Sunday, March 14, 2010

Batum Goes Boom

These openings are getting to be a bit long-winded, and until my amount of free time increases by, say 25%, I think it's time to put more of my energy into the game write-ups, and less into recapping records and yesterday's results.

So, quickly, we won yesterday with the Blazers, and picked up another Prop Bet winner on Tyreke Evans scoring over 19 points. Strong Sunday, hopefully the start to a much better week than the last one!

We're now 15-7-1 on our last 23 Paid Plays, and 23-13 on all Premium Selections since the All Star Break. You guys know the long term record stands at 60% since mid-January (basically, when I shook off the Just-Turned Pro Jitters), so no need to list the exact numbers - they are all available at my Pro Page. Click this paragraph to get there.

Sports Wagering

Knicks @ Sixers - Philadelphia by 3.5 with a total of 210.5. Two teams with nothing to play for going head-to-head; just what we've always wanted, right? Well, there are still some angles at play that we might as well take a peek at, just in case this game turns out to be a value. Off the bat, it's pretty clear that the Sixers have mailed it in for this season. They've lost 8 of 9 games, and 3 straight, and generally they've been getting pummeled, as they're just 3-6 ATS in those 9 contests. Philadelphia got whipped by the Heat in Miami yesterday, though it's tough to call it a back-to-back, just because of the game being played on Sunday afternoon. Philly has been pretty middle-of-the-pack in back-to-back games anyway, and the fact that they're still laying 3.5 here is somewhat of a surprise to me. The Knicks come to town off an insane road blowout of the Dallas Mavericks. That game is tough to explain, though the Knicks certainly have the offensive tempo to put up some numbers. The Sixers aren't playing defense, they're not scoring much, and it looks like they're trying to give the young guys some more run, here. Again, it's tough to really claim that one team is a value in this one, since neither has any reason to give 100%, but I think when you've got two teams that both have nothing going on, it's a wise move to look at either the home team or the team getting points. Unfortunately, those are opposite sides in this game. Philadelphia has been awful at home at just 9-22 ATS, so perhaps that wipes out one angle, and I lean to the Knicks to at least take this sucker down to the wire, possibly win it outright. This total is awfully high, but you know New York wants a game up over 100, so I actually do have a slight lean to the Over.

Pistons @ Celtics - Boston by 9.5 with a total of 196. I would have loved to see Boston win yesterday in Cleveland, since that would have created downright MEGA value on the Pistons side, but even with the loss, I still think fading the Celtics at home is generally a decent bet. Unfortunately, Boston has actually been a more predictable look-ahead team this year than a letdown team. Coming off big games, they've done a decent job of covering spreads, though lately, those "letdown" spots have come on the road. We've talked at great length on the podcasts about that 9.5 number, and how it really entices the public to get on the favorite. It's not 10 points, so you're not laying double digits, and the public falls in love with the idea that surely the favorite can clear 9.5. But it's usually not so simple. The Pistons, despite their 9-10 ATS record in the season's second half, have actually been extremely predictable and successful when rested. Since the All Star Break, the Pistons are 7-3 ATS when on 1 day of rest, or more, and they had a day to gameplan here, and get those jump-shooting legs ready to roll. When on a back-to-back since the Break, the Pistons are an outstanding 0-5 ATS. If that doesn't tell you when to bet the Pistons, I don't know what does. I think this is a nice spot for them, as Detroit got beat by Boston at home earlier this month in a game that, really, Detroit could have won with a stronger second half. I think the Pistons are playing with pride right now, even if they're not winning much, but thanks to their pathetic mark in back-to-back games, they remain undervalued. I lean Detroit, since I think Boston has a mental lapse day, recovering from yesterday's mediocre effort in Cleveland. This total looks awfully high, but both teams have been playing less defensive-minded basketball than at any point in the last few years. I lean Over.

Nuggets @ Rockets - Denver by 3 with a total of 215.5. This side is very, very weird to me. I find it hard to believe the Nuggets are only 6-point neutral court favorites over Houston, but maybe my brain is just farting on this game. The Nuggets were laying 2 in Memphis on a back-to-back, so by that token, the Rockets are being ranked as 1-point better than the Grizzlies. It's almost as though someone got hurt, but I'm not aware of it, so for all the readers, if I missed something, please fill in the blanks. I can already tell that this game is going to be heavily bet on Denver, since it seems awfully easy to expect Denver to cover only 3 points in Houston, no? Something very weird about this game, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Yes, it's Denver's final game of their current 4-game road trip, but they've won 6 games in a row, and even in a game against Memphis that seemed like a trademark sluggish spot, Denver woke up and poured in 40 points in the 4th quarter. Quite frankly, while I feel like there's something going on with this line that I'm not quite processing, I wouldn't step in front of the Nuggets (again) without someone whispering to me that Carmelo Anthony has money on the opponent, or some similarly decisive inside information. I would love to say I lean to the Rockets, but I'm too busy scratching my head to lean in any direction. It's not a particularly good or bad spot for either team, and Denver had clubbed Houston twice already this year without much trouble. Be careful here. This total is the highest for any of the 3 meetings between these teams this year, which makes me think Houston and Denver get into a classic shootout, but with both teams coming off outrageously high-scoring games, I'm also concerned that it's just an inflated number. NO LEANS on this game.

Wizards @ Jazz - This line is OFF. Presumably because of Utah's injury issues. The Jazz are scuffling a little bit right now, dropping two straight games with the Bucks and the Thunder. Now, they have to head back home for a date with a team that doesn't seem all too interested in playing out the rest of the season. And that's a shame, too, because Utah is playing its 5th game in 7 days, and this would be a wonderful time to fade them if the competition wasn't so pathetic. The Wizards have lost 7 straight games, though I suppose the 2-5 ATS mark in that stretch isn't quite so horrid, still bad, though. Obviously, with Utah losing a couple in a row, the value of a play on Washington isn't quite as high, but I still contend that teams coming off a long stretch of solid play are sort of inclined to lose a few, or at least play less inspired basketball for a couple days before rounding back into shape. And while I want nothing more than to make a play on the Wizards, Washington played 3 games in 3 days, but only got 1 day off before this game in Utah, then another game tomorrow in Denver. This is a damn tiring stretch of basketball for both teams involved, which makes backing either club somewhat difficult. Still, when all is said and done, I have to lean to Washington. Even though they seem to have mailed it in, Utah is in a very difficult spot, and the spread is going to be massive on this one. In terms of the total, with both teams exhausted, I would think defense might be lacking, but at the same time, Washington hasn't cracked 100 points since Feb 26th. I might lean Under, depending on the line.

Hornets @ Clippers - This line is OFF. This line seems to be off because of Eric Gordon's injury, but man, you want to talk about two teams BOTH going down the toilet, this is that game. The Clippers are playing their first game home off a 5-game road trip that saw LA lose all 5 games, go 1-4 ATS, and of the 7 straight games the Clippers have lost, they've been blown out by 10 or more points in 6 of them, and lost the other game by 8. The Hornets lost in Phoenix last night, so they're probably going to be getting points in this game, and they've lost 8 straight games ATS. These are really 2 of the worst teams in the NBA right now, with the Bulls and Wolves also potential candidates for that award, and picking between the two is a struggle, to be sure. The Hornets have actually covered 10 straight games against the Clippers, and 8 of those 10 have gone over the posted total. Two of those 10 straight covers have come this season, but both of those games were in New Orleans. The question here is whether the Clippers can legitimately have a "first-game-home" letdown when they're losing nightly by 15-25 points. It almost seems like things can't get any worse for either of these teams. The Hornets, supposedly, are expecting Chris Paul back, so maybe they'll make one final push to rack up a few wins, and they did actually put forth a marginal effort last night in Phoenix before buckling to a better team, and they're 7-6 ATS on back-to-backs, so getting those 2 extra points might actually help their cause. I lean to the Hornets, who are sure to be a small road dog. I also lean to the Over, since I think the Clippers continue to struggle to defend (they've allowed 100 points in 8 straight), and the Hornets will continue to try to run, but might actually be able to score against a bad Clippers defense.

Lakers @ Warriors - Lakers by 7.5 with a total of 222. This game is 100% reliant on the Lakers actually trying. We know we're going to get a decent effort from the Warriors - those D-Leaguers are laying it on the line EVERY night, as they know one great game this year could potentially get them a contract for next season. Stephen Curry seems to be enjoying himself, and Monta Ellis, if healthy, is one of the tougher covers in the NBA. So, we know the Warriors are going to give a strong effort, especially against a marquee opponent like the Lakers. And are the Lakers really a 10.5 or 11-point neutral court favorite? That's a huge number of points to lay on the road, but again, if the Lakers give 90%, they can cover this number. The sheer size advantage the Lakers have over the Warriors is absurd, since Golden State's starting 5 is predominantly under 6'6", with a few exceptions, of course. But the Warriors have quietly covered 3 in a row and 6 of 8, so they're a good value right now, as one of the few BAD teams in the NBA still playing hard. In fact, aside from the fact that they're so wildly overmatched by the Lakers, the Warriors should be a good bet the rest of the season, as long as the D-Leaguers keep giving 100% - bad teams that are motivated to prove themselves are an amazing bet all year long, but even moreso as we hit the stretch run, and other teams start to mail it in. The Lakers are coming off a win on the road in Phoenix, so the obvious concern is that they're getting things turned around, and that makes me hesitant to back Golden State here. Also, LA beat Golden State 130-97 in Oakland earlier this year. I have a tiny lean to the Warriors because of the value, but we're talking TINY. The total intrigues me, since it seems awfully high. The Lakers haven't played that many high-scoring games lately, and I'm interested in seeing the bet% breakdown on this game, as that will give us a better indicator if this line is inflated or set high because oddsmakers believe the Warriors will crack 100 points. At first glance, I lean Over, but that is subject to change.

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