Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finally, Some Televised Games

Well, it was bound to happen at some point, and it did: a bad call. There isn't much else to say about the Warriors yesterday. They showed up late in the 4th quarter, but that was about it. That loss drops our Paid Play run to 6-3, still solid in my book.

We did, however, nail Toronto as our Free Premium selection, and Free Premiums moved to 6-3, as well, so we're very consistent, and this should serve as a reminder that ALL of my plays are Premium Plays, and that the Free selections are often within a fraction of a percentage of being as good as the Paid Plays. They're a group, and they should be taken together!

Sports Wagering

Raptors @ Knicks - New York by 3 with a total of 214. This one's got a couple situational angles worth exploring. First, and perhaps most importantly, the Knicks will be looking to get some sweet revenge on the Raptors, as the Raptors rolled into New York just under 2 weeks ago and beat the Knicks by 8 as a 2-point dog. So, looking at today's game, your first thought might be, "well, if they can do it once..." but not so fast. The Raptors were playing that game on 3 days rest, and they'll be playing tonight's contest on a back-to-back, where we've seen Toronto is less than perfect. Those crazy Canadians had to play a hard, drawn-out game against the Heat, truly using every tool in the bag to defeat the Heat and cover, and then immediately had to hit the road for this one. For those numbers guys out there, the Raptors are 2-8 ATS on the back end of these b2bs, 1-8 when the second game is played on the road (as is the case in this one). The Raptors defense also seems to suffer a great deal when they're tired, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Knicks really pour in an absurd number of points, especially in the second half. New York is in the final game of a current 5-game homestand, so I expect them to bring a nice effort, what with wanting to hit the road on a positive note, and the obvious revenge factor. The Raptors shot 53% in the last meeting between these teams and exploded out to a 24-point lead at halftime, so I expect the Knicks to remember these games, and I expect them to come out with a greater sense of purpose. Do not be surprised if Toronto takes an early lead, since teams on back-to-back often have some adrenaline going early, but once that wears off, Toronto should fade, much like their game in Milwaukee last week. I lean Knicks, and I lean Over.

Celtics @ Magic - Orlando by 3.5 with a total of 187.5. Another game with all kinds of wacky angles. These teams have played twice this year so far, and in each game the road team has been the victor. I actually believe that trend changes in this one. When Orlando beat Boston in the first meeting, that virtually ensured the second game would be won by Boston, in Orlando. Now, it's almost as though we have a clean slate. Looking at some recent games, it's tough to see either of these teams with a clear advantage, though I do find it interesting that the Boston has failed to cover 5 straight games...BUT...with Kevin Garnett getting stronger and healthier now, every game, the Celtics are going to get that road warrior fire back. I said it on the podcast, and I typed it in here, the Celtics will only go as far as Kevin Garnett can fuel them to go. He is the anger that makes them such a good road team, and here they are, back in Orlando, looking to win 2 straight over the Magic in the Magic's building. This is a tough one, that's for sure. Can we trust that the Celtics aren't getting too much credit just because KG is back? Can we know for sure that this line hasn't been preadjusted to account for the fact that Orlando is avenging that home loss to Boston back on Christmas Day? My take on this situation is that Orlando had one of the worst single quarters/halves in the history of their franchise in that Christmas Day game, leading to a 38-27 halftime lead for the Celtics, and I just don't see that happening again. This game might very well be low-scoring and a defensive struggle, but Orlando will at least break 30 points in each half of the game, and they'll shoot better than 33% from the field. I lean Orlando on the side, and I lean just slightly to the Under on the total, though I think this posted total is finally reflective of how these two teams play their games.

Dallas @ Phoenix - Phoenix by 2.5 with a total of 216. Dallas has forgotten how to play defense. Now, does that mean that Phoenix wins this game? I don't know for sure. I do know that I can't really trust the Suns right now, as they've covered just 1 of their last 7 games, including blowing a relatively large home lead over the Bobcats, letting Charlotte take that game to overtime, and then letting Charlotte win outright in OT. Yikes. The Suns still have the potential to win some games at home, but given Dallas's recent run of poor defense and the Suns recent run of poor everything, this is looking more and more like a side I want nothing to do with. Phoenix is on something of a revenge spot, as Dallas beat Phoenix by 1 back in early December, in Dallas, though Phoenix did cover the +4.5 spread they were graciously awarded in that one. My main concern with this game is that somehow, by setting this line at Phoenix -2.5, oddsmakers are either saying that there's a greater-than-7 home court adjustment between these two teams (which makes no sense, given Dallas can't cover a toast with butter at home), that Phoenix has moved up in the power rankings, compared to Dallas, or that they are almost "taking a position" that the Suns are the stronger bet in this game, and want to put a premium on them so that sharps don't get too succulent a line. I'm inclined to believe it's the latter of those three options, because watching these teams is definitely an indicator that Phoenix has not gotten better, they're tumbling like crazy. Because oddsmakers are giving us a hint of who is going to play the stronger game, I'm backing off my initial lean to Dallas. I'm not sure there's enough information here to make me like Phoenix, but if I had to lean in any direction, I'd go with the Suns to capitalize on a team that just isn't stopping anyone. It would then seem like if the Suns dictate the tempo, this game could go over, but I wonder if books are expecting a relatively weak performance from Dallas. I lean slightly, barely, maybe not even enough to call it a lean, to the Under.

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