This is wild.
A $100 bet on the Sixers to win the series – you know, the one in which they trail 3-1, were trailing 3-0, and look like a shell of their actual selves in – would net you a cool $318 at 5dimes.eu.
Generally speaking, a 3x payout is a decent gamble. But for a team trailing 3-1, it feels like the odds should be much, much lower, with a more significant payout if you are willing to wager on the Sixers to win the series.
And yet, they’re not.
Conversely, the Pelicans, who trail the Warriors 3-1, are +9000. That’s not a typo– those are three 0’s. The Jazz, in the same position, are +10000(!!!) against the Rockets.
Somebody loves the Sixers, and is wagering heavily on them. Before Game 4, the number was as low as +450 yesterday– a $450 payout on a $100 bet for a team trailing a series 3-0, a Tyrone Hill that has never been climbed in NBA history.
Naturally, the Sixers are 1.5-point favorites in Game 5, as they have been (favorites) all series.
Every time we post about the lines, someone tweets me something along the lines of “who cares” or “what does that have to do with anything,” and though the answer is often “it doesn’t,” gambling odds represent an amalgam of data, public sentiment and big money betting. Though the Eagles were Underdogs in each of their playoff games, we noted how the lines generally moved in their direction and their chances to win the Super Bowl were not damaged all that much following Carson Wentz’s injury. Vegas usually has an inkling when something is unlikely, but plausible, as opposed to impossible. +9000 and +10000 is borderline impossible. +318 is difficult but reasonable. That’s where the Sixers find themselves right now.
Why? Who knows. Coming into the series winning 20 out of 21 games helps. The Celtics missing their best player does as well. But even after poor performances in Games 1-3, the Sixers remained a favorite in Game 4, and will be again, on the road, in Game 5. They held late leads in both Games 2 and 3, and are just a few possessions away from being up 3-1 in the series, this despite questionable rotation choices, a long layoff, and a stagnant offense. Last night, they seemed to find their game – with the help of TJ McConnell – and for the first time all series made the Celtics look like the inferior team. What’s more, the Celtics seemed ill-equipped, perhaps tired(!), to keep up with McConnell’s speed and then had to resort to Greg Monroe (lol) for some offense.
Here’s what The Action Network had to say before the game:
This thing went sideways REALLY fast. Of the four second-round series, this one definitely wins the award for the one I have gotten the most wrong, and it really all spawns from Game 3. My philosophy was that Philly would absolutely win its three home games, and it just needed one in Boston. Well, cue the “Price is Right” horn after that terrible display of basketball to close out Saturday’s loss. The really wild thing is the market hasn’t totally turned on Philly from a series standpoint. The Sixers are about +500, almost criminally low, to come back from down 0-3 in a best-of-seven series, which, oh by the way, has NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE in the NBA. We all just don’t want to believe this is happening, and yet here we are.
I’ve passed on two of the three individual games so far in this series, but now with seemingly everyone off the Philadelphia bandwagon in Game 4 (lots of bets on Boston so far), the time is now! Sixers -6.5. They are coming off an atrocious shooting game, in which they also had atrocious mistakes, atrocious turnovers and atrocious shot-taking in the final 15 seconds instead of passing it out for a foul to be called. I think a bounce-back at home to show any semblance of pride seems likely, and I get a lower number by THREE POINTS than I would have gotten two days ago. What an incredible adjustment from one game to the next without injuries to either team.
The Sixers have fallen behind in the series thanks to a curious decision to remove T.J. McConnell from Game 2 and horrible late-game sequences in Game 3. They are much better than the series record indicates, making them a relatively decent bet with per-game lines now down to under two points.
I’ve felt since Game 1 that the Sixers could rattle off four in a row in this series. I don’t still think it’s likely, seeing as though the Celtics have proved more adept than anyone thought, but this is not some out-of-the-realm-of-possibility scenario. They could win the series, and Vegas doesn’t even think it’s all that crazy if they do.