game the Knicks didn't have star forward Amare Stoudemire after he cut his hand punching a glass fire extinguisher case following a Game 2 loss in Miami. The Heat went off as 5.5-point favorites for Game 3 and took almost 77 percent of the action on the spread and nearly 84 percent at -240 on the moneyline, so that was also a big win for bettors.
Early-Week Live Betting Schedule
TNT has nationally televised games each night early this week and the book will have live play-by-play betting for all of them. The TNT opener on Tuesday is Game 4 in Atlanta between the Hawks and Boston Celtics. Atlanta is a 1.5-point favorite to send the series back to Boston, which leads it 3-1.
The C's haven't been good of late as a playoff underdog, going 1-5 ATS in their past six in that role. And Boston is banged up heading into Game 5 with Paul Pierce (knee), Ray Allen (ankle) and Avery Bradley (shoulder) all possible game-time decisions. It's likely all three will play, however, as Boston would love to end the series Tuesday and get its veterans plenty of rest before the next round.
Boston figures to win the series eventually as teams with a 3-1 series lead own a 194-8 record (96 percent) since the NBA expanded to a 16-team playoff format during the 1983-84 season. And even a loss Tuesday probably won't be a problem for the Celtics as teams that are up 3-2 own a 209-35 mark (85.7 percent) in those series.
Game 5 of Nuggets-Lakers, back in Los Angeles also will have live play-by-play betting on Tuesday. The Lakers opened as 6-point favorites in that one. In the first two games at Staples Center in that series, the Lakers never trailed once, although they only went 1-1 ATS. Kobe scored 69 points in the two games at Staples Center, but just 44 in two games in Denver. The Lakers have lost only one playoff series in franchise history after winning the first two games, going 42-1.
Wednesday night the live betting doubleheader is Game 5 of Knicks-Heat in Miami and Game 5 of Grizzlies-Clippers in L.A.
The Heat appear to be catching break after break in these playoffs in terms of injuries to players all but their own. New York will be down to its third-string point guard Wednesday. That's because former starter Jeremy Lin still isn't ready to debut in this series after knee surgery and the Knicks lost backup Baron Davis for up to a year with a Game 4 knee injury that could end his career. Mike Bibby will start Game 5 as New York looks to keep its season alive as an 11-point underdog.
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