Monday, March 01, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Kname

Well guys, all good things come to an end, and our blindingly hot streak tweaked a knee last night. We dropped the 1* Paid Play on the Bulls, which basically "hit the fan" as soon as Derrick Rose went down and missed most of the first half, and we dropped our small Free Play on the Bobcats, who melted away in the 4th quarter.

There isn't much I can say about the Bobcats game -- I simply mis-read the value. Once that line jumped, the Mavericks were clearly the better side, and that was a bad call.

The Bulls game I would probably play the same way in the future, knowing what I know, but if someone told me Derrick Rose could only play 2 and a half quarters, I might rethink things.

As I've said before, "So it goes."

Sports Wagering

Celtics @ Pistons - This line is OFF. I can't even tell you how badly I want to back Detroit, just looking at the way these teams have been playing. I'm just not sure the time is right. Why, you ask? Well, the Pistons are playing their first home game since February 21st, so there might be the slight "first game home" situation. I'm not completely sold on it, though, since Detroit has a road game tomorrow in New York. So, it's not the traditional start of a homestand, and I'm not sure that the players are going to get sucked into a ton of family life chores since the wife and kids know they're going right back out for a couple more days. The concern becomes, instead, the fact that the Pistons are coming home from Golden State, so a 3-hour time difference and a 4 hour flight, plus the weird jet-lag of flying back to Michigan. Despite all that, I still really want to back Detroit - I know, crazy, right? Detroit, though, has been playing much, much better basketball lately, basically covering any game where they've had a day of rest beforehand, and failing to cover when they're on back-to-backs. They also have a ton of veteran leadership, which makes me think they have zero fear of the Celtics. The same can be true of Boston, they've been very tough against the Pistons in recent history. But we have to take that with a grain of salt; these were two of the top teams in the East 2 years ago, when there wasn't a great deal of line value. Now, Detroit is the lesser team, which means betting Detroit comes with instant value. Boston is coming off that ugly, ugly loss to New Jersey, which means folks will be split between thinking they'll bounce back angry or continue to stumble. Still, despite all that, I lean Detroit. I also think with two defensive teams, we might get some value on the Over.

Warriors @ Heat - This line is OFF. I'm not even sure the Warriors have enough players to be considered an NBA team. Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins are the latest casualties of being on the Warriors, if indeed that is the curse of the year. I really do not like this game. The Warriors are going to be monster underdogs, since they're basically now Stephen Curry and 5 or 6 guys that should either be in the NBDL or College. The unpredictability of the situation makes it an awful value spot. Yes, I realize there are only 4 games on the card, so each one should be picked clean of information, but I see zero reason to try to pick a side in this one. The Warriors are on home revenge, but again, how exactly is a team of guys that are all going to need to play the full 48 minutes without fouling going to get revenge on a vicious defensive-minded team like the Heat who just got their superstar back. No lean on the side. Now, as far as the total is concerned, I'm very curious to see where this one comes out. The Heat are the ultimate low-scoring team, and the Warriors are just the opposite. As we've seen, though, Golden State plays to the under when they're on the road, since they just don't shoot even close to as well. They don't defend at all home or road, so the difference is largely on the offensive side. When these teams met in mid-December, the total was set at 214, and it went over, if but barely. I think we see this total set lower, possibly because of injury, but I'll be surprised to see the Warriors break 95. I lean Under.

Kings @ Thunder - Oklahoma City by 10.5 with a total of 202. Back-to-back wins and covers for both teams coming into this one, but given the monstrous line, I think it's pretty clear that this is a spot where we should start with the road team and work our way to the home team, if we can make it that far. Both teams play again tomorrow, the Kings in Houston and the Thunder in Denver. Based on that, you'd think the Thunder might have a slight look-ahead spot, though not all that strong, given how well this team has been focusing on each and every game. On their current short homestand, the Thunder have been favored by 9, 9.5 and now 10.5, and they have blown out the Wolves and Raptors thus far. I guess we have to weigh the probability that the Thunder just run another team right out of the building versus the chance that they take Sacramento lightly. These teams have met twice this year, but haven't played since November, and they split the home games way back when. For all intents and purposes, this is a brand new Thunder team now. Still, I can't really advocate backing a team as a 10.5-point favorite. Double digit favorites have performed terribly this year, and basically every year, with the back door wide, wide open. And unless one team is in an especially awful situational spot, which neither is, there's no great reason to take the huge home favorite. I wouldn't say I lean Sacramento, but I certainly don't lean to Oklahoma. On the total, I think this number is pretty accurate, but I'd lean just slightly to the Under.

Pacers @ Lakers - Los Angeles by 12.5 with a total of 208.5. This is just the icing on an hideous NBA card, at least in terms of the relevance of the games. The Lakers are in an odd spot here, coming off the big Sunday afternoon win over the Nuggets. Is this a letdown spot? I don't necessarily think so. I think the best teams in the NBA have a greater tendency to look ahead than they do to look back. We've seen Boston follow up big wins with covers, and we just saw the Cavs do the same, though it took them overtime to pull it off. I do like that the Lakers did finally beat the Nuggets, since there may be a sense of satisfaction. It's tough, though. We know how vicious the Lakers can be when they're playing together, and the biggest question in my mind is whether Lamar Odom uses his outstanding game against the Nuggets as a leaping point, or whether he regresses to his sometimes-play mentality that we tend to see against bad teams. The Lakers are just 1-5 ATS as a home favorite of 12.5 or more, so we're up in that category I can only describe as "mega." I believe the letdown angle is really the only thing going here, since the Lakers did beat Indiana by 22 on the road earlier this year, outrebounding the Pacers by 21. Can Indiana play hard enough to keep this thing a game? I would venture to say that they cover this number more than 50% of the team, and I lean Indiana. On the total, if Indiana is going to cover, they're going to need to get out in the open court, since they're definitely not going to win a game based on size and strength, so I just have to look at the Over, even though I don't particularly like the value.

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