Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mile High Rematch

Four games in five nights was the tipping point for the Phoenix Suns. You can bet they'll be waiting for a rematch with the Lakers, who simply out-shot, and out-muscled Phoenix last night. I'm having trouble figuring out how the reserves put up 60 points in the final quarter, but the cover for LA was an easy one.

The earlier game featured monster dunks, and a ton of free throws. All in all, a day this bettor would like to forget.

Sports Wagering

Sixers/Jazz - Sixers getting 1.5 points at home with a total of 198. This is a game that pits one team, the Sixers, with their fair share of problems, against the Jazz, who might even have bigger problems. Deron Williams "tweeted" that changes need to come in Utah, which is rare for a Jerry Sloan-run team, and really, how could the Jazz upper management not see this coming? Carlos Boozer reneged on a verbal agreement to play with the Cavaliers when he initially signed with the Jazz, and now his contract situation is giving the Jazz fits. Just another locker room cancer with too much talent to get run out of the League. Word on the street is that Coach Sloan respects his franchise point guard more than the rest of the team (and for good reason), and is considering bringing Boozer off the bench to shake things up and get the gritty Paul Millsap in there earlier. I'm not sure I can trust either of these teams, really, though it's extremely tough to back the Jazz on the road with this kind of turmoil. Early lean to Philly, but this is a game I'd have to take some serious medication to make it through.

Magic/Nets - Opening line of 16 points to the home team with a total of 189.5. This is just one of those spots where you almost have to say "screw it" and grab 16 points and hope for the best. The Magic could very well shoot 60% and win by 30, but if they let up for even a few minutes, this game has a keyring full of copies to the metaphorical back door. The Nets are figuring out how to play without Devin Harris, and while they're still not winning, they're keeping games close with better defense and a full reliance on Brook Lopez to take care of the paint. The line is this high because Lopez is going to open his eyes and see one of the most intimidating specimens in the NBA staring him down. Dwight Howard doesn't really have defined post moves yet, though he's improving year by year, but the thought is that Lopez won't be a factor and may get into foul trouble. Still, Rashard Lewis isn't back yet, and I'm not sure you can legitimately claim that the Magic win this game by over 16 points. Early lean to the Nets.

Knicks/Warriors - Zero defense, all mayhem. Knicks favored by a point at home with a total of 224.5. If any team should wake up the horrible Knicks offense, it should be the Warriors, but I'm tempted to say Golden State gets a rare road win in this one. The Warriors have some talent on that roster, but amid the strange Don Nelson rotations, the failed small-ball lineups, and arguments among the players and management, it's tough to see that talent. When the Warriors run up against a team that doesn't severely out-size them, they can be quite tough. Make no mistake, Golden State runs their offense better than New York, and given the Knicks only seem to be able to play 24 decent minutes per night, I just don't see them beating anyone. In terms of the total, this is hugely reliant on the Knicks making buckets for 4 full quarters. I'd rather not risk it. Early lean to the Warriors.

Hornets/Blazers - Hornets are dogs of 1.5 with a total of 190. This line almost looks like a sucker bet, but I'm starting to think I'm a sucker for overthinking things a bit much. The Hornets just got a new Head Coach who was the team GM yesterday. He doesn't really know what he's doing, and you can just guess the game-plan for this one is "give the ball to Paul." I have news for everyone, though. Chris Paul cannot beat the Blazers by himself. He might be able to take down the Clippers, and the Hornets already blew their November miracle against the Mavericks, this one is just not meant to be. Portland has superior talent, superior athleticism, superior size, and only suffers a disadvantage at point guard, but hey! Nate McMillan is finally starting Andre Miller, and as a result, Greg Oden's point totals have skyrocketed, and, more involved in the game, Oden is playing better all-around basketball. Early lean to Portland to continue getting it done with the new starting lineup. Early lean to the Under, as well.

