Thursday, February 10, 2011

Friday and Weekend NBA Primer

Opener:

Jerry Sloan...end of an era.

GOW 3* winner on the Lakers-Celtics Under yesterday, 1* Free loser, and the NBA slow profit grind continues in the positive direction!

Sports Wagering: NBA

New Jersey Nets @ Charlotte Bobcats (-7.5) with a total of 186.5;
I love finding ways to fade the Nets on the road, and I think the Bobcats are a decent ATS play these days, but this line, flat out, is too high. Charlotte simply doesn't have the offensive firepower to pull away from most teams, and while the Bobcats have sufficient balance and defensive skill to keep almost any game close, I don't believe they are a strong enough club to lay more than 5-6 in any game not involving an opponent in a scheduling spot. This is a double revenge spot for the hapless Nets, suffering a narrow loss at home, and a half-point missed cover on the road, losing by 7. Now, with this number opening up as high as it is, and considering the lack of scheduling notes, I lean to the NETS to lose by less than the spread (probably won't win), and with the underdog playing better, I'd look at the OVER.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Indiana Pacers (-8.5) with a total of 216;
This game strikes me as another where the team laying points doesn't really have much business choking down nearly double digit chalk, especially not with as solid as Minnesota has looked in the last couple games. I'm going to try my best to not get too longwinded on these big cards, so cutting to the chase - there are no real strong scheduling spots, no real strong situational or revenge spots, and no giant matchup edges on either side worth noting. Yeah, there are some small ones, but this one comes down to public perception giving too many points to Kevin Love and his 3-point shooting merry men. Lean to the WOLVES and the OVER.

San Antonio Spurs (-3.5) @ Philadelphia 76ers with a total of 197;
These teams are sort of the king and queen of ATS wagering this season, but just like in any functional monarchy, only one can have the final say. Okay, that doesn't make much sense, and the metaphor sucked, but my point is that trying to pick between two terrible teams is no different than picking between two tremendous ATS teams. Both teams are playing a 3rd in 4 nights, so fatigue is close to equal, and San Antonio is rolling on this road trip. The Spurs just have a knack for covering spreads like these, and while the Sixers have been a cashing machine all year long, I can't go away from San Antonio until they give me reason to (and going 7-1 SU and ATS is absolutely not that reason). Philly does have revenge, so maybe that's a reason to head back the other way, but...(shrugs)... Lean to SPURS and the UNDER.

New Orleans Hornets @ Orlando Magic (-9.5) with a total of 191.5;
This game marks the start of a very long homestand for the Magic, one that will take them clear through the All Star Break, and then some. This game also marks the second of the Hornets short 2-game road trip, but one that began with a rather disappointing loss to the Nets. New Orleans is struggling without Emeka Okafor, and the loss of Ariza hasn't helped matters, either. On top of that, the Magic are on revenge from a 3-point loss down in Nawlins back in mid-January. That game was extremely ugly, and low-scoring, and I can't help but think that without Okafor, Dwight Howard is going to own the paint, and the Magic should be able to get a significant number of open looks. Unfortunately, oddsmakers are thinking similarly, giving us this outrageously high opening line. Is this line just high for a reason, or will the Hornets pull their usual "close game" act? I lean slightly to the MAGIC to win by 12-13, and I think this one slides OVER.

Portland Trailblazers (-3) @ Toronto Raptors with a total of 196.5;
This game seems like a tough scheduling spot for Portland, but perhaps they'll prove me wrong. Portland had a 3-game road trip through Denver, Indy and Cleveland, came home for one game with Chicago (won it), and now head back out for 3 more quick ones before the All Star Break. This trip makes logistical sense, hitting Toronto, Detroit and Minnesota, but it is very, very cold, and Portland seems to be fluctuating wildly between being hot and firing up airballs. We're also hearing now that Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby are due to come back soon, though this game would seem to be a bit on the early side. I can't help but think that the news of their return is going to inspire the Blazers to some sort of success. This is the square side, but Toronto is a pathetic mess, and they're nearly unbackable without a huge reason to...lean to PORTLAND and the OVER.

