Monday, January 25, 2010

Earning a Tommy Point

For those not familiar, "Tommy Points" are awarded by former NBA player and Celtics TV analyst Tommy Heinsohn for performing admirably the fundamentals of basketball.

The guy is easily one of the most obnoxious personalities involved in NBA broadcasting, but last night the Miami Heat showed why missing out on a "Tommy Point" might be a bigger deal than we thought. The Lebron-Dwyane shoot-out ended at the free throw line, and the King got himself some Tommyness.

Sports Wagering

Lakers @ Wizards - Los Angeles by 8 with a total of 199. Here's a stupid stat to get us started. The Lakers are 1-6 ATS on Tuesdays this season. Play the Wizards. Haha, but I kid. Let's break this thing down. The Lakeshow heads to D.C. off a 1-point loss in Toronto, somehow postponing the after-Cleveland letdown by a game after covering against the Knicks. I would expect the Lakers to really take it to the Wizards -- we know Kobe's not going to be happy, and it's tough to argue with the match-up at power forward. There's really nothing the Wizards can do to slow down Pau Gasol, and if they do try to move Brendan Haywood over, the Lakers have Odom and Bynum who can get a bevy of jams since the rim would be more or less unprotected. I very rarely talk about a potential play on the Lakers, especially as a huge road favorite, but situationally, they're in a decent spot. It's the middle of a long road trip, so they're likely to at least settle in a little bit (especially now that they probably have their luggage, which didn't make it to the first couple cities on this road trip). Also, the Wizards might be starting to hit the wall. We knew that this team would try to step it up when Arenas was shipped off, and the adrenaline-fueled play of Randy Foye was a monster pick-me-up for the Wiz, but the team is slowing, unable to keep that level of energy up for all 48 minutes. They've lost 3 straight after winning 2, and after playing the Mavs tough, they've been killed by both the Heat and the Clippers. It just looks like they're running out of gas. This game might look "too easy", so maybe it's best to avoid the side, but I lean a TINY bit the square way, to the Lakers. In terms of the total, Washington hasn't cracked 100 "for real" since the 10th (they had that mega-OT game with Chicago mixed in there), so I'm inclined to lean Under, though the Lakers could very well put up 110, so that does concern me a little.

Wolves @ Knicks - New York by 5.5 with a total of 207. This one is a little confusing, and some of that might be due to the fact that I spent most of Friday and Saturday in a stupor so I'm a little behind, but when I went out of town, I could swear the Knicks were more than 2.5-points better than the Wolves on a neutral court. This game is a great spot for BOTH teams, and I am just angry beyond angry that we're getting screwed like this. Let me explain: the Knicks are coming off a 50-point loss at the hands of the Mavs, failing to cover by, yes, 49-points. The Wolves are coming off a 33-point loss to the Bucks, failing to cover by just 25. You guys know how I love to back teams coming off embarrassing losses, and it's just a damn shame that these two teams had to be playing one another, severely limiting our ability to mine both clubs for value. I do, however, feel that the Knicks are in the truer "chip on the shoulder" situation. They're the better team between these two, and got crushed in front of their own fans. If that isn't reason to come back the next game and really play angry, I don't know what is. I know Minnesota has a knack for covering while losing the game, but I believe the Knicks lay a furious beating in this one. Maybe playing New York in the first half is the best bet, but with the JM play on Minnesota driving the line down off the opening number, I lean Knicks for the game. The total of 207 relies heavily on both teams really putting the ball in the hoop. I don't think the Wolves score the ball well, but I do think the Knicks put up a nice 3-digit number. I think the total is pretty sharp, but I lean just slightly to the Under, since these teams have only been playing to the over lately because of the strong competition. This game does not feature strong competition.

