NBA betting: Public and sharp money all over Wizards vs. Celtics in play-in game

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The Washington Wizards have been on a tear over the last month, and the bettors who have noticed have been cashing in in a big way.

Over the team’s final 20 regular season games, the Wizards went 15-5 straight up and 15-4-1 against the spread. That run earned them a spot in the NBA’s play-in tournament, where they will face the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

The Celtics really struggled down the stretch, winning just two of their final eight regular season games. Dating back to April 23, Boston endured a 2-9 ATS stretch before covering in their last two regular season games, games that had no bearing on their playoff seed.

Despite the contrasting finishes to the regular season, the Wizards are currently 2-point underdogs at BetMGM, a slight movement from the Celtics -2.5 opening figure. The majority of the action, though, has been on Washington.

According to figures released by BetMGM late Tuesday morning, 68% of the bets and 77% of the money were on the Wizards. Consequently, the sportsbook is rooting for the Celtics.

“Sharp bettors are on the Wizards as underdogs against the Celtics. Washington winning would be the worst outcome for the sportsbook,” said Seamus Magee, a sports trader for BetMGM.

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Pacers-Hornets line shifts with Caris LeVert out

In the earlier Eastern Conference play-in game, the Indiana Pacers will host the Charlotte Hornets. The Pacers opened as 3-point favorites at BetMGM, but the Pacers dropped to 1.5-point favorites Tuesday afternoon after news broke that Caris LeVert would be unavailable for Tuesday night’s game.

LeVert, the team’s second-leading scorer, was listed as out and in the league’s healthy and safety protocol. That means he will be sidelined for the next 10 to 14 days.

It’s a big blow for the Pacers, who were already banged up with Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Edmond Sumner and Aaron Holiday all listed as questionable due to injury. LeVert has been playing at a high level recently with seven 20-point performances in the month of May, including three games with at least 30 points.

LeVert was traded to Indiana from the Brooklyn Nets. Upon his arrival in Indiana, his physical revealed a cancerous mass on his kidney. After undergoing surgery, LeVert returned to the court and made his Pacers debut in March.

Indiana has struggled as a home favorite this season, going just 6-14 against the spread. However, the Pacers have covered three of their last five games as a home favorite while the Hornets are 3-11 ATS as a road underdog since March 1.

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