Thursday, November 12, 2009

TNT Week Three: Shut Up and Jam

What did we learn from yesterday?

We learned that if basketball games were only 24 minutes long, the Knicks might be better than 1-8; we learned that the Phoenix Suns have somehow molded back-up point guard Goran Dragic into a serviceable minutes-eater; we learned that (kudos to me21deion, forum poster at Pregame.com) the Milwaukee Bucks should crack 26 wins with a month or two to go in the season; we learned definitively that the Utah Jazz have big, big problems; we learned that the Bobcats need some overzealous fans to sneak into opposing buildings and paint the Charlotte logo at center court for them to stand a chance on the road; and we learned that the second-worst team in the League, just barely being "out-sucked" by the Knicks, is the Minnesota Timberwolves. I mean, they are just horrid. If the Timberwolves play the Knicks any time soon, I suggest we all take precautions for the coming apocalypse.

Sports Wagering

Heat/Cavs - This line has been hovering between Heat +1 and Heat +2 since late last night, bouncing back and forth as money continues to trickle in on both sides. These are two well-respected clubs, with the public favoring the Cavs off their win last night in Orlando, and basketball buffs favoring the Heat due to their consistent play, solid defense, and reliable scoring option named Dwyane. The line movement has been pretty fair so far, so at least at first glance, this is going to be a game we can cap on matchups, which in my opinion, is to our advantage. I like the fact that the Cavs are going on the second night of a back-to-back. Yes, the win over Orlando was pretty easy, but Lebron was in that game for 39 minutes, and Mo Williams for over 40, so the important guys are coming off pretty big minutes. I also like the fact that the Heat have had a chance to gameplan for a couple days after smacking around the Wizards. Miami has shown they are not going to back down from anyone this season, and at both 6-1 ATS and SU, you can tell the Heat are not only playing competitively, they're winning. The Cavs, on the other hand, are 4-4 ATS, which to me indicates they're still finding themselves. Both teams have played to the Under quite a bit this year, but at 180.5, we're looking at some miniscule wiggle room. Still, leans to Miami and the Under in this one.

Lakers/Suns - Lakers by 7.5 at home with a total bouncing between 217.5 and 219. Right off the bat, this side feels decidedly too high for the Lakers. The public feels the same way. The last time Phoenix was an underdog of roughly 8 points, they got run right out of the building in their only loss of the season. Phoenix should be a bit tired, after playing one game at home after a long road trip, then heading right back out on the road, but at the same time, they absolutely destroyed the Hornets, and their leader, Steve Nash, played only 24 minutes in what was basically an exhibition. Initial lean to the Suns. For the total, I would expect it to squeeze under, as I just don't see Phoenix putting up 125 on the second night of a back-to-back, AND the 4th game in 5 nights. That right there explains why this spread is so high, and why I think the total will go Under. Phoenix is a great team, but this is the classic spot of too many wind-sprints catching up with a club. I'm not sure I have the gusto to bet against the Suns to cover again, since they've put up monster second halves twice to really give us hell, but in terms of posting a 130-point game on 55% shooting, that seems like asking a bit much.

Fantasy Advice

Charlie Villanueva - Believe it or not, he was dropped in a great many leagues because of a poor start to his season. What people failed to note was that he was playing with the flu and with a couple of nagging injuries. Charlie isn't going to get you many steals, blocks or assists, but he can PILE on the points, and for a Pistons team desperately needing scoring, Charlie seems ripe to average near 20/game.

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