By Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
It Boston Celtics and Golden Nation Soldier continue NBA Tonight’s final with Game 3 at 9 p.m. ET in Boston.
At FOX Bet, Boston is a 3.5-point favorite (-110) and Golden State is +125 on the moneyline. But, before you place any bets, let me take you down memory lane.
Years ago in my early twenties, I was sitting in Caesars Palace during the NCAA Tournament next to an older man who was researching the betting sheet with the game of the day..
He circled his favorite bet in pencil, and sure enough, I started selling him why Butler caught too many points against Wisconsin at Sweet 16. The Bulldogs are five-point underdogs and I love that side.
“Play them (to win) live,” he suggested. “Pay better.”
The man explained his theory that it’s more profitable to lay down points if you like the favorite, but take the money line if you like the smaller underdog. Correct exercise to minimize juices and maximize gains.
Butler disappoints Wisconsin 61-54, validating my first time playing moneyline instead from taking points. Instead of betting $55 to win $50 on Butlers +5, I bet $50 to win $80 on Bulldogs +160.
“Just pick the winner, kid.”
Picking a winner is still a challenge, but this “point spread doesn’t matter” logic held serve through the two 2022 NBA Finals games.
The Celtics won Game 1 straight away as +140 road dogs and the Warriors hit back easily in Game 2. The Warriors won by 19 points as home favorites 4.5 points.
Obviously, the two-game sample size is minuscule, but one Las Vegas handicapper found an absolute doozy dating back to the last game of the 2011 NBA Finals. According to Ralph Michaels, the winner of the Finals game was 62-0-1 ATS over that span when the line was -6 or less.
That’s not a typo. 62-0-1.
Once again, the Celtics are the 3.5-point home favorite in Game 3 on Wednesday night, and while you may be eyeing the Boston money line (-160) for live or parlay bets, the proof is in the pudding math.
You should put the points at -110 instead of paying the extra 50 cents.
And for those of you Warriors supporters out there, instead of picking up 3.5 at -110, Michaels system has over 10 years of data explaining why it’s better in the long run to play Golden State on the moneyline at +130.
May I take this point home for you one more time?
-110 > -160 and +130 > -110.
So, keep my Caesars Palace anecdote in mind as you place bets for Game 3 and for the rest of this exciting series.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably vote against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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2022 NBA Finals Odds: Expert strategy for Warriors-Celtics bet
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