Los Angeles Clippers (-3.5) @ Cleveland Cavaliers with a total of 208;
I have to admit, I thought Cleveland would find some sort of way to sneak a win at this point, and unfortunately, because the losing streak has reached such monumental lengths, the Cavs are now becoming a "cool" team to bet. We saw it happen with Detroit in the last game with the line swinging hard towards Cleveland, followed by Detroit just owning Cleveland from start to finish. And here, I just don't see how Cleveland beats the Clippers if LA is awake. Blake Griffin is a force, and there really isn't any one player on the Cavs that can slow him down. Beyond that, the Clippers showed that they can win on the road, as they're coming off a victory in New York. All that being said, laying points on the road with a weak road team (LA) is never a wise move, and even though I lean to the CLIPPERS, it's a small one, and I would consider the OVER.

Miami Heat (-8) @ Detroit Pistons with a total of 193;
The Heat are very dangerous on the road, given that LeBron actually seems to play better away from home. And more than that, I feel like because the Heat nearly lost to Detroit the last time these teams met (and probably should have lost, except for a weird last-second foul), Miami won't take the Pistons so lightly this time around. I know that means Detroit is on revenge, but I find it hard to believe the Heat play as poorly again this time, or let Detroit dominate them to the tune of 17 offensive rebounds. The one big issue, besides, of course, laying 8 on the road, is that Miami is set to head into Boston on the 13th, just 2 days after this one. Miami hasn't shown a huge look-ahead tendency, but that's probably enough to keep me off that side. PROBABLY PASS on the side (maybe a tiny look to Miami), and totals lean to the OVER.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Memphis Grizzlies with a total of N/A;
This is something of a revenge spot for the Bucks, who just got popped by the Grizzlies, at home, about 2.5 weeks ago. Only problem is that the Bucks are all over the map. They beat the pants off Toronto at home, then went on the road and laid an egg in Washington. Which Bucks team do we get for this contest? I would expect a better than average effort because of revenge, but it could be almost any level from nearly zero to maximum. The things that Milwaukee does have going for it is that suddenly they are the more healthy team in a game. Memphis lost Rudy Gay for the last contest, and Zach Randolph hurt his ankle in the Grizzlies overtime win against the Thunder. Without Zebo, the Grizzlies rebounding edge goes down the drain, and I wonder if the Bucks can exploit that by locking down on the perimeter players. Let's see where this line opens before making any sort of move, and you all know how cautious I tend to play games with injuries. I would advise letting this one sneak by, but given the revenge and Memphis losing so much depth, I might lean MILWAUKEE and slightly to the UNDER.

Los Angeles Lakers (-3) @ New York Knicks with a total of 211.5;
This game certainly depends largely on how the Lakers-Celtics game unfolds, but to some degree, I'm looking to find a way to back the Knicks. New York got creamed by the Lakers in LA, as Pau and Bynum simply pushed the Knicks around in the paint, slowed the game to a crawl, and imposed themselves on the smaller, quicker team from NY. At home, something tells me the Knicks have a little more success implementing their up-tempo style. On top of that, the Lakers are fatigued, which makes using the "power" approach that much more difficult. The line is pretty close to where it should be, if a tiny bit inflated on the Lakers side, but beyond that, the revenge and back-to-back are almost enough for me to make a play early. The concern? Kobe. Dude can straight up ball at MSG. Lean to the KNICKS and the OVER.

Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz (-6.5) with a total of 208;
I'm so upset with the Jazz, I almost can't do a writeup. Jerry Sloan is out, and the team opted to cater to Deron Williams over a coach that has turned some real turd rosters into 8th seeds, and has turned some decent talent into contenders. I'm curious to see what happens with this team now that Deron is basically the on-court coach. Yeah, someone else is wearing the suit on the sidelines, but let's not kid ourselves. I know there's often a bump after a team gets rid of a coach not doing his job (see, Indiana Pacers), but this is Jerry Sloan we're talking about. From a scheduling standpoint, Phoenix is in the difficult spot of traveling into altitude to face a team trying to prove it's better without Sloan. 6.5 seems like a fair amount to cover, and lord knows we've been burned by an Amar'e Stoudemire last-second three-ball to cut a 9-point lead down to 6...and as I stated above, I'm almost against the idea of backing Utah, but the angles point to the JAZZ and the OVER.

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