Not much to talk about…just the biggest day in the history of sports betting! And the biggest win in the history of the Vegas Golden Knights! Plus, Game 1 of the most anticipated NBA non-championship series in years…all ahead right now in VSiN City.
Sports Betting: Supreme Court rules PASPA unconstitutional
The announcement came early Monday morning. That set off wall-to-wall coverage on VSiN and throughout the sports media world. Sports betting is no longer banned in the United States.
What happens next? Bedlam! Often, after major developments, it’s easy to pinpoint one party and say “now, the ball is in their court.” Here, it’s 50 balls in 50 courts at the state level…plus a federal government that would like to create a regulatory framework to assert control…plus professional sports leagues and amateur interests that would like to have input…plus established offshore betting interests that won’t sit idly by. The dust won’t be settling any time soon after this explosive news.
Nor will the ramifications for avid sports bettors. Will all the new fingers in the pie cause vigorish to rise to unsavory levels? Or, will increased competition amongst bet-taking entities create more attractive options for bettors? Will it be possible to bet across state lines?
VSiN will stay on top of the story. VSiN was CREATED to stay on top of THIS STORY! Thanks to all of you who watched our broadcasts Monday, and who watched Brent Musburger’s appearance on CNBC. Kudos to Gill Alexander and Jorge Mondaca, who announced the news live then set the tone for in-depth coverage with context and interviews. A championship performance from the full broadcast team, whether hosting on VSiN or appearing as expert analysts for other media.
If you were out of pocket Monday, here’s a link to Dave Tuley’s website article outlining the decision. And, here’s a link to our “videos” page that will let you catch all of yesterday’s programming. Note that the formal announcement comes about five minutes into “A Numbers Game.” You’ll have to click back a page for access to all of Monday’s programming.
Now…to the games sports lovers were betting on Monday night…
NHL Playoffs: Vegas Golden Knights earn another road win
In our lead, we called it the biggest win in VGK history. Obviously, it’s a short history. But no single victory had this big an impact on their championship hopes. Entering the night, Winnipeg was -250 to win the West with a win in its pocket and three home games coming. Now, Vegas moves to a slight favorite to win the West in that same scenario. Vegas will be favored in three home games (if needed). Winnipeg will only be favored two more times. That’s a BIG change in the championship scenario. Biggest move of the needle in that regard.
Vegas (plus 130) 3, Winnipeg 1
Shots: Vegas 28, Winnipeg 31
Power Plays: Vegas 0/2, Winnipeg 1/3
Vegas played like a team possessed out of the gate. The Golden Knights were much more aggressive in the attacking zone. That aggression by itself limited Winnipeg’s ability to create its own chances. It was 2-0 Vegas after the first period, on an 13-11 shot count edge. Winnipeg could only manage an 8-8 shot count tie in the second period while trailing.
Worth nothing the power play situation. Winnipeg has taken advantage of that with a 3/7 rate thus far. Vegas has just one goal in four tries. That means VGK is ahead 4-2 in this series at even strength despite playing at a very tough road site. Now, Winnipeg is about to play at a very tough road site.
Game 3 will be Wednesday in Las Vegas. First numbers up offshore Monday were in the -140 to -145 range for the home favorite. Early money hit Winnipeg, making VGK -135 more prevalent as publication deadlines approached.
The Eastern finals resume Tuesday night. Tampa Bay needs to win or start making its tee times…
Tampa Bay at Washington (8:05 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, Washington leads 2-0)
Game 1: Washington (plus 160) 4, Tampa Bay 2 (Shots: Washington 32-21)
Game 2: Washington (plus 170) 6, Tampa Bay 2 (Shots: Washington 37-35)
Game 3: Washington -115, total of 6 (Under -115)
As we mentioned yesterday, Washington has a stunning 7-1 scoring edge at even strength through two games, and an impressive shot count advantage of 69-56 considering they’ve been ahead almost the whole time. Even bettors who thought the Caps offered value at the series or early game prices weren’t expecting THIS level of dominance.
Washington is now -400 to win the series with three home games ahead (if needed) and a 2-0 series lead. But Tampa Bay did win four straight games vs. Boston, a team that market was higher on than Washington entering the postseason.
NBA Playoffs: Golden State barely breaks a sweat in win at Houston
What you saw Monday night was the version of the Golden State Warriors that nobody has a chance against. Even when tied at 56 at halftime, the consensus from TV and twitter media was that Houston was working very hard to get its baskets, while Golden State was having an easy time of it. That would ultimately matter as the Warriors coasted to a relative laugher. Let’s see which key stat categories mattered most.
Golden State (plus 1.5) 119, Houston 106
2-point Pct: Golden State 62%, Houston 54%
3-pointers: Golden State 13/33, Houston 13/37
Free Throws: Golden State 22/25, Houston 15/21
Rebounds: Golden State 37, Houston 42
Turnovers: Golden State 9, Houston 13
Golden State shot 40% on treys, which is the same as 60% on 2s. Then, it shot 62% on 2s. If you foul its most dangerous threats, those guys are going to make their free throws.
Pretty awful defense from Houston all things considered, forcing just nine turnovers and allowing so many open looks. Though, Golden State made it’s share of tough shots too.
