Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TNT Dinnertime Blog

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sports Wagering: NBA

Orlando Magic (-1) @ Oklahoma City Thunder with a total of 205.5;
Both teams on back-to-back, Orlando rolling (though we'll see how their game with N'awlins goes), Oklahoma playing excellent basketball at home...something's gotta give. I suppose the best place to start with this game is probably the total. We need to make that tough decision as to whether both teams being a little tired is going to cause the total to skyrocket, to dip, or to hold steady. And this may be a Butterworth moment, but I happen to think that when a team is playing in a fatigue spot, it's not so much that the tempo picks up, but instead, that the tired team tends to play at the rested team's preferred speed. In this case, both teams are fairly up-tempo, offensive clubs, but both are going to be a little dead-legged. This contradicts most of what I usually say, but because both teams are going to be a little tired, this one might just slip UNDER that number. It won't be by much, since each team has the ability to score 110 at any point, and a close game could lead to free throws (and a 55-to-60 point 4th quarter), but the hair of value is there. The side is largely, and I mean hugely dependent on how each team plays on Wednesday night. I'll try to quickly go through my assessment. If the Thunder lose in Houston, I would give them a half point of value on the bounceback. If the Thunder win in Houston (in regulation, of course), I would not make an adjustment. If the Magic win in New Orleans, I would actually think more highly of them coming into this one, since they would remain on their winning streak. If the Magic lose to the Hornets, that would sway me strongly to the Thunder, as you all know I love fading teams off a long winning streak -- the Equilibrium Theory, as I'll call it henceforth. With that in mind, WAIT TO SEE on the side, we'll know more in the comments section.

Washington Wizards @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of N/A;
I have to think this line is off because of the injury to Michael Beasley, and that's actually relevant -- I didn't think I'd say that a year ago. Beasley has really come on strong as a potent scorer, and Minnesota won't lose a ton in the rebounding department, but he is really the Wolves one guy that can create his own shot in the half-court. Everything else is run through a series of picks, and while Kevin Love's ability to get all kinds of janitorial buckets is pretty impressive, Minnesota is definitely going to be a shade less scary without Beasley. Now, the question is, how does that impact the line? Minnesota would likely have been a small/medium favorite over the hapless Wizards (who still haven't won on the road), and I'm just not ready to ask Minnesota to cover anything over 3-4. Now, without Beasley, we might very well see this spread in that window I just noted, and suddenly, I almost like the Wolves again. In all honesty, this game is creeping not-too-slowly towards pass-zone. Minnesota has lost 5 in a row after winning 3 of 4, and Washington is definitely going to "get up" for this one, knowing this is their best chance to bust up that road skunking for a long, long time. Let's see where the line opens, since Andray Blatche and John Wall are both a little banged up, too, but on the notion that Minnesota is a team in a slump, and Washington is in desperation mode, I'd lean to the WIZARDS to put up a heck of a fight, and in order to do so, they'll need to play a little defense, so the UNDER.

Miami Heat (-4) @ Denver Nuggets with a total of 205.5;
I said everything I did today would be free, and I'm sticking to that by saying right up front that I'm going to do everything in my power to have a play on Denver when all is said and done. Miami is heading into altitude from Los Angeles off a game with the Clippers, playing a back-to-back against a confused Nuggets team that played with all kinds of fire in their last one after a few duds. Denver isn't dead yet, I guess. Regardless of what's going on with trade talk, Carmelo is around for this one, and he's going to want to put forth a big-time game against his buddies from Team USA. But more than that, this number is just wrong. It looks low, since the Heat haven't been a road underdog or a favorite of 4 or less since Christmas Day, and before that, December 8. Simply put, this line looks extremely low for Miami, but it just flat out isn't. If we account for the altitude back-to-back, Miami would have been a 6-point favorite -- less crazy, right? Then, let's extrapolate this to a neutral court number of 9. Is Miami really a 12-point home favorite to Denver? I'm inclined to think this number is off by about 2-3 points, maybe more, and that's always enough to make me want to play it. Miami is a winning machine, but this game is going to be a true test, since we'll definitely see the "good" Denver. My one concern stems from Miami's game with the Clippers on Wednesday night. If they lose that one, that changes everything - I expect Miami to beat LA, and I expect them to expend a fair amount of energy doing so. With that as our expectation, and taking caution to change our hypothesis if things go strangely on Wednesday, I'm currently sitting on a strong lean to DENVER and the OVER.

6 comments:

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