Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Detroit Wins Two

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sports Wagering: NBA

San Antonio Spurs @ Orlando Magic (-2.5) with a total of 199.5;
This line is intriguing to me, given what we know about back-to-back spots. Orlando last played against Dallas 2 days back, another team that was facing a back-to-back, and Orlando was a 4-point favorite over the Mavericks in that contest, indicating to me that the Mavs were considered a 1-point neutral court fave. This line, at 1.5-points less, tell us the Spurs are ranked as 1.5-points better than the Mavs, and a full 2.5-points better than the Magic. Is this accurate? Maybe, maybe not. In any event, the Mavs continued to roll on the road, so one might argue that, at least right now, most lines with the Magic are going to be off by a hair. The Mavs tried the odd strategy of playing a match-up zone defense, and that didn't really work. Dallas had to outscore Orlando to win. I don't imagine the Spurs will go that same route. No one can truly stop Dwight Howard, but the Spurs are crafty, and I'd be surprised if they let guys like J.J. Redick get wide open looks like Dallas did. Will fatigue be an issue, is the next question. Every time I thought the Spurs would slow, they found a way to play better defense and slow the game down, as well. I'm not concerned about the Spurs' energy. Orlando might have a tiny look-ahead to Boston, but you have to think they're more focused on winning the game at hand. They need Jason Richardson to warm up, or they'll get beat again. Small lean to SAN ANTONIO and the UNDER.

Milwaukee Bucks (-1) @ Sacramento Kings with a total of 185.5;
A trap line? The Bucks, even without Jennings, only laying a single point to the worst team in the NBA sure smells funny, but I just can't back the Kings. Sacramento has zero offensive continuity, and the only reason they were able to take a lead on the Warriors (before blowing it) was because of superior rebounding. Milwaukee is much bigger than Golden State, and though they might be in a letdown spot off the revenge win over the Lakers, they might also be in a confident spot. Sacramento, to me, is a team that is beyond backing. I don't say that often. They find ways to lose, and they find ways to lose big, most times. I'm not going to belabor this point. There is no reason to back the Kings, and even though I'm not saying you should back Milwaukee (since there are ample reasons to pass on this game, altogether), the only logical conclusion is a baby lean to MILWAUKEE and the UNDER.

Miami Heat (-6) @ Phoenix Suns with a total of 209;
How much does revenge matter, here, and how much is Miami just too dominant for the Suns? Here are my 4 angles. First, as noted, is revenge. Miami walloped Phoenix in November down in Florida, though Steve Nash was extremely banged up, and even though he tried to play, he wasn't himself. Not a great barometer, but Phoenix got steamrolled. Second, Miami just lost its first game off a long win streak. I tend to like to fade teams in the letdown off a long streak, so this angle points to Phoenix, too. Third, Phoenix just made a monster trade, sending away Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, and acquiring Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Mikael Pietrus. It sounds like Carter is considering arthroscopic surgery on his knee, so his health is an issue, and Pietrus and Gortat don't understand the Phoenix gameplan, yet. The return to health of Robin Lopez is helping Phoenix on the interior, and they've covered 2 in a row with some hot shooting, but unless Phoenix fires over 50% from the field, I have trouble seeing them hang within 8-9 points. What are the odds Phoenix shoots 52%? Those are your odds for Phoenix to hang tough. The fourth and final angle is the look-ahead. Miami plays in LA on Christmas Day, so LeBron and Wade might be gearing up for the Kobe experience. This angle could weigh heavily. Thus, put all those together, and the angles point 3:1 in Phoenix's favor. Lean to the SUNS and the OVER.

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