Wolves/Mavericks - Minnesota is getting 11 points at home to the Mavericks. That is an enormous number to get on your own court, but Minnesota is certainly in the running this year for worst in the League. The Mavericks are coming off a TERRIBLE shooting night in San Antonio, and if this line weren't so outrageous, I'd be strongly inclined to bet on them to bounce back. They're simply too talented and facing a defense too horrible not to have a fine shooting game. What's more, Al Jefferson will miss 2 games due to an illness in his family, so Minnesota is really cut down to their prime. Will this be a situation where the "other" Wolves step up and play the Mavericks tough, or will they wilt beneath Dallas' severe size, skill, and talent advantages? This is a game I do NOT like at all -- too many unanswered questions. The total is currently set at 196, which feels about right, given the Mavs should shoot the ball well, and the Wolves generally play whatever style of game their opponents want. Not a huge fan of the side or the total in this one.

Celtics/Hawks - Celtics by 8.5 at home with a total of 192.5. My first impression is that Boston is giving way too many points away against a solid Hawks team, and with Atlanta coming off a nice comeback winner over the Knicks, I think they'll have plenty of zest going into this one. One of the biggest reasons for the Hawks success so far this year is that they can run 7 above-average players onto the court, and Josh Smith is taking the ball to the hole on offense, and leaving the long bombs to the likes of Bibby, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. The offense has taken another leap with Smith going back to jumping out of the building as one of the most athletic wing players in the NBA. Boston is coming off throttling the Utah Jazz, but who isn't? I don't think we can take much from that game, other than Paul Pierce getting an inadvertent chicken wing from a teammate. Boston has won big in a few straight games, but those were against lackluster competition. Rasheed has cooled a tad, the Celtics are a little annoyed with their point guard Rajon Rondo (mostly for doing too much talking), and I think this game will be decided by less than 7. Early lean to Atlanta, no lean on the total.

Kings/Rockets - Rockets laying 4 on the road at Arco with a total of 210. I'll tell you, I was desperately hoping the total would be in the 206 range, because I was going to scream to jump on the Over, but now I'm not so confident. Oddsmakers had the same idea I did, and this game just has that feeling of the "one where the injury catches up with Sactown." They've been playing way above themselves since Kevin Martin went down, led by solid interior players named Thompson and Hawes and the electric play of rookie Tyreke Evans. Eventually, these types of injuries catch up with a team, and this game just SMELLS like that game. I would rather not guess, and instead let's just let this one play out. If Sacramento makes it through this test against their former coach, then maybe we continue to ride them, but it's just not worth the risk on this coin-flip. Like I mentioned before, the total is spot on. If the Rockets shoot the ball well, we'll see Sacramento push it back, and this will clear 210, but when I run the numbers, I see this thing coming out right around 210. Leave it alone, barring some severe steam on one side.

Nuggets/Lakers - I love fading a team on the second night of a back-to-back in Denver. Having to travel to the mile high city, especially after facing the breakneck pace of the Suns the previous evening in the late TNT game is a recipe for at least one sluggish quarter, maybe a sluggish half. I think the Nuggets want this one more, though they will be returning home off a long road trip. There are certainly factors that make me want to bet both sides, and factors that make me want to avoid both sides. Which team will have the tougher time in the thin air? How will Denver bounce back after a road trip that started so well, and ended so poorly? Will these teams really shoot the ball well enough to crack 212? Early lean to the Nuggets because they've at least had a day to rest up for this physical match-up of Western Conference powers, and slight lean to the Under, since I see the Lakers running a very structured offense to try to save energy for late-game heroics.

Clippers/Raptors - Another line that looks almost too good to be true. The Raptors are favored by just 1.5, and while they haven't been the most fearsome road team, and are coming in straight from the farthest reaches of Canada, I just can't see Toronto letting the Clippers pull away, and if this thing is close down the stretch, I have to side with the team with Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, not to mention Jarrett Jack off the bench. The Clippers have lost two straight, getting blown out by the Hornets, then playing a tough one with the Thunder. Public money is going to be flowing in hard on Toronto, and I suggest we get a few bucks down while the line is still this favorable. If it moves up to 2.5 or 3, we could set up a nice middle for a close game. The total of 209 feels way too high, but I guess the thought is that the Clippers are going to play this one close, and match Toronto in a relatively fast-paced game. Tough to see LA getting over 100 after the high-70's they posted against the Thunder, but the line is at 209 for a reason, and we should respect that.

Fantasy Advice

Nothin'. Only two games, Lebron, Dwyane Wade, Kobe, blah blah blah. Call me when someone NOT drafted in the first round in EVERY fantasy league nationwide breaks 25 points.

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