Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tickle the Twine

The Nets win! The Nets win! Goodbye back-monkey, hello victory!

A team that should have easily won a game before yesterday...won a game yesterday.

Sports Wagering

Bobcats/Sixers - Charlotte laying 4.5 at home with a total of 188. Well, we all know what happened to Charlotte. They lost to the Nets. So, today, we find out if this team is the type that plays better when they're angry, or spirals out of control. I'm inclined to believe they'll play well today, returning home where Charlotte is significantly more dangerous. In fact, this team has still won only one road game all season (they're 1-8 away from home), but have posted a more impressive 6-3 home mark, and have won their last 3 at home. Still, Charlotte has lost 2 in a row, played last night, and have to tackle another underachieving, hungry team. Philadelphia has lost 8 games in a row, this is the 4th game of their current road trip (which ends tonight), and the Sixers have done the unthinkable and signed Allen Iverson to try to help FIX problems on the team. I shudder at the thought. There's some value with both teams in this one, given Charlotte's back-to-back sad losses and the Sixers' long losing streak, but when push comes to shove, I just feel Charlotte's home/road split is the most important factor in this game, and I think the Bobcats have a nice chance to cover. Lean to Charlotte, and lean to the Over since Philly's been playing zero defense, though this game is definitely not a sure thing.

Bulls/Raptors - Chicago by 5.5 with a total of 207. Neither team is in a good spot on this one. Both played last night, and while the Raptors finally won a game and the Bulls continued to lose, both should be tired, Toronto had to come from farther away, and had to go to OT to beat the Wizards last night. Still, with the way the Bulls have been playing, it's tough to call them a better play in this one. Chicago has lost 6 of 7 games, though all 6 of those have been on the road. The Bulls are 5-1 at home, 2-9 on the road, and one of the worst teams ATS in the NBA at 5-11-1. Yikes, what a choice in this one. The best pick might be the Under. Looking at the numbers, Chicago's final score in home games happens to be in the 176 neighborhood. Obviously, we can't expect this game to be that low-scoring, but with the Raptors and Bulls both coming off games last night, Toronto clearly upset that their defense has been so lacking lately, we might be in a prime spot to capitalize on one team that's just not very good on offense (Chicago), and another that's desperately trying to keep games from getting into the 130's, because, well, they lost all of those. I lean slightly to the Raptors on the side, and slightly to the Under on the total.

Timberwolves/Jazz - Jazz laying 7.5 on the road with a total of 197. Again, both teams played last night, and again, one team won and the other lost. Utah is on a vicious tear, but the tear has been entirely at home. They've won and covered 4 straight, and they took 5 of 6 on that homestand, but now suddenly have to try to win on the road, where they're just 3-4 on the year. Getting into the numbers, the average margin of victory/loss at the end of a home game, is +7.5 for Utah, and -1.7 on the road, a split of over 9 points. This might be a tough one to cover. That being said, we need to remember who the opponent is. The Wolves are a robust 2-17 this season, losing last night in New Orleans by 9 points, right on the final spread (though they did cover against the opening line), and now have to fly home to host the Jazz. Again, it's tough to pick a side in this one, since both clubs should be fatigued, so again I wonder if the Under isn't the most obvious solution.

Spurs/Nuggets - San Antonio by 3 with a total of 206. Well, given that the Spurs are off a loss and the Nuggets are off 2 colossal beatdowns (and a nice little 6-of-7 win streak), it's no surprise the public opened by grabbing the Nuggets with points. We have to remember, though, that Denver, while still a very good team on the road, are not the same as when they're at home. The Nuggets are 8-1 in Colorado, 5-4 everywhere else, winning home games by 14 points on average, and road games by just 2, so there's a huge split there. I've seen the initial move in this game is indeed down from 3.5 to 3, so perhaps the line isn't a trap, but we'll take as many damn hours as we need to determine the truth in this one. The Spurs are definitely starting to play better, but ran into a buzz-saw in playing the Celtics on TNT. Boston loves playing on the road, I'd say significantly more than playing at home, almost as though they set a challenge to themselves to shut up opposing fans and really ruin things for whatever city they fly to next. But, we shouldn't forget that the Spurs had won 5 in a row before the loss to Boston, and it's pretty clear that defensively, they're improving, and that's always been the key to San Antonio's success. The Spurs are another team with a pronounced home/road split, so that's something to take into account, as well. Very tough game to cap, no leans as of yet.

