Thomas’ status for Game 6 throws doubt in equation for bettors and oddsmakers alike


USA TODAY Sports

Tonight is as light a night as you’ll get in the NBA Playoffs, with only one game on tap. But that contest certainly carries some weight, as it’s a first-round elimination game in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics – Open: Hawks -1.5; Move: Hawks -2

The Hawks lead this best-of-7 series 3-2 and could punch their ticket to the second round, if they can do what neither team has done through the first five games – win on the road. Atlanta rolled in Game 5 at home Tuesday night, winning 110-83 as a 7.5-point favorite.

From a betting perspective, the bigger news is the status of Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, who sprained his left ankle early in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss. (The Celtics were down by 31 at that point, causing many to wonder why he was even in the game.) Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology, said due to Thomas’ uncertain status, his books opened the Hawks at -1.5.

Although it appears Thomas will play, bettors have pushed the opening line up a notch.

“The Hawks are at -2 now,” Simbal said Thursday morning from The Cosmopolitan, one of several CG books in Las Vegas. “Isaiah’s status throws a little bit of doubt there. That’s the logic behind the Hawks being a bit of a [road] favorite.”

Simbal added that bettors are also looking at the over, with the total at 198 after opening at 197.

The Hawks are also -2 at online site BetNow, though the Celtics are slightly outdrawing the Hawks on tickets (53 percent to 47 percent).

“This series turned out to be as even as we had thought it would be,” BetNow’s oddsmaker said. “If the line were to change in the coming hours, we might get some more action for the favorites, but we are not anticipating anything major.”

BetNow wagerers are running opposite CG on the total.

“We are seeing that our bettors are going for the under, but the trend is still very even,” Betnow’s oddsmaker said.

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

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