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I couldn’t decide which league to gamble on. I don’t care about baseball right now with playoff hockey and playoff basketball happening. So, we will be looking at what the public is betting on in the NBA and NHL.
NBA: Bucks (-2) vs. Heat (+2) 7:40 p.m. ET
If you read my article trying to find value in the first round, you know that I believe that this Bucks and Heat series is going to be close. After Game 2, I look like an idiot since Milwaukee destroyed Miami 132-98, but I’m not going to give up on the Bucks winning in six games. For that to happen, the Heat need to start winning some games. The public doesn’t believe that’s going to happen tonight, as 82% of bets are on Miami’s spread.
We’ve had one close game and a blowout this series. In Game 1, the Bucks were able to win 109-107 in an overtime thriller. There were many questions for the Bucks this season. Would the addition of Jrue Holiday make this team that much better? Could they finally have success in the playoffs? Would the Heat upset them again this playoff? For the last two years, the Bucks were the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs; they didn’t look like the same dominating team this year, since they finished with the 3rd seed, going 46-26. The Heat looked exhausted and that their playoff run was a fluke when they started off the season horribly. They were able to turn things around; they finished with the 6th seed, going 40-32.
Milwaukee and Miami play a very different offense, but are both great defensive teams. The Heat finished with the 17th offensive rating, 16th in FG%, 19th in 3P%, and 29th in pace. The Bucks have a much better offense and play at a blistering speed compared to the Heat; the Bucks finished 1st ppg, 5th offensive rating, 3rd in FG%, 4th in 3P%, and 3rd in pace. What makes Miami have a chance in this series is their defense; they finished with the 8th defensive rating, 5th in ppg allowed, 9th in steals, and 6th in FG% allowed. With defensive studs Jrue Holiday and Giannis, the Bucks’ defense is nothing to sneeze at; they finished 10th in defensive rating, 22nd ppg allowed, 5th FG% allowed, and 29th in 3P% allowed. Being 29th in 3P% allowed is going to be a problem for Milwaukee, since they have to face Duncan Robinson, who has shot 9-19 from deep in this series. Jimmy Butler had a horrible game in Game 2, going 4-10 FG with only 10 points. Last year during the Bucks-Heat series, Jimmy Butler averaged 23.4 points.
The Heat are 21-15 at home, compared to the Bucks, who went 20-16 as a road team. Milwaukee is the second-worst team against the spread when they are on the road, going 14-22. The Heat didn’t finish with a great against the spread record at home, since they only went 15-19-2. The Heat and Bucks’ ATS stats wash out, so this more of a gut bet. I don’t believe that Jimmy Butler will have another bad game or that this game will be a closer game than Game 1 and will be more like Game 1. So I’m fading the public with my pick.
NHL: Hurricanes (-152) vs. Predators (+128) 9:30 p.m. ET
This is a surprisingly great series that many people thought was going to be a sweep. Carolina looked like a wagon going into the playoffs since they finished 1st in the Central Division, going 36-12-8. Nashville, by comparison, made the playoffs by only 4 points, going 31-23-2. This series will be determined by who has the home-ice advantage, which Carolina has. The home team has won every game this series, with Carolina winning Game One 5-2, Game Two 3-0, and Game Five 3-2 in OT. Nashville was able to win Game Three 5-4 and Game Four 4-3 in double overtime. Carolina is looking to end the series in Nashville tonight, and the public thinks that will happen, as 70% of picks are on the Hurricanes’ Moneyline.
There’s a reason the Hurricanes finished first in the Central division; they had 0.67 SRS, 3.13 goals per game, allowing 2.39 goals per game, were able to convert on 25.61% of their power play chances, and successfully killed 85.23% of power plays. On the other hand, there’s a reason the Predators finished with the last playoff spot in the Central Division. They had a 0.03 SRS, scored 2.70 goals per game, allowed 2.75 goals per game, scored 17.61% of their power plays, and stopped 75.44% of their power-killing opportunities. The fact that Nashville allowed more goals per game than they scored is very alarming.
You can almost throw all of these stats out because of how drastically different these teams are at home. It’s not only this playoff series where the home team has the upper hand. For the entire season, the home team has won. The home team is 11-0 this year, and I’m fading the public with my pick because I believe the home team will be victorious again.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers NHL Correct Score Insurance where if you miss on your correct score but the team you pick wins, they will give you a refund for your bet. If you’re very bullish on the Predators, you can bet their Moneyline and give out a correct score, which I think will be 3-2.