Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend Short Combo Blog #2

I guess there's really no such thing as a "short" blog with it being combo week, but the NBA write-ups are a little briefer than during the week.

I want to start by noting that I believe we've officially hit the point where the NBA is probably not worth wagering unless you have a supremely strong play and there's almost zero doubt in the selection. And on that note, I happen to believe you probably need to be playing a TOTAL for there to be that kind of value, since teams are showing up or bailing out on a nightly basis without much warning. With that in mind, I will likely have ONE NBA play for Sunday, but I absolutely do NOT guarantee having any other NBA regular season plays as pretty much every team is beginning to strongly consider mailing it in.

As far as yesterday goes, we went 1-2, but we hit a huge underdog, so only dropped about half a unit. Considering a 1-2 record during football season means you likely lost 1.2 units or more, the fact that we lost two plays for -2.10 units, then won our Top Play on the Padres to make back over 1.60 units on that monster underdog really bodes well for when we have a good day!

Despite the 1-2 Saturday, we only gave back a half unit of profit, and we're still WAY, WAY up for the month of April and WAY, WAY up during the NBA season. The NBA run still stands at 16-7, and 8-3, and we've made money in the MLB in each of the last 3 days, so now is absolutely NOT a time to bail because our transition is just starting to cash!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Magic @ Cavaliers - This line is OFF. This game is going to be largely dependent on who plays, it's that simple. If, as I expect, Lebron and/or a few of his teammates take the morning off, the Magic could be a nice play, here. As was noted by a sharp blog reader a couple days back (was that you, PK?) Orlando is playing for the 2nd best record in the League (and a potential home court in the Finals), so they're still playing their top guns in an effort to pass the Lake show. So, while 80% of the league is screwing off the last few days of the season, Orlando is making a push (right now they're tied with LA at 56-23). Lean to the Magic, and tiny lean to the Over.

Blazers @ Lakers - This line is OFF. This game would seemingly mean more to Portland than LA, but I wonder if we're starting to see the Lakers get into playoff tune-up mode. This might be one of the games to just wipe off your card, since we really don't know what to expect from LA. This line won't come out until pretty late, too, given that oddsmakers are trying to determine which Lakers, if any, are going to take a night off. Slightest, tiniest lean to Portland, and while I like unders in this "big game" situation, normally, off that ugly game with Dallas, not sure the under has any value left. Let's check the line out, but maybe a peek at the Over on a value play.

Heat @ Knicks - Miami by 5 with a total of 200. New York has been competitive lately, in most games, though they got slammed in Orlando. Miami has taken its foot off the gas now that a playoff spot is locked up, and we saw that in their last game with Detroit. The Heat are not terribly concerned about that playoff seed, though I think they're assuming they can grab a win down the stretch to stay out of the 7th or 8th spot. No lean on the side, and slight lean to the Over, since I feel like the Heat get sucked into a Knicks-style game, just a bit.

Bulls @ Raptors - Chicago by 2 with a total of 202.5. This is truly the game of the day, and the only one that matters from a "who's in and who's out" perspective. In fact, the winner of this game will be in the driver's seat for that last playoff spot. Toronto is without Chris Bosh, and I feel like everyone is going to be looking to Chicago to pick up this win, but I think the huge value is in the Under. This is going to be a "playoff style" game, and you can bet that both teams are going to want to take special care of the ball. I happen to think this game comes down to the last shot, so maybe take a team on the ML if you want to grab a side, and definite lean to the Under.

Wolves @ Hornets - This line is OFF. Two teams with nothing to play for, this point in the season, it's as simple as this: look to the home team. We've seen how visitors have performed in the final week of the season, and the numbers haven't been impressive. Slight lean to Hornets, though we know how they've struggled to cover numbers at home, but the Wolves are off that actual crowd draw against the Lakers, and they're ripe for a complete failure game. I think this one could be a track meet, too. Lean to the Over.

Rockets @ Suns - Phoenix by 9 with a total of 222.5. Believe it or not, the games in this series have been pretty hotly contested, and I think it's because the Rockets can shoot. Houston's quietly rattled off 3 wins in a row, but admittedly, the Suns need it more. I'd probably give a tiny lean to the Rockets getting all these points, but a pass is the wiser option on a game with a spread this large. The total looks pretty accurate, if a tiny bit inflated, but which team is going to slow it down? Neither, that I can tell. Pass on the total, too.

Thunder @ Warriors - This line is OFF. The Thunder don't take anything lightly these days, and though they got ripped off of a win in Utah, then were too tired to tackle Denver, they bounced back nicely with a home win over the skilled Suns. I happen to think the Warriors are going to run into a little trouble with this hugely athletic team, and even though this is likely to be some road chalk, I think the Thunder dispatch of Golden State. On the total, we know the Thunder can score with Golden State, though they've done a decent job of slowing, and I have to look at the Under first.

