Line Movement, Sharp Action for All 3 Thursday NBA Games: Classic Pros vs. Joes Battle With Lakers vs. Nets

Line Movement, Sharp Action for All 3 Thursday NBA Games: Classic Pros vs. Joes Battle With Lakers vs. Nets article feature image
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Photo credit: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James

You might be familiar with The Action Network through our content, but we also provide a host of tools for bettors, season-long fantasy players and DFS fanatics. One I want to highlight in this piece is Sports Insights’ live odds page, which allows you to see real-time odds movement and how lines are moving.

As a bettor, it’s not only interesting but important to note where sharp money is coming in on a game. Sometimes a team will get 70% of the spread bets, but the line will actually move drastically in the favor of the other team.

Aligning yourself on the side of smart bettors — or just making sure you’re not consistently on the square side — can be invaluable for those looking to step up their betting game.

In this piece, I’ll walk through both NBA games on the schedule tonight and show how to use the Sports Insights tools to analyze line movement and why the movement has occurred. For reference, here are a few phrases I’ll use, if you aren’t familiar with them:

  • Steam move: Sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the entire sports betting marketplace. Steam is the result of a sudden overload of money placed at multiple sportsbooks and, in most cases, occurs due to betting groups, betting syndicates and a few key players with the resources to “get down heavily” at multiple locations, all at once.
  • Reverse line movement: Betting line movement that contradicts the public betting percentages

Odds as of Thursday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Wizards at Cavaliers

  • Spread: Cavs -2.5
  • Over/Under: 230.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: League Pass

This certainly is the least exciting NBA game of the night, featuring two of the worst teams in the league, but bettors are still getting down.

The action has been all over the place, interestingly enough. Very early this morning when the market opened we first tracked a steam move on the Cavs at -1, but since we’ve tracked two on the Wizards, both at +2.

The line now sits at a consensus number of Cavs -2.5, and they’re definitely getting the majority of the action despite the steam on the Wiz. The Cavs have received 63% of the spread bets and 73% of the total money wagered.

The over/under has dipped two points (230.5) from the opening number (232.5), as the under has gotten 56% of the bets and 67% of the money. We’ve tracked two steam moves on the total: Under 231 and then Over 229.5. It seems bettors thought that opening number was too high but then bought it back a bit when it dipped below 230.

Steam moves tracked: Cavs -1, Wizards +2, Wizards +2, Under 231, Over 229.5

[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at FanDuel]

Lakers at Nets

  • Spread: Lakers -5
  • Over/Under: 229.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Kyrie vs. LeBron on national TV. Let’s do this.

As expected, the Lakers are the public’s team: They’re getting 80% of the bets and 71% of the money. That said, the line has moved from Lakers -5.5 at opening to a consensus -5 currently.

The reason is because we’ve tracked numerous steam moves on the Nets. There was an early move on the Lakers overnight, but since there have been a whopping five (!!) on the Nets, mostly at +6 and +5.5.

The public is making the sharp action somewhat tough to find outside of our tools: The Lakers generate so much public money that bookmakers are hesitant to really move the line too much, allowing bettors to keep hammering the Nets.

The public is split on the total, as both the over and under have received an even 50% of the bets so far. But the over has gotten 75% of the money, and we’ve tracked three steam moves on the over, with no conflicting moves on the under.

That said, this betting market will continue to evolve, especially since we don’t know the status of Anthony Davis. He’s currently questionable with a glute injury, and we’re projecting him at a 50/50 chance to play.

Steam moves tracked: Lakers -5.5, Nets +6, Nets +6, Over 227, Nets +6, Nets +5.5, Over 228, Over 229.5, Nets +5.5
[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at FanDuel]

Mavericks at Blazers

  • Spread: Mavs -4.5
  • Over/Under: 229
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

There’s also an injury situation in this one, as CJ McCollum is also questionable to play. Still, let’s look at how bettors have approached this one so far.

The answer, it seems, is that sharp bettors are all over the Mavs. We’ve tracked five steam moves on the Mavs and just one buyback on the Blazers. That’s actually in line with the public, as 76% of the bets are on the Mavs.

There hasn’t been as much action on the total. We’ve tracked one steam move, which was on the under at 230.5. Nearly 70% of the bets are on the over, which is getting 87% of the money. Still, the total has moved down half a point since opening.

Steam moves tracked: Mavs -1, Mavs -1.5, Blazers +3.5, Under 230.5, Mavs -4, Mavs -4, Mavs -4
[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at FanDuel]

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