Saturday, November 07, 2009

Camp Granada

I like to try to begin these notes with a quick foray into last night, to see if we can't determine what we learned from the previous day's games. The biggest thing to take away, without question, is the exceedingly poor play of teams nearing the end of short road trips with a bigger game the following day. Both Denver and Atlanta played without their normal gusto (they play each other tonight), and we capitalized on the situation. Do not be afraid to take the less-talented team when the situation is right.

I am also positively floored at New Orleans posting a 14-point 3rd quarter. Toronto certainly did their part to get us to 206, but for whatever reason the Hornets decided to just take a quarter off and got dominated on their home floor -- very disappointing for Chris Paul and company.

Sports Wagering

Hawks/Nuggets - Both teams are coming off thoroughly pathetic performances last night, which makes this game a horrible spot to take either club, since both are going to be looking to prove something. Currently, the Hawks are favored by 2 with a total of 213.5. Both teams played low-scoring games last night, and both clubs normally like to push the pace. With so many similarities, it makes this game very difficult to hash out. Both teams are going to play with purpose, which makes a close game extemely likely. Someone could well win this thing in the last minute of regulation. The total feels accurate, as well. Slight leans to the Hawks to play their best ball of the season at home and deal the Nuggets their second straight loss. No leans on the total.

Nets/Celtics - The Nets got a rare cover last night in Philly, and now have the pleasure of returning home to host the Celtics as 10.5-point dogs with a total of 182.5. The Celtics should be good and angry after losing their first game of the season, though the truth of the matter is that they were due to play some closer games after blowing teams out for the first week. This is an absolute ton of points to give on the road, though solid defenses like the Celtics' should have very little trouble containing the likes of Trenton Hassell, who broke through for 17 and 12 against the porous Philly defense. Slight lean to Boston to cover. The low total should draw big public money on the Over, and we may have a play as the day wears on depending on line movement.

Bulls/Bobcats - You want to talk about a hideously low total, this is the one. Bulls by 7 with a total of 172.5! I believe this is what they call "begging for money" on the Over, even more than the Celtics game above. The Bobcats and Bulls are both coming off solid wins, with Charlotte beating Atlanta at home and the Bulls taking down the Cavs in Cleveland. Maybe the more important part is that Charlotte shot 47% in their home win, perhaps a sign that the jumpers are going to start to fall. Both teams have 2 days off after this game, so there really isn't the danger of a look-ahead, but with Charlotte's road struggles so far this year, you have to believe the Bulls can win this game. Still, the ugly total screams that someone isn't going to break 80, and I just don't see the Bulls getting held to 78 points on their home floor. Slight lean to Chicago, STRONG lean to the Under on the total.

Mavs/Raptors - After swatting the Hornets last night, the Raptors take their road-show to Dallas, sweeping through the Southwest with reckless abandon. Today, they are road dogs of 7.5 with a total of 205.5. It's tough to see the Raptors taking back-to-back games from tough opponents in the West, but the spread is pretty fair. These two teams match up well, both featuring distributing point guards, and big men who can play outside. The Raptors even showed a little grit last night, holding New Orleans to just 14 points in the 3rd quarter (and angering me in the process). This game will be decided by fewer than 7.5 points. Lean to the Raptors on the side. The total of this one banks on both teams scoring a fair number of points, but the Mavs are really a half-court team this year, and you can bet they'll try to keep Toronto from getting out and running. I lean to the Under.

Bucks/Knicks - The Bucks are favored by 4, with a total of 193.5. The Knicks continue to disappoint in a huge way, falling 1 point short of the back-door cover last night at home, then flying to the Midwest for this contest in Milwaukee. The Bucks, meanwhile, laid a smack upon the Minnesota Timberwolves, and only had a very short hop back home. With both teams playing the night before, and the Knicks looking positively frightful for about 24 minutes of every game, I simply have to lean Bucks to cover 4 points here. They are a team on the rise, and even with Michael Redd out, they're finding ways to defend, and rookie star Brandon Jennings is the motor that keeps this team running. The total feels pretty low for a Knicks' zero-defense game, but so far money is fairly split, with Scott Skiles' defense-first attitude leading to some pretty slow-paced Bucks games so far. With the way the Knicks play defense, I simply cannot bet the Under, but with the way the Knicks have shot the ball as a team, I simply cannot bet the Over. No play on the total.

Jazz/Kings - Yikes! Jazz by 15 at home with a total of 207.5. I mean, that is a powerhouse of a spread. This is the type of situation where you might just want to toss a unit on the dog since there are just a ton of ways to keep a game within 15 points. The high total also seems to indicate that Kings will put up over 90 points in this one. This is one of those spots where a team has their star go down, and the other guys know they need to step up before the adrenaline wears off. I lean to the Kings, but this game will require some line-movement studying before anything more is decided. In terms of the total, there is a REASON it's set at 207.5 even though the Kings have about 9 healthy bodies to toss out there. Oddsmakers know both of these teams like to take shots in the first 10-14 seconds of the shot clock, and we should see a ton of possessions. I think 207.5 is pretty accurate, and if the public pushes the line down, we might get some value on the Over.

Clippers/Grizzlies - The Clippers laid a whooping on the Warriors last night, showing what they can do if nobody is guarding them. Tonight should be another game devoid of defense. Clippers favored by 5 at home with a total of 204. Chris Kaman is starting to take more shots, which is probably a good thing for a team that doesn't have too many high-percentage guys. This is a team that found a way to LOSE games in the first week of the season, and over the last few days, has been able to get 2 wins against pathetic opponents and at least build a hair of confidence. Can the Clips get 3 straight? Maybe. They certainly have the right opponent. Memphis is 1-5 this year, with their lone win coming on their home floor against the Raptors. They are 0-4 on the road, and have lost those games by 10, 11, 8, and 16. Of course, that's what driving most of the money to the Clippers right now. Still, I don't believe this is a good spot to go against the grain, so let's take some time to see how the line shakes out in the afternoon (since it is a late game), and make a play from there. The total seems pretty high, but the Grizzlies are playing a fast-paced offensive style this year -- unsuccessfully, mind you --but fast-paced nonetheless. I think they let the Clippers score over 100, so the question is whether Memphis can get into the high 90's.

Fantasy Advice

T.J. Ford - Someone woke him up! Ford, the littlest man on the floor, had 10 rebounds last night to go along with 18 points and 4 assists in 40 minutes of action. If he's playing 40 minutes a game, this guy is going to be a fantasy powerhouse.

Louis Williams - He's probably been picked up in your League, or drafted, but if not, it's well past the time he should be on someone's team. Williams is averaging 17 points, 5 boards and 5 assists so far this year, truly elite numbers for a guard on a team with 3 or 4 other options on offense.

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