Sports Wagering: MLB

Nationals @ Mets (-230) with a total of 8; L. Hernandez vs. J. Santana;
Adam Dunn is 4-for-7 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Santana;
Ryan Zimmerman is 5-for-16 with a HR and 4 RBI;
Christian Guzman is 8-for-16 with 1 RBI off Johan;
David Wright is 12-for-27 with 4 HR and 10 RBI off Livan since 2005;
Mike Jacobs is 4-for-12 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Hernandez;
Jeff Francoeur is 5-for-13 with 1 HR and 2 RBI;
Henry Blanco, Luis Castillo, Jason Bay and Alex Cora each hit over .333 off Livan.
There are a surprisingly large number of offensive numbers to consider, especially on Washington's side. Johan is a beast, and I'd never advocate backing Livan, but perhaps peek at the Over, or the underdog RL.

Dodgers @ Marlins (-130) with a total of 9; C. Haeger vs. A. Sanchez;
Manny Ramirez has a homer in 3 AB off Sanchez with 2 RBI;
Ronnie Belliard is 2-for-5 and Russ Martin is 2-for-4 off Sanchez.
Considering Sanchez held the Dodgers to 1 run in 6 innings in his career against them, this isn't much of a price to pay on the vastly superior starter. Still, that Marlins pen is a scary sight. Tiny lean to Florida, and tiny lean to the Under.

Cubs @ Reds (-130) with a total of 9.5; T. Gorzelanny vs. M. Leake;
Jay Bruce is 1-for-2 off Gorzelanny with a HR;
Orlando Cabrera and Scott Rolen are each 2-for-5.
We don't know enough about Mike Leake to make a play, here, but the fact that he's a -130 favorite tells you oddsmakers think he'll throw the ball just fine. Pass on the side, here, and a look at the Under, since we'll get the key number of 9 right now.

Phillies (-185) @ Astros with a total of 7.5; R. Halladay vs. R. Oswalt;
Ryan Howard is batting .421 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Oswalt;
Brian Schneider is 4-for-9 off Oswalt with 1 HR and 2 BRI;
Raul Ibanez is a simple 2-for-5 off Roy Oswalt, but someone to watch;
Carlos Lee is 1-for-3 off Halladay with a HR and 3 RBI;
Roy Oswalt is 6-1, 3.23 ERA against Philadelphia.
Oswalt has solid career numbers against Philly, but Houston is offensively inept, and I don't know how healthy Oswalt truly is. I would look at the Under, and maybe the underdog RL if oddsmakers truly feel this game is staying near 7.5.

Padres @ Rockies (-235) with a total of 9; J. Garland vs. U. Jimenez;
Adrian Gonzalez has homered twice off Jimenez, but is batting just .211 off him;
Jon Garland is 1-0, 2.63 ERA against the Rockies;
Carlos Gonzalez is 7-for-11 off Garland;
Todd Helton is 4-for-6 off Garland, and Melvin Mora is 6-for-20.
Coors Field is the X-factor here, as Garland has been decent against a large portion of the Rockies lineup, and Jimenez is a budding superstar. I don't like the sides, but I think if these guys can get through 6+ innings, the Under might be a decent look.

Braves @ Giants (-200) with a total of 7; K. Kawakami vs. T. Lincecum;
Brian McCann is 6-for-16 off Lincecum;
Travis Ishikawa is 3-for-5 off Kawakami, and Aaron Rowand is 2-for-3.
Tim Lincecum is 5-1, 2.72 ERA against the Braves.
The Giants should win this game, but that total of 7 makes me think Kawakami throws well, too. Be careful here, is my best advice, since this one might end up closer than folks think. I don't think there's a good bet in this game.

Pirates @ Diamondbacks (-200) with a total of 10; D. McCutchen vs. E. Jackson;
There is absolutely no information to go off, here, other than that Jackson faced the Pirates many moons back, and these guys have a total of 13 AB against him. The Diamondbacks will probably win this game, and again, no real promising-looking wagers to come out of this contest, other than a potential look at the Under.

Cardinals (-140) @ Brewers with a total of 8; C. Carpenter vs. R. Wolf;
Felipe Lopez is 7-for-18 off Randy Wolf;
Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols are each 3-for-10 off Wolf;
Brendan Ryan is 3-for-5 in limited action of Wolf;
Prince Fielder is 4-for-11 with a HR and 2 RBI off Carpenter;
Craig Counsell is 3-for-10 with 1 RBI.
Randy Wolf is a serviceable starter with decent career numbers against the Cards, but St. Louis is one bad team, and they've started the year hot. If you can get Carp or Wainwright below -150 NOT against another staff ace, you have to at least consider it. Lean to Cards. No lean on the total, as St. Louis could score 8 or 5, and might win either way.

