In this game of sports betting, recency bias can be your worst nightmare — especially if you are emotionally attached as a fan of a particular team.
After Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, buyers should beware of overvaluing the Boston Celtics.
Yes, they just won by 25 points on the road against a proven, perennial playoff team in the Miami Heat. Yes, you could argue the Celtics were one bad third quarter away from being up 2-0 in the series before coming back home to TD Garden. Yes, the Celtics have beaten some of the NBA’s biggest stars in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
And yes, you still need to be careful with how you bet on the C’s at the window.
Remember, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has a championship pedigree. So does the Miami front office that hired him in both Pat Riley and the Arison family.
Jimmy Butler is another reason to proceed with caution when betting this series moving forward. In Game 1, Butler showed why his nickname is “Jimmy Buckets.” Nearly all of his 41 points came from attacking the interior of Boston’s defense in a menacing, relentless fashion.
The Celtics did a great job of adjusting defensively to Butler in Game 2. Not to mention the return of Marcus Smart helped the cause, as well. Yet Butler still scored nearly 30 points in a losing effort Thursday night. Translation: He isn’t going anywhere in this series. And the Heat are due to get more production from Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro moving forward.
The latest series odds heavily suggest that the recency bias is in full effect. The exact series finish favorite now is five games at +230. The Celtics to win the series outright also is at a heavy -240.
Can Boston win the series? Absolutely. Will Boston win the series? Probably. But when betting these games, always use the moment to your advantage to find value.
For example, in Game 3, The Heat currently are 5.5-point underdogs against the spread and +205 on the moneyline.
Even the point totals for this series have provided some value through two games. Every expert, pundit and fan expected this series to be low scoring. The Over has cashed at plus money in both games so far.
The Game 3 point total opened up at 208 and money is flowing in for the Under as you read this.
Personally, I am excited about the Celtics’ run and believe they are on a collision course with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But I also have learned to bet with my head and not my heart. I highly recommend the same for you.
My official bet for Game 3: Heat to cover the +5.5, Celtics to win on the moneyline and Over 208 total points.