Because there are no major live sports in the United States on Wednesday night elsewhere – Major League Baseball returns post-break Thursday with one game – Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks could be the most-wagered of the series unless perhaps it gets to a Game 7. The Bucks are 4.5-point home favorites at William Hill Sportsbook, but the big wagering storyline right now is on the total of 221.
A whopping 90 percent of all money wagered on the total as of this writing is on Over 221 points as are 72 percent of all tickets. The first two games went Over 221, while Game 3 ended at 220 points.
"The total is a bigger decision for us right now than the spread," said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. "That is probably going to change by the time this game tips off, but the Over is getting pounded pretty good. These two teams both like to get up and down the floor, and I guess they think that pace will lead to a lot of points. We opened 220, then all the money came in on Over 220.5, and now we're at 221."
Milwaukee had been a 4-point favorite, but 65 percent of all money wagered and 63 percent of tickets on the spread have pushed that up a half-point. The moneylines have shifted from Bucks -175 to -190 and Suns +155 to +170. Nearly 70 percent of all money on the ML is on the Suns and 67 percent of tickets sold. The biggest wager of the game is $100K from Washington, D.C., on the Suns ML +160 for a total potential payout of $260,000.
"I think it'll be a big handle, this is the only major sport on tonight," said Bogdanovich. "I hope it'll be our biggest handle of the Finals so far, but the determining factor will be how many big bets we get. The handle will still be strong regardless, though. It's very possible this will be the highest-bet game in terms of tickets too."
Most of the SportsLine experts are backing the Bucks tonight, including myself (on the ML), and one has yet to post a total pick. The Suns haven't lost back-to-back games since Round 1 vs. the Lakers. The Bucks have just one home loss in the postseason.
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