Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kyle Korver Kutcher

I wouldn't believe this note either, if I didn't have every play written down: we are now 4-0 on our last 4 Wednesday Top Plays! Wacky Wednesday has quietly turned into Wonderful Wednesday!

Not to mention the fact that the last 2 Wednesdays I was flying cross-country, and after Memphis creamed Boston a week ago, we got a strong 2nd half from the Jazz last night to cover against the floundering Minnesota Timberwolves. Good times, indeed!

Sports Wagering

Magic @ Heat - Orlando by 3 with a total of 187. If you want to talk about a game that LOOKS way too easy, this is about as tempting a road favorite as the oddsmakers can throw at the public. Now, remembering for a moment that there really aren't such things as "traps" and that lines that look like a trap are actually grounded in some sort of mathematical illusion, let's make sure we take a microscope to this one. Interestingly, Miami won the first 2 meetings between these Florida rivals this season, one game in both Miami and Orlando. Not surprisingly, the Magic got some revenge in the last meeting, a February 28th home beating of the Heat. So, now it's sort of the Heat who have the revenge angle, and in terms of which team actually needs this game more, that angle is a runaway Heat winner. Another situational angle to consider is that the Magic are on a back-to-back, and they're just 6-8-2 ATS in those spots this year. We have also seen that the Magic seem less inclined to play defense when they're a little tired - they are 10-6 O/U on back-to-backs, but that, I believe, comes into play more when they're going against an opponent that wants to try to run the ball. With the Heat, I think Miami is content playing a slower game, and keeping it a possession by possession slugfest. Okay, so the total might not be the way to go in this one - we know Miami wants it low scoring, and we know Orlando likes to get out and trade buckets when they're tired, figuring they might not win by 15, but they can save energy by only using strength on the offensive end, the easier end of the floor, and because of their talent advantage, trading buckets usually works. I think the most important angle in this game, and if we end up making a play on this game, we'll look at it further, but this line is just all kinds of crazy. And I know what you're thinking - surely the Magic are better than 3 points superior to the Heat tonight - well, not necessarily. Because of the back-to-back, this, in effect, is like saying Orlando is 8 points better than Miami on a neutral court. That's a ton of points to lay against a fellow playoff team. And just take a peek at how the recent games against the Spurs can tell us quite a bit. The Heat-Spurs game tipped with the Heat as 2.5-point favorites, in effect saying that the Spurs are, at most, 1 point better on a neutral court. Then, the next night, San Antonio goes off as a 7-point dog in Orlando, effectively making them 2-point dogs on a neutral size. If the Magic are truly just 3 points better than the Heat, they should be getting 2 points, not giving 3. This is one of the most lopsided lines I can remember based on the perception that the Magic are unstoppable. No way I could bet the Magic in this game - this is a huge game for the Heat, and Orlando likes the spotlight, but the motivational edge is decidedly with Miami. Lean to the Heat, and lean to the Over.

Hornets @ Nuggets - Denver by 13 with a total of 214. If at first you DO succeed, do that crap again. I just made that up based on last night's winner with Utah. The Hornets are playing their little stingers off in Golden State as we speak, and as of midnight here in the Eastern Standard, that game hasn't even hit the 3rd quarter. I'm watching the Tom Izzo NBA League Pass halftime interview for the 3rd time tonight, just waiting to see if the Hornets continue to roll, or if the Warriors start to play a little better. Honestly, though, I don't think it's going to matter. The Denver Nuggets are playing their second game back home after being forced to play on Tuesday in a 4th-in-5 situation, against a Wizards team playing its 5th game in 6 nights. Just a weird scheduling anomaly, and somehow the Nuggets prevailed by 10. You guys know how I feel about these fatigue spots. The Hornets are on their way to winning 2 straight on the West coast, as they're currently up 13 on Golden State after putting the Clippers down a couple nights back. Then, they have to get into Denver at 3am, or later, local time, try to get checked into the hotel, maybe get some food after all the running and scoring that takes place in Oakland, and if they're asleep by 5am, it's probably a moral victory. Hell, even if they're asleep by 4, a full night of rest would mean they wake at noon, and for those of us who have stayed up to 4 or 5am lately, once you're a couple years out of College, waking up at noon just makes you feel like you sucked down 3 Big Macs to start your day. The only other option is getting up at 9 or 10 on 5 hours of sleep, trying to adjust to the altitude during practice and whatever gameplanning you can get done against one of the toughest teams in the NBA, napping, then trying to play full speed for 48 minutes. Just can't be done. Now, that doesn't mean the Nuggets cover (or the Jazz, for that matter, though they have done so quite often), but it certainly means that the Hornets won't be hitting many outside shots, and the Nugs could absolutely thrash the Hornets on the offensive glass if they stay aggressive. Also, the Hornets already don't play much defense, how do we expect them to contain the Nuggets when they're tired? Denver could hang 40 on 'em in the 3rd quarter. I lean Nuggets to cover the chalk and I lean to the Over.

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