All the world’s gaga over Jeremy Lin, businesses are cashing in on his surprising rise and the sports books in Las Vegas are no different. In true market economy form, betting lines are following the money, creating an interesting opportunity for the wagering public.
Since Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise to stardom, which began after he came into the game against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, the Knicks are 6-3 against the spread. The line in their last game (against the Nets) closed at -9, after heavy action came in on the Nets at +10 and +9.5 late. This line looked a bit inflated from the start and as it turned out, with the Nets beating the Knicks 100-92, it was. This was most likely due to sports books assuming that most square bettors (the betting public), caught up in Linsanity, would back the Knicks at a number in, or close to, double digits regardless of factors that seemingly pointed in the other direction.
There were a few things that most of the betting public didn’t account for. Carmelo Anthony, and less importantly, Baron Davis, both returned to the lineup that night and had no prior game action to gel in the new-look Knicks offense with Lin running the show. Add in the fact that J.R. Smith had only played one game as a Knick since being signed, that Iman Shumpert — arguably the Knicks’ best shut-down defender — sat out with a knee injury, and that Tyson Chandler was dealing with a wrist injury, and you could make a case that the line against the Nets should have been lower than -9.
As long as Lin continues to amaze with his great play running the point for the Knicks, we should continue to see inflated lines and we can thank the starstruck public for that.
Pick and choose your spots wisely when playing the Knicks, especially as a favorite, going forward. Until we see that Carmelo’s return, Smith’s impact and Linsanity can all co-exist, evaluate wisely.
Tonight’s line against the Atlanta Hawks opened at Knicks -4.5 and is already up to -6.5 at the time of this writing. Evidence here again of the Linflation factor? It certainly looks like it.