Sunday, February 07, 2010

Post-Superbowl NBA Hangover

Wow, what a Superbowl!

Can't say enough about how amazing this is for the city of New Orleans. I take my hat off to the team and the fans, and I only hope that everyone going nuts makes it through the night in one piece.

We did not have an NBA play yesterday, as the short card didn't really afford a ton of value. We did like Toronto a little bit, but the line just wasn't juicy enough to make it a posted play, so we moved on. Unfortunately, this Monday card isn't really one for the ages, either, but it's our job to sink our teeth into it and see what it tastes like.

As far as streaks are concerned, we went 2-1 on Saturday, winning both of the free plays and dropping the paid play, but ALL premium selections are still rocking strong at 10-5-1 in the last 16 plays, and 22-13-1 in the last 36, record that are quite profitable, I might add!

Sports Wagering

Hornets @ Magic - Orlando by 7.5 with a total of 194.5. The first thing that struck me when I saw this line was "what the hell are the oddsmakers smoking?" Orlando to win by just 7.5 over the Chris Paul-less Hornets? The Magic are indeed on the second half of a back-to-back after posting a nice road win against the Celtics yesterday afternoon, so that is indeed giving the line a slight downward bump, but man, this line is just asking for a bet on the Magic, and I don't feel like you can ever really trust a line like that. The Hornets managed to steal a win against a Bobcats team that hadn't been home in ages and was in a trademark letdown spot, but now we're asking this team, that is relying much more heavily on the fast-break without Paul, to beat a vastly superior Magic team that may have played some of their best defense all season. The question here is whether the Magic can parlay that nice win over Boston into a home cover, or if they'll suffer a letdown after the big ABC game on Sunday. This game is tough to predict, as you've got a New Orleans team that could very easily get blown out of the building if Orlando gives even a decent effort. They could certainly cover if Orlando lets them hang around for a half. To me, it's basically a coin-flip. I lean to the Hornets to grab another cover here, though I highly doubt they can pull off the win, as I feel Orlando might be in for a weak performance after picking up the season series in over the Celts. It is worth noting, though, before moving forward, that the Magic beat the Celtics in a great comeback just a couple weeks back, then proceeded to destroy the Hawks the very next game; they did have a day off to rest up for that one, and here they're on back-to-back, a situation that has seen the Magic post a 5-5-2 ATS mark. The total is also intriguing, as we've seen the Hornets really push the pace, playing to 8 of 9 overs, while the Magic have been trying to grind games out, playing to 9 of 11 unders. This one is a crapshoot no matter how you cut it, but I'm inclined to believe that with the Magic on the 2nd half of a back-to-back, there may be a couple quarters in here where they lose focus on the defensive end; I lean Over.

Spurs @ Lakers - This line is OFF. And for good reason - Kobe Bryant is hurt, and his late scratch, the injury news that plagued our Top Play on Saturday, is right back in focus in this game in LA. But what do we want, really? The Lakers other guys stepped up big time in the road win over Portland, just the way you'd expect them to when the superstar went down just before gametime. It's been discussed ad nauseum, the "Injured Star Theory", but one of the most interesting facets is trying to determine how long the "other guys" can make up for the superstar. Some believe it's 1 game. I happen to believe it varies depending on the quality of the team and the prognosis of the injured star. That is, psychologically, the "other guys" deal with a different sense of what sort of effort to put forth. I think in this case, where the Lakers know they're only going to be without Kobe for a game or two more, max, if that, guys like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom can carry a team for a couple games, not just one. It's a predicament, to be sure. Hell, maybe Kobe will play and it won't matter, but I'd actually rather bet this game without Kobe, since I think the Lakers home crowd can potentially carry the other guys even if they start to run low on energy. On the other side, the rickety old Spurs are coming off an easy winner over the Clippers, another team that was coming home off an 8-game road trip and just completely unfocused. San Antonio has played pretty well on the rodeo road trip so far, but the Lakers are going to be playing with some strong revenge here. San Antonio beat LA in Texas by 20 in a game the Lakers just never showed up for, and the Spurs shot a ridiculous 57% from the field. That most certainly will not happen again, and if the Lakers are again without Kobe, we can expect the same deliberate offense and methodical team defense (and great rebounding). And really, other than the fact that the Spurs just ran all over the Lakers earlier this year, the Lakers have had nice answers for San Antonio since they acquired Gasol and since Bynum learned how to play a little. I lean Lakers and Under.

Mavericks @ Warriors - Dallas by 4.5 with a total of 218. This is a battle of two teams, pardon the expression, literally crapping down their legs. The Warriors, the home team, are fresh off getting crushed, again, by the Thunder. They have lost 8 straight games SU, and while they're 4-4 ATS in that same stretch (and 7-4 ATS in their last 11), this team is barely covering as a dog, and while they might actually be getting a point or two of value because of the public's horrible perception of them, they are an extremely dangerous play. I have always liked backing the Warriors against the Mavericks due to the Don Nelson connection, but it looks like Golden State is starting to slow a little. They've played to 3 straight unders, and averaged just around 98 ppg while doing so, when their season average is over 106! If the Warriors can muster up some energy, playing them against the Mavericks is a great proposition. They've covered the last 3 games in Oakland against the Mavs, and they're actually 19-9 ATS against Dallas over the last decade-plus. The question here is whether fading Dallas is a valuable choice right now. The Mavs are 0-6 ATS since January 26th, so they're playing some awful basketball. The biggest issue continues to be defense, as the Mavs allow 98.7 ppg to their opponents on the season, but have allowed their last 6 opponents to each break 100. They're also 5-2 O/U in the last 7 games. Interestingly, though, one of the unders came against these Warriors, when the teams combined for 211 points, well under the posted mark of 218. In fact, both games so far have been under 218, the same total each time. And guess what? It's the same again. So our job is to try to determine if oddsmakers are just going to continue to try to split money on 218 until they have to change that value, or if indeed they believe this total is going to get up to 218. I'm inclined to believe the Warriors score a ton of points here against the porous Dallas defense. I like the Warriors, and I like the Over.

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