NBA action report: Bettors continue to ignore Raptors in favor of Cavaliers


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The NBA Playoffs’ Eastern Conference finals resume Monday night, but bettors don’t seem to think the best-of-7 series will get as interesting as the Western Conference finals. Covers talks about tonight’s matchup with Jeff Stoneback, manager of The Mirage sportsbook, and John Lester, senior lines manager for online site

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors – Open: Cavaliers -6; Move: Cavaliers -6.5

Cleveland was dealt its first loss of the 2016 playoffs in Game 3, tumbling 99-84 as a 6-point favorite in Toronto as the Raptors climbed back into the series. Prior to that, Cleveland was 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS in the postseason. But the Cavs’ loss hasn’t diminished wagering support for Cleveland heading into the 8:30 p.m. Eastern tipoff for Game 4.

Stoneback said the line had been stable until early this afternoon at his Las Vegas Strip shop.

“We’re getting close to going to 6.5,” he said. “The tickets are about 4-1 in favor of the Cavaliers, and the money is about 15-1 on the Cavaliers.”

Indeed, shortly after Stoneback’s comments, The Mirage and other MGM sportsbooks moved the Cavs to -6.5. The most significant interest in the underdog Raptors didn’t come against the spread.

“It looks like somebody placed a large moneyline bet on the Raptors,” Stoneback said. “A nice five-digit sum at +230.”

Bookmaker was also stuck on 6 before ultimately adjusting to 6.5 midafternoon.

“It’s mostly the same story as Game 3, with the majority of the wagers and money from the public on Cleveland,” Lester said. “We only have about 20 percent of the handle on Toronto, although the total handle is smaller.”

And it’s not just ATS wagers on Cleveland.

“The Cavs’ moneyline has been hit pretty hard in the past few hours, with some sizeable wagers,” Lester said.

The total has been steady at both The Mirage and Bookmaker, at 197.5.

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

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