Bucks @ Mavericks - Dallas by 7.5 with a total of 197. And now we get to deal with the two darn teams that DELIVERED the aforementioned butt-kickings. I just wish so badly we could rearrange the teams involved in the games today and really milk some of the screwy perceptions floating around out there. But, here we are, Milwaukee off the 33-point win, and Dallas off the 50-point slaughtering at MSG. I think the key here is that Milwaukee has actually covered 4 straight games, and is quietly starting to shoot the ball better. We got a little screwed on Friday when we took Toronto on the second game of their home-and-home as Andrea Bargnani was the typical Bebe-late scratch, but ignoring for a moment the fact that Toronto might have covered with him, the Bucks are competing right now, finding a way to stay in games, especially when they're a marginal dog. It really seems like the blowout loss to Orlando a couple weeks back woke this team up. Bogut has been using a plethora of inside moves, and you just have to love the ease with which Carlos Delfino is putting in shots from long range. Dallas is a terrible 5-15 ATS at home, and I just have to believe they're overvalued in this one just because of that one huge win over the Knicks. If we forget that 50-point drubbing, Dallas had covered just 1 of their previous 7 games, so this wasn't exactly a team on the rise. I lean to the Bucks to stay within striking distance and lose late. The total looks too high at 197, though Dallas did just snap a string of 4 straight "unders" with the victory in New York, and Milwaukee has played in 4 of 5 "overs." The question is whether Dallas will shoot the ball well. Milwaukee plays middle-of-the-road defense, so this one, to me, is a toss-up. I lean Under, but only enough to just slip beneath the limbo stick.

Bobcats @ Suns - Phoenix by 5.5 with a total of 210. Another situation where, despite the rather medium-sized Monday card, both teams are in a similar situation, with both having played last night. The Suns are coming off a 4th quarter meltdown to the Utah Jazz, taking a decent lead into the final 12 minutes before getting outscored by over 10 points and losing by 9 while failing to cover. The Bobcats opened up a 5-game road trip with a difficult voyage into the altitude of Denver, and after falling behind relatively early, the Bobcats just sort of stayed behind by 10 most of the game. This is a weird game to handicap because the Bobcats, who had won 6 in a row just less than a week ago, have now lost 3 straight, each by double digits. Also worth noting, this game is a revenge spot for the Suns. Phoenix got positively manhandled by Charlotte 10 days ago on the road as a 3-point underdog, and I think it's quite interesting how large of a shift we're seeing on the line for this one. There is definitely a premium being placed on the Suns here, but I think it's a spot where the line is high because it needs to be. Phoenix has been struggling, but they're still a vastly superior team at home as opposed to their awful road woes, and even though both teams on a back-to-back most likely favors the younger legs of the Bobcats, I think Phoenix gets it done in this one, and we might be able to snag a tasty line at BetUS, thanks to a JM play on the visiting Bobcats. The total is interesting, too, given that these teams played to a 224 final score in Charlotte on a posted "over" of 208.5. I think it's pretty normal to see the line jump a couple points here, but I'm inclined to think we don't get quite the same tempo with both teams on a back-to-back. That makes me think the total is pretty sharp, though I do lean just barely to another Over, if perhaps by only a point or two.

Warriors @ Kings - This line is OFF. Yikes, if you're a Kings guy. This team is just 2-9-1 ATS in the month of January, and just 1-11 SU, falling precipitously out of contention in the Western Conference, and the return, loss and re-return of Kevin Martin seems to have done very little (or nothing) for their fortune. I am curious, though, to see how they play back at home. This is only the 5th home game in January for Sacramento, despite 8 road games, so it's been a difficult month schedule-wise, as well. They're also coming off getting positively spanked by the Heat in Miami, losing by 31 while scoring in the mid-80's for the 5th time in the last 7 games. This team is right at that point of bottoming out, and I wonder if we're not going to be able to juice some value out of them right about now. The Kings have been shooting the ball consistently in the 37-44% window, not nearly good enough to get it done, not with their porous defense, and you just have to believe the Martin is getting closer to getting his legs, and this team is getting closer to learning how to play with a full roster. The Warriors are on a short 2-game road trip that began with a loss (but a cover) in Phoenix, and Golden State has quietly covered 4 games in a row. We have to remember, though, that this team is just not that successful on the road - they rely heavily on jumpshots, and role players tend to struggle knocking down J's away from home. They're just 4-18 on the road this year, SU, and while they've been able to cover some large underdog spreads in that role, this game is going to feature a much smaller spread. Both teams are on 2 days of rest, and both teams have won and covered the previous home meeting in this season series, so you have to favor Sacramento based on the above notes. I'm also very curious where this total opens up. The first game went way over the posted mark of 216.5; the second game went way under the posted mark of 229.5. We should see a total back near the 216 we had earlier this year, and I lean to the Under. My biggest concern, and it should be all of yours, as well, is that Monta Ellis is doubtful for this one, and that's why we're being forced to wait on a line. Be careful.

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