Monday, November 09, 2009

Fave Four

With the way the games shook out yesterday, I simply had no choice but to drop a Barkley/T-Mobile reference in the title. It wasn't a "Fave Five", though, as 4 of the 6 games saw the favorite cover, and Sacramento, one of the dogs that covered, probably should have been a favorite to begin with. Oklahoma City was the one true dog that won yesterday, in a day that saw the public prevail in two lopsided betting contests.

In the morning affair, Phoenix manhandled Washington to the delight of the betting Joe Q's, then the Lakers handled theirs in the night game, once again lining the pockets of the average man. It stings, because I thought yesterday had 3-0 written all over it when I saw those games. Instead, Washington and New Orleans BOTH shot under 40% from the field (Washington doing so against the Phoenix Suns, who play as much defense as a drunk stripper), and we got extremely unlucky once again.

Still, this is a GRIND, which means sticking with it is the real lesson here. Looking back, I would have made the same plays, and a couple weeks from now, I bet they both win. Last night, though, they were stinkers, and we concluded an extremely unlucky week with a 1-2 night.

Sports Wagering

Sixers/Suns - Phoenix is on the second night of a back-to-back, again, and we're seeing an early morning pick on this one with a total of 214. Once again, the line on Phoenix is either showing a lack of respect, or oddsmakers are trying to set another trap for the public. The Sixers can't guard anything right now, and are coming home after getting trounced in an afternoon game in Detroit yesterday. Phoenix actually had the easier travel schedule, though they have been on the road for a while, and you wonder if it might start to take its toll. Let's keep an eye on how this line moves, since you KNOW the public will hop right back on the Suns, and if this line stays anywhere between the current mark (a pick), and Phoenix by 1.5, I'd say it's safe to say it's a trap line. We cannot be deterred by yesterday's Phoenix triumph that killed the books. Oddsmakers always have a reason behind setting a line where they do, and they feel like they can take some money from Suns fans on the road right now. The total of 214 is pretty low for a battle of two teams that like to run. We have seen some lower-scoring Suns games this year, and maybe...just maybe...they might be pondering a little defense. Time will tell.

Knicks/Jazz - This is another game that has the public in an uproar -- the Knicks are getting 4 points at home to the Jazz with a total of 210. The first thing that jumps out at me is how both of these teams like to run a quick offense. The second thing, though, is that the Knicks haven't been able to shoot the ball all season, and have looked like the worst team in the NBA more often than not. The Jazz have problems of their own, this year, and the source isn't quite clear. They haven't really been playing defense, and as a result, got beat on their home court by the Sacramento Kings. I have a strong lean to the Over at 210, since we really only need both teams to shoot the ball "okay" to clear 100 points at the pace, which should be pretty quick. In terms of the side, I get the feeling that most people will look at this one and remember the Jazz teams of the recent past that defended and played gritty basketball, but they're not the same this year. I don't know if Carlos Boozer is neglecting defense so he can keep his trade value high, but Jerry Sloan cannot be happy with his team's effort so far. This side looks frightening, but the sharps are due, so I'd offer a slight lean to the Knicks.

Spurs/Raptors - Spurs by 6.5 at home with a total of 202. The Raptors got spanked by the Mavericks in their last game, but it's tough to put all of that on Toronto -- Dallas shot a remarkable 63% for the GAME, and when your opponent pulls off that kind of stunt, it's just not your day. Expect Toronto to play a better game tonight, and not lose by almost 30 points. The Spurs, like the Jazz, have some issues, but they do generally start a little slowly, with some old legs needing a month to get into the swing of things. Duncan is Duncan, but Tony Parker has been hurt this year, and Manu is still trying to get his legs back. New additions are learning the defensive schemes, and in the meantime, the Spurs are playing some of their worst defense this decade. They've shot the ball much, much better at home, however, which makes me think the Over 202 is the best bet available in this game. The Raptors won't be terrible two nights in a row with all of their talent, so I think the 6.5 points is a pretty fair spread, but with Toronto's fast pace, and the Spurs defensive issues, this total will be 207.

Warriors/Wolves - Warriors are getting 7 points at home to the Timberwolves with a total of 211. This line looks way, way too high for a Warriors team that has been blown out in two consecutive games. They are a common disaster, and it's extremely difficult to see them opening up a huge lead on anyone right now. Of course, this line is going to lend itself to some money on the Wolves, and it affords us a nice opportunity to see how this line moves about. It feels exceptionally high, and we need to be careful not to get sucked into the "other" kind of trap line. These teams are both pretty bad, so it's not as though Minnesota is a lock to keep any game close. The total of 211 would befit the Warriors running style, and I have to believe we'll see a mark pretty close to this one. Minnesota's defense isn't anything to write home about, though they will try to slow things down just to disrupt the offense. The Warriors are discouraged, and Stephen Jackson is still in a Golden State uniform, so Minnesota might have some success in that regard. Slight early leans to Minny with the points and the Under, but these will likely change over the course of the day.

Clippers/Hornets - The Clippers have won THREE STRAIGHT! If the presses have been adequately stopped, we can take a look at this line. Clippers are laying a point at home to the, achem, sucktacular Hornets. New Orleans has done zip to impress me, and after blowing a chance to show some moxie last night and getting blown out by the Lakers, they have to come right back to the scene of the crime tonight for another game at Staples with a different logo at center-court. Early indications are that the Hornets are going to garner a good portion of the money, as early-season struggles don't seem to outweigh decades of Clippers futility in the bettors' minds. My first thought when I saw this was that we're getting a DEAL with the Clippers. The other LA team is playing with confidence right now, and while they've been beating up on the dregs of the Western Conference, the Hornets are a sad, depressed bunch, not making shots, not rebounding well, and not helping their floor leader at all. If they can't get up to play the Lakers, what makes anyone think they can get up to play the Clippers? The total of 197 is too high. The Hornets are shooting the ball terribly, and the Clippers play a slower game, relying on Marcus Camby at the high post and Baron Davis to create shots for their teammates. I cap this total at 190. Leans on this one to Clippers and the Under.

Fantasy Advice

Ben Wallace - Big Ben had 16 boards, 3 steals and 3 blocks in a dominant performance, and being a Piston has definitely jostled Wallace awake. He has, though, been good ONLY AT HOME. Look at the games, and if you want to play him on your fantasy team, play him in games at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

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