American League

Indians @ Tigers (-215) with a total of 8.5; J. Westbrook vs. J. Verlander;
Carlos Guillen is batting .417 off Westbrook;
Brandon Inge is batting .348 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Westbrook;
Magglio Ordonez is batting .364 with 2 HR and 6 RBI;
Ramon Santiago is 5-for-7 off Westbrook.
Verlander has actually had some issues with Cleveland in his career, but most of the Indians that hit him hard aren't on the Indians any more. Hafner and Sizemore each have 2 HR off Verlander, and Peralta has 1 HR, but none hit for a high average. This game is a wash to me on the side, maybe a peek at the Over, though Comerica Park plays to the Under.

Blue Jays @ Orioles (-140) with a total of 9; S. Marcum vs. K. Millwood;
Lyle Overbay is 5-for-13 with 2 HR and 2 RBI off Kevin Millwood;
John Buck is 7-for-16 with 6 RBI off Milwood;
Aaron Hill is 6-for-19, Alex Gonzalez is 2-for-6;
Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are each 2-for-3 off Millwood;
Nick Markakis is 9-for-18 with 5 HR and 6 RBI off Marcum - holy moly!
Miguel Tejada is 6-for-13 with 3 HR and 7 RBI;
Adam Jones is 3-for-10 off Marcum.
Tons of offensive fireworks potentially on display, here, as Marcum has an ERA of 6.04 against Baltimore, and Millwood an ERA of 5.33 against Toronto. If the bullpens give up 3 runs, we should hit an Over. This actually has the potential to be our first total of the season.

Yankees @ Rays (-135) with a total of 9; A. Burnett vs. J. Shields;
Derek Jeter is 12-for-30 off Shields with 1 HR and 5 RBI since 2005;
Robinson Cano is a blistering 11-for-23 with 2 HR and 6 RBI;
Nick Johnson is 2-for-5 off Shields, as is Marcus Thames;
A.J. Burnett is 11-4, 2.77 ERA lifetime against Tampa bay;
Carl Crawford is 12-for-36 off Burnett since '05, but no power numbers;
Evan Longoria is 8-for-25 with 1 HR off Burnett;
James Shields is 1-7 lifetime against New York.
A.J. Burnett has been surprisingly good against Tampa, and I'm honestly a little surprised at how the odds are adjusted for James Shields. I can't help but lean just slightly to the juggernaut Yanks here. I also like the Under, if but barely.

Twins @ White Sox (-130) with a total of 8.5; N. Blackburn vs. M. Buehrle;
Denard Span is 10-for-20 off Buehrle with 2 HR and 5 RBI;
Delmon Young is batting .364 off Buerhle with 2 HR and 2 RBI;
Brendan Harris is batting .344 with 1 HR and 5 RBI;
A.J. Pierzynski is 12-for-26 off Blackburn since 2005;
Alexei Ramirez is 8-for-19 off Blackburn;
Carlos Quentin is 5-for-16 with a HR off the Twins starter.
Blackburn has just a 3.38 lifetime ERA against Chicago, so this isn't a bad spot for Minnesota, though I happen to think this game could be a battle like the previous two. The Twins might very well sweep the Sox, but I'd prefer to look at the Under.

Red Sox (-125) @ Royals with a total of 9; C. Buchholz vs. G. Meche;
Kevin Youkilis is 7-for-13 with 1 HR and 4 RBI off Meche;
Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-11 off Meche;
Big Papi is 7-for-18 with 3 HR and 6 RBI against Gil Meche.
I trust Meche about as far as I can throw him, while his career ERA against the Red Sox is a reasonable 4.26, I don't see Boston losing this finale. That price on the Red Sox is tempting, but it may need some more research. Tiny lean to Boston, no lean on the total.

Mariners @ Rangers (-160) with a total of 9; I. Snell vs. S. Feldman;
Franklin Gutierrez is 4-for-10 with 3 RBI off Feldman;
Julio Borbon is 3-for-4 off Snell in limited action;
Vlad Guerrero is 2-for-5 off Snell, and Chris Davis is 2-for-3.
Scott Feldman had a ton of success against the Mariners last year, and they're not really hitting this season. Snell has looked good in his last few months of baseball, and I'm inclined to think the Under has some legs here, though I don't like either side all that much.

Athletics @ Angels (-140) with a total of 9; D. Braden vs. J. Saunders;
Eric Patterson is 4-for-5 off Saunders with 2 RBI;
Mark Ellis is batting .308 since '05 off Saunders with 2 HR and 7 RBI;
Erick Aybar is 6-for-14 off Braden;
Mike Napoli is 4-for-9 with a HR off Braden.
Make no mistake, the Angels are slumping, and Saunders didn't look good at all in his first start, but something about this game makes me think the Angels find a way to get a win on Sunday, but not enough to make it a play. I like the Under just a bit.

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