Friday, January 08, 2010


I'm writing this paragraph within 5 minutes of seeing the final score of that Grizzlies 2-point win over the Jazz, and I am just beyond befuddled. Memphis cruised out to a 19-point lead, and just did nothing the rest of the game. What can I say? I'm not furious, because I'm too confused to be furious. How does this team, who has been crushed by Utah so many times, take their foot off the gas after just one quarter? Uncool, Memphis. Uncool.

Sports Wagering

Hawks @ Magic - Orlando by 4 with a total of 196.5. Do the Magic really deserve to be 4-point favorites to anybody right now? This team is just playing horrid basketball, losing again tonight to the lowly Wizards. Atlanta, meanwhile, picked up a key home win over the Celtics, outplaying Boston in the second half of their game tonight. Both of these teams are coming off games last night, but appear to be headed in opposite directions. Of course, it's important to note that the Magic could very well have been looking ahead to this game, and the Hawks, playing the Celtics, really didn't have that advantage. It's tough to go to the numbers on a game like this one, since both teams are coming off a contest last night, and trends sort of go out the window. What's important is (a) how these teams do on back-to-backs, and (b) how they've done against each other. The Magic are 3-5 on the second day of a back-to-back, so they don't generally handle the situation all that well, and are just 1-2 when that second game falls at home. More interestingly, though, all 3 of those home halves have gone Over the total. The Hawks, on the other hand, is 5-4 in back-to-back second games, 6-3 ATS, and they're 3-2 when they travel from home to the road for those second games. They also seem to play to the Over on the second game of a back-to-back. I lean Atlanta, and I lean Over, and by the way, Orlando beat the pants off Atlanta in Atlanta in a game that went 30 points under a 199 total.

Grizzlies @ Bobcats - Bobcats by 5 with a total of 201. Dare we go against the team we backed last night? I feel like that's the age old issue of the public bettor, but my initial feeling is that the Grizzlies expended MORE than their normal allotment of energy in last night's win over the Jazz. That double-revenge (this year), and 9-loss revenge against the Jazz was a huge emotional game for Memphis, and now they have to go back out on the road immediately after the game and fly East to Charlotte. Memphis is 0-7 this year on back-to-backs, and I believe that's why we're seeing such a large spread on this game, despite the relative closeness of the two teams' skill levels. Charlotte is still one of the league's scariest teams to play in their building, and their 21-13 ATS mark on the season (10-6 at home) is a clear indicator that the public still doesn't like this team, and the oddsmakers are way off on the line and no one seems to care. Obviously, with this team, playing them every game would have been a perfectly good time, but as long as we're going to try to nail the plays at the perfect time, I can't help but think Charlotte would be a decent play today. The Grizzlies are getting tougher on the road as the season progresses, but situationally this is a nightmare spot for them, and it's a fairly standard spot for Charlotte. I lean Bobcats, and I like the Under because of Charlotte's defense, but I like the Over because the Grizzlies play zero defense on the second day of back-to-backs. No lean on the total.

Sixers @ Pistons - This line is OFF. I'm pretty curious where this line opens up, given the Sixers continue to lose at home, cover on the road, and the Pistons are significantly better at home. So we have two teams that excel in the environment at hand, and oddsmakers continuing to value the Pistons as if all their pieces were healthy and playing well. The Pistons have lost 11 straight games, covering just one of those contests, but it's clear they're getting closer. That being said, you guys that follow my logic know I hate to try to predict the day a streak comes to an end, and this falls into that category. That's not to say I would never make a play on a game like this one, but it would have to take a pretty snazzy line and some awfully favorable line movement to push me through. Will the Pistons ever win? This is one of those games where I imagine they'll come out as a small favorite, a situation in which they're actually 5-4 this year, and hell, this might be the day, but it's a ballsy play, that's for sure. Neither of these teams is really going to be the value play, but Philadelphia has lost to Detroit twice already this year, so there may be a little revenge angle in play. Philly is 5-3 ATS on the second day of a back-to-back (1-7 SU, so it's usually that they cover) -- I lean Philly, and I like the Over, since I feel the line will come out pretty low, and if you like the Sixers to give a decent effort, you like the Over.

Pacers @ Thunder - This line is OFF. Going to be a tough one for the Pacers, that's how we're starting this write-up. Indiana got spanked in Minnesota as the Wolves got their revenge, and now the Pacers have to try to tackle the surging Thunder on the second day of a back-to-back. My biggest concern is Kevin Durant's ankle, which is apparently mildly sprained, and I imagine this line is off precisely because of his status. I find these dog days just after the New Year to be a fairly tough time, because there are so many guys getting hurt, and we have to try to guess, at times, how a team is going to react to their absence or presence. Certainly, without Kevin Durant, I cannot advise backing the Thunder, but if he says he's good to go, I'll believe him, and that makes the Thunder a very interesting play. The Pacers are about as bad on back-to-backs as they are in normal circumstances, and the returning injured players won't help much as their sore spots are likely to swell up a little after the first game back. The Thunder are coming off a home loss to the surging Hornets, and I can't help but think this is a nice bounce-back spot, a "get fat" spot like the one I spoke of with Atlanta a few days ago against the Nets. Indiana on a back-to-back is a strong Under play, but let's get a good look at the line before we make a decision.

