Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinnertime Tuesday 4-Game Leaflet

Opener:

Earlier this morning I thought of some great stuff to rant about in the opening section, and courtesy of a few hours of errand-running, car-under-snow-digging, some exercise (amazing though it may seem), and whatever else my brain is processing, I forgot what it was. Harumph, says I.

One thing I do know is that any Midwest-based sporting events (indoor or outdoor) are going to be subject to some severe weather concerns on Wednesday. Word has it that the upper Midwest could be seeing almost 2 feet of snow and gusting winds, so check your local listings for adjusted game start times or potential highway closures.

In other news, this Tuesday NBA card makes me nauseous, so today's blog is going to be a bit lacking in my usual flair. I mean, just look at these games!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Washington Wizards @ New Orleans Hornets (-10) with a total of 188.5;
Depending on how Washington's epic showdown with Dallas goes on Monday night, the side in this game is one of the few potential wagers I might actually consider. Why? Well, Washington is finishing up yet another disastrous road trip, there's some light sprinklings of turmoil among the players, the team has 2 days off before opening a homestand with the Orlando Magic, and frankly, if Washington exhausts itself in Dallas, this is going to be a bit of a fatigue spot (4th game in 5 nights). New Orleans returns home off a short 3-game road trip, but one that didn't go as well as hoped, with the Hornets losing in both Sacramento and Phoenix. We managed to fade a team off a long winning streak successfully, but with a day off before a home game, New Orleans should be somewhat rested and ready to punch back. My concerns with the Hornets side, however, stem from a potential look-ahead to a game in Oklahoma (though lessened by the fact that the Hornets beat the Thunder in their last meeting), and that Emeka Okafor was injured in Phoenix, and without his defensive presence near the rim, New Orleans' vaunted defense takes a huge hit. As it stands, if he can keep his consecutive game streak going, I lean HORNETS and UNDER, but let's not lock anything in just yet.

Boston Celtics (-6.5) @ Sacramento Kings with a total of 192.5;
Generally, in the grind of a regular season, teams will either be "lookahead" teams or "letdown" teams, and not usually both. What I mean by this is that, if we could somehow know how a team is going to handle big game situations either the game before or after going into the season, our lives would be a lot easier. For Boston, I think it's safe to say that, at least for the Lakers, they went the route of the lookahead. Boston laid a sulfuric mess in Phoenix in the game before (partially due to fatigue, too), then came out and whipped LA on Sunday afternoon. Now, I don't really expect Boston to play a bad game both before AND after LA. I believe they got the bad one out of the way. Does that mean I want to back them? Absolutely not, but I also don't think it's a reason to avoid. The reasons to avoid are (a) that Sactown is playing its ass off, (b) that Boston is playing its final game of a 4-game west coast swing, and (c) that Boston beat the pants off the Kings when these teams faced off on the parquet out East. And in terms of point (c), it's pretty easy to see what happened. The Kings had played an overtime game with the Wizards the night before, were playing a 3rd road game in 4 nights, and the stats bear this out - the Kings committed a ridiculous 23 turnovers to the Celtics 14, allowed 12 offensive rebounds (while only grabbing 6), shot just 2-of-13 from long distance, and maybe most evident of fatigue, got outscored by 15 in the 3rd quarter. This time around, I like SACRAMENTO to fight tooth and nail to keep it close, and I can't see this total repeating what it did last time, lean to UNDER.

San Antonio Spurs (-5) @ Portland Trailblazers with a total of 191.5;
This line feels pretty darn high, considering Portland isn't THAT awful. At the same time, though, a good defensive team like Boston completely shut down the Blazers offense, and the Celtics probably should have won that contest by a bit more than they did. This game, though, has a series of weird scheduling notes that put me squarely in the PASS CAMP. First, Portland has Denver coming up tomorrow, a division showdown. Second, San Antonio has the Lakers coming up on Thursday (on TNT), certainly a big game between the West's #1 and #2 teams. Third, Portland is on revenge from a pathetic 95-78 loss down in Texas back in mid-December. Fourth, Portland isn't even winning at home right now, the one place they seemed to be able to get it done. Fifth, this is the first game of San Antonio's annual Rodeo Road Trip, which is going to take them clear into the middle of February - we don't know how they will respond this year, since, in years past, the Rodeo trip seemed to galvanize the team, and this year, they don't need to be any stronger. So, I maintain, PASS on the side, take a peek at the OVER.

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (-8.5) with a total of 207;
Paging Pau Gasol...wake the f$*& up! Sorry, that was the Laker fan in me. The betting man says, "Pau, do whatever you want, just be consistent..." and lately, he has been consistently disinterested. And I suppose the grind of the regular season can be a bit lengthy when you can go home at night's end and see a handful of trophies on the mantle. And that's fine, because right now, it's Kobe (and sometimes Bynum) versus the World, and we know how that show goes: the Lakers lose to the good defensive teams, lose to the supremely hot teams, and beat everyone else, but rarely cover. This game would, in my estimation, fall into category 3. Houston is not a good team, but they can hang with a lot of opponents because of a nice offensive gameplan, and a ton of shooters. I have also been trying to figure out if Shane Battier is an ATS weapon - sure feels like Houston finds a way to cover games when Battier is responsible for the opposition's best scorer. I think a large portion of bettors are going to be on the Lakers with the reasoning that they're "gonna be pissed" about the Boston loss. Yes, they are, but they don't cover when Kobe takes over games. Lean to ROCKETS and the OVER.

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