Wednesday, December 01, 2010

LeBron's Homecoming

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sports Wagering: NBA

Miami Heat (-6.5) @ Cleveland Cavaliers with a total of 191.5;
There's very little I can write that everyone isn't already thinking. And I went back and forth in my mind trying to decide if a long writeup was really worth the time on this one. And the answer is "not really." Everyone already knows LeBron is coming back to Cleveland, and that the arena has hired additional security for the evening. Most know that Dan Gilbert has officially launched his own probe into potential tampering. Most also know that LeBron and his "friends" have begun the coup against Erik Spoelstra, and they also know that the other Heat veterans are falling in line like a bunch of wimps. Good times. This is going to be the Cavaliers strongest effort of the entire season, there's no doubt about that, but will they try too hard? I believe there's going to be a conscious effort to keep this game nice and clean, so while I originally had a nice lean to the Under, I'm starting to think that the refs will get a friendly call from the league office reminding them that if anything gets even the slightest bit out of control, the arena might lose it. That means, in my estimation, the best possible bet in this game is an Over, though not necessarily for the entire contest. The 4th quarter has a strong chance of being painfully slow, but if guys get running and bodies collide at any point in the first 3 quadrants, I think we'll hear some whistles. There is also the concern that the teams get off to slow starts because of the pressure and environment, but somehow I don't think that happens. This line has rocketed down off the opening number, so at 6.5, someone sure thought the Cavs were the value play. At the current line, it's a bit tougher. I'd be inclined to recommend a PASS on the side, and a small consideration of the OVER on the total.

Phoenix Suns (-1) @ Golden State Warriors with a total of 227;
These games are always insane track meets. If you like seeing humans fly, you'll enjoy this one. If you like playoff-caliber basketball, you might want to skip it. This total of 227, amazingly, is lower than any of the 4 meetings in 2009-10. Those contests were mostly hovering near 233, with an outlying 242 in the season's final meeting. And, we need to give oddsmakers some credit, those totals went 2-2 O/U. Phoenix took 2 of those 3 games, as well, straight up, but due to 3 of the 4 contests being fairly well-contested, the Warriors actually covered in 3 of the 4. And, make no mistake, Amar'e Stoudemire was a monster in the game in California that the Suns managed to steal. Otherwise, this was a series dictated by home court, and that shouldn't surprise anyone. Teams that rely on shooting, or rather, on offense, to win games, are often the same teams that have a big home/road split, because, let's face it, defense travels. This year, though, no Amar'e. In the game in Golden State where Stoudemire played poorly, the Warriors took care of business. I'm inclined we see a similar outcome, here. The Warriors can keep up with the Suns pace, and the Warriors actually have the vastly superior big men. The Suns biggest edge, outside shooting, is somewhat mitigated by the Warriors speed, and ability to convert long rebounds into easy points. So, unless Phoenix duplicates their performance in Los Angeles and cans 55 threes (exaggerated...), the Warriors should have a nice shot to grab a "W." And yes, I know the Warriors got spanked by the Spurs, but San Antonio plays outstanding defense, and Phoenix plays none. Lean to GOLDEN STATE and the OVER, though a smart man would leave a wacky total like this one alone.

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