Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kobe, That Ain't Cool

Sometimes it's good to be a Laker fan.

Another miracle ending, another buzzer-beater for Kobe Bryant, this time in OT, as the Bucks blew a 106-100 lead with a minute left in the overtime period, and fell to the Lakers 107-106. Easily the funniest quote of the night came from the Zen Master, who noted that Kobe had the same look in regulation, and "wasted a half hour" of everyone's lives by missing the shot in the 4th, or rather, just waiting to make it in OT.

Fortunately, we were on the Bucks with 5 points, so that one goes into the coffers as a victory, but man if Milwaukee didn't do everything they could to win that game. If Ersan Ilyasova (yes, that's a real person) makes his free throws with 50 seconds left, the game is probably out of reach, but hey, when you play against Kobe, you start to lose that psychological edge, and the whole place comes crumbling down. I think moving forward we might have a nice chance to fade both of these teams off an emotional OT game. They don't play today, but we'll take a look at their next available lines when we get the chance. In terms of yesterday's record, we won our inaugural Prop of the Day for a unit, but went 2-3 in NBA sides and totals (losing half a unit). The sum of all that is a half-unit profit, so the day could have certainly been way, way worse.

Sports Wagering

Bulls/Knicks - Chicago by 2.5 with a total of 199. Two things that blow me away on this game. One, I cannot believe the Bulls are a favorite against anyone right now, home or road, and two, I can't believe the public isn't throwing their life savings at the Knicks. Just look at the recent numbers! The Knicks are coming off a loss to the Bobcats, but playing in Charlotte is damn near impossible these days. Prior to that loss (SU and ATS), the Knicks had won and covered in 5 of 6 games. They're playing solid basketball, and actually led the Bobcats most of the night before going ice cold in the 4th quarter. The Knicks are still just 8-16 on the season SU and 12-12 ATS after the recent nice run, but D'Antoni's shuffling of the starting lineup has certainly lit a fire under the team. Chris Duhon is playing as well as he has all season, and probably as well as he has since December of last year. David Lee is consistent as ever, and Al Harrington has been knocking down buckets both inside and out. And yet, here we are, with the Knicks getting 2.5 points against possibly the most disappointing team in the league. The Bulls are 8-15 SU on the season, 6-15-2 ATS, and have gone 2-11 in their last 13 games. They did cover in their last game against the Lakers thanks to a last-second 3-pointer, but their ATS record this year as a favorite is pretty horrifying at 1-5-2. This is precisely why I would advise a play on Chicago or nothing at all on the side. When just about every available stat points to one team, but the line doesn't reflect that, you've got yourself a potential trap better avoided. The Knicks play again tomorrow, at home against the Clippers, so it's not necessarily a look-ahead spot, but we might not see full effort from New York. Also, the cold shooting from the 4th quarter of their last game could potentially carry over and set them behind by just a tad. Still, New York has shown the ability to play just fine on the road, another reason why this line/game scare me. In terms of the 199 total, Chicago has had themselves some ugly, low-scoring games recently, and I'm tempted to think this one might go the same way.

Heat/Magic - Miami as 3.5-point dogs with a total of 201. The Heat go for back-to-back wins for the first time this month in this contest, coming off a ruthless beating of the Raptors on Tuesday. This is another side that gives me the willies just a tad. The Heat beat Orlando in a sluggish affair in Orlando back on November 25 due to a last-second tip-in, and there may be some revenge in the air for the Magic. At the same time, Dwayne Wade calls his team's effort out before their last game, and Michael Beasley responded with a monster performance against the Raptors. Will Miami's increased effort hold up in this one, or will the Magic come with their A-game to show Miami who the best team in Florida truly is? I'm surprised the Heat are getting 3.5 points even though the Magic played last night, as well. This doesn't happen to me often, but so far, I've been a bit confused with where the lines are opening. The Magic shot 57% last night against Toronto, and that number will likely take a dip today, but by how much? I have just a slight lean to Miami, even though Orlando is the "road warrior", but the lean is so microscopic, I almost wouldn't even classify it as an actual lean. More of a tilt. The total of 201 seems a tad high, given the Heat would like to win with some defense, and Orlando played yesterday, but at the same time we've seen Dwyane Wade turn games into track meets when he's going against other superstars. The Heat have gone Over the total in 5 straight games, but 201 is a pretty high mark for this team.

Trailblazers/Suns - Portland by 2.5 over Phoenix with a total of 201. Another line that makes me scratch my head. The Blazers are favored over the Suns. The biggest reason for this set-up is because of the home court. The Rose Garden is, historically, one of the tougher places for visiting teams to play, and if this game was in Phoenix, we might very well see a swing of more than 6 points. In any case, the Suns roll into town fresh off a thumping of the Spurs, and fresh off moving their record at home to a perfect 9-0. I can't believe I'm even thinking this, let alone putting it down in writing, but the Suns are in a prime spot for a fade. Admittedly, every time I've thought that, I've gotten burned, so it is by no means a play, yet, but coming off that huge win over San Antonio, and coming off everyone seeing how this team is 9-0 at home and shooting over 50%, you have to believe the public is going to snatch Steve Nash plus the points all day long. Let's look at the bigger picture. The Suns did indeed win their last game, and cover, against the Spurs, but prior to that they had lost 5 of 7 games straight up, and gone 2-4-1 ATS. The Suns are break even on the road at 8-8 (they've done fairly well ATS on the road, though), but the real point I wanted to make is that they win by 12.8 points in home games on average, but actually lose by 2.3 on the road, a home/road split of 15.1 points! If ever there were a time to wonder if Phoenix is going to give max effort, this is the spot. Still, like I said, I've been bit by them before, so I look more to the total for the value here. People are going to see 201 in a Phoenix game and think it's absurdly low, but that's just not the case. The Suns score 12 fewer points on the road than at home, and are actually 5-11 O/U on the road this year. The Blazers, who haven't exactly been dominating ATS (though they have covered 3 of 4), are coming off a slow, plodding game with the Kings, just the kind of contest Portland wants. The Blazers are 7-6 O/U on the road, but 4-9 O/U at home, where they dictate the tempo. I think this game ends near 190, and I think the Under is the best bet I've seen in any of the three games tonight.

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