Monday, February 01, 2010

Meltdown at 1600

A split! Not our favorite result, but palatable, as the Grizzlies came through with an outright victory over the Lakers, and the Wizards blew a nice second-half lead, and got outscored 25-10 in a miserable 4th quarter that cost us the mini-sweep.

However, as noted in the write-ups, both plays yesterday were for 1 unit, as the Free Play was actually equal in quality to the Paid Play, so all we lost was the vig. A very small dent in an otherwise extremely profitable 2 week stretch. The split yesterday moved our Paid Play run to 8-5-1, and Free Plays to 9-4, showing once again just how valuable it is to get on the Free Premium selections night in and night out! A 17-9-1 overall record is nothing to scoff at, either, as we continue to slowly grind out a profit, and really turn the NBA into a winning sport and each and every day into a learning experience.

Sports Wagering

Bucks @ Magic - Orlando by 10, with a total of 195.5. Milwaukee completes a back-to-back situation in Florida after dominating the Heat last night. Do we still have the confidence to continue to back Milwaukee even with the back-to-back, and playing against a Magic team that has come on strong of late? Milwaukee is on double-revenge here, losing by a narrow margin at home to Orlando, then getting smacked around on the road earlier this year. Interestingly, that game featured a Magic team on FOUR days of rest, a situation that probably won't be replicated for quite some time, though if Orlando does indeed have Milwaukee's number, this is a dangerous game to wager on. Milwaukee has covered 8 straight games, including twice on the second half of back-to-backs during this current stretch, so perhaps we shouldn't be intimidated by the fact that the Bucks are in a fatigue spot. Also, they were embarrassed the last time they played in Orlando, so I'm thinking Milwaukee is going to want to show how much better they are now. It doesn't really hurt our case that the only cover Orlando has against the Central division was that blowout over the Bucks at home just over a month ago. This is a confusing game, for sure, since the big spread might make the Bucks seem like a trap, but I legitimately feel like this is a reasonable line for books to set to get split money. I BARELY lean to the Bucks to keep it going, and I lean strongly to the Under here, as the total is right where it's been in each of the two previous matchups, both of which went over the total. Oddsmakers aren't leaving it at 195.5 for no reason, folks.

Raptors @ Pacers - This line is OFF. This game completes a Raptors-Pacers home-and-home situation, with the Raptors winning the first half in Canada, and covering with a strong second half. I'm very curious where we see this one open up, since the last one had the Raptors favored by 8.5, and they won by 15. If we see the 6-point home court flip, Pacers should be getting a couple points at home, but I'm not sure I can legitimately tell anyone to back Indiana right now. Head Coach Jim O'Brien has left the team due to a death in the family, so they're without their coach, and they've not only lost 3 straight, but they've been destroyed in all 3. This line is going to really determine how I feel about this game. I don't say that often, but at this moment, the surging Raptors look like a great play, even with the home-and-home revenge situation, but if oddsmakers set a line where Toronto looks like the "too easy" play. The total is going to be the sweet spot, once again. The last game featured a final score that fell within a half-point of the posted total. I say we follow the line shift, and if oddsmakers open this one up higher, let's take a peek at the over, and vice versa if it is opened lower. No leans as of yet, but I'll definitely pull something together for tomorrow when we know a little more about the line. I know, I apologize for being so wishy-washy on these first two games, but that's just how it is sometimes. Let's hope the rest of the card affords more obvious value as we plow through.

Grizzlies @ Cavaliers - Cleveland by 10.5 with a total of 201.5. This is a terrible spot for the Grizz, flat out. You guys know how much I hate laying a big spread in the NBA, but this has the potential to be one of those spots. The Cavs have been steamrolling loser-teams over the last week, so this is a great opportunity for them to step up and play big against one of the up-and-coming squads of 2010. And this might sound nuts, but this is actually a revenge game for the Cavaliers, who lost in a tough spot in Memphis earlier this season 111-109. I think the total in this game is pretty fair, as the total for the last one was set in the mid 190's, and oddsmakers have adjusted accordingly following the 220-point game in Memphis. Cleveland isn't going to want to get caught up in a game that fast, and the Grizzlies have been quite prone to playing some more intense defensive games, generally finding their way to some unders lately. I lean just slightly to the Under on the total, but I wanted to talk about that first since my feelings aren't that strong. The side jumps out as, amazingly, a value on the huge favorite. Cleveland has won 8 straight games, covering their last 4 in a row, so they're not only winning, they're clobbering, and this game has that feel of a spread set ultra-high to lure bettors into taking the road underdog. This is the second game of a long homestand for the Cavs, generally a favorable spot, and this is a true fatigue spot for the Grizz off the big home win over the Lakers. I lean strongly to the Cavs.

Pistons @ Nets - This line is OFF. Wow. Worst game of the new year, anyone? Detroit has lost 5 straight games, and is 0-4-1 ATS in that stretch. They're slowly trying to work all the injured bodies back into the lineup, and with 3 straight Unders, perhaps that would have been the wise play, since Detroit is really struggling to get any kind of consistent offensive chemistry as Tayshaun, Ben Gordon, Charlie V, Rip, and hopefully soon, Will Bynum try to work their way back into the lineup. The Nets have actually covered 3 straight games, winning just 1 of the 3, but at least finally not losing big. The Nets have played 6 straight Unders. I know which way the trends point, but I have a feeling this total is going to come out so low that even thinking about the Under is going to make me ill. This one might creep down into the 170's if we're really lucky, haha. No, but really, it's going to be low, and it's probably going to be accurate. I hate everything about this game, sides, totals, everything. If you desperately want me to type more, write a note, fold it up, and set it on fire.

Hawks @ Thunder - A pick with a total of 191.5. This game might be more fun to watch than to bet on. Kevin Durant has officially elevated himself to star status, capped by his MONSTER game against the defense-phobic Warriors. I mean, damn! He is the kind of player that everyone should just love to watch. He's tall, fast, has a gorgeous jumper - I admit, man-crush is starting to form. However, the wacky angles in this game make it a very difficult play to make. Let's fire 'em off, lightning round style. The Hawks are revenging a home loss to these Thunder just 2 weeks ago, a game where Atlanta shot just 40% from the field on their home court. That won't sit well, though the Hawks are actually just 1-6 ATS on home-loss revenge. Atlanta is a perfect 7-0 ATS coming off big losses (10+ points), and they're fresh off getting spanked in Orlando on the 30th. Oklahoma City is on the final game of a 4-game homestand, so they're liable to play tough here. Hawks face the Clippers tomorrow at home, so this game starts a back-to-back, and that's always a little tricky. Still, when all is said and done, I have to make a slight lean to the Hawks - I think Atlanta bounces back from the Orlando failure and wins this game with a strong final couple minutes. It's going to be a stressful one, that's my real prediction. The total looks fair to me, coming down a few points off the first meeting due to a low-scoring game in Atlanta. I lean just a microscopic lean to the Over, but it's dicey, at best.

Clippers @ Bulls - This line is OFF. This is a pure value spot on Clippers, but do we think we'll get even a marginal effort from them? The Clippers are in their 7th game of an 8-game road trip, which would normally be a time we would stop and note how tired and homesick they are, but I think this spot is different. The Clips have lost 4 straight, including blowout losses to the Nets, Wolves and Cavs, the last of which is less depressing than the first two. I think we may have found the bottoming out spot with Cleveland just running LA right out of the building. I get the feeling the Clippers are going to want to try to salvage the end of the road trip with such a poor middle, and this is an opportunity to squeeze out a win before tomorrow's game in Atlanta. Still, can they actually get it done? They've looked beyond horrible, especially on the defensive end, and if you're not guarding anyone on the road, you're going to get beat. They've allowed progressively more points to each of the last 3 teams -- 103 to the Nets, 111 to the Wolves, and 114 to the Cavs despite the entire 4th quarter of the Cleveland game being trademark garbage time. What about the Bulls? Well, they're surging, winning 5 consecutive road games as the underdog, and really giving new meaning to the idea of finishing strong on a 7-game roadie. Now, in this first game home since January 15th, do we think Chicago suffers the home sluggishness? I definitely think Chicago starts slow, but I fear they'll wake up and score 65 in the second half. I lean just a tiny bit towards the Clippers, but again, the line will provide more information on how the oddsmakers and sharps feel about these competing angles. I also like the Over, unless the Clippers magically remember how to d-up.

Warriors @ Rockets - Houston by 6.5 with a total of 219. The Warriors seem like a team the oddsmakers are starting to figure out. Yes, the two home losses to the Hornets and Bobcats were a bit off the spread, but their loss to the Thunder was within a half point of the line, and the two games prior to the two home losses were each within a bucket of the line. That's what makes me think this line is pretty fair, too. Why? Well, when you have two teams playing one another, and neither is a true "public" team, oddsmakers can release a true line that is very close to the fair line, assuming a 50/50 winner will produce a win for the books, since the action will be mostly split. That fact alone makes me think that shying away from this game might be the best course of action. Still, there are a few points that make the Warriors an interesting choice, here. They have had a knack for ending up on the right side of those 1-bucket ATS winners, covering 6 of 8 since mid-January, and I'm not sure that the power rankings have needed to adjust, since books aren't losing any money on this club. If it ain't broke, right? So, here we have the Rockets, more than likely the public selection, if only by a hair, slumping like absolutely nobody's business, and people haven't seemed to notice. The Rockets are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games, 1-8 as the favorite. The Warriors are also on double home-revenge, as Houston narrowly clipped Golden State twice in the Bay Area. Houston was playing much better basketball then, including much better defense; I lean to the Warriors. Houston has played to 8 of 10 overs, courtesy of not stopping anyone, and the Warriors have played to 3 straight overs, as well. I lean Over, though I think this total is within 2-3 points of the final score.

Fantasy Advice

Darren Collison - It's been a while for this section of the write-up, but given Chris Paul's arthroscopic surgery, Collison is going to be racking up assists for the Hornets for many weeks to come. Snap him off the waiver wire if someone hasn't grabbed him already, since he's likely to be a true assist specialist for your fantasy club. Steals might also fall into place. He's no Chris Paul, but he'll at least give you something to cheer for on the Hornets until Paul gets back.

1 comment:

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