Monday, January 18, 2010

Hornet Hangover

Not sure where the Hornets were on Sunday night, but I'd lay dollars to donuts that they weren't in bed, getting some rest for their game with the Spurs. Chris Paul fouled out of only the 3rd game in his entire NBA career, and with as much as I feel like I know about the NBA, I just could not see that coming. So, a small bump in the road, but still 4-1 the last 5 Paid Plays, and for the one or two of you that may have been looking at your twitter the minute I mentioned the Knicks game in the a.m., you got yourself a "half-middle" to trim the losses in half. All in all, official Premium Releases are 7-2 without the half-middle, and we've pocketed some nice profits since Thursday.

Not good, not bad; we move forward to a non-Holiday NBA slate.

Sports Wagering

Raptors @ Cavaliers - Cleveland by 9.5 with a total of 203. Interesting game, this one. Cleveland is actually on revenge, believe it or not. It feels like it was almost half a year ago, and that's not that far from the truth. Way back in the second game of the season, the Cavs rolled into Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back and lost by 10 as a 7-point favorite. So much has happened since then, but it's still worth noting that since that day, it seems as though the Cavs have lost almost 6 points in the power rankings when compared to the Raptors, and something about that feels odd. If that game weren't a back-to-back, the Cavs would have been 9-point road favorites, and now they're just 9.5-point home favorites? Could it really be that the Cavs were 12-point neutral-court faves to the Raptors to start the year, and just 6.5 now? Cleveland is in a very bad 1st half situational spot here, coming home off a very long road trip, with their last game in Cleveland coming on the 6th. Two weeks away from home means a great deal of time with the family, running errands, playing with the kids, all that good stuff, but certainly things that take away from the focus of a long NBA road trip. I think the revenge will ultimately create a Cavs victory, but I'm not sold on this spread. Toronto has been playing their best basketball of the year, and I'm not sure people have all taken notice yet. Toronto clubbed the Mavericks on Sunday morning (a play we cashed, woohoo), and have covered 9 of 13. They've dominated at home lately, still aren't that impressive on the road, but they've made strides, that's for damn sure. They've won 4 of their last 5 road games to give them, yes, 8 total road wins on the season. One also has to think that Toronto will pose a few match-up problems for the Cavs, if in fact the Raptors can hit some shots. Obviously, Lebron will dominate the floor, but watching the game with the Mavs on Sunday really put into perspective the Raptors improving team defense. A lot of switching, a lot of helping - I was really impressed. If they can continue to force teams to take jump shots, they'll continue to succeed. I like Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani bringing the Cavs interior guys out of the paint, and I like Hedo Turkoglu having the length to at least contest some of what Lebron can do. I find it intriguing, as a side note, that this total is set so high, considering the first meeting this year, while not recent, went Under 194. So oddsmakers respond by setting this line 9 points higher? The Raps have scored over 100 points in 6 straight games, and the Cavs have broken 100 in 4 of 6, and scored 96 and 97 in the others. I lean Toronto and I lean Over.

Pacers @ Heat - Miami by 5.5 with a total of 205.5. Make it a double! Yes, revenge, so sweet. The Pacers have a bone to pick with the Heat, let's recap. Back on October 30, Miami cruised into Indiana as a 1.5-point dog and won that game by 13, 96-83, with a total that, as you can see, went WAY Under the posted total of 213! The next game, in Miami, featured a 114-80 Miami blowout victory, and that one just barely squeezed under a posted mark of 196. Now, here we are, back in Miami, where the Heat were favored by 9 for that 24-point win. The best part of these two previous matchups -- Indiana shot 36.7% and 30.7%. We still haven't seen Indiana put together even a mediocre game against the Heat; instead, two of the worst performances of the season have given bettors the false impression that the Pacers have no chance. But let's get serious -- if the Pacers had no shot, they wouldn't be getting just 5.5 points. This is a pretty soft line, considering Miami won each of the first two games by double digits. It's not as though Miami is playing terrible ball right now. They went a respectable 3-3 on a difficult road trip. I do like the fact that the Heat are playing their first home game in a while. This is a unique spot, too, in that Miami goes right back out on the road for 2 more after this game, BUT, they had 2 days of rest between the final road game and this home game, which I believe made it feel more like a homestand, and less like the "home stop-over" that I've referred to in the past. I expect a bit of a sluggish start from the Heat before potentially waking up later. The Pacers, meanwhile, had won 3 straight over Toronto, Phoenix and Jersey before losing a tough one at home to the Hornets, but they've still covered 4 of 5, and the returns of Danny Granger and Troy Murphy just cannot be overstated for this team. I like how Indy is scoring right now, breaking 100 in 5 straight before the loss to New Orleans, and I love how they seem to find a way to dictate the tempo, home or road, and that makes me like Indy on double-revenge, and I like the Over, assuming the public refers to previous matchups and takes the Under.

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