The worst news for Houston fans is that James Harden played GREAT! This wasn’t a case of the Rockets’ star having an off-night, or appearing lethargic or tired. Harden shot 14 of 24 from the floor, picked up eight extra points drawing fouls, and finished the evening with 41 points, seven assists, and only four turnovers. Houston still lost by double digits!
You don’t want to rule a series over after just one game. But home-court advantage is already lost for Houston (after all that time spent earning it). There are no other rabbits to pull out of the hat. Harden won’t be better than this four times. Houston’s offense doesn’t create what Golden State’s offense creates.
Though, Golden State does have a history of losing focus when it gets too comfortable. That shows up in the turnover category (nine is low for the Warriors), and with too many forced shots in traffic. You could say this is still Golden State’s series to lose. Houston doesn’t look like it could impose its will in any meaningful way unless GS gets overconfident and complacent…or unless the Rockets get very hot from long range. That’s not really “imposing its will” though. That’s crossing your fingers and hoping treys fall.
Game 2 will be Wednesday night in Houston. First numbers up were Houston -2 and 225 (again).
NBA Tuesday: The fork in the road is here in Cleveland-Boston series
We talked about the series opener in depth yesterday…and the fact that two competing narratives were still in play. Either Cleveland’s habit of starting slow and punting when behind is about to lead to another big bounce back win…or Boston’s X’s and O’s from the superior head coach are going to continue exploiting Cleveland’s defensive holes.
Cleveland at Boston (8:35 p.m. ET on ESPN, Boston leads 1-0)
Game 1: Boston (plus 1.5) 108, Cleveland 83
Game 2: pick-em, total of 203
The fact that the line has come DOWN to pick-em even though Cleveland is in the traditional bounce back spot is a clear red flag that the most important market influences are bigger believers in Boston than they were before. We’ll run the numbers for you tomorrow.
MLB Monday: Costly losses for backers of three of the “Magnificent Seven”
Three teams in “The Magnificent Seven” preseason powers lost as favorites priced at least -150 Monday. If you’re new to the newsletter, we’re referring to the seven teams projected to win at least 90 games in the March marketplace…Washington, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston, New York Yankees, Cleveland, and Houston. The Dodgers haven’t been magnificent for awhile now. These three weren’t Monday…
*Cleveland (-275) lost to Detroit 6-3
*Boston (-155) lost to Oakland 6-5
*Chicago Cubs (-150) lost to Atlanta 6-5
Let’s take a closer look at those market surprises…
Detroit (plus 250) 6, Cleveland 3
Total Bases Plus Walks: Cleveland 16, Detroit 21
Starting Pitchers: Carrasco 6.2 IP, 3 ER, Fiers 6 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Cleveland 1.1 IP, 3 ER, Detroit 3 IP, 1 ER
Two homers for Niko Goodrum helped push the Tigers over the top. These two teams weren’t supposed to be involved in a race this season. That’s why Cleveland was so exorbitant in Monday’s market. But, Detroit is now within two games of the Tribe with an 18-22 record compared to 20-20 for Cleveland. The AL Central is so bad this season that you can go 4-2 over six games and it feels like a super-surge. Cleveland is now down 10.5 betting units in 2018. This win moves Detroit above break even despite that losing record.
Oakland (plus 140) 6, Boston 5
Total Bases Plus Walks: Oakland 23, Boston 17
Starting Pitchers: Manaea 6 IP, 3 ER, Porcello 6 IP, 5 ER
Bullpen: Oakland 3 IP, 1 ER, Boston 3 IP, 1 ER
Only one walk in the whole game! Remember when many were complaining that baseball was boring because too many hitters were patiently trying to draw walks. Now people are complaining that everybody’s just swinging for the fences. Boston drops out of its first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the AL East with a 28-13 record. Oakland pulls back within a game of .500 at 20-21. Boston is still up about 8.5 betting units despite the loss.
Atlanta (plus 130) 6, Chicago Cubs 5
Total Bases Plus Walks: Atlanta 27, Chicago 18
Starting Pitchers: Teheran 6 IP, 4 ER, Quintana 4.2 IP, 6 ER
Bullpen: Atlanta 3 IP, 1 ER, Chicago 4.1 IP, 0 ER
Why was it so close when Atlanta earned so many extra offensive bases? The Braves were just 1 of 14 with runners in scoring position, leaving a dozen runners on base. Chicago only stranded six. So, this was a production blowout (aided by eight walks) that only led to a nail biter win. Braves hit three homers off Quintana in his 4.2 innings. Atlanta moves to 25-15 on the season, with a truly stunning 17-8 road record. This was supposed to be an irrelevant team! Bettors are up about 13.5 units if they were backing the Braves from the beginning. Chicago falls to 21-17, down just under 5.5 betting units because the Cubs are favored so often. Note that this was a make-up game from an earlier postponement. The two teams begin a series in Atlanta Tuesday night.
Preakness Week: Purchase “Inside the Preakness” for just $19.99
If you enjoyed our digital “Inside the Derby” publication in advance of the Run for the Rose, you already know how jam-packed with information “Inside the Preakness” will be. Can any dark horse Justify your attention? Can the Derby winner run the table and claim the Triple Crown? Order now. The publication will be emailed to subscribers Wednesday. (Note: if you’re already a subscriber to Point Spread Weekly, you will automatically receive our Triple Crown series.)
More on the big race through the week on VSiN. Ron Flatter will be reporting direct from Pimlico on broadcasts, with articles, and through is popular horse racing podcast.
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