Daily public money update: Bettors hammering underdog Hawks

Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) dribbles against the Washington Wizards in the second quarter at State Farm Arena
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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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We’ve got some nice NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs, and MLB action to report on Friday, so it’s a full day. There are a lot of big games, which always attract some big public sides. Let’s take a look at where the public money is going as bettors once again try to beat the books, with the Hawks leading the way.

NBA: Hawks +8 @ Bucks

Well this is something you don’t see every day. A public underdog. It’s rare to see the public be behind a ‘dog this overwhelmingly, but it’s not surprising that the Hawks have captured the hearts of recreational bettors. They’ve been on a tear this postseason, and have done particularly well on the road. Now, 83 percent of the bets and 82 percent of the money are on Atlanta plus the points on Friday night, per DraftKings’ internal numbers shared with us.

Bettors saw the Hawks pull the outright upset in Game 1, and are headed right back to the well for Game 2. The hype for this Hawks team is getting off the charts, and it’s easy to get excited. However, the Bucks shot just 8/36 from beyond the arc, and still nearly won the game. Don’t overreact to a one-game sample size. We’re taking Milwaukee to bounce back in a big way and fading the public here.

NBA: Hawks @ Bucks under 225.5

This one isn’t nearly as lopsided, but it’s still notable. That’s because the only thing rarer than a public underdog is a public under. Bettors usually love to hammer the over in big games and root for shootouts, but not here. 62 percent of the bets and 60 percent of the money are on the under 225.5 for Game 2.

Even though they like the Hawks, the public apparently isn’t expecting another 48-point explosion from Trae Young. It’s hard to argue with that. John Collins also played out of his mind, and the game was played at a fairly fast pace. We agree that things will slow down a bit after feeling each other out in Game 1, so we’re on the under as well.

MLB: Rays -155 vs. Angels

Looking at the baseball slate now, bettors are lining up to back Tampa Bay. The public likes to back the Angels when Shohei Ohtani is on the mound, but when he’s not then all bets are off. 91 percent of the bets and 95 percent of the money line are on the Rays as a solid favorite here.

Additionally, 97 percent of the bets and 97 percent of the money are on their run line at -1.5. This one is interesting since Tampa had been ice cold until recently, losing seven games in a row. They did then bounce back with two wins over the Red Sox entering this series, and that was all bettors needed to see. We agree that now is the time to hop back on the Rays train as they heat up again, and in fact it’s one of our ‘MLB Best Bets‘ for Friday.

MLB: Nationals @ Marlins over 7.5

See what I mean about the public and their overs? Order has been restored after that rare under play in the NBA. That’s because bettors are apparently expecting a lot of runs in this NL East clash in Miami. 78 percent of the bets and 94 percent of the money are on the over 7.5 in this division rivalry game.

This one is also interesting since neither of these teams qualify as offensive powerhouses. This might be a fade of an aging Jon Lester, but Lester has quietly been very solid lately with a 2.55 ERA in his last five outings. Marlins starter Pablo Lopez has been fantastic all season, so we’re fading the public and going under here.

NHL: Lightning -167 vs. Islanders

Finishing things up with some playoff hockey. Nothing more exciting than a Game 7, and bettors know who they like in it. The Islanders pulled off an upset in Game 6 to extend the series, but that’s where their luck is expected by the public to run out. 64 percent of the bets and 77 percent of the money are on Tampa Bay’s money line at -167.

The split in those two percentages indicates there have been some large volume wagers on the Lightning as well. New York has put up an admirable fight, but all three of their wins have come by a single goal. Tampa’s wins have been much more impressive, and they’ve clearly been the better team. We’re not overthinking it, we’re taking the Lightning as well.

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