Sunday, March 28, 2010

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Yesterday started strong, and ended...

The Paid Play on the Heat-Raptors Under went through a few stretches where it looked a little suspect, but for the most part the game was played at a nice slow tempo like we expected, and we just needed one cold quarter from Toronto to seal the deal.

The first Free Play on the Suns-Wolves Under was in the money pretty much the whole way through, and despite a fairly high-scoring final quarter, we cashed.

The second Free Play on the Warriors-Clippers Over somehow didn't make it to 228 total points -- oh yeah, it's because the Clippers shot 38%. They still hit 224, and the Clippers didn't even play for about 16 minutes. Really a shame because in most circumstances, I think we get that one. Still, it was the smallest of our plays (as noted in the game's writeup), so it didn't hurt too bad.

The Prop Bet on Nene staying Under 21.5 points and rebounds wasn't an "easy" winner, but once we got into the final 2-3 minutes with Nene stuck at 17 combined "tallies", that took the pressure off. That win wipes the sour taste of Caron Butler's short night on Saturday out of our mouths, and moved Props to a borderline silly 20-5 run.

Shorter card today, and I'll be looking at totals again first, so let's get down to bees-knees.

Sports Wagering

Raptors @ Bobcats - Charlotte by 8 with a total of 195.5. Toronto is starting to get itself a few covers here and there, but this team remains in a pretty miserable spiral, and Chicago is clawing its way awfully close to final playoff spot. And for Toronto, they outplayed Miami for 3 quarters yesterday, but then gave it away with a disjointed and ugly 4th, while the Heat played outstanding defense, and really, Toronto just finally missed a few outside jumpers. Interesting, I've only had two "huge" plays this entire NBA season, and the last time Toronto came to Charlotte, way back in early November before even going Pro, I had what I guess you might call a "Biggest Play" on Charlotte, and they beat Toronto by 35. This time around, Toronto is coming off that heartbreaking loss in Miami last night, and while the idea of "needing" this game probably means Toronto has a motivational edge, I just still can't trust them on the road. Toronto had actually been one of the best teams in the NBA against Miami, and they couldn't sustain the solid play for 4 full quarters when rested, so how are they going to do it on a back-to-back? We all know about Toronto's pedestrian 4-13 ATS record on back-to-back games, so it's tough to see them really getting amped and being able to sustain it. My guess is that this game plays out the way so many others have featuring a team off a tough loss. Toronto comes out very slow, has a run in them in the 3rd, then runs out of gas for real late. Charlotte is coming off 3 pretty easy games with Washington and Minnesota, so I expect them to be well-prepared and come out strong. Lean to Charlotte. Toronto gives up a ton of points on the back-to-back, but I'm just not sure Charlotte takes advantage - they know a slow game is their bread and butter, and I happen to think this one gets played exactly the same as yesterday's - SLIGHT lean to the Under.

Spurs @ Nets - San Antonio by 8.5 with a total of 193. This is a trademark letdown spot for the Spurs, coming off a huge game with Boston, and a well-played game with Boston that marks something of a respite between hotly contested games. Again, Spurs have played against the Hawks, Thunder, Lakers, Cavs and Celtics before this one with Jersey. Then they go back to the Rockets, Magic and Lakers again. If you want to talk about a "Sandwich Game", this has to be the example. We know Duncan's legs don't hold up well on back-to-back, and we know the Spurs try to slow things down when they're feeling sleepy. Is this one of those games where the Nets feel like they have a good shot to remove themselves from infamy? It seems like the Nets have a few games on their schedule circled as potential winners, and knowing the Spurs are playing on no rest and coming off a game against the rough-n-tough Celtics, I have to think we get New Jersey's best effort. Yes, the Spurs are playing some decent basketball, winning, basically, every other game against some of the best teams in the League, and if they can get through this gauntlet near .500, I'm sure they'll be pleased, since the rest of the way won't be as tough. The Spurs are an even 7-7 ATS on back-to-backs, but 4-9 O/U, so we know that trend, and Jersey seems to be willing to play at whatever tempo the opponent dictates. I lean to Jersey, though they're not inspiring all kinds of confidence. I also lean to the Under, since Jersey has no identity, so we'll go with the Spurs' flavor to control the game.

