Sunday, April 11, 2010

3 Days Left, Combo Blog #5

That's how I like to wrap up a winning week!

Well, maybe not the MLB side, but certainly the NBA play.

Yesterday ended up as a largely profitable day by the evening! We started slowly, dropping a 1* MLB Totals play on the Orioles-Blue Jays "Over." The Orioles had a number of opportunities to scratch across runs, which would have helped us to a winner, but a large strike zone from home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, and TERRIBLE clutch hitting by Baltimore (the bigger culprit, really) doomed that play from the start.

But we bounced back Big Time in the evening with a 3* NBA Total of the Week winner on the Bulls-Raptors "Under." That game featured a quick tempo in the first half, but as expected, the importance of the game led to Chicago putting the clamps on Toronto's Bosh-less (read: anemic) offense, and when the pressure mounted and Toronto was still shooting 18-footers, that beautiful sound of which we never tire -- *clank* -- started ringing through the Air Canada Centre.

I do want to note the importance of starting to shift our focus over to the MLB, though. NBA has been hugely profitable for us all season long, but we're at that point where there's really just 1 or 2 games a day that shouldn't immediately get a big red slash through them, and of those 1 or 2 games (and the 4 potential plays in each), there might only be 1 NBA play per day worth breaking down.

With that in mind, the NBA half of this combo blog is going to continue to be treated like the "weekend" edition on games that I feel are NOT WORTH OUR TIME. Without further ado...

Sports Wagering: NBA

Heat @ Sixers - Miami by 4 with a total of 193.5. Those 76ers are just a disaster at home, and it looked like Miami started caring again in their win over New York last night. Wade played 37 minutes, so Miami is still trying, and I think they could potentially pass Milwaukee and play Boston instead of Atlanta. How much does that matter? I wouldn't think all that much, so this is one of those games I'd say to just disregard. Gun to my head, tiny lean to Miami to keep the pressure on, and tiny lean to the Over, as I feel like the Heat aren't going to go full tilt and the Sixers should be able to score for at least a half.

Magic @ Pacers - Orlando by 3.5 with a total of 210.5. This one looks too easy to back the Magic, and we know Orlando is still fighting to have a better regular season record than the Lakers in case they meet in the Finals again. Conflicting angles, I'd say, and an Indy team that is playing ultra-strong basketball down the stretch. No lean on the side, lean to the Over on the total, as the Magic aren't going to play strong defense the day after a National TV game with the Cavs.

Wizards @ Knicks - New York by 4.5 with a total of 207.5. The clash of titans. Washington is rested, New York is not; it doesn't matter. PASS!

Raptors @ Pistons - This line is OFF. Toronto must be feeling a tad deflated, and this is one of those games where you absolutely have to read the Raptors beat-writer work and hear some player interviews before pulling the trigger. Find the PULSE of this Toronto team off getting booted out of the playoff picture for the first time in months. Do they bounce back with season-closing wins against Detroit and New York, or wilt? No lean on the side yet, but potentially one coming tomorrow when we do a little more research. Tiny, tiny lean to the Over, as I feel like Toronto takes out some aggression on the offensive end.

Bobcats @ Nets - Charlotte by 5.5 with a total of 191.5. This is insane, but Jersey has won 2 of 3 from Charlotte this year. Do they just match up well? Does Charlotte still care? They're pretty much locked in that 7th spots, so I'd be very, very cautious about backing the Bobcats. Slight lean to Jersey, though this is a game I'd prefer to avoid if there are better options out there. Slight lean to the Over, as I think we get a wildly subpar defensive effort from Charlotte in a game that doesn't really matter.

Hawks @ Bucks - Milwaukee by 1.5 with a total 188. This game is interesting, if only because Atlanta's final 3 games are against both of the teams they might face in the playoffs. Neither team really needs this game, both could use some rest for starters. Atlanta is jockeying with Boston for 3rd or 4th, the Bucks are jockeying with the Heat, and they'll all end up playing each other. Hah. PASS on the side! I might take a peek at the Over on the total, if indeed the teams take this game as lightly as I expect.

Wolves @ Spurs - San Antonio by 14 with a total of 203. San Antonio needs wins down the stretch to avoid the Lakers, but there's no way I'm laying 14 points. In fact, with the Wolves losing by almost 30 last night, this line might even go up a half point. San Antonio has picked on Minnesota this year, winning their 2 previous games by 18 in each. Funny to think that an 18 point win is a narrow cover. No thanks - PASS on the side! The Spurs are scoring well and defending well - this total is accurate. No leans there.

Grizzlies @ Nuggets - This line is OFF. As I recall, Denver was sleepwalking through a game with the Grizzlies about a month ago, then O.J. Mayo felt the need to taunt J.R. Smith, and down went our Game of the Month in March. Ouch! Well, they're meeting again, and now Denver wants a win, Memphis is not involved, and no one really knows what to expect. Memphis won in San Antonio, got pummeled at home by Philadelphia, and now they play in Denver. Memphis is a monster question mark, and so, with passion, I say, PASS on the side. I like the Over on the total here, as Memphis isn't playing any defense, and I think they should be able to score enough to push this one Over, if indeed the number is decent.