Suns/Kings - Suns by 11 with a total of 227. That total already tells you everything you need to know about this one; it's going to be mayhem. Phoenix returns home from a 4-game road trip to host the Kings, the upstart of the Pacific. Normally, the first game home is a fade spot, but I'm not so sure it's applicable on this one, since Phoenix had both Thursday and Friday off to rest up after the roadie and get set for a very tough stretch. The MORE important aspect of Phoenix's schedule that we need to pay attention to is their game tomorrow. After tackling the Kings tonight, the Suns get to board a plane to Los Angeles for a Sunday night rematch with the Lakers. Yes, the Kings are a better team than most gave them credit for, but you just know a few minutes of those 2 off-days were spent trying to figure out how to get some points against the Lakers monster frontcourt. These look-ahead spots are often devastating, as we saw last night with both Atlanta and Dallas getting smacked in the mouth while potentially preparing to play each other. Still, this line being as high as it is makes me think the oddsmakers aren't that concerned about the look-ahead, even though the Suns have Lakers, Dallas, Orlando and Denver coming up after this one. One must assume then, that the Suns realize they need to win this one against the Kings, since the next few are going to really put them through the ringer. Slight lean to Sactown, and no lean on the huge total.

Mavericks/Hawks - Mavericks by 3.5 with a total of 204.5. This is clearly the game both teams were looking forward to yesterday, since we saw two very good teams get clobbered by two not-so-great teams. The Hawks got beat at home by the Knicks (a game we picked correctly), now take their show to Dallas for a square-off with one of the NBA's better teams. The Mavs got beat in Memphis while looking forward to getting home and hosting the Hawks. In my opinion, Dallas is the more consistent team right now. Yes, they lost in Memphis, and got crushed in Cleveland a few games back, but overall, you know what to expect from this team, and we know from yesterday that they have been game-planning for Atlanta. The Hawks, meanwhile, lost at home to New York, and are actually just 2-4 in their last 6 games. They're still 13-6 ATS, but they're coming back to Earth, and are probably getting a bit more credit than they're due, given some recent struggles. The value in this one is with the Mavericks, and again, with both teams coming off a game last night and looking to prove something against one of the better teams in the League, I have to lean to the Under, though the total has already dropped a few points.

Trailblazers/Rockets - This line is OFF. Lamarcus Aldridge remains day-to-day, so it's not clear if he'll be in there, but what is perfectly clear is that the Blazers are in disarray. Portland has lost 3 straight, including home losses to the Heat and the Grizzlies, not acceptable if you're trying to make the jump into the NBA's top tier. The Rockets, meanwhile, just keep rolling along, not really destroying anyone, but playing well enough to win on most nights, winning 3 straight, and kind of moseying their way to a 10-8 record. I also love when Houston can put Shane Battier on the opposing team's best player, in this case, Brandon Roy. Lamarcus is really the key to this game, since without him, the Rockets match up with the Blazers just fine. These teams have already split 2 games this year, but Portland was playing much better in those two meetings, and now suddenly can't remember how to defend. Without knowing the line, I'd guess the Blazers will be favored by 4 or 5 with a total in the low 190's, and I'd lean to the Rockets and the Over, but let's wait and see.

Clippers/Pacers - This line is OFF, as well. Not my idea of a fine game to watch, but perhaps we'll see some value when the line comes out. Indiana has lost 4 straight, and 8 of 9 (both SU and ATS), so this team is obviously in a tailspin. They fell in Utah last night, and had to immediately jet to Los Angeles to take on a Clippers team that desperately needs Eric Gordon to get healthy and stay that way. This wager tonight, in fact, might depend on Gordon's health. I know the line certainly will. I really like the Clippers' ability to spread the floor with Gordon in there, and his presence frees up easier shots for guys like Chris Kaman, and opens the lane for Baron Davis. I'm not saying it's a guaranteed play on the Clippers, because, let's be real here, they're still the Clippers, but they've been playing better aside from a silly loss to the Rockets, and with the right pieces, they can win a few games. I expect to see the Clippers open as very small favorites with a total near 200.

Warriors/Magic - Warriors getting 9 points at home with a total of 221. That is an absolute ton of points to give Golden State, and yet we'll probably still see the public all over Orlando because of the marquee names. This feels like a good line to watch throughout the day, since the initial push was up, which makes me think we're seeing a fair line in the eyes of bettors and books alike. Orlando is a very tough road team, but flying across the nation is never easy. They have, however, won 3 in a row, and have dealt with something of a funny schedule by just dominating their competition. The Warriors lost a nailbiter to Houston at home, a team that always give them fits, but I still think Golden State is a tough team to beat in Oakland. They run the ball like nobody's business, and if Monta Ellis is feeling better (word was that he was a bit under the weather in the Houston game), doesn't turn the ball over 9 times, the Warriors probably win that game. In any case, right now I get the feeling that Orlando wins this one, but has to work for it, and I lean to the Warriors early. That total is a monster, and I'd avoid it.

Too much going on in the world of College Football to bust out a fantasy report today!
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