Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Battle of the Nike Puppets

Not a bad night at all! We got burned by the Spurs and Jazz scoring almost 60 points in the final quarter to push that game Over the total, and that cost us a half-unit Freebie, but our other Free Premium play on the Warriors was a winner (barely), and the Bucks covered over Toronto at home to really bring home the bacon for us.

That Paid Play winner on Milwaukee moves us to a robust 5-1 on the last 6 Paid Plays, and the Freebie split moves Free Plays to 4-2 over that same time period - can't argue with a 9-3 NBA run!

More importantly, though, we got some sweet new angles moving forward from the games last night. Miami lost by a ton, so they're a potential play heading into Friday, and, well, since there are only 2 games tonight, I don't want to look too far ahead, but let's just say I'm already excited about Friday's card.

Sports Wagering

Lakers @ Cavs - Cavs by 3.5 with a total of 195.5. This should be some kind of game! The Lakers got flat-out embarrassed on their court on Christmas Day, so you know they're going to come with a wild intensity in this one. The question is, is that going to be enough? This TNT match is going to bring out the best in both of these clubs, so I don't think there's any true advantage. Most of you don't need to be reminded how the recent games between these teams have gone, but we'll recap both this season and last, in an effort to really dig deep when there are only 2 games on the card. Chronologically, the Lakers played host to the Cavs January 19, last year, and as a 5-point favorite, beat Cleveland by 17, 105-88, coasting Under the posted total in that game of 203. A shade under a month later, the Cavs welcomed LA to town, themselves a 5-point favorite, and got beat 101-91, again staying well below the total of 205.5. Fast forward to Christmas Day of this year, and imagine for a moment foam fingers not raining down upon the Staples Center wood -- the Cavs were a 6-point underdog and won 102-87, another Under, as the total was set at 194. What have we been able to determine? Well, looking at this game, oddsmakers seem to feel that Cleveland went from being a shade worse than the Lakers to being roughly a half-point better, or at worst, their equals. This is a ton of respect to the Cavs, and they've earned it, playing some outstanding basketball over the last month. Cleveland is 12-3 since December 21st, and they haven't lost by more than 3 points in that entire stretch. The way I see it, if the Lakers win, it's going to be a very close game, and if the Cavs win, we could see almost anything. Unfortunately, and I'm willing to admit this, I didn't see the Lakers-Cavs Christmas game, because that could have provided a nice preview of what to expect. I'd say the clear motivational edge is going to go to LA. The Lakers have shown that they do not take kindly to getting shown up on their home court, getting huge revenge wins against Dallas and Houston pretty recently. The Lakers are 4-2 this year when avenging a loss, and 2-0 ATS when avenging a home loss, so those numbers back up the claim above. Still, this game is far from a no-brainer -- if you don't think Lebron is going to go absolutely nuts on TNT, you haven't been watching Lebron. I lean slightly to LA, but man if this one isn't close to swinging back the other way. I do find it interesting that this total is in the mid-190's, considering how the previous game was played. The Lakers have been playing to the Under lately, Cleveland to the Over, so we'll see which team has the greater impact on the outcome. I am tempted to lean Over, but only if the public takes one look at the 189 score from the previous meeting and makes a move on the Under. In all honesty, this 195.5 is probably pretty close to the true line.

Clippers @ Nuggets - Denver by 10 with a total of 210. Here's an angle that will make your head spin. BOTH teams are playing a back-to-back, and BOTH teams are coming from games on the west coast. So who is going to be more tired? I'd have to think Clippers, since the Nuggets have a little more experience with the sickly altitude than do the visiting Clippers, but then, the Nuggets were unable to finish their game with the Warriors in regulation, so we're really up a creek on the fatigue notes in this one. The Clippers continue to be a surging home team, and a struggling road club, picking up another ATS victory on their court against the Bulls last night, they're 7th straight ATS win at home! That moved the Clips to a respectable 13-9 on their own court SU, and above .500 ATS on the season. But we can throw all that out the window with this potential wind-sucker in Denver. The Clippers are 5-13 on the road, 8-10 ATS, and losers of 2 of 3 ATS on their recent 3-game trip. The Clippers are just not the same team at home versus on the road, as evidenced by the shooting percentage, lately. Watching them play, you can tell that they rely pretty heavily on jumpshots, with the exception of Chris Kaman, and I'd be willing to wager when the legs go, those stop falling. Conversely, the Nuggets will be just as tired, if not moreso, but they're significantly better at getting to the hoop and converting free throws. Can they win by 10 when both teams are going to be so sluggish? Both clubs are coming into this game off a win, so there's no real difference in momentum, though the Clippers played more consistently all game long. I'm inclined to attribute that to being the home team. I'm hoping the TNT cameras bring out a better effort from Carmelo tonight than he put forth against the Warriors, though Chauncey Billups was noticeably fatigued even by the end of last night's game with all the energy he had to use. In terms of back-to-back numbers, though they're mostly garbage in this particular case because of the altitude and late travel, the Clippers haven't been that bad. The other team from LA is 4-6 without rest, 4-5-1 ATS. And as if we needed one more reason to pass on this one, the Nuggets are 4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS on back-to-backs, as well. I suppose I have to lean Nuggets because of the altitude and late-night travel, but I don't much care for the side in this one. I think the Under's got some legs, though - can either team really hit their outside shots without much sleep and with the travel issue? I guess the concern is that the Clippers have played to 6 straight Overs and the Nuggets have hit 3 straight Overs. This is a tough one, and I'm most inclined to pass, but as noted, this is a gun-to-my-head Denver and Under pairing.


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