Bettors still backing Durant-less Dubs

Today is March 2, 2017, A.D. – After Durant. Indeed, it’s the first game Kevin Durant is missing due to a knee injury suffered Tuesday night, and he could be out a month or more. Covers checks in on where the action is for that contest and the other two on the NBA docket tonight, with insights from Nick Bogdanovich of William Hill US here in Nevada, and Scott Cooley of offshore sportsbook

Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls – Open: +7.5; Move: +8; Move: +7.5

This game has seen some money and movement in the aftermath of Durant suffering an MCL sprain and bone bruise early in Tuesday night’s game at Washington. Golden State (50-10 SU, 27-31-2 ATS) ended up losing that game 112-108 as a 7-point favorite, the Warriors’ fourth consecutive ATS setback.

Chicago (30-30 SU and ATS) is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing home loss to Denver, 125-107 as a 2.5.-point chalk on Tuesday night. That halted a 4-0 SU and ATS surge, which included a 117-99 victory at Cleveland on Saturday to put the Bulls above .500.

Early indications are that bettors aren’t terribly concerned with Durant’s absence for this 8 p.m. Eastern contest, the opener of a doubleheader on TNT.

“The public is still siding with Golden State sans Durant, and we’ve even taken a few smart bets on the Warriors thus far, which initially moved the number to -8,” said Cooley, odds consultant for “Perhaps the thought process is that the Dubs want to come out and prove they’ll be just fine without their leading scorer. Currently, we have 75 percent of the tickets on Golden State, while the money handle favors the visitors just slightly.”

Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US, has made similar moves but likes the balance he’s seen.

“Two-way action, so I guess bettors are treading with caution without Durant,” he said. “Usually, we’re rooting against Golden State. But right now, it’s pretty even. Maybe bettors will wait and see how the Warriors play without Durant.”

Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers – Open: -1; Move: Pick; Move: -1

Oklahoma City is the far better team in the standings, but is the shortest of underdogs for this 10:30 p.m. tipoff. The Thunder (35-25 SU, 34-25-1 ATS) have won four in a row SU and ATS, all at home, including Tuesday’s 109-106 victory catching 1.5 points against Utah.

Portland (24-35 SU, 23-36 ATS) is coming off a four-game road swing where the last three stops were out east – at Orlando, Toronto and Detroit. The Blazers have dropped five of their last six SU and are on a 1-8 ATS nosedive, including Tuesday’s 120-113 overtime loss to the Pistons as a 4-point road pup.

The line briefly went from -1 to pick ‘em this morning at William Hill’s books across Nevada. But Bogdanovich said he moved Portland back to -1 on the news that Thunder guard Victor Oladipo (back) is unlikely to play tonight. opened Portland -1, swung it to Oklahoma City -1, then went back to Blazers -1. Cooley said the total is where the sharps have weighed in, taking the over. The total opened at 220, dropped to 218.5, but is now up to 222.

Charlotte Hornets at Phoenix Suns – Open: +4; Move: None

Despite Charlotte’s subpar 26-34 SU mark (25-32-3 ATS), the squad is just a couple games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets are coming off a much-needed 109-104 road win over the Lakers on Tuesday, pushing as a 5-point fave to halt a 1-6 SU slide (3-4 ATS). This is the fifth game of a six-game road trip for Charlotte.

Phoenix (18-42 SU, 29-30-1 ATS) is downright awful, with the worst SU record in the Western Conference. The Suns are 2-8 SU (4-6 ATS) over their last 10 games, losing the last three in a row, including a 130-112 setback at Memphis as a 9-point pup Tuesday night.

Bogdanovich said there’s been no movement at William Hill’s shops, with action “pretty quiet.” Cooley said there’s been some sharp action on the Hornets, who opened -3 and are up to -4.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.


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