Locky: Has the Betting Market Adjusted Enough to Chris Paul’s Injury?
Pictured: Chris Paul and James Harden. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
So … some things happened on Thursday night. You may have heard. First off, the under I gave out here won by a million, so, hey, that’s something. Also, this series got a lot more interesting because Houston won dramatically and took a 3-2 lead.
But really, the most important thing that happened was Chris Paul’s injury. You see it in the Game 6 spread, currently sitting at +12/+12.5, whereas Games 3 and 4 (also in Oakland) closed at 8 and 7.5, respectively. One could make an argument that Paul is worth those 4 points. You could also make the case that even five seconds of observing him on the court at the end of Game 5 would tell you he’s done for the series. I firmly believe we aren’t seeing any more of him.
What’s really brutal for Houston in this spot isn’t even losing Paul; it’s losing Paul combined with the fatigue the condensed rotation is already feeling. This is sort of what Mike D’Antoni does — he plays very few guys and exhausts them to the point that they collapse before they achieve real success in the playoffs. And now his second-best player is hurt. If D’Antoni rolls out Nene, Joe Johnson or the also-injured Luc Mbah a Moute, I’m not sure the Rockets can come close to hanging with what Golden State will bring on the other side. It puts them in an impossible situation, with six rotational exhausted players and a bunch more who shouldn’t see the court.
With that in mind, this spread is correct, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a lean (and who isn’t this time of year, really?), maybe it’s actually a little short, just because I would wonder what happens when Golden State gets up big early and Houston knows there’s only one rest/travel day until Game 7. D’Antoni is known for playing his starters a ton, but if there was ever a time to white-flag it and pull everyone, tomorrow night may be it. You could make the argument that this game is Warriors by 30 a lot more often than it’s Warriors by five.
What I’m really curious about is this: When the Warriors win, if it’s by a large margin, what effect does that have on the Game 7 spread? If we find out at some point that Paul isn’t playing (which I believe we will), you’ll probably see Warriors -3.5/4 in Game 7. Maybe a tiny bit more, especially if Game 6 is a beatdown.
It’s no surprise that the series price reopened Golden State -120 and is now -165. If it stayed -120, you could grab the Warriors now and take Houston’s moneyline for Game 7 at +130 or higher once the market opened, semi-guaranteeing a profit (you’d only need to sweat a Houston Game 6 victory). But everyone figured out what was happening there right away.
Anyway, this was a really long post telling you not to do anything, but here we are. Maybe Game 7’s market will surprise me and we’ll have more to discuss then.