Sports betting roundup: Bettors get in on the action as NBA and NHL playoffs start

It’s officially playoff time in the NBA and NHL and bettors around the country jumped right into the action.

Both leagues began their postseasons last week, with the NBA play-in games starting Tuesday and the first round opening over the weekend. The NHL’s regular season ended Thursday, and the first round of the playoffs began Saturday.

The NBA Finals will start on June 6, while the Stanley Cup Final dates haven’t been set but will likely be the first week of June.


Home teams dominated in both leagues. In the NBA’s eight Game 1s, home teams went 7-1 against the spread, with all home teams winning. Oklahoma City was the only team not to cover. The Thunder were 8.5-point favorites and needed a late rally to beat New Orleans 94-92. The Bucks (over Pacers) and Clippers (over Mavericks) won as home underdogs.

In the NHL’s six Game 1s over the weekend, the home teams went undefeated. In each game, the home team received the most tickets and the most money for moneyline bets.

Sunday’s matchup between the Jets and Avalanche saw the over (5.5) hit only 15 minutes into the game, and the Jets went on to win 7-6.


The Clippers beat the Mavericks 109-97 in Game 1 on Sunday. With Kawhi Leonard out with an injury, the Clippers closed as 3.5-point underdogs at home. Bettors at BetMGM Sportsbook backed the Mavericks, accounting for 93% of the money with against-the-spread bets for the game.

Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, taking the lead for good on the final lap. He went into the race with +2500 odds to win and only accounted for 1.6% of the tickets and 1% of the money. On the final lap, Reddick was in third place out of Turn 4, but earned a slight 0.208-second win.

Ryan Garcia defeated Devin Haney by a majority decision on Saturday at the Barclays Center. He had three knockdowns during the fight. Garcia closed at +375 to win after opening at +333. Despite being the underdog, 87% of the bets and 51% of the money were on Garcia to win. Additionally, he was +6600 to win by majority decision.


The NFL Draft is Thursday through Saturday in Detroit, with plenty of storylines to follow, especially at the top of the draft with quarterbacks.

NFL Draft odds at BetMGM Sportsbook have moved quite a bit and will continue until the names are called Thursday night.

The Bears will almost certainly take Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall, and he is -10000 to be the first pick. But it gets interesting after that.

Odds to be the No. 2 overall pick (Commanders) have Jayden Daniels at -155 and Drake Maye +125, with J.J. McCarthy lurking at +1800. Then at No. 3 overall (Patriots), Maye is -130, Daniels +160 and McCarthy +300.

McCarthy has climbed the draft boards in a big way over the last few months. When markets opened, he was +20000 to be the No. 2 overall pick.


This column was provided to The Associated Press by BetMGM Sportsbook.


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