Wolves @ Bulls - Chicago by 8.5 with a total of 200. This line looks pretty high, but the Wolves have been pretty terrible lately, and the Bulls are playing on 3 days rest, a situation where they're a perfect 3-0 ATS this year. This is one of those games where the well-rested team knows the other is tired from a game and from traveling, and if Chicago were so inclined, they could, and SHOULD, try to run the ball down Minnesota's throat. I think we'll see a monster free throw discrepancy, and I think Chicago has a nice shot of winning this game by 10-13 points, or thereabouts. The Bulls have covered 5 of 6 games, but this is pretty close to the most they've been favored by all season long. The Bulls have been pretty successful SU as favorites, but haven't been able to cover the big numbers on those wins. My initial feeling though, is that despite Minnesota's home win over the Pacers, they are not playing good ball, snapping an 0-3 ATS skid with last night's win, and I believe it was a one-night revenge-game flash in the pan. I lean Chicago on the big spread, and I lean Over, as Minnesota is trying to make games as crazy-fast as humanly possible, and they've been known to really open the lane on defense in back-to-backs.

Jazz @ Mavs - This line is OFF. This should be a good one. The Mavs are going to have another chance to try to cover at home after picking up a solid road win. I mean, you want to talk about a team that is developing a clear trend (and one we're not exploiting; I take responsibility for that), the Mavs are now 13-6 ATS on the road, 5-12 ATS at home! That is just outrageous, and I think we're in another decent fade spot here. The Mavs knocked off the Spurs by 9 in a high-scoring game in San Antonio, once again winning as a road dog (6-3 ATS in such a spot now). They are 1-0 at home as a dog, too, so this team is clearly one that takes big games seriously. For what it's worth, that makes them 4-12 as a home favorite. Both of these teams played last night, Utah losing a tough one in Memphis, and I think we'll see another strong effort from the Jazz, who really played 36 good minutes of basketball. They outscored the Grizz by 17 from the 2nd quarter on, but the 19-point 1st quarter hole was too much to overcome (though they did cover the spread by a point, grrrr). I lean Jazz to cover what's sure to be a bigger than expected spread (also a revenge game for Utah, losing by 11 in Dallas earlier this year), and I'm waiting on the total. Last meeting went WAY under 202.5, so I think we'll see this one open up in the high-190's.

Knicks @ Rockets - This line is OFF. The Rockets have dinked and clunked their way into the new decade with 3 straight losses and 3 straight failed covers, but perhaps this is the spot to get the ship righted. Still, it won't be simple. The Rockets 3 losses SU and ATS have all come on the road, where they have fallen to 10-12, also both SU and ATS. At home, though, the Rockets are 10-4 SU and ATS (yes, I realize it's weird that their SU and ATS records match up perfectly), and despite just the 5-point home/road splits, the Rockets seem to play just well enough to get the job done at home, and just well enough to clear the spread. The Rockets will have a few days off after this game, though that could be interpreted 2 ways - either you feel the team will play their butts off knowing they have time to recover, or they might just float through this game looking ahead to a few days of practice and relaxation. On the other side, though, the Knicks are embarking on a 3-game road trip that takes them through Houston, Oklahoma City, and then Philadelphia, a strange set of games. The Knicks have shot over 50% in all 3 games in 2010, and have pushed their home record up to 9-10. This team is getting a ton of credit right now, and based on perception alone, I have to lean Houston. I realize they're in their first game off a long road trip, but they're 3-0 ATS in that spot so far this year, so this team is mostly unhindered by the so-called sluggishness. I imagine we'll see a line with the Rockets favored by somewhere in the 4-6 realm, and a total near 200.

Nuggets @ Kings - This line is OFF. Another game without a line. Exactly what a frustrated handicapper doesn't want to see! How about those Nuggets, eh? Without Carmelo, a 2-point win over the visiting Cavaliers, and then onto a plane for a game in Northern California. The Kings come home after positively melting down in the 4th quarter last night. I hate to be the bearer of Marco-related advice, but momentum does tend to carry over in back-to-back situations. I fear the Kings may stink it up in the 1st half of this game before potentially turning it back on for the second half. The Nuggets will potentially have the energy for a strong first half, but we may see them fall apart a bit late. This game has a ton of value for half bettors, but in terms of the entire contest, we've got a Nuggets team that just can't do anything on the road (8-10 SU, 7-11 ATS), against a Sacramento club that appears to be slowing markedly: they've lost 5 in a row now, covering just 1 of those 5 games, and I think we'll get some nice value with Sacramento here off the loss in Golden State. I lean Sactown, even though they beat the Nuggets only a few weeks ago. I think the revenge will be a stronger angle when the Kings travel to Denver, but this one is more a situation lean. Denver has been decent on back-to-backs this year, playing slightly to the Over, but this is another game where we can base a ton off what happened last time. The last game went Under 212 by 5 points, so if this line opens anywhere north of 212, we know what the oddsmakers are thinking.

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