Lakers @ Hornets - Los Angeles by 5.5 with a total of 201.5. This is a bit of an odd game, since I wonder if this is one of those spots where Chris Paul wakes up and tries to make an impact. So far this year the Hornets have been spanked twice in Los Angeles (though they did cover in the second meeting as 15-point underdogs), but now they get LA at home. The Lakers are coming off a pretty easy win over the Rockets, where the subs made things a little interesting, but Houston never really had a chance. I'm a little torn on whether the Lakers are in playoff tune-up mode, or whether they're just playing out the next few, trying to get some key guys a little more rest than usual, and that makes it very tough to wager on a Lakers side. I get the feeling the Hornets are going to want to put on a show in front of the fans, that, while New Orleans is indeed out of the playoff picture, will want to come out and see a Kobe versus CP3 duel, and it might very well turn out to be a fun one. The Hornets still aren't playing much in the way of defense, but the Lakers haven't really been all that set on running lately, either. This one is all kinds of crazy, and while I could potentially try to squeeze some sort of lean out of this one, neither team is in a particularly good or bad spot, so I'd advise avoiding the side. The total of 201.5 looks pretty high, if indeed the Lakers try to play some defense. I have a microscopic lean to the Under, but again, be very, very careful with this game in particular.

Nuggets @ Mavericks - Dallas by 5 with a total of 211. Dallas comes home off a 1-1 quickie road trip through Portland and Golden State, and riding a little wave of momentum courtesy of Rodrigue Beaubois. But this game isn't going to be the cake-walk that the contest with the Warriors was. Denver is a quality team, and they're coming to town off a tough loss in Orlando yesterday. Make no mistake, too - Denver is struggling a bit right now. They've not-so-quietly lost 4 of 5 games, including one last night and they've really never looked all that reliable on back-to-back games. That would be a pretty good explanation for why the can't-win-at-home Mavericks are laying 5 points to the high-flying Nuggets. This is also the last game of a 5-game road trip for the Nuggets before they head home to host the division rival Portland Trailblazers, and this is also their 5th game in 7 days. I was wondering if the game with Orlando would be the contest to wake them up, but it didn't seem to be. Can we trust Dallas at home? It's questionable, but in this particular spot, I have to lean in their direction. Denver killed Dallas the last time they met, too, so I think Dallas is going to come ready to prove something, and try to get some of that home court moxie going as we near the playoffs. Lean to Dallas. The total of 211 is monstrous, but Dallas's defense hasn't been all that impressive lately, either. I happen to think this one is pretty close to spot on, though we might stay Under by a bucket or two.

Knicks @ Jazz - Utah by 11.5 with a total of 213.5. Situationally, this game favors the Knicks. Motivationally, it favors the Jazz. When you add it all together, it basically comes out as a no-play. Let's take a closer peek, but I don't think anything we find is going to change that. The Knicks are coming off a hideous loss in Phoenix, so the value is probably on their side. Utah is coming off a road clubbing of the Wizards, and is set to play their first game at home after a 3-game road trip. Not a true sluggish spot, but partially there. They host the Warriors next, so it's not a look-ahead, but these two home games are sort of "gimmies" for the Jazz, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to coast through before heading to LA to face the Lakers. The Knicks are on the second game of a long road trip, and we've talked quite a bit about how tough it is for teams with nothing to play for to head out on a long roadie at this stage of the season. This game is just too volatile, in my opinion, to warrant a play on the side. A lot of games are too volatile at this stage of the season, really. As far as the total goes, I'm not 100% sure what the Knicks are trying to do these days. They seem to alternate struggling to crack 95, then 110. Is it worth taking a chance that they lay an egg and bet the over? Is it worth taking a chance that they come out firing and bet the over? This one is a wash, as far as I'm concerned. If I had to really make any kind of call on the game, I guess I'd say Jazz to squeeze out a cover and stay slightly Under, but those are only to be used in extremely dire circumstances.

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