Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blood on My Feathers

Quite an obscure title, but it was in reference to the mighty Hawk; not yesterday, though.

Another wacky Sunday in the books, with the Timberwolves coming through in a most unlikely of scenarios, and the Hawks putting forth a truly pedestrian effort in Motown. I must say, teams just do not seem to like playing in Detroit and Charlotte. I don't know if it's the hotel, the temperature in the arena, or what, but it just seems like we see some of the laziest performances in those two cities. That's not to say the home team is going to win, because let's face it, the Pistons aren't very good, but whatever they put in the water certainly gives them a chance to win an ugly one, like they did on football Sunday.

Sports Wagering

- Bucks by 2.5 with a total of 195.5. I think this is a nice bounceback spot for Milwaukee. This Bucks team is coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Magic, and in most cases this is a situation where I'd look for a carry-over to the next one, but Milwaukee is simply too good at home for that the carry-over to be the biggest factor involved in this one. That loss to Orlando was only Milwaukee's second home loss this year, and they should not be ashamed of dropping a close one to one of the strongest road teams in the NBA. Instead, and I think this is what we'll see, this team should look ahead to a very beatable Chicago Bulls club that is almost as bad on the road as Milwaukee is good at home. The Bulls have lost 4 in a row, SU and ATS, and they are showing zero signs of pulling out of this tailspin. In fact, on their current 6-game road trip, which happens to conclude in Milwaukee, the Bulls are 1-4, the lone win coming in the roadie opener at Sacramento. Chicago is 2-7 SU and ATS away from home, and Kirk Hinrich missed the last game, which doesn't at all help their cause. There isn't much "value" in this game, per say, as both teams have been losing, losing and losing some more, but given that both teams are undervalued at the moment, I think you simply have to err on the side of the home team in a short spread situation. In terms of the total, the Bucks have gone Over in 6 straight games, which says a great deal about how this team has been trying to play with Bogut injured. They are trying to speed things up a bit, and their defense has suffered, too. In this one, though, I'm just not sure I can trust the Bulls to score enough to help us get to our cause. Solid lean to the Buckos, very slight lean to the Over.

Mavericks/Sixers - Mavs by 10.5 at home with a total of 200. Bottom line on this one is that BOTH teams are in typical fade spots. The Sixers are on the second half of a back-to-back, with the first half occurring in the physical confines in San Antonio, so they're likely to be tired, and already short-handed, trying to play with the Mavs is a tall order for the remaining healthy bodies. The Mavs are coming home after a road trip, though, to be fair, it was only a 3-gamer. Still, I generally don't like backing a team coming home off a trip where they got blown out in the finale, which is precisely what happened to the Mavs. Dallas shot the ball at a ridiculous clip in the first 2 games of that roadie, which makes the loss in Cleveland even less surprising. We know they're a very, very good home team, but which factors outweigh which others when trying to set a line for this one? I'd be inclined to think Dallas covers this game by just a hair, but it's almost too close to call. The total at 200 tells me very little, unfortunately, though the Mavs have gone Over in their last 3 games, but Philly might struggle to score, so I'd lean slightly to the Under, or nothing at all.

Jazz/Grizzlies - Utah is back to being a double-digit home favorite again, but at least we got a value win out of them while we could: Jazz by 10 with a total of 207.5. Memphis is not in an enviable situation here, coming off a monster 4th quarter collapse in California, then hopping a plane to Utah and trying to handle a red-hot Jazz club on short rest. The only positive is that the game against the Clippers ended early, so they likely got into Utah at a slightly more reasonable hour than usual. Still, the Grizzlies are a very young team, and I'm not sure I see them bouncing back immediately from that sort of meltdown. Memphis was coming off that huge win in Portland, so it wasn't surprising to see them lose to a worse team, but it WAS surprising to see how they lost. 10 points is a lot to cover, but Utah has been blowing out anything coming their way this week, and I'd make a slight lean to Utah on this big spread. The total of 207.5 is hittable, but only if Memphis can actually play a full 48 minutes. I'd lean slightly to the Under, but only microscopically so.

Warriors/Pacers - Warriors by 2.5 at home with a total of 228. This total is extremely high, given the Pacers have broken 100 only once in their last 5 games, and that was against, of course, the Raptors. They've lost 5 of 6, BUT they've allowed over 100 points in all 5 of those losses. We knew this team was not built to win with defense, and I don't think it's going too far out on a limb to suggest the Warriors will probably break 100 points on their home floor. Maybe the most frustrating part of the Pacers teamwide slump is that they have not shot better than 47% from the floor in quite some time, and while I realize this team is a volume-shooting team, if you're going to run a fast-paced offense, giving up 105 points, you have to be getting good shots and making them! The total is not my favorite here, since we just don't know if Indiana can put up the points necessary. The side definitely favors the Warriors. They're coming off getting blown out by the Lakers, but they ALWAYS get worked over by LA. Golden State is playing better basketball without Stephen Jackson, and while the Pacers have a size advantage (who doesn't?), I think the home floor should be enough to get Golden State a win. The Pacers aren't that much worse on the road, which does put a slight shiver into this lean, but the Warriors are playing decent ball, and we'll see how this line moves before making our own decisions.

Fantasy Advice

Ben Wallace - I've said it before, but it bears repeating, Big Ben's alarm goes off when he's playing at home. He's a beast at the Palace. At home, 4 points, almost 12 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game; on the road, still 4 points, but only 7 boards, and less than a steal and block per contest. It's weird, but exploitable.

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