NBA Sharp Report: Did Pro Bettors Predict Kawhi Leonard’s Absence?

NBA Sharp Report: Did Pro Bettors Predict Kawhi Leonard’s Absence? article feature image
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard

  • Sharps were betting Clippers vs. Jazz even before Kawhi Leonard was ruled out, which begs the question of whether they might've known before the market.
  • We examine that betting activity, as well as two earlier bets they've made tonight.

Tonight’s Clippers vs. Jazz matchup looks a whole lot different than it did a few hours ago. Kawhi Leonard’s absence from the lineup has sent the Clips up to 6-point underdogs after opening down at +1.5 when lines were first released.

However, the announcement — which took place shortly after 1 p.m. ET — didn’t simply shoot the line up by 4.5 points, because sharp bettors had already gotten the ball rolling with their heavy support of the Jazz.

Prior to Kawhi’s absence being confirmed, Los Angeles was driving 66% of bets, but it was the Jazz dominating the actual money split, as 64% of dollars were landing on the home team.

With eight Sports Insights Bet Signals — indications of sharp action causing market-wide movement — also hitting the Jazz before the announcement, oddsmakers pushed the line up to Utah -3.5.


Odds as of Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


Immediately after the announcement, the line shifted to -5, and a short time later up to -5.5/-6. But this is Kawhi Leonard we’re talking about — not exactly the type of player to be worth just 1.5/2 points to the spread.

In fact, Mark Gallant’s preseason piece on spread value had Kawhi being a four-point player. Interesting that the current line is right around four points higher than the opener …

Whether or not sharps caught wind of Kawhi rumors this morning isn’t clear, but it sure seems like that could be what took place. What is clear is that this has become a tough game to gauge from a sharp perspective at the current number — at least for the time being.

There are, however, a couple games unaffected by player announcements that are displaying some clear professional action: Knicks vs. Magic and T’Wolves vs. Sixers.

Knicks @ Magic

7 p.m. ET

When you lay eight points in an NBA game, you expect to be backing one of the best teams in the league. But Magic -8? That’s a little tougher for most bettors to stomach.

Perhaps for that reason, 70% of bettors have taken the points with the Knicks since this line opened at +7.5/8. Despite that, Orlando is now up to 9.5-point favorite …

The Knicks announced that Dennis Smith Jr. would miss this game in the morning, but the real kicker for this line move has been sharp action on the home team.

Orlando has generated 64% of money on its 30% backing, meaning it’s drawing much bigger bets — the ones more likely to be made by sharps. And Sports Insights’ Bet Signals have confirmed the professional action, triggering three moves on the Magic at -8.5 and -9.

Sharp angle: Magic (moved from -7.5 to -9.5) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Timberwolves @ 76ers

7 p.m. ET

This over/under has been among the biggest movers on today’s board, and while public bettors and sharps seem to be in agreement, it’s definitely the latter causing oddsmakers to make the big jump.

Fifty-five percent of bettors have taken the under, and once again they’re accounting for a much higher percentage of actual money — 81% in this case.

Another two Bet Signals have hit the under — at 225 and 226 — which has helped drive this number down from its openers of 226/227 to the current consensus at 222.5.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 226.5 to 222.5) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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