Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not The All-Star Break Yet

I will always admit when I was wrong, that's something that will NEVER change. And yesterday, I was wrong.

However, and I hope this doesn't come off as too preachy, these types of 2-day spans will happen. It's inevitable; it just is. And we just have to go back to the drawing board and make sure we're learning something from every missed call. Then, because we bet smart, these two losing days only set us back by exactly that, TWO DAYS. Don't be trying to double up, and most certainly don't try to win back losses all in one play, because that will take you out of the game altogether. Let's continue to use the techniques that have netted us significant profits over the last month, and we'll all be just fine.

In terms of yesterday's recap, the red-hot Sixers came into Toronto seemingly excited about finishing off the pre-All Star Break portion of the NBA season on a hot streak, but apparently were content with the streak they had before yesterday's game. After falling behind by 21, the Raptors relaxed, Philly actually tied the game with 2 minutes to go, and then got outscored 11-0 in the final 2 minutes. Just a heartwrenching way to lose -- I hate to say that I would have preferred the Sixers just get blasted and stay down, but for the gambling gods to toy with our emotions like that was just cruel.

Then, what can I even say about the Suns-Blazers game? The Blazers shot 71% for the first half, and most of those shots were jumpers, as evidenced by the 14 points in the paint of the Blazers 60 first half points. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Portland would play THAT well. However, that game did have some glaring issues, and that's why it was a miniature size play.

Sports Wagering

Magic @ Cavaliers - Cleveland by 6.5 with a total of 194. I have fairly strong feelings about this game, for whatever reason; and I shouldn't admit this, but probably the strongest I've felt about certain angles since Saturday. I love the drama in this one, and I will be hosting a Live Chat for the TNT game(s), hopefully with Goodfella, if I can track him down! If not, whoever's around and wants to have a little fun -- that includes all of you guys. In any case, I think this is one of those games where the "surface" angles all point to the Magic, but the "deeper" ones point back to the Cavs, and we have to decide how the All Star Break is going to effect these teams. For instance, the Magic are coming off a tremendous comeback win over the Hornets at home 3 days ago, and a throttling of a tired Bulls team last night in Chicago. On the surface, it looks like this team is finding a groove; if you look deeper, though, I believe the narrow win over the Hornets was a bit lucky, with Vince Carter having his best game since 2006, and the beatdown of a banged-up Chicago club clearly ready for a week off not only told us nothing about Orlando, but actually may have created a tiny bit of value on Cleveland, courtesy of folks trying to "ride the wave." The biggest angle worth exploring is the revenge angle. Which is a bigger factor, the Cavs beating Orlando in Florida earlier this year, or the Magic ousting Cleveland from the playoffs last season. If recent history is any indication, a playoff elimination is a stronger motivator than one home loss -- if you want proof, take a peek at the results of the Nuggets-Lakers season series so far this year. Nuggets are angry with LA, and trying to show they're the better team, while the Lakers, content in their Championship ways, play hard in those games, but don't seem to sweat them quite the same way. I think this will be roughly the same. The Cavs, for all their success (a 12-game SU win streak isn't half bad), are still taking aim at those big dogs in the East, and trying to make sure the world knows they're the best. In terms of the line of 6.5, that's like saying the Cavs are just 1.5-point neutral court favorites over the Magic, and I think we all know they're better than that. I believe this line is actually DEFLATED for Cleveland based on the in-season Magic revenge angle, and that without Cleveland's win in Orlando earlier this year this line would be at 7, so the Cavs are getting a half point. On the other side of things, the Cavs are coming off 7-point wins over the Knicks and Nets: you might argue they took those stinker-teams lightly, but Cleveland took the foot off the gas, and now they have to prove they can put it back down against a top tier club. Orlando has struggled a bit against the Central division at just 2-8 ATS, but you guys know how I feel about random trends. I believe Cleveland, amazingly, has some line value here on the side, and I lean Cavs. On the total, I think this one turns into a classic battle, with Lebron running pick and rolls on one side, and Superman-1 vs. Superman-2 on the inside, and when teams get locked into these types of games, there are very few easy buckets, jumpshots start to tighten up, and unless you have the speed and athleticism of King James, you're probably not going to get a run-out. I lean Under.

Spurs @ Nuggets - Denver by 5.5 with a total of 204.5. This side looks low to me, and this write-up is going to be spent digging around and trying to figure out why. A cursory overview would suggest that the line is where it is because of one of three factors (or multiple, I guess). One, and this one is the less likely candidate, Kenyon Martin is battling patella tendinitis, and may miss the game. I would think that would move the line, at MOST, half a point, and probably not at all. Two, and this is more likely, the line is hyper-friendly to Nuggets-backers because the Spurs are on double-home-revenge. I think sometimes we get caught up in this revenge thing maybe more than we should. The Spurs are just 8-12 ATS on revenge, and 5-5 when revenging a home loss, so it's not like they come into these games and just steamroll. Whether or not you like either of these teams, it's very important to realize that oddsmakers see the revenge factor, and they know damn well that bettors are going to look at it, and immediately try to put all the pieces together starting with that one stat. So we have to be careful before just leaping at one particular team because it doesn't look like thay can lose to the same team again. That's just not always the case. Look at the Hawks and Celtics this year -- Atlanta had a bone to pick with Boston, and because the Celtics just aren't as stout on defense this year, Atlanta brought their A-game in all 4 meetings, and beat Boston all 4 times. The same COULD be the case here, as the Spurs are a step slow this year, dropping precipitously in their defensive ranking this year compared to years past, while Denver is a team on the rise, and their strength both inside and on the perimeter, as well as their versatility might just be too much for the Spurs to handle. For this game specifically, I do believe the Nuggets win the game, but I'm not sure that ALL the value adds up. Denver is coming off a THROTTLING of the Mavericks, so their value isn't terribly high right now, courtesy of the public falling back in love with them, when they're healthy. On the other side, the Spurs are coming off getting worked by the Kobe-less Lakers, so there IS some value with San Antonio coming off a loss. I'd like to say this game is a trap spot, but I'm just not convinced the Spurs can keep up for all 48 minutes. I simply cannot believe that with all this info, I am looking at the square side -- I hate to say it, but I have a tiny lean to Denver to squeeze above the spread (I predict a 6 point win). I lean more strongly to the Over on the total, as the last meeting, just over a week ago, hit just 192 combined points (on a posted mark of 197.5), and now suddenly this total opens up 7 points higher? Oddsmakers know Denver is going to push the pace, and I think the Spurs score some points on the big late TNT stage.

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