Sunday, December 06, 2009

Let's Ride

Have an absolute ton of driving to do, so trying to pump this guy out as quick as possible, so please don't mind the brevity.

Our 5-game win streak in the NBA came to a close yesterday with a pair of losses, but we're still 17-8 in the last 25, and I'd like to make sure that continues.

Sports Wagering

Sixers/Nuggets - This line is OFF, but my thoughts on this one are that the Nuggets are downright lethal right now, and we'll likely see a pretty hefty road spread, somewhere in the 7-9 neighborhood. They play in Charlotte the following day, so it's not really a look-ahead spot for Denver, who aren't quite as good on the road at home, but they're just dominating since George Karl gave his team a verbal lashing. They have won and covered 3 straight, including the last one in San Antonio as a tiny dog. Philadelphia has not earned my trust. They've lost 9 straight, and now get Iverson in the mix. I think we'll see a nice, high total in this one, but no plays or leans until we see the lines.

Knicks/Blazers - The Knicks are collecting 4.5 points at home with a total of 203. The Blazers hit the road and fly across the nation after a very disappointing homestand. The Blazers lost Greg Oden for the season in their last game, a last-second win over the Rockets, but that win was their first in 4 games, so this Blazers club is not playing well, at all. A notable point, though, was that it was the first Under for Portland in 4 games, as well, so we know exactly what this team needs to do to win games, and that's play defense. Can they do it in New York against a suddenly surging Knicks club? I'm not so sure. This is a very tough game to pick a side on, though you have to lean to the home dog since the Knicks are coming off two nice wins, and the Blazers have been playing, I would say, pretty terrible basketball. In terms of the total, we know the Knicks want to push the pace, and we know the Blazers are going to want to slow things down, and if it weren't for the low-scoring Blazers win over Houston, I would tell you to grab the Over, but with Portland PERHAPS finding a little defensive intensity and the Knicks on a back-to-back, the Under is in play.

Thunder/Warriors - Thunder by 7 with a total of 222. I really am not a huge fan of laying 7 points to a team that can score 7 in about 25 seconds. I'm actually a fan of Golden State again, now that Stephen Jackson is gone. They've covered in 9 of their last 12 games, including the last 2, so even after the books seemed to adjust to their 6-game cover streak, the Warriors upped the ante one more time. Monta Ellis is a wrecking machine, and I just don't see how the Thunder can slow him down. They don't have a true interior presence to give him fits, and someone like, say, Russell Westbrook, would seemingly be destined for foul trouble. I think Golden State can hang around, but my concern is that the Thunder hit a few big shots late to pull away. It's nice, though, that the Warriors have seemed to figure out a way to win some games while getting wildly outrebounded. I think this side is pretty close to accurate, but I see Golden State losing by less than 7, so I do have a slight lean to them. The total is just outrageously high, but the Thunder have somewhat abandoned the early-season defense that led to some Unders (and some wins for the team), so this one will likely end near that posted mark. This is a line movement-watching total, so let's reapproach it later.

Jazz/Spurs - Utah favored by 2 with a total of 192.5. You just have to like the Jazz at this line, but buyer beware, life is rarely that simple. The Jazz are coming off a loss in Minnesota, and you have to wonder if that will slow this team down a tiny bit. I'm not sure it will, since Utah is really starting to shoot the lights out at home, but it's definitely something to consider when handicapping this game. Utah's next game is also in Los Angeles against the Lakers. They have a day off between games, so it's not a trademark look-ahead spot, and San Antonio is a marquee enough team to draw their full attention, so I wouldn't put too much stock in a letdown either. For the Spurs, they are coming off back-to-back tough home losses to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets. That's a brutal stretch for any team, but San Antonio will get winnable games against the Kings, Bobcats and Clippers after this one with the Jazz. I will be very curious where the public goes on this game. We usually seem them err to the favorite, but will the key names of the Spurs (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Longoria) bring the money in on SAS? That may well determine our wager on this game. I definitely lean Jazz to keep up the torrid home play, but time will tell. In terms of the total, the Jazz have been playing to the Over, and the Spurs to the Under, and generally you give the nod in these scenarios to the home team, BUT San Antonio has shown a general aversion to shooting the ball into the hoop on the road. No lean on the total.

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