Rockets @ Kings - Sacramento by 1.5 with a total of 209. The Kings always play Rick Adelman tough, going 3-0 ATS against Houston this season, and winning 2 of 3 games. Houston is playing better basketball than Sacramento down the stretch here, but I think we're actually getting a little line value based on public perception. Lean to the Kings to get a win on Fan Appreciation Night. Lean to the Under, as I feel like the Kings high-scoring tilt with Dallas and the Phoenix/Houston game last night are going to inflate this total a tad.

Thunder @ Blazers - Portland by 4 with a total of 189. First thing that strikes me is how low this total is set. Well, looking at the previous meetings, none has featured more than 179 total points, so this total isn't so low after all. These teams play slow grinders of games, and I actually like another Under, since I still don't think the public catches on, and if the Thunder play a high-scoring game with Golden State, that might inflate this number another point or so. On the side, Portland will get more rest, but the Thunder should be coming off a less emotional game. Tough call, no lean on the side yet.

Mavericks @ Clippers - This line is OFF. The Clippers actually beat Golden State, but the Mavs are just steamrolling lesser clubs right now. I hate road chalk, you guys know that, but in this particular case, I have to give just the world's tiniest lean to the Mavericks. I'm not betting this game, but I know some of you will insist on fading the Clippers. I'd still say there are better value out there, but what the hey. On the total, the Clippers defense has been pathetic; I'd look at the Over.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Brewers @ Cubs (-155) with total of N/A; D. Davis vs. R. Dempster;
Jim Edmonds is 4-for-9 with a HR off Dempster;
Casey McGehee is 3-for-7, and Prince Fielder has homered twice off Dempster;
Marlon Byrd is 4-for-12 off Doug Davis with 3 RBI;
Xavier Nady is 6-for-19 with 1 HR and 4 RBI;
Ryan Dempster is 11-3 in his career against the Brew Crew;
Derrek Lee is a miserable 4-for-23 off Davis.
Doug Davis has had surprising success against the Cubs, and Dempster, as well. I don't trust Davis, though, so I would say the Under, when it gets posted, might have some merit.

Nationals @ Phillies (-275) with a total of 9.5; J. Marquis vs. C. Hamels;
Alberto Gonzalez is 4-for-8 off Hamels;
Chase Utley is 7-for-15 with 3 RBI off Marquis;
Cole Hamels is 8-3, 2.37 ERA against Washington in his career;
Jayson Werth is a perfect 4-for-4 with a solo shot off Marquis.
I feel like we've been down this road with Cole Hamels, but there is simply no chance we lay 275 on anyone, let alone Hamels. As far as the underdog, this line is high for a reason, though at these odds, maybe you hope for a fluke on a quarter-unit flier. You have to look at the Over, too, with the way the Phils have hit to start the season, but I actually advocate a pass on this game, all around.

Astros @ Cardinals (-205) with a total of 7.5; W. Rodriguez vs. A. Wainwright;
Hunter Pence is batting .346 off Wainwright;
Carlos Lee is 1-for-20 off Wainwright;
Matt Holliday is 6-for-19 with 2 HR off Wandy;
Adam Wainwright is 7-1, 1.92 ERA against the Astros in his career;
Albert Pujols is batting just .161 off Wandy.
It's rare you find a pitcher that Albert Pujols just doesn't "see well" but Wandy is that guy, which, despite his 3-9 career record against the Cards, always makes him dangerous. Of course, his opposition has basically owned the city of Houston, which makes this side a tough one to play. Low total, but I happen to think we get a duel. Plus, if you've seen the Astros offense, it seems like playing the Under is always a solid bet.

Braves (-160) @ Padres with a total of 7.5; J. Jurrjens vs. K. Correia;
In limited action, Yunel Escobar is 3-for-3 off Correia;
Jair Jurrjens is 1-0, 1.32 ERA against the Padres in extremely limited action;
Adrian Gonzalez is 2-for-5 with a home run off Jurrjens.
I know you want to look at the home dog, I do too, but Jurrjens is a beast, and the Padres don't have the offensive firepower to give Jurrjens any sort of fits. This is a bad value on the dog, and a bad value on the favorite, but I'd probably take the Bravos before the Pads. I'd rather take neither. I don't like the total, either, as this line is already accounting for spacious Petco.

Reds @ Marlins (-160) with a total of 8; J. Cueto vs. R. Nolasco;
Drew Stubbs is 2-for-3 with a HR off Nolasco;
Scott Rolen is 2-for-6, Laynce Nix is 2-for-5, and Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-3 with a HR off Nolasco;
Jorge Cantu is 2-for-3 with 2 HR off Johnny Cueto.
Cueto looked much better in his one start this year than, really, at any point in his injury-plagued 2009. Nolasco has pretty nasty stuff, and I honestly don't know if there's enough info here to support a play on either side. The fave is too expensive, the dog doesn't have legs. I want to look at an Over with the total so low and the Marlins pen so unruly, but I'd leave that total alone, too.

Pirates @ Giants (-200) with a total of 8; R. Ohlendorf vs. B. Zito;
Ryan Doumit is 3-for-8 off Zito with an RBI;
Delwyn Young is 4-for-9 with 1 HR and 3 RBI;
Lastings Milledge is 2-for-3 with 1 HR and 2 RBI.
This is a pretty hefty price to play Barry Zito - has he really come that far? Ohlendorf is actually an underrated hurler, and the Giants have never really seen him. Despite a 3.13 ERA, Barry Zito has never defeated Pittsburgh, and I hate to say it, but at this price, you simply have to give a look at the dog, though we must remember how good the Giants are at home.

American League

Royals @ Tigers (-185) with a total of 8; L. Hochevar vs. M. Scherzer;
Jose Guillen was 2-for-3 off Scherzer with 2 RBI before this year;
Mitch Maier is a perfect 3-for-3, but no peripherals;
Miguel Cabrera was 8-for-9 off Hochevar before his meeting with Hochevar last week;
Carlos Guillen was 4-for-10 with 1 HR and 3 RBI before last week.
This game has all kinds of value in the total, since these two pitchers dueled like madmen in a game that went to extras tied at 1, and ended 3-2. These pitchers aren't going to go 7 innings and give up a run, again. Comerica plays large, but look at the Over, at least briefly. The side has no value, since this one is going to be bullpen heavy, and we know how the Royals handle that situation.

Rangers @ Indians (-115) with a total of 8.5; R. Harden vs. F. Carmona;
Elvis Andrus is 2-for-4 off Carmona, Julio Borbon is 1-for-2, David Murphy is 4-for-7 with 3 RBI, and Chris Davis is 3-for-7;
Nelson Crus is 3-for-7 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Carmona;
Josh Hamilton is a beefy 6-for-10 with 3 RBI;
Austin Kearns is 1-for-2 with a HR off Harden;
Luis Valbuena, interestingly, is 1-for-2 with a HR and 3 RBI.
Fausto Carmona is 2-6 career against the Rangers with an ERA of 6.02.
Carmona as a favorite? Must be a new season. Rich Harden is going to always put a huge strain on the bullpen because of his pitch count, but if he can go 5 strong innings, Texas should have enough offensively to take a lead into the late frames. Neither team has a great pen, though Texas just moved Neftali Feliz into the closer spot, so that should help. I lean Rangers, and I lean Over.

Red Sox (-140) @ Twins with a total of 9; J. Lester vs. C. Pavano;
Big Papi is 3-for-6 with a HR and 2 RBI off Carl Pavano;
Marco Scutaro is 4-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Pavano;
Jason Varitek is 3-for-7, and Bill Hall is 2-for-3 with a HR and 2 RBI off Carl;
Brendan Harris is 8-for-18 with 4 RBI off Jon Lester;
Justin Morneau is 4-for-9 with a HR and 4 RBI off Lester;
Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-6, Nick Punto is 2-for-6, and Denard Span is 2-for-4.
The Twins have hit Lester pretty hard, as he's just 0-1, 5.66 ERA against them in his career, and Lester's a slow starter. Pavano looked solid in his start against the Angels, and he's a battler, but he's just 2-2, 6.38 ERA against Boston. I have a tiny lean to the Twins to make a splash in their home opener, and maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I want to see the new stadium play before making a play on a total here, even though I like the Over quite a bit, on paper.

Athletics @ Mariners (-120) with a total of 8; J. Duchscherer vs R. Rowland-Smith;
Kurt Suzuki was 6-for-15 off Rowland-Smith before their meeting last week.
Neither pitcher looked at all impressive when they faced off last week in a game that was eventually won by Oakland 6-5 in walkoff fashion. So, this total rests comfortably at 8 despite both starters struggling last time out, and the game ending at 11. I think you have to look at the Under, and assume both pitchers should throw a little better this time around.

Rays (-170) @ Orioles with a total of 8.5; M. Garza vs. J. Guthrie;
B.J. Upton was 8-for-21 off Guthrie with 1 HR and 8 RBI before this season;
Carlos Pena was 6-for-16 with 1 HR and 4 RBI off Guthrie before this year;
Adam Jones was 4-for-10 off Garza with a HR and 2 RBI;
Miguel Tejada was 5-for-10 off Garza with 2 HR and 2 RBI before this year.
This is a rematch of a 1-run game in Tampa a little under a week ago, and while that bodes well for an underdog wager, Garza is 7-1, 2.67 ERA lifetime against Baltimore, and it's just not the right time to fade him. The Orioles are just awful with runners in scoring position, so they're not putting runs on the board, and their bullpen is allowing runs late, a bad combo. No leans on the side, no lean on the total.

White Sox (-130) @ Blue Jays with a total of 8.5; J. Peavy vs. B. Tallet;
Alex Gonzalez is 4-for-9 off Peavy.
There is just no history to work off of, here. Tallet pitched well in his first start this year, and has decent numbers against the current White Sox. Peavy, despite all his time in the Majors, doesn't really have numbers against the Jays. Does he deserve to be a road favorite against a team that has started the year pretty hot? Tough to say. I have a miniscule lean to the home dog, but probably not enough information here to go on. Slight lean to the Under.

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