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Odds and Ends

Public Lakers money balancing books in Game 3

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: September 8, 2020, 7:17 pm ET

The Los Angeles Lakers opened as a 5.5-point favorite in Game 3 against the Houston Rockets. Some sportsbooks are dealing Lakers -5, but most shops are down to Lakers -4.5. 

One Vegas bookmaker told me that public money is keeping the line from going down even more. 

"Our professional players came in and took +5.5 right away, one guy came back and bet big at +5 too," he told NBC Sports with assurance of anonymity. "Most of our bigger bets are on Houston, but the public keeps popping L.A. They're betting them straight, moneyline and hitting them in all the parlays."

This happens all the time with teams like the Lakers, Patriots, Dodgers, Yankees and Cowboys. People seem to bet those teams no matter what and it definitely affects the price. It also doesn't hurt that LeBron James is a Laker.

"LeBron has driven up their day-to-day handle, no doubt," said the bookmaker. "Honestly though, people love to bet on and against the guy. He's very polarizing. But we're always liable with Lakers money because of all the California natives that either live here or make the short trip. It's rare that we're rooting for L.A. teams behind the counter." 

Naturally, with strong support from more professional players, the Rockets moneyline price has also dipped quite a bit. Houston opened as high as +220 at one Vegas casino and the consensus line now is about 50 cents lower at +170. That's pretty substantial for an NBA Playoff game. 

"Our worst case scenario would be an outright Rockets win," the bookmaker added. "Then again, Houston winning the game would also kill all those Laker moneyline parlays. One guy bet us 10 parlays with Lakers moneyline in every one. It's like he already knows the outcome."

Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot