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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-19-13||Kansas City Chiefs v. Philadelphia Eagles -3||Top||26-16||Loss||-123||74 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. Reid returns to Philadelphia, bringing his new 2-0 team with him. Needless to say, emotions will be high, as are the stakes. Reid will want to win his old team. The Eagles will want to beat their old coach. The Chiefs want to stay perfect. The Eagles want to climb back above .500. Both teams and QBs feel they have something to prove, a nationally televised Thursday game provides the perfect opportunity.
While the Chiefs may have the better record, keep in mind that one of their wins came vs. Jacksonville. The other was at home, by only a single point. Obviously, this will be a much tougher venue.
While the actual distance the Chiefs travel isn't that great, I still feel that the short week favors the home team.
The Eagles' offense has yet to be stopped. Rivers and co. were able to keep up. I don't expect the Chiefs to be so fortunate. 9* thurs main event
Long known for his "Big Game Prowess," Ben Burns is already off to a PERFECT 6-0 start to the season w/ his NFL primetime (Sunday Night, Monday Night, Thursday Night) plays. His latest is another ABSOLUTE BEAST. You know what to do!
|09-16-13||Pittsburgh Steelers +7 v. Cincinnati Bengals||Top||10-20||Loss||-115||147 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. Admittedly, the Steelers didn't look too good in Week 1. They're also off a down year and a winless preseason. Meanwhile, the Bengals looked better in losing their opener. That combination of events has caused many bettors to steer clear of the Steelers this week. In my opinion, that's created excellent value with what I still believe is a dangerous Pittsburgh team.
While Rothlisberger no longer has all previous weapons at his disposal, I still consider him to be a very talented QB - one who works with the talent around him and finds a way. While losing a center is rarely good, note that they've now had a week to adapt. While I won't count on it, its also possible that Miller could be back.
Either way, I expect this proud and well-coached team to be much better than it was in Week 1.
The Bengals saw their opening game decided by a field goal, blowing a double-digit lead in the process. Those type of losses aren't always as easy to bounce back from as people expect them to be.
Both games between these teams last season were also close. The Steelers won by seven here at Cincinnati. The Bengals won by three at Pittsburgh. With last year's victory, the Steelers are 17-5 ATS (18-4 SU) their last 22 visits here. That includes an 11-1 mark their last 12 here.
Including the losses vs the Steelers, the Bengals are just 6-9-1 ATS here the past couple of seasons. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. 10* AFC North GOM
|09-15-13||New Orleans Saints v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5||Top||16-14||Win||100||118 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA. The Saints are off a win and cover. The Bucs are are off a tough 1-point loss at New York. This week, the Bucs are playing at home though, while also getting points. I believe that's offering excellent value.
While Brees is indeed one of the elite QBs in the league, the Bucs now have one of the league's elite cornerbacks, in Revis.
As Brees noted: "Obviously, Revis and his reputation - he's one of the best corners in the league, and you've got two young corners on the other side too that play very well. So, all in all, it's an extremely solid secondary and one that you've got to be able to prepare for."
Meanwhile, the Saints had trouble running the ball last week and also had trouble stopping the run. Note that the Saints allowed a league-worst 6.3 yards per carry in Week 1 after they ranked last in that category last season at 5.2.
The Bucs have played the Saints trough here the last couple of seasons here. They lost 35-28 in last year's meeting here. However, they had an edge in first downs, time of possession, rushing yards and passing yards. The previous season, the Bucs won 26-20 here. I believe the Bucs will be ready and I won't be surprised by another upset Sunday afternoon. 10* best bet
|09-15-13||Washington Redskins v. Green Bay Packers -7||Top||20-38||Win||100||100 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. Both teams lost last week. I expect the Packers to be the team which bounces back with a victory.
The Washington defense was not good last year. Getting lit up by the Eagles in Week 1 doesn't bode well for them vs. Rodgers and co. Even against the 49'ers defense, considered among the best, the Pack still threw for 322 yards, scoring 28 points.
McCarthy and the Packers coaching staff saw Washington struggle against the quick hurry-up attack that the Eagles employed. They should devise a gameplan to exploit the vulnerability.
Just as the defense struggled, the Redskins defense wasn't too good either. The Washington ground game didn't look good at all. Meanwhile, while Griffin did throw for more than 300 yards, he also got picked off twice while fumbling.
The Packers have won 20 of their last 21 regular-season games at Lambeau Field. I believe that they're the superior team and I expect a win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|09-15-13||San Diego Chargers v. Philadelphia Eagles -7||Top||33-30||Loss||-120||100 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I successfully backed both these teams on Monday night. While both covered the spread, both had different SU outcomes. The Eagles jumped all over the Redskins early and hung on for a 33-27 win. The Chargers also jumped off to a significant lead. However, they couldn't hang on, eventually losing 31-28 vs. Houston. I believe those results favor the Eagles, even more so with both teams playing on a short week.
The Chargers left it all out on the field on Monday. To give that kind of effort - only to lose in heart-breaking fashion - is tough. Off that kind of loss, having to fly across the country to play an early game, on a short week - is even tougher.
The Chargers will have to deal with a new look Eagles attack that appeared unstoppable for much of the opener. As noted prior to the Washington game, I like Kelly and I like Vick in this offense.
While the Eagles are also playing on a short week, they're also riding an emotional high. This is a team and city which feels that its back. That emotion and positive momentum figures to compensate for the short work week. Also, unlike the Chargers, the Eagles didn't have to fly across the country to get here.
While the Chargers can be tough against their own conference, they were 0-8 ATS (1-7 SU) against NFC teams the past couple of seasons. They'll likely get a non-conf. cover at some point this season, I just don' think it'll be this week. 10*
|09-14-13||Wisconsin v. Arizona State -5.5||Top||30-32||Loss||-106||101 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA STATE. The Badgers come in with the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Sun Devils are favored for good reason.
The Badgers have indeed looked dominant. However, their opposition has been extremely weak. Now, they'll be playing in the heat of the desert against a far more dangerous opponent. Of course, the same can be said for Arizona State.
I believe that the venue is going to play an important factor in the outcome. Note that the Badgers are only 3-6 ATS (4-5 SU) on the road the past couple of seasons. During that time, they're also 1-3 SU/ATS vs. Pac-12 teams and 0-2 ATS as underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range.
While the prime-time start might allow the temperature to drop a bit (The National Weather Service forecast is calling for a daytime high of 103 degrees and a low of 82.) I believe it favors the home team. Keep in mind that the East Coast based Badgers have played at 12 ET in both previous games.
Arizona State fans will reportedly be dressed in black - for a "blackout" and will be fired up, ready to support their team. I expect the Sun Devils, 10-2 ATS their last 12 against Big-10 teams, to ride the wave of emotion, en route to a big win. 10* Personal Favorite
|09-14-13||Washington v. Illinois +10||Top||34-24||Push||0||96 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on ILLINOIS. I've won with both these teams already this season. In Week 1, I backed the Huskies when they hammered Boise State. Last week, I backed the Illini. Listed as underdogs vs. Cincinnati, they won by a score of 45-17, racking up better than 500 yards of offense. While that did get people noticing the Illini a little, I believe that they're still flying under the radar.
As Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown noted: "No one really gives us a chance, which is nothing new here. It's been that way almost all of my four years here and it's something we work hard every day to try and change."
Needless to say, this is a very big game for the Illini. A chance to beat a nationally ranked team, while also a chance to play at Soldier's Field for the first time in nearly two decades.
Beating the Huskies won't be easy, as they are indeed a talented club. Still, I really like the new Illini offense.
Senior QB Nathan Scheelhaase has thrived under offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. He's already got six TD passes and is averaging 9.97 yards on every attempt. You may recall Cubit was the head coach at Western Michigan, where his teams regularly featured non-huddle spread looks.
Cubit said this of his QB: "He's so intelligent. For me, it's just a pleasure to watch him go out there and have fun. For a guy who's been a little bit maligned around here, you know, right now I think he's leading the Big Ten in passing."
I expect the Illini offense to again have success, enough to AT LEAST lead to a cover. 10* best bet
|09-14-13||Louisville v. Kentucky +13.5||Top||27-13||Loss||-110||91 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I won with the Cardinals when these instate rivals faced each other. At the time, people didn't know quite how good Louisville is and they also didn't know quite how bad Kentucky was. The Cards easily covered. Things set up somewhat differently this year.
The Cards are again a very good team. This time, however, everyone knows it. Meanwhile, thanks to last year's record, everyone still thinks of Kentucky as a very bad team. However, I think this team is considerably better than the one which took the field last season.
I backed the Cats last week and they destroyed Miami Ohio by a a 41-7 margin. The score easily could have been even more lopsided given the 675-122 edge in total yards.
Obviously, the Cards are vastly superior than the RedHawks. However, that big win over Miami Ohio should give Kentucky the confidence it can play with Louisville, giving the Cats some much needed swagger.
Looking back to last year and we find that Louisville was laying two touchdowns at home. This season, the line has climbed even higher than that, despite the fact that Kentucky is now playing at home and appears to be improved from last year. I feel that's providing us with excellent value and I'm grabbing all the points I can get. 9*
|09-12-13||TCU -3 v. Texas Tech||Top||10-20||Loss||-110||50 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on TCU. While I often find myself on a home underdog on Thursday nights, I like the road team in this one.
With Pachall out, Boykin gets the call for the Frogs. Admittedly, he doesn't have a great record as a starter. However, he got plenty of experience last year - and he was 9 of 13 for 133 yards and two TDs after coming on last week. Note that he can also make more plays with his legs than Pachall.
Note that Boykin threw for a career high 332 yards and four TDs when these teams faced each other last season, the first time they did so as Big 12 foes.
While the Frogs have faced LSU, the Red Raiders have played lesser opposition. I expect that game vs. quality opposition to serve the Frogs well here.
Remembers, Tech QB Mayfield is a freshman walk-on and he'll be facing a TCU defense which was best in the Big 12 last year and which returned nine starters from that unit.
Texas Tech QB Kingsbury had this to say: "I
|09-09-13||Houston Texans v. San Diego Chargers +4.5||Top||31-28||Win||100||34 h 0 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Texans are a talented team and they're off a very strong (regular) season. Expectations are high once again. That's not the case in San Diego. The Chargers are off a bad year and even San Diego fans aren't sure what to make of their team's chances. I believe that sentiment has created excellent value with what I believe will be an extremely motivated and dangerous home underdog.
I like the coaching changes in San Diego and believe that the new emphasis on short and intermediate routes will benefit Rivers.
While the Texans were indeed a tough defense last year, they did show vulnerabilities against the pass at times. While Ed Reed has been signed to help address that flaw, he may not be able to go here - and if he does, he may not be 100%,
The Texans, who also have a banged-up Arian Foster, are 0-2 ATS (1-1 SU) their last two Monday games, 1-5 ATS their last six. I believe all the talk about what a great season they're going to have may have them believing that they're a little better than they really are.
The Chargers have had remarkable success vs. the AFS South, going 20-3 ATS their last 23 vs. that division. That includes a perfect 8-0 ATS mark since 2009, one of them an upset win at Houston in 2010. Rivers had four TDs and 295 yards in that game. While he may not match those stats tonight, I do expect Rivers to have a solid game, en route to leading his team to AT LEAST a cover. 10*
|09-09-13||Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 v. Washington Redskins||Top||33-27||Win||100||72 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Skins had their way with the Eagles last season. However, that was with Foles at QB and with Reid as the head coach. Things are different in Philly now and I look for a much different team and result on the field this evening.
I like the coaching change that the Eagles made. Reid did a lot of good things, but his time here was clearly done. Kelly is a winner and he's brought a winning mentality with him.
Obviously, Griffin has some special talents and he had a great season last year. Keep in mind that he'll be taking his first snap in an NFL game since reconstructive surgery and since re-hurting his right knee in the playoff loss vs. Seattle.
While he's considerably older, keep in mind that Vick has a lot of the same skills that Griffin does. With a renewed emphasis on the ground game, Vick will finally be encouraged to utilize his running skills.
Vick was quoted saying: "I'm going to have the opportunity to do what I want to do in this offense and run the football. And yes, I will be a threat. I think you've got to take on a certain mindset that you're going to play the game all-out."
Vick's "all out" mentality might make it difficult to last the entire season - but it should make him extremely dangerous, when healthy. Note that he was 20 of 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns to go with 73 yards rushing.
Kelly said this of his QB: "The biggest thing with Mike that you saw was just his growth and improvement. He just kept learning the system ... His willingness to learn, his passion for the game of football was evidenced since the first day we saw him."
The Skins, who ranked just 28th defensively last season, have long been terrible in the favorite role. They're 51-81-3 ATS the last 135 times that they were laying points, including a 12-24 ATS mark when listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -7 range. While that's admittedly largely ancient history, they were also 0-2 ATS in that role the past couple of seasons.
Meanwhile, despite a poor record at the betting window overall, the Eagles have quietly gone a profitable 3-1 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range.
While they were beaten badly here last season, the Eagles remain a healthy 13-7-1 ATS (14-7 SU) their last 21 visits here. Vick has won his last three starts against the Skins, throwing for better than 900 yards while recording eight touchdowns. I expect AT LEAST another cover tonight. 10* NFC Best Bet
|09-08-13||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams -4.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-108||170 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. With most expecting the 49'ers and Seahawks to again be very good, not many are expecting much from either the Rams or the Cardinals. The general feeling is that they'll be competing for third in the NFC West. While that may indeed prove to be the case, I believe that the Rams are closer to the level of SF and Seattle than they are to the Cardinals. I expect them to prove it on Sunday afternoon.
Looking back to last season and we find that the Cardinals were favored, albeit slightly, for both meetings with the Rams. However, the Rams won both of those games by double-digits, 17-3 here at St. Louis and 31-17 at Arizona.
Including that 31-17 rout, the Cards finished the season on a 1-11 streak. Meanwhile, the Rams finished the season by winning four of their last six.
As coach Fisher noted: "One would assume that we'll just continue to get better."
True, the Rams no longer have Steven Jackson. While Jackson did plenty of good things here, I'm not overly concerned with his departure. Keep in mind that he's 30 now, fairly old for a running back which has taken the kind of pounding that he has. Additionally, keep in mind that Daryl Richardson averaged 4.8 ypc for them last season.
More significant that the departure of Jackson, at least in my opinion, is adding tight end Jared Cook and offensive tackle Jake Long to the St. Louis offense.
Note that Bradford doesn't have to learn new schemes for once, as offensive coordinator Brian Schttenheimer returns.
That's not the case for the Cards, as they've got a new QB (Palmer) and a new coach.
Keep in mind that the Cards had the worst offense, in terms of yards per game, in the league last season - they were second worst in points allowed. Throw in the fact that the Rams also scored more ppg and St. Louis appears stronger on both sides of the ball. Also, Fisher and the Rams coaching staff should have an edge over the Cards. Add it all up and I expect another win and cover for St. Louis. 10* personal favorite
|09-07-13||Southern Mississippi v. Nebraska -28||Top||13-56||Win||100||77 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEBRASKA. The Huskers won their opener. However, they didn't look very good in doing so. In fact, they allowed 602 yards against Wyoming, eventually eking out a 37-34 victory - that was the second most yards ever allowed by the Huskers, in a game that they won. While that performance may keep some off the Huskers this week, I expect it to have them in an angry mood. I expect their "anger" to spell trouble for a vastly over-matched Southern Miss. squad.
The Golden Eagles have lost 13 straight games. Favored by a touchdown in their opener, they lost 22-15 vs lowly Texas State, turning the ball over six times. The score could have been even worse too, as they managed a mere 215 total yards, while allowing 400.
Speaking of lopsided yardage stats, these teams met on the first day of Sept. last season. The Huskers won by 29, dominating on the ground and through the air. The total yards was 632-260. The Huskers balanced attack put up 354 yards through the air (26 of 34 with 5 TD passes fro Martinez) while rushing for another 278. Dominating stats indeed.
So, why do the Eagles have to play here again? Actually, the game originally was scheduled to be played in Hattiesburg, Miss. However, the financially strapped Southern Miss athletic department struck a deal to be the visiting team in exchange for$2.1 million.
While the Golden Eagles should eventually snap their losing streak, its not going to happen here - or likely for at least a few weeks. (This game is followed by road games at Arkansas and Boise State.)
Nebraska can score with the best of them - and the Huskers learned a lesson last week - don't take your foot off the gas pedal. I seem them "getting healthy" against these weak foe, winning in decisive fashion. 10* personal favorite
|09-07-13||Cincinnati v. Illinois +8||Top||17-45||Win||100||71 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on ILLINOIS. Both these teams won their opener. However, the Bearcats covered while the Illini did not. Laying 10.5, Cincy crushed Purdue by a score of 42-7. On the other hand, Illinois won by a 42-34 margin over Southern Illinois, a game they were laying 16.5 for. Those results - the fact that the Bearcats were more "impressive" have worked in our favor, in my opinion. That's helped in allowing us to get more than a touchdown with the Illinois.
While the Illini defense did surrender a few more yards through the air than they wanted, they were very stingy against the Salukis' run game. They allowed just 66 yards on the ground, on 26 carries. That should serve them well against a Cincy team which ran the ball almost twice as much (47 carries vs. 25 pass attempts) as it threw the ball last week.
The Illini were also excellent on the other side of the ball, as senior QB Nathan Scheelhase threw for a career high 416 yards. Needless to say, he's happy with new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit.
The Bearcats are only 1-4 ATS the last five times that they were listed as road favorites in the 7.5 to 10 range. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way here. 10* best bet
|08-31-13||Northwestern v. California +6||Top||44-30||Loss||-110||30 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. Northwestern is coming off a dream season, one which resulted in its first bowl win in 64 years. Facing a California team which struggled last year, many will expect a blowout.
I like the changes here at Cal though starting with Dykes at head coach. Tedford hasn't been getting it done in recent years while Dykes led an LA Tech team which averaged better than 50 points a game last season.
While the Wildcats have managed some opening wins on the road, they're a long way from home here. They're no longer the underdog and no longer will be surprising anyone. Instead, its Cal which is in that position, hungry to make a name for itself.
As good as they've been against the number overall, the Wildcats are 0-1 ATS the only time that they were a road favorite in the 3.5 to 7 range the past couple of seasons.
I expect the new look Bears to be much tougher than many will be expecting, ushering in the new era by improving to 26-14 ATS the last 40 times that they were underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range. 10*
|08-31-13||Boise State v. Washington Huskies -3.5||Top||6-38||Win||100||31 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Broncos come in with the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Huskies are favored for good reason.
You may recall these teams meeting at Vegas last December, the Broncos winning 28-26. The rematch comes in front of a fired up Pacific Northwest crowd though against a highly experienced Husky squad, determined to get some payback. I expect the change in venue to make a big difference.
While the Broncos have admittedly been tough, wherever they play, the Huskies are very hard to beat here in their home state. They're 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS here at "home" the past couple of seasons, covering five straight. Note that their home has enjoyed a $250 million dollar redecorating job. I expect them to christen it with a win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|08-30-13||Texas Tech v. SMU +5.5||Top||41-23||Loss||-110||23 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on SMU. The Red Raiders have owned this series. I believe the Mustangs are in a good spot to finally deliver some payback. SMU covered its final five games here last season. June Jones has brought in old Hal Mumme to help tweak the offense; I expect the Mustangs to have success against a vulnerable Texas Tech defense, one which is again adjusting to a new scheme. Jones said this of he and Mumme's new attack: "I always kind of felt that what we did in our passing game was getting the ball down the field vertically ... and he was more horizontal. We've combined some of the approaches, and I'm going to kind of enjoy watching what happens this fall because I think we stumbled upon some pretty good concepts." While he did have a number of picks early in the season, note that SMU's senior QB Garret Gilbert was sharp down the stretch (15 TDS vs. 0 INTS in L5 starts last season) and that he'll be up against a very inexperienced TT secondary. Jones, who knows a thing or two about QBs has said this of Gilbert: "he has the skills to go to the next level." Remember, Gilbert was once considered among the top 5 high school QB prospects in the country - he's got something to prove and knows he can change his life if he can put it all together this season. Obviously, this is an excellent opportunity (ESPN) to show the world what he can do. Obviously new Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury wants to win his debut. The former TT QB has brought some excitement to the program and I hope he ultimately does well there. However, lets keep in mind that he is the youngest coach in any BCS automatic qualifying conference and that he is giving up some experience in the coaching matchup vs. Jones here. Kingsbury, who threw for 5000+ yards here in 2002, inherits a Red Raider offense that averaged 355.9 ypg last season, among the best in the country. However, Seth Doege is no longer here at QB. Meanwhile, while Michael Brewer was supposed to be the replacement, he's out with a back injury. That leaves them very inexperienced here. Admittedly, Kingsbury's crew should score some points, as defense isn't exactly SMU's forte. That said, there are some concerns. Offensive line depth is a potential issue for the Red Raiders and their inexperienced QB; note that starting offensive guard Tony Morales is expected to be out. Note that tight end Jace Amaro is suspended for the first half. (He only played seven games last season and had more than 400 receiving yards.) Ultimately, in what could be a fairly high-scoring affair, I believe the experience factor at QB will help lead the Mustangs to AT LEAST a cover. 9* main event
|08-17-13||Green Bay Packers v. St Louis Rams -3.5||Top||19-7||Loss||-110||119 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. While both teams lost their opener, I believe that the Rams will be the team with more to prove in this contest.
In addition to the fact that they're playing at home, unlike the Packers, the Rams have a team and fan base which still needs something to feel good about. That's not the case for the Packers.
Last year, in Fisher's first year as head coach, the Rams did show considerable improvement from previous seasons. However, they still only finished at 7-8-1. I believe Fisher, who has won 10 of his last 15 Week 2 preseason games, will want a victory here.
Note that last season, the Rams looked bad in losing their preseason opener. However, they returned home in Week 2 and promptly recorded a double-digit (31-17) win.
On the other hand, the Packers looked bad (21-13 loss) in their Week 1 preseason game last season - and then looked even worse (35-10 loss) in their Week 2 matchup.
You may have heard that former Browns QB Bernie Kosar was taking shots at the Rams - particularly at their receivers and QB Kellen Clemens - during last week's broadcast, when the Rams were playing Cleveland. Kosar's comments were pretty hard-hitting - and I expect them to provide the Rams with some added motivation here. Add it all up and I expect a win and cover for the home team. 10*
|08-15-13||San Diego Chargers +5 v. Chicago Bears||Top||28-33||Push||0||71 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. Both these teams lost their preseason opener. Both also have new coaches. One would assume that would mean both teams might want this game a little more than is "normal" for a Week 2 preseason game. While that remains to be seen, I believe the value lies with the road underdog.
True, the Chargers got blown out (31-10) in their opener. However, when the starters exited, the Bolts were actually leading, thanks to Rivers orchestrating a 13-play drive, which saw him throw six passes, completing five for 45 yards. Also, Ryan Mathews ran the ball well on that drive with 3 attempts for 19 yards, highlighted by a 9-yard run on a fourth and one situation.
Meanwhile, the first team defense shut down Russel Wilson and the Seattle offense. Wilson was on the field for two drives and neither were successful.
As is normal in the second game, the starters will see a few more snaps this week. I expect them to play hard and well during the time that they're in there.
True, San Diego's second and third stringers didn't fare nearly as well. That should help provide them with some motivation here though, in my opinion. Whitehurst, who has been around the league for awhile and knows he could be dropping in the depth chart with another sub-par performance, should be particularly hungry for a big effort.
I believe that the Bears, who have issues on their offensive line, will have less to prove. Their coach has had success before - albeit in the CFL - they're coming off a better season than the Chargers and they weren't embarrassed the way that the Chargers were in Week 1. Add it all up and I'm grabbing all those generous points. 9* thursday best bet
|08-14-13||Seattle Mariners v. Tampa Bay Rays -1.5||Top||4-5||Loss||-125||8 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA on the run-line. (-1.5 runs.) Its not that often that I'll lay -1.5 runs. However, in this case, I'm comfortable doing so.
Since coming back from the disabled list, Price is 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA in eight starts. During that stretch, he tossed three complete games. That includes a remarkable 0.77 ERA and 0.643 WHP his last three starts.
While he did walk one last time out, Price had previously gone 35+ innings without issuing a free pass. In other words, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner remains one of the best in the business. Poor Seattle has never faced him either.
Some of you may recall that I successfully played on the Mariners in Harang's last start. However, he was pitching at home - and he wasn't matchup up against Price. Furthermore, I was fortunate to win that one - as Harang got rocked. (He gave up seven runs in two innings but the M's bailed him out by scoring nine and providing seven innings of shutout relief!)
Some of may also remember that I also successfully played against the Mariners the last time that Harang pitched on the road. Once again, he gave up seven runs. The M's did again provide him with plenty of support - but it wasn't enough. Harang took the "L" in an 11-8 loss.
Including that debacle, Harang is 1-5 with a 6.93 ERA on the road this season, the M's going 1-6. He's also 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA and 1.833 WHIP his last three starts.
Even with yesterday's loss, their fifth straight, the Rays are still 22-11 (+11.5) the past few seasons, when off three or more consecutive losses. With their ace on the mound, I expect them to bounce back in a big way here, "covering the spread," along the way. 10* personal favorite
|08-04-13||Atlanta Braves v. Philadelphia Phillies -1.5||Top||4-1||Loss||-100||20 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. There's no denying that the Braves appear are in great shape to win the division OR that they're the much hotter team. Still, one can't overlook the fact that the Phillies are sending Cliff Lee to the mound to face Alex Wood. Desperate to stop the bleeding and with a proven winner on the mound, I expect them to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
While he hasn't been at his best lately, Lee still has 16 K's vs. just a single walk over his last three starts. So, its not like he's "losing control." For the season, he's still 10-4 with a solid 3.05 ERA and 1.009 WHIP. He's averaging better than seven innings per start and has 55 Ks vs. just six walks in 55 innings here at home.
On the other hand, Wood has made just three starts this season, having primarily worked out of the bullpen. He's got a 5.02 ERA and 1.535 WHIP in those games, averaging less than five innings. His lone road start resulted in a 7-4 loss, Wood compiling a terrible 8.39 ERA and 2.309 WHIP.
Lee is already 2-0 against the Braves this season, striking out 12 without walking a batter. I expect him to outpitch and outlast Wood, as the Phillies, who are still a lucrative 33-17 (+9.6) the last 50 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range, to finally stop the bleeding. 10* main event
|06-22-13||Oakland A's v. Seattle Mariners +1.5||Top||5-7||Win||100||12 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on Seattle on the RUN-LINE ( +1.5 Runs.)
With Oakland favored on the money-line, we're able to get the Mariners at +1.5 runs at what I believe is a very reasonable price. While I do believe that the M's have an excellent shot at winning this game "outright," I don't mind laying the short price to improve my chances by adding an extra 1.5 runs.
After all, with an O/U line of less than eight, every run figures to be important. Also, keep in mind that prior to last night, the M's had seen three straight games decided by a single run. (Note that last night's game was also a 1-run affair until the A's scored two in the 9th.)
Harang figures to be happy to be back home. In his last start here, he tossed a complete game 2-hit shutout. He had 10 K's without walking a batter.
I'm not sold on Straily. He gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings last time out and has a 5.30 ERA in six road starts.
While the A's haven't seen Harang yet this season, the M's already beat up on Straily here last month. Seattle won 6-3, Straily gave up all six runs, while lasting only five innings.
Add it up and I expect at least a "cover" for the home team. 9* personal favorite
|06-20-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Miami Heat -6||Top||88-95||Win||100||36 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. While Game 6 didn't go the way I wanted, it was certainly exciting. I also believe that it sets up Game 7 very well.
One could easily use stats to make a case for either team. I believe homecourt and confidence/momentum will prove more important than anything else.
Having seen how close the Spurs were to winning Game 6 and knowing that they covered the entire way, many bettors will likely be quick to grab the points.
I believe that the Spurs had their opportunity though and that they won't get another one on Thursday night.
Losing in that fashion figures to be deflating for the Spurs. Winning in that manner has to make the Heat feel invincible.
There is certainly a lot of pressure on Lebron and the Heat. Now, in my opinion, the Spurs will also be feeling the pressure.
This entire series, in the eyes of most, the Spurs have been underdogs to win the title. However, that changed they were up double-digits in the second half of Game 6 - and leading the way they were in the final minute. The series was theirs.
Despite failing to cover Tuesday, the Heat are now 46-7 at home, outscoring opposing teams by more than 10 points.
After a number of close games early in last year's Finals, the Heat closed out the Thunder with a 15-point win in the final game of the series. I won't be surprised to see another double-digit win here. 10*
|06-18-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Miami Heat -7||Top||100-103||Loss||-105||37 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. You guys know the story-line already. The champs are down 3-2 but heading home. They're off a blowout loss and now need to win two in a row. Some are writing them off but I expect them to pull it off.
Lets remember that the Spurs were 23-18 on the road in the season while the Heat were 37-4 at home. Lets also remember what happened last game here - a 103-84 blowout win for the champs.
Including their last loss here, the Spurs are a modest 6-5 ATS when leading in a playoff series and only 1-5 ATS the last six times that they were listed as road favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range.
Including that Game 2 victory, the Heat are 7-1 ATS the last eight times that they were trailing in a playoff series and 13-7 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range.
While the Spurs have obviously had excellent success in the Finals over the years, the Heat are still the defending champs. And, as we hear Rudy Tomjanovich proclaim before each of these games: "Don't ever underestimate the heart of champion." I'm not going to do so. With James at his best and an improved defensive effort, I expect the Heat to extend the series, covering the number along the way. 10* Main Event
|06-13-13||Miami Heat +2 v. San Antonio Spurs||Top||109-93||Win||100||31 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. As you're surely aware, the Spurs dominated Game 3 and have a 2-1 lead in the series. While I lost with them last game, I'm not writing off the champs yet.
The Heat are 6-1 ATS the last seven times that they were trailing in a playoff series. They've been in that situation twice this season, most recently in Game 2 of this series. They responded with a 103-84 win. When trailing the Bulls, they responded with an even bigger blowout, winning 115-78.
Its also worth noting that the Heat have won 22 of 30 - and seven of their last nine - after a double-digit loss.
Its worth noting that Parker is reported to have a hamstring strain. While I won't necessarily count on it effecting his play, its definitely not going to help him.
Lebron had this to say about tonight's game: "Something has to give tomorrow night. They have a championship pedigree. They have four titles. We have two. So something has to give. We'll see what happens. We
|06-11-13||Miami Heat +2.5 v. San Antonio Spurs||Top||77-113||Loss||-110||36 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Heat dominated the second half in Game 2 and I believe that they'll carry the momentum into Game 3.
The Heat were the best team in the league this season and when they play like they did in the second half of Game 2, they're very hard to beat - regardless of venue.
The Heat are typically at their best when tied in a series, going 9-3 ATS their last 12 in that situation, 4-0 ATS their last four.
While it wasn't the case the previous season, this year's Miami team has excelled when listed as an underdog. Its been as if they feel that, as champions, they should always be favored. Indeed, they've been listed as underdogs seven times this season and they rose to the occasion with outright wins in six of those. I expect them to be all business again tonight. 10* Main Event
|06-09-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Miami Heat -6||Top||84-103||Win||100||37 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Down a game and desperate to avoid an 0-2 hole with three games at San Antonio to follow, the Heat are ready in a "must win" situation. I expect them to respond with their best game.
The Heat, who haven't lost two straight home games all season, have been in this situation before. In fact, in the previous three times that the Heat opened a playoff series with a Game 1 loss, they won the following four games. It happened last month against the Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Heat are 5-1 ATS the last six times that they attempted to avenge a home loss and 16-9 ATS their last 25 in the "revenge role" overall. They're also 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were trailing in a playoff series.
The Heat understand how important this game is. Wade had the following to say: "It's very urgent. Obviously you don't want to go down 0 2 going to San Antonio for three straight games. Odds are not that good. They are not in our favor. We're not a team that really says too much like, 'This is a must win game.' But this is a must win game."
I expect James, Wade and co. to "up their game," play with a sense of urgency and ultimately earn a win and cover. 10* Finals GOY
|06-06-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Miami Heat -5.5||Top||92-88||Loss||-105||63 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Spurs had a much easier time in the Conference Finals than the Heat did. They swept the Grizzlies while the Heat were forced to go to seven games against the Pacers. The Heat were fortunate with the schedule though. Despite going the distance vs. Indiana, they still get a couple of days off before the finals start. That means that they should be well-rested, which isn't always the case for a team that goes to Game 7.
On the other hand, the Spurs are playing with a lot of extra rest. They last played way back on 5/27. I won't be at all surprised if there's some "rust." Note that they're just 1-3-1 ATS the last five times that they were off a SU win as an underdog.
The Heat know first hand that an extended break isn't always an advantage in the first game of a series. When playing with multiple days between games, they lost outright vs. Chicago and needed OT to beat Indiana by a single point
While the Heat are 0-2 ATS when playing with extended rest in the playoffs, they're 8-4 ATS (10-2 SU) the last 12 times that they played with two day's rest in between games. The last time (5/13) they were in that situation, they went on the road and beat Chicago by 23 points. In the first round, when playing with two day's rest, they won and covered vs. the Bucks, another double-digit win.
The Heat, 13-7 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, have been dominant here all season and both their last two games here resulted in double-digit wins. I believe they've had their wake-up call and I expect them to bring their "A-Game" right out of the gate. Ultimately, I expect that to least to another convincing win and cover. 10* Main Event
|06-03-13||Indiana Pacers v. Miami Heat -7||Top||76-99||Win||100||37 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Heat didn't look too good last game and find themselves in a must win situation. I expect the defending champs to respond with their very best effort.
The Heat are 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times that they were tied in a playoff series, going 8-3 SU/ATS their last 11 in that situation.
Note that the Heat are also 12-6 ATS (15-3 SU) the last 18 times that they were off an "upset" loss.
On the other hand, the Pacers were just 5-9 ATS this seasons, when off a SU win as an underdog.
It should also be noted that the Pacers are just 10-20 ATS the last 30 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range.
Bottom line: The Pacers deserve a lot of credit and have already accomplished more than they did last year. I don't believe they're ready to take the next step though. I expect Lebron and co. to bring their A game and to ultimately earn the win and cover. 10* main event
|05-27-13||Colorado Rockies v. Houston Astros +1.5||Top||2-3||Win||100||6 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing HOUSTON on the run-line (+1.5 runs). With the Rockies favored fairly heavily on the money-line, we're able to get the Astros at an excellent price on the run-line. Considering that I expect them to have an edge on the mound, I believe that's providing us with excellent value.
Norris has been a bright spot for the Astros, at least here at Houston. In six home starts, he's 3-1 with a stellar 1.93 ERA. While he has had to deal with a bit of stiffness in his back lately, he still tossed six shutout innings last time out.
Speaking of back problems ...
Chacin got off to a hot start this season. However, he then missed a few starts with a back injury and he's been terrible ever since. In fact, since returning to the rotation, he's 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA in four outings.
With yesterday's loss, the Rockies are now a dismal 44-80 (-43.2) in day games the past few seasons.
The Astros are 10-8 in Norris' last 18 home starts. Considering that four of the losses came by a single run, they'd be 14-4 his last 18 here, if getting +1.5 runs each time.
The Astros have won nine of 14 over the Rockies at Minute Maid Park. I expect AT LEAST a "cover" this afternoon. 10* best bet
|05-25-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Memphis Grizzlies -5||Top||104-93||Loss||-108||60 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on MEMPHIS. The Grizzlies certainly would have preferred to steal a game at San Antonio. They're not out of it yet though. Returning home, I expect their very best effort.
Not only are the Grizzlies 11-2 ATS in the playoffs, they're now 5-0 ATS when trailing in a playoff series.
The Grizzlies are also in one of their best roles, as we find them at 11-2 ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. They're 23-11 ATS (26-8 SU) in that role the past few seasons.
The Spurs are obviously tough - but the Grizzlies have enjoyed success against them here. Since the start of 2011, they've won seven of nine against the Spurs here, covering in six of those games.
The Grizzlies, who are allowing a mere 87.2 points per game this season, have held the Spurs to double-digits in scoring each of the last seven meetings here. I expect another strong defensive effort here to ultimately lead to a win and cover. 10* Main Event
|05-24-13||Indiana Pacers v. Miami Heat -7||Top||97-93||Loss||-110||35 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Pacers proved that they can play with the Heat in Game 1. That'll likely have many "grabbing the points" in Game 2. I believe the situation favors the Heat though.
The Pacers know that they let one get away in the opener. That was their chance and they couldn't capitalize. Vogel and co. can claim otherwise but I believe that its going to be hard from them to bounce back here.
On the other hand, the Heat know that they barely escaped Game 1. I believe the fact that they won such an emotional affair will provide them with positive momentum here.
The Heat were dealing with a long layoff - longer than the Pacers - in Game 1. Now, they've received their "wake up call" and will be playing on "normal" rest. I expect them to be better.
As Bosh noted Thursday: 'We're going to play a lot better. We've come to expect that of ourselves. We know that yesterday wasn't the championship effort that we need in order to win the series, let alone win the finals. We're going to have to do a much better job on defense and on offense to take care of the basketball, do a better job on the boards, do a better job of containing some of their actions."
Miami backups Allen, Battier and Cole combined to go 2 for 16 last game. Their numbers should improve with the Heat cutting down on turnovers at the same time.
Even with the cover in Game 1, the Pacers are still 15-20 ATS as underdogs, 2-3 ATS as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range. In fact, they're an ugly 9-19 ATS their last 28 in that role.
The Heat, on the other hand, remain a solid 10-6 ATS as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. One of those victories came in the regular season meeting against the Pacers here. Laying 6.5 points, the Heat won by 14. I expect another double-digit win. 10* Eastern Finals GOY
|05-19-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. San Antonio Spurs -4.5||Top||83-105||Win||100||7 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN ANTONIO. Needless to say, both teams have played well. The Grizzlies are a bit more of a surprise to some - as they weren't really expected to be here. However, beating the Clippers wasn't all that big a surprise and the path through OKC became a lot easier when Westbrook went down. That was no longer the 3-Headed Monster that we'd seen in recent years, Durant, Harden and Westbrook. Rather, it was just Durant and the defensive-minded Grizzlies were able to shut him down. The Spurs are an entirely different type of team though. They've got multiple weapons. Veteran leadership and smarts on the floor. Playoff experience. Outstanding coaching. All areas the Thunder are (arguably) lacking in.
If the Spurs have a potential flaw, its that they're "old." However, they've had two day's off in between games - and are playing at home. Fatigue should not be a factor. Note that they're 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS the last 10 times that they played with two day's rest in between games. Note that the Grizzlies were only a mediocre 3-3 SU/ATS when playing with three day's rest in between games this season.
The Spurs are smart enough to know that they can't afford to have any kind of letdown here. Parker noted: ''We understand as a team that those opportunities are very rare, and we have another great one right now. We have home-court advantage against a very good team, so we have to take full advantage of it.''
The home team won all four regular season meetings. The Grizzlies won by only two and three points in the two at Memphis. However, the Spurs won by four and 21 in the two here at San Antonio, an average margin of 12.5 points. I expect another win and cover this afternoon. 10* main event
|05-15-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Oklahoma City Thunder -4||Top||88-84||Loss||-106||12 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKC. The Thunder are certainly in a hole. With their backs to the wall, I expect them to be at their very best tonight.
A couple of recent losses notwithstanding, the Thunder are still 106-68-1 ATS their last 175 when facing an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting.
This is just the second time all year that the Thunder have dropped three games n a row. The last time it happened, they responded by going 3-0 SU/ATS their next three games, winning by 16, 30 and 45 points!
Coach Brooks had this to say of his star Kevin Durant: ''One thing about Kevin, he's going to come back and give everything he has. He's not an excuse guy. He's not going to blame anything on nobody, other than put the pressure on himself to perform every night. That's what makes us a good team, because of that attitude that he has.''
'Brooks went on to say: "We want to be able to win in front of our home fans and have another game in Memphis and see what we can do there. I like our ability to come back in tough situations, within games and even to the next game. This is obviously not the greatest position to be in but we still have a chance to be a part of history. There's not a lot of teams that have come back from 3-1 but we have the talent, we have the teamwork, we have the effort and teamwork to do it.''
While it remains to be seen whether or not the Thunder can come all the way back, behind a big performance from Durant, I at least like them to take the first step tonight, covering the small number along the way. 10* personal favorite
|05-14-13||Golden State Warriors v. San Antonio Spurs -7||Top||91-109||Win||100||48 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN ANTONIO. These teams have alternated victories in the series, the Warriors covering three of four. After the Spurs eked out a win in the opener, the Warriors responded with an upset win in Game 2. That was followed by a double-digit victory by the Spurs. Once again, the Warriors answered, winning Game 4 in OT. I expect that trend to continue and for the Spurs to be the team which answers the bell in Game 5.
With the win/cover in Game 3, the Spurs are now an outstanding 20-9-1 ATS (21-9 SU) the last 30 times that they were tied in a playoff series.
The Spurs have a few other favorable stats going for them. Over the past few seasons, they're 17-11 ATS (22-6 SU) off a double-digit loss and 40-29-3 ATS (50-22 SU) when facing an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting.
Note that the Spurs are also 10-6-1 ATS (15-2 SU) as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range, going 26-15-2 ATS (38-5 SU) their last 43 in that role.
Perhaps most impressive, the Spurs are 12-5 ATS (14-3 SU) the last 17 times that they were off an "upset" loss, going 26-13 ATS (30-9 SU) in that situation the past few seasons.
Although they played well here in the first two games, the Warriors are still a sub-500 team on the road. They were able to gain energy from the home crowd in Oakland last game but won't have that advantage here.
Bottom line: I still believe that the Spurs are the more complete team and I expect them to take care of business Tuesday. 10* personal favorite
|05-13-13||Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5 v. Memphis Grizzlies||Top||97-103||Loss||-105||24 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKC. While they don't have Westbrook, the Thunder have been here before. They were also trailing 2-1 vs. the Grizzlies in the 2011 series and had to play Game 4 here at Memphis. It wasn't easy (triple-OT!) but they wound up winning that game. I feel that they're again providing us value here.
Kevin Durant had this to say: ''Same situation we was in a few years ago, so we know how to handle it. We can't come into practice today and with our heads down moping around because we lost the basketball game. We just got to keep moving forward, keep fighting and we'll be fine.''
Durant went on to say: "I have to put them in better position I have to make shots to free them up. I have to continue to help their confidence grow every time down. I got to do a better job. That's how I look at it.''
Even with the Game 3 loss, the Thunder are still 57-34 ATS (61-30 SU) the past few seasons, when facing an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting.
The Thunder are 17-7-1 ATS the last 25 times that they failed to score more than 85 points in their last game. It only happened once all season - and that was in their very first game - they responded with a 14-point win in their next game, scoring 106. With Durant leading the way, I expect AT LEAST another cover tonight. 10* main event
|05-08-13||Chicago Bulls v. Miami Heat -12||Top||78-115||Win||100||9 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. I won with the "under" in Game 1 (didn't play the side) and stated that "Miami might be a little rusty after the long layoff." Still, while not "shocked," I admit that I was surprised that they lost the game outright. Rust won't be a factor tonight though. Neither will complacency. Having received their "wake up call," I expect the Heat to be at their best tonight.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say:
|05-07-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Oklahoma City Thunder -2.5||Top||99-93||Loss||-109||33 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. The Grizzlies covered in the opener. However, they squandered a golden opportunity to steal the outright victory. I believe this situation favors the Thunder.
Many will look at Game 1 and see that the Grizzlies easily could have won. That will cause them to back them here.
However, it often doesn't work that way. Second chances don't always come around. The Grizzlies had their chance to win the opener and they didn't take advantage of the opportunity.
Now, the Thunder have had their "wake up call." I expect them to be better than they were in the opener.
Despite failing to cover on Sunday, the Thunder are still a profitable 12-3 ATS (13-2 SU) the last 15 times that they faced a team which allows 91 or fewer points per game.
The Thunder have beaten the Grizzlies six of the last eight here at OKC. Prior to Sunday, the previous five of those victories all came by at least seven points.
The Grizzlies did manage to steal Game 1 when these teams met in the 2011 playoffs. However, the Thunder came back a solid 111-102 victory in Game 2. I expect another win and cover here. 10* Main Event
|05-06-13||Golden State Warriors v. San Antonio Spurs -8.5||Top||127-129||Loss||-110||13 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN ANTONIO. Both teams played well in the opening round. The Warriors upset the Nuggets. The Spurs dismantled the Lakers. I expect the Spurs to be the team which keeps on rolling this evening.
A look at the season series reveals that the home team won all four games. The Warriors won both at Golden State but the Spurs won both at San Antonio, most recently a 104-93 win on 3/20.
Speaking of double-digit victories, all four of the Spurs' victories in the first round came by double-digits.
The Spurs have long dominated the Warriors here. In fact, the Warriors haven't won here in well over a decade - since Duncan was still in college.
While Curry is obviously an outstanding shooter, I believe the Spurs simply have more weapons. In addition to the "Big 3," Kawhi Leonard has developed into a star.
The Spurs are 25-14-2 ATS the last 41 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range, going 10-4-1 ATS their last 15 in that role.
Note that the extremely well-coached Spurs are 5-2 ATS (6-1 SU) when playing with three or more day's rest in between games. They outscored teams by greater than 10 points per game this season.
While the Warriors are in unchartered waters, the Spurs have been here plenty of times. They swept their second round matchup (vs. the Clippers) last year, covering three of those games. That sweep began with a 108-92 victory in Game 1 and was followed by a 105-88 blowout in Game 2. I expect them to start things off with another double-digit win tonight. 10* personal favorite
|04-30-13||Golden State Warriors v. Denver Nuggets -7.5||Top||100-107||Loss||-105||11 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. The Nuggets have their backs against the wall and find themselves in a "must win" situation. I expect them to respond with their very best game of the series.
Mark Jackson said this of the Nuggets: "They have a great coach. George Karl is going to have them prepared too, so we're anticipating the biggest fight of the season we've had all year on our hands.''
True, they failed to cover in Game 1, when the O/U line was 211.5. (It dipped to 208.5 in Game 2.) However, even with that ATS loss, the Nuggets are still an outstanding 12-2 ATS when playing a home game with an O/U line of 210 or greater, going a perfect 14-0 SU in those games.
The Nuggets have lost three games in a row, failing to cover in four in a row. They haven't lost four in a row all season and they also haven't failed to cover five in a row all season. The only previous time that they failed to cover four in a row, they responded with an outright win (as an underdog) at Indiana in their next game.
Lets keep in mind that the Warriors were 19-22 on the road this season and that prior to this series, they were 3-18 their previous 21 games without David Lee in the lineup. Lets also remember that the Nuggets were 38-3 at home. I expect them to force a Game 6, earning the cover along the way. 10* main event
|04-29-13||Indiana Pacers +2 v. Atlanta Hawks||Top||91-102||Loss||-108||29 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. I successfully backed the Hawks in Game 3. As you likely know, Atlanta won that game in blowout fashion. I never did state that I thought the Hawks were a better team though. Rather, I just didn't think that they were going to get swept and felt that they might be a little more hungry. After getting embarrassed last time out, I expect the Pacers to bring their "A Game" and for that to be enough to result in a win/cover.
As I acknowledged in my Game 3 analysis, the Pacers have struggled here at Atlanta. However, this is arguably the best Indiana team in a long time, a stronger and more complete team than the one which lost many games here. I feel that they're ready to break through with a win here.
Admittedly, the Pacers were pretty bad in Game 3. However, lets not get carried away by one Game 3 loss. The Pacers know all about that. Last year, they crushed the Miami Heat (94-75) in Game 3. However, the Heat responded by dominating every game the rest of the way.
I believe that the well-coached Pacers are also very capable at responding to a poor Game 3, as they're usually at their best off a bad loss. They were 10-4 SU/ATS off a double-digit defeat.
On the other hand, the Hawks were 7-12 ATS off a double-digit win, falling to 24-35 ATS in that situation the past few seasons. Note that they were also 1-5 ATS off a game in which they allowed 85 or fewer points.
I expect the Pacers to exorcise their "Atlanta demons," taking a stranglehold on the series. 10*
|04-27-13||INDIANA GM3 v. ATLANTA GM3 -2||Top||69-90||Win||100||11 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. I won with the Pacers in Game 1 of this series. As you're likely aware, they followed it up with another convincing win in Game 2. However, with the series shifting to Atlanta for Game 3, I expect the "desperate" Hawks to respond with a victory of their own.
Coach Larry Drew had this to say: "It's about adjustments. We've done some good things in the first couple of games, but there are some things we need to do better. Some changes may push us over the edge in that respect."
Admittedly, the Hawks had trouble covering large pointspreads here this season. However, they did still manage a 25-16 SU record here. Note that record is considerably better than Indiana's 19-21 mark on the road.
When the pointspread was smaller, as it is today, the Hawks had much better success. In fact, they were 3-1 ATS when listed as home favorites of three or fewer points.
On the other hand, some might be surprised to learn that the Pacers are a dismal 1-8 ATS the last nine times that they were listed as road underdogs of three or fewer points, going just 5-13-1 ATS in that role the past few seasons.
Back in their own building, the Hawks should have plenty of confidence, as they have dominated the Pacers here. In fact, they've beaten Indiana 11 straight times here. A closer look reveals that every single one of those wins came by a minimum of three points. I expect more of the same here. 10* personal favorite
|04-23-13||Golden State Warriors v. Denver Nuggets -8||Top||131-117||Loss||-104||16 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. The fact that the Warriors "kept it close" in Game 1, nearly pulling off the upset, will have many looking to grab the points here. I'm not one of them.
While there are obviously examples on both sides, its been my experience that road teams which squander an opportunity to "steal" Game 1 often don't perform as well in Game 2.
Making matters worse for the Warriors is the loss of David Lee. After recording yet another "double-double," Lee went down in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
Think that's not a blow? Consider that Lee led the NBA in "double-doubles" with 56 this season. He averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Golden State coach Mark Jackson noted: "We can't replace him, and we know that. And that's the thing we have to know right away. He's an All-Star power forward who's had an incredible year ... "
While the Warriors are now without Lee, the Nuggets are expecting to have Kenneth Faried back in the lineup. The player nicknamed ''Manimal'' provides an "energy boost."
Andrew Bogut said this of Faried: "He's an all-effort guy. It's not like they're going to throw the ball into the post and let him get a one-on-one. That's not his strength. His strength is offensive rebounds, hustle points, loose balls. He's one of the best in the league in doing that."
While the Warriors are 19-24 on the road, the Nuggets are now 39-3 at home. That includes a 28-14 mark at the betting window.
Despite failing to cover in Game 1, the Nuggets are 19-9 ATS against teams which average 99 or more points per game. They got their "wake up call" in Game 1 and I expect them to "bounce back" with a double-digit win tonight. 9* personal favorite
|04-21-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Indiana Pacers -6.5||Top||90-107||Win||100||69 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Neither of these teams played particularly well down the stretch. Atlanta lost its final two regular season games and five of its last seven. The Hawks are only 2-8 ATS their last 10. Indiana hasn't been any better. The Pacers lost their last three games and five of their last six. They were 0-6 ATS during that stretch. Playing at home, I believe that the Pacers will be the team which is able to bounce back and return to form.
Homecourt is important to almost every team and that's certainly the case for both of these clubs.
The Hawks were 25-16 at home but only 19-22 on the road this season. On the other hand, the Pacers were 30-11 at home, going 19-21 on the road. They outscored teams by a 97.6 to 89.9 margin here. Visiting teams shot just 41.2% here.
Not surprisingly, given the above stats, the home team won all four meetings during the regular season. The Pacers won the two games here by an average of 8.5 points.
Despite the late season struggles, I believe that the well-coached Pacers will be ready to go. Indiana coach Vogel had this to say: ''The guys are really dialed in. Everything out of your mouth, they're nodding their heads and they're coaching themselves.''
The Pacers have only lost three in a row one previous time in 2013. After dropping three straight in late January, they responded with a 98-79 victory. I expect this well-coached team to again bounce back, picking up the cover along the way. 10* personal favorite
|04-20-13||Chicago Bulls +5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||89-106||Loss||-110||52 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. These teams faced each other four times during the regular season, most recently about three weeks ago. The Bulls won that 4/4 meeting, which was played here at Brooklyn, by a score of 92-90. The Bulls also won both meetings at Chicago, while losing the first game at Brooklyn by four points.
Including those results, the Bulls are 13-8 ATS the last 21 times that they were road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range, going 7-4 ATS their last 11 in that situation.
Meanwhile, the Nets are 8-15 ATS their last 23 as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, going 6-9 ATS their last 15 in that role.
Overall, the Nets were 16-23-2 ATS here while the Bulls are 23-17-1 ATS on the road.
While the Bulls sometimes struggled against lower tier competition, they were typically tough against better teams. They finished the season at 24-21 ATS (25-20 SU) against teams with a winning record, going 70-52-1 ATS (72-51 SU) against winning teams the past few seasons.
On the other hand, the Nets often had their way against weak teams but were only 14-24-1 ATS (15-24 SU) against teams with a winning record.
While Deron Williams may (arguably) be the best player on the floor, I believe that the Bulls have more depth and a more complete team. Perhaps more importantly, I also believe that they've got an edge in the coaching department.
The Nets weren't able to beat the Bulls by more than four points in any of this season's meetings, three of those being decided by four or less. I won't be surprised if this one also comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10* best bet
|04-17-13||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Charlotte Bobcats -2.5||Top||98-105||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Although this is technically a "meaningless" game, I expect both teams to want to win it. That said, I believe the Bobcats will want it a little more. Throw in the fact that they're also currently playing much better and I believe this low line is very fair.
Note that Charlotte's overall home record (14-26) is four games better than Cleveland's 10-30 mark on the road.
The Cavaliers would like to close out their season with a victory. There's a chance that Byron Scott won't be around next season and the players would likely want to send him out as a winner.
I believe the Bobcats have more to play for though. With a victory here, the Bobcats can win three in a row. A win here will also give them a chance to pass Orlando (teams are currently tied) and to avoid having the worst record in the league.
Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson had this to say about avoiding last place:"We want to take care of that. It's not been one of our goals to start the season, obviously, but it's become a smaller goal for us as we've come down the stretch."
The fact that the Cavs have won both this season's meetings should provide the Bobcats with a little extra incentive too, as they look to avoid the series sweep.
Motivation aside, the Bobcats are simply playing much better than the Cavs right now. While Cleveland had lost five straight and 15 of its last 17, Charlotte has quietly won seven of its last nine at home. I expect the Bobcats to "keep on rolling," as they close out the season with another victory, providing the home fans with some hope that next season may finally be different. 10* personal favorite
|04-15-13||New York Knicks v. Charlotte Bobcats +8||Top||95-106||Win||100||23 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Its been another difficult season for the Bobcats. However, they've played well at home in recent weeks and I feel this will prove to be a good spot for them.
The Bobcats last game resulted in a 10-point win over the Bucks, on Saturday. They had yesterday off. Including Saturday's victory, they're 3-1 SU/ATS their last four home games and 6-2 SU/ATS their last eight here.
The Knicks have fared quite when playing the second of back-to-back games. However, I believe that this is worse than a "typical" back-to-back spot.
Not only are the Knicks off a big game vs. the Pacers yesterday, they're also their fourth game in the past five days. This will also now be their ninth game in the past 14 days.
Given that grueling schedule and with their home finale (vs. Atlanta) on deck and throw in the fact that they've now locked up the #2 seed in the East, I feel that they're going to have trouble remaining fully focused on the lowly Bobcats.
I would feel that was going to be true, regardless of who was in the lineup. However, the already banged-up Knicks are also likely going to rest a number of regulars.
After yesterday's win, Carmello Anthony was quoted saying: "It was a big game for us so now guys can get their rest, I can get my rest and come back full speed ready for the playoffs."
I expect the Bobcats to be the far more motivated team here and look for them to come away with the cash. 10* best bet
|04-12-13||New York Knicks v. Cleveland Cavaliers +4.5||Top||101-91||Loss||-105||9 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Knicks saw their winning streak come to an end last night, falling in OT at Chicago. While many will expect them to immediately bounce back, I won't be surprised to see them lose two in a row.
While they've been solid when playing the second of back-to-back games, an OT loss on national TV is a little harder to bounce back from than a "regular" loss. Thats particularly true with a number of players still banged-up.
Note that the Knicks haven't fared too well as small-medium sized road favorites.
The Cavs, who got Dion Waiters back last game, have covered three of their last four and four of their last six. Despite an 0-2 SU mark, they've played the Knicks tough in both this season's meetings. Those games were decided by only six combined points.
Even with a loss here last month, the Cavs are still 4-1 ATS the last five times that they were a host in this series. They're also 4-1 ATS when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 200 to 204.5 range. I expect AT LEAST another cover tonight. 10* best bet
|04-12-13||Brooklyn Nets v. Indiana Pacers -5.5||Top||117-109||Loss||-103||19 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. The Pacers are in one of their better roles here. They're 20-11 ATS (23-8 SU) the past few seasons when listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range. That includes a 7-2 ATS (8-1 SU) mark their last nine in that situation. I expect them to improve on those stats tonight.
While the Nets are a respectable 22-17 on the road, the Pacers are a very strong 30-9 at home. A victory tonight will officially clinch the third seed.
The Pacers play with "double-revenge" here, as the Nets have defeated them in both previous meetings. That should provide some added incentive. Note that the Pacers are 7-4 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss.
Even with the earlier victories over the Pacers and a win vs. Boston on Wednesday, the Nets are still a poor 13-24-1 ATS (14-24 SU) against teams with a winning record this season. That includes a 5-11 ATS mark their last 16 against winning teams.
After dropping two straight, the Pacers got back on track with a win vs. Cleveland on Tuesday. The fact that they didn't cover in that game has helped to keep this line slight lower than it potentially could have been.
Note that that Pacers, who also get tomorrow off, are 9-6 ATS (10-5 SU) when playing with two day's rest in between games. Looking to lock up the third seed and looking to avenge the earlier losses, I expect another win and cover tonight. 10* personal favorite
|04-10-13||New Orleans Hornets v. Sacramento Kings -5.5||Top||110-121||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. The Hornets have won both meetings this season. However, I believe this one sets up nicely for the Kings to exact some revenge. Note that both of the first two meetings were played at New Orleans.
While the Kings have had the past two nights off, the Hornets are off a hard-fought game vs. the Lakers, a contest where they really left it all on the floor.
Off that "meaningful" game, one which they were leading with seven minutes remaining only to fall short, I feel it will be tough for them to get up for this "meaningless" one. Note that the Hornets may be without Eric Gordon and/or Grevis Vasquez.
For the Kings, I don't expect it to be meaningless though. For starters, the Kings haven't been swept by the Hornets this entire millennium. I believe that avoiding that "feat" will provide them with some added motivation here.
Additionally, the Kings hit the road for three games after this, before playing their last game vs. the Clippers. In other words, this is their best chance to give the fans one last victory.
A win here can bring the Kings to .500 (20-20) at home and would put them in a position to potentially finish with a winning record here. (The Hornets are 11-28 on the road.)
The Kings, who nearly beat Memphis in their most recent game here, are 17-4-1 ATS (17-5 SU) the last 22 times that they were a host in this series. I expect them to be both the "fresher" and the "hungrier" team here and for that to lead to another win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|04-09-13||Philadelphia 76ers +7.5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||83-104||Loss||-105||11 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Nets have failed to cover in two straight games and are now 1-4 ATS their last five. I expect them to have their hands full again tonight.
Some of you may recall that we backed the 76'ers when they beat up on the Nets at Philadelphia last month. Despite being listed as an underdog, Philly won that game by a score of 106-97.
The 76'er also played the Nets tough here in the lone meeting at Brooklyn, losing 95-92, back in late December.
Its true that the 76'ers are now officially playing out the string. However, they've known that the playoffs weren't in the future for some time (long before getting mathematically eliminated) and they've still been playing hard.
Coach Collins said this of his team: "I'm incredibly proud at how hard they've played every single night. We've competed and we've had some really tough losses but we can only grow from that.''
While they did get blown out at Miami on Saturday, tote that the 76'ers have won four of their last six game outright. The other loss came by only five points. In other words, they'd be 5-1 ATS their last six, if they were getting as many points as they are this evening.
Note that the 76'ers are 14-7 ATS when off a double-digit loss.
Its true that the Nets are trying to secure fourth place in the East, which makes every game important. However, with a big game at Boston on deck tomorrow night, I believe that Brooklyn may not be fully focused on the "lowly" 76'ers. Note that the Nets are a dismal 4-12-1 ATS the last 17 times that they played the front end of back-to-back games.
Its also worth noting that the Nets are only 5-14 ATS when facing an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting. So, "revenge" hasn't been much of a motivating factor for them.
The Nets are 4-6-1 ATS as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. They're also 4-8-1 ATS when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 190 to 194.5 range.
The 76'ers are 11-4 ATS the last 15 times that they were a guest in this series, including a perfect 5-0 ATS the last five. I expect their best effort, en route to at least another cover. 10* best bet
|04-08-13||Michigan v. Louisville -3.5||Top||76-82||Win||100||36 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. As you likely saw, the Cardinals received a stiff test vs. Wichita State. While that has helped to keep this line reasonably low, I believe that close game and the fact that they were able to battle back will serve them well here.
Needless to say, both teams are very good. Both are well-coached. Both are excellent on both sides of the ball. I believe the Cards bring a little more to the table though.
A look at the stats, when playing away from home, reveals that Michigan has outscored opponents by an average of 73 to 66.5. However, when playing away from home, Louisville has outscored opponents by an average of 73.6 to 59.9.
Not only did the Cards erase a 12-point second half deficit vs. the Shockers, they erased a 16-point second half deficit in the Big East Final, going on a 27-3 run and winning by 17. (That happened to be against Syracuse.) Indeed, this is a team that is never out of it.
This has been one of Louisville's best roles. In fact, the Cards are a perfect 7-0 ATS the last seven times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. (During that stretch, the Wolverines were 1-1 ATS as neutral court underdogs in the same range.)
While I respect Belein, I believe Pitino gives the Cards an advantage. I expect him to have the Cards ready and for their relentless pressure to ultimately prove the difference. 10* NCAA GOY
|04-07-13||New Orleans Hornets v. Phoenix Suns +4||Top||95-92||Win||100||29 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. The Suns have opened as underdogs here. I'll happily take whatever points are being offered. However, I expect them to win this one outright.
I successfully backed the Suns in their last game. While they ultimately lost the game, they easily covered the spread. They're stepping down in class here and I feel a similar effort will result in a SU victory.
While the Suns 16-23 home record isn't overly impressive, its considerably better than the Hornets' 10-27 mark away from New Orleans.
Not surprisingly, the home team has won both meetings this season. The Hornets won by nine when the teams met at New Orleans in February. Earlier in the season, the Suns won by three points here at Phoenix. Note that it was the Suns who were favored for the previous game here - they were laying 5.5 points.
While the Suns are off a cover, the Hornets are off back-to-back double-digit losses. They're now 1-4 SU/ATS their last five. Going back further finds them at 0-8 SU/ATS their last eight road games.
Obviously, neither team is going to make the playoffs. In cases like this these, motivation often plays a pivotal role in determining which team will cover. In this case, playing at home and looking to snap an extended losing streak, I believe that the Suns will be the "hungrier" team.
Why do I expect the Suns to be more hungry? A closer look at the schedule reveals that this is their second last home game of the season. After this, four of their final five games come on the road. Their lone remaining home game, after this one, comes vs. Houston. Needless to say, the Rockets are a better team than the Hornets. In other words, this game offers the Suns their best chance to give the home fans a victory. They're aware of this and I believe it will prove to be a motivating factor.
The Suns have beaten the Hornets twice in a row here and are 5-2 SU their last seven as a host in the series. 10*
|04-07-13||Dallas Mavericks v. Portland Trail Blazers +3.5||Top||96-91||Loss||-104||13 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND. In terms of making the playoffs, the Mavericks certainly have more to play for. They're desperately trying to catch up and get into the 8th spot. The Blazers, on the other hand, are already eliminated from postseason contention. That will likely have many wanting to back the Mavs here. I feel the Blazers are going to be very hungry though and that we're going to get their best effort tonight.
Admittedly, the Blazers haven't played too well in recent days. However, lets not forget that their 24-15 home record is far superior to the Mavs' 15-24 mark on the road.
While the Mavs won both meetings at Dallas, the Blazers defeated them in the lone meeting here at Portland.
After a poor performance on Friday, Portland coach Terry Stotts said this of his team: "It's definitely a downer. To have a losing streak at this time of the year and playing against playoff teams, it's a difficult task. In general, I've found that most players bounce back pretty well and we'll bounce back Sunday."
The Blazers have LaMarcus Aldridge back and that's a big plus for this team. Aldridge was excellent in his first game back, scoring 32 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Now the team has had a game with him in the lineup, which should help them here.
Wesley Matthews said this of the team's motivation level: "It's not even about the playoffs. We've got to play like this is the blessing it is."
The Mavs are just 7-12 ATS the past few seasons as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, including a 1-3 ATS mark in that role this season. Meanwhile, the Blazers are 2-1 ATS as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
While they fought hard, the reality is that the Mavs aren't likely going to make the playoffs. This is the Blazers' chance to really put the nail in their coffin. They've won five of the last seven series meetings here and I expect them to step up and score the upset tonight. 10* best bet
|04-06-13||Atlanta Hawks +7.5 v. San Antonio Spurs||Top||97-99||Win||100||11 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. I'm well aware that the Spurs have dominated the Hawks over the years here. I also know that they've been very tough here all season and that they're still trying to lock up the #1 seed. That said, I expect the Hawks to give them all they can handle tonight and feel that they've got an excellent shot at scoring an upset.
As of this writing, it appears likely that Parker won't be able to go for the Spurs. Even if he does play, he's likely not going to be 100%. Last time out, Parker went just 1 of 6 for two points, before leaving with a shin injury. Already without Ginobili, the Spurs lost by double-digits. They've now dropped three of four.
Coach Popovich had this to say about Parker's performance and injury: "It looked like he had no energy to start the game and then as he went, he looked to me like he was limping. We saw him coming across halfcourt actually limping one time, and that's when we pulled him and I said to him, 'Tony, you got to stop.'"
Parker averages 20.6 points and 7.5 assists, both team highs. He's one of just three players averaging at least 20.0 and 7.0 per game.
Tim Duncan had this to say: "Obviously, Tony's down, Manu's down, so it's a concern, especially in this part of the season ... "
The Hawks are off a poor effort last night and that had Coach Drew steaming. I expect him to demand a much better effort tonight and for his team to respond accordingly.
Drew had this to say: "How you can come out and play like that when the game has that type of meaning is beyond me."
The Hawks beat Orlando by nine the last time that they played the second of back-to-back games and are a respectable 11-9 SU/ATS in that situation on the season. Note that four of those nine losses came by eight points or less - including a 5-point setback vs. these same Spurs.
The fact that they lost that game vs. San Antonio is noteworthy, as the Hawks are 23-14-1 ATS the last 38 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier home loss.
The Hawks are also 12-6 ATS (14-4 SU!) the last 18 times that they were off a double-digit loss. I expect them to rise to the occasion, earning AT LEAST a cover and improving to 5-2 ATS as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range. *non-conf. goy
|04-06-13||Indiana Pacers v. Washington Wizards +4||Top||85-104||Win||100||11 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Pacers are having a great season and they've got a much better overall record than the Wizards. However, many might be surprised to learn that the Wizards' home record is actually better than Indiana's road record. That said, I believe the home underdog is providing us with excellent value here.
Even after a recent successful road trip, the Pacers are still only 19-19 away from Indiana.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are 21-17 at home, going a lucrative 25-13 at the betting window. They've outscored opposing teams by a 98 to 95 margin here. In fact, they've won eight straight at home, covering in each of the last seven.
Going back further finds the Wizards at 17-4 since Wall returned to the lineup. Two of those four losses came by two points. The other two both came by eight. In other words, they haven't been blown out here in months and they'd be 18-2 ATS their last 20 here if the line was what it is today.
A closer look at the recent 8-game winning streak reveals that the Wizards have won those games by an average of 12.2 points, shooting a sizzling 50.4 percent from 3-point range. Wall has averaged an impressive 23.8 points and 8.6 assists.
While the Wizards, who lost at Toronto on Wednesday, have had the past couple of day's off, the Pacers got blown out by the Thunder last night.
While they have yet to beat the Pacers, the Wizards have been at their best against quality teams. They're 11-5 ATS their last 16 against teams with a winning record, going a lucrative 24-11-1 ATS against winning teams on the season.
Wall wasn't in the lineup for any of the Wizards' three losses vs. Indiana. (All three losses came by eight or fewer points.) As noted, he's back and playing very well right now though. The Wizards are 9-4 ATS off a double-digit loss and 29-18 ATS when playing with revenge. I expect them to continue their excellent play here, earning AT LEAST a cover and improving to 6-3 ATS as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. 10* Eastern Conf. best bet
|04-06-13||Wichita State v. Louisville -10||Top||68-72||Loss||-104||11 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. The Shockers have been a great story and deserve credit for advancing this far. I believe that the party will come to a crashing end on Saturday though.
While I certainly don't discount what the Shockers have done, I feel that the Cardinals are too deep, too talented and too well coached.
Normally, an underdog which had earned numerous upsets to get this far (like Wichita State) would have the support of the public and the fans watching the game. That can help provide some energy. That's not necessarily the case for the Shockers here though, as the gruesome injury to Ware has many wanting to see Louisville win it for him.
The Cardinals were already "on a mission," entering the tournament. Ware's injury has provided them with even further incentive.
The Cardinals have a lot more experience on the "big stage" and their 18-5 ATS record the past few seasons, when playing on a neutral court, is too good to ignore. I expect a double-digit win. 10* personal favorite
|04-05-13||Golden State Warriors v. Phoenix Suns +8||Top||111-107||Win||100||14 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. The Warriors have had a very solid season and enter tonight's game with a much better record than the Suns. That said, I don't feel that they're ready to be laying this many points on the road.
While they've been tough at home, the Warriors are only 17-21 on the road. That's almost identical to the Suns' 16-22 home record. (If the Suns win tonight, the records will be equal.)
The Warriors did win this season's previous meeting - but that victory came by only two points. For the season, the Warriors are being outscored by an average of 102.8 to 99.9 away from home.
The Warriors just won four of five games on a recent home-stand. Four of those five games were decided by 10 or less though. (Most recently, they beat the Hornets by 10.) With an arguably bigger game vs. Utah on deck, I feel they may not be fully focused on the lowly Suns. Note that they Warriors are only 13-23 their last 36 off a double-digit win, 7-9 ATS in that situation this season.
The Suns have certainly struggled on the defensive side of the ball lately. They've scored more than 100 points in three straight games though, making it four times in five games that they've hit triple-digits.
While they (obviously) aren't going to make the playoffs, I don't believe the Suns are ready to throw in the towel. At least not when playing with triple-revenge, against a divisional opponent.
Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic had this to say: "We're not going to make the playoffs, so we'll just try to compete until the end of the season."
Even including the loss earlier, the Suns are 16-4 the last 20 times that they were a host in this series. The four losses came by an average of less than six points. I expect their best effort tonight. 10* best bet
|04-03-13||New York Knicks v. Atlanta Hawks -2.5||Top||95-82||Loss||-105||8 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Hawks may claim that they don't care about positioning. However, I don't believe that to be the case. There's a big difference between finishing fourth and finishing fifth and they should be well aware of that fact. They've got the schedule in their favor and I expect them to step up with a win and cover.
The Knicks may have the better overall record but the Hawks' 24-13 mark at home is superior than the Knicks' 20-16 record away from MSG.
The Knicks have certainly been rolling and they're off an impressive win over the Heat last night. That said, I believe that this is a tough spot for them.
The Heat may have been without their stars last night but they still put up a fight. As a result, the Knicks starters were forced to log relatively heavy minutes.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Knicks will also be playing their third game in the past four days and their sixth game in the past nine. That's a pretty grueling stretch and I expect it to catch up with them here.
Playing with revenge from a 2-point loss at New York, I expect the Hawks to be both the "fresher" and "hungrier" team and for that to ultimately translate to victory. 10* main event
|03-30-13||Syracuse v. Marquette +4.5||Top||55-39||Loss||-110||7 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Both these teams were very impressive in their last game. Each of them dominated a very strong opponent. Syracuse seems to be getting a lot more credit/respect for its win over Indiana than Marquette is for its win over Miami though. While the Orange beat me last time, I've been riding the Golden Eagles the past couple of games. Getting a handful of points, I believe they're providing us with very fair value once again.
These teams met last month, at Marquette. The Golden Eagle won by three points. Unlike Indiana, which appeared confused by the zone played by Syracuse, the Golden Eagles have seen it before and are very familiar with the Orange.
One player that was particularly effective against the Cuse zone last month was Marquette's big man, Davante Gardner. He was 7 for 7 from the field, sank 12 of his 13 free throws, while also contributing eight rebounds.
Gardner commented: "I love playing against athletic guys. Because they think they can just stop me. But I use my weight to push them around."
While its obviously unrealistic to expect Gardner to hit at such a high percentage again, I do expect him to have another effective game. He had 14 points against Miami.
The Golden Eagles are 6-1 SU and 5-1 ATS when playing with one or less day's rest. They're now 19-8 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons. When they do lose, its generally not by many points. In fact, as I mentioned prior to the Miami game, Marquette has only lost two games by more than eight points this entire season. Four of the Golden Eagles losses have come by four points or less.
Prior to Thursday's "blowout win," each of the Golden Eagles' last eight games was decided by eight or less. I won't be surprised if this one also comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10*
|03-29-13||Fla Gulf Coast v. Florida -13||Top||50-62||Loss||-108||24 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Eagles have certainly been the story of the tournament. I avoided their game against Georgetown but they cost me when they knocked off San Diego State. They're up against an entirely different opponent now though and I expect their magical run to come to a crashing halt.
While I believe that the Gators have numerous matchup advantages, I also feel that the venue (Arlington, Texas) will favor them.
While the Eagles played their games at Philadelphia, the Gators played at Austin, only a few hours away. They remained in Texas the entire time, focusing entirely on the task at hand. On the other hand, the Eagles went from Philadelphia back to their school, where they were treated like rock stars. Not only was their extra travel involved, it figures to be hard for them to be fully focused, given all the attention that they've been receiving.
While the Eagle are already heroes, no matter what happens here, the Gators are on a mission. They're a team loaded with seniors and they've come up short in their previous tries. After being to the regional finals each of their last two years, they want more here. Kenny Boynton noted: "We remember the pain it caused for us last year. I think we used it to learn. ... We've been close. And our goal is to get further this year.''
While the line may seem high, keep in mind that the Gators are 8-2 ATS their last 10 NCAA tournament games and 5-1 ATS (6-0 SU) the last six times that they were listed as neutral court favorites of 12.5 to 15 points. I say the clock strikes midnight for "Cinderella" in Arlington. 10* personal favorite
|03-28-13||Syracuse v. Indiana -5||Top||61-50||Loss||-110||14 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. I've had some success playing both on and against Syracuse this season. I feel that this will prove to be an excellent spot to go against the Orange.
The Hoosiers got a wake-up call against Temple, a team they didn't match up well against from a 'style' perspective. While they're certainly a formidable opponent, I believe the Orange present a better matchup for them.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim employs a 2-3 zone, generally for the entire game. That typically means that teams have to beat the Orange from the outside. The majority of teams aren't built to do so. The Hoosiers aren't like most teams though.
The Hoosiers shoot 40.8% from beyond the arc and 48.6% overall. Christian Watford (48%), Jordan Hulls (46%) and Victor Oladipo (43 percent) all shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. Will Sheehey (36%) is also highly capable of knocking them down from long range.
Note that Oladipo, a contender for National Player of the Year, played here in high-school. He was quoted as saying: "I'm going to have a lot of family and friends here, but at the same time, it's a business trip. We're here to be successful."
I also believe this matchup will allow Zeller to play to his strengths.
The Orange Syracuse lost 61-39 (vs. Georgetown a few weeks ago) the last time that they played at this arena, their fewest points since December 1962. With a total currently in the mid-high 130s, note that the Orange are 0-6 ATS the last six times that they played a neutral court game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range.
The fact that the Hoosiers have failed to cover a few in a row has kept this line slightly lower than I feel it could easily be. They've generally been at their best vs. "elite" teams. I look for them to rise to the occasion with a win and cover. 10*
|03-28-13||Marquette +5.5 v. Miami (Fla)||Top||71-61||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. I backed the Golden Eagles in their victory over Butler. While I marked that one down as a push, hopefully some were able to to get a win. Either way, I feel that back-to-back very close wins will serve them well here.
While the Hurricanes have admittedly fared well as favorite this season, the Golden Eagles are an outstanding 18-8 ATS the last 26 times that they were getting points.
Both teams score roughly the same number of points (68.8 vs. 69.9) and both are stingy defensively. the Golden Eagles allows 62.9% ppg while the Canes allow 60.3. Therefore, its worth noting that Marquette is 30-15 ATS (31-17 SU) its last 48 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points while Miami is 16-14 ATS (18-15 SU.)
The Hurricanes are 3-4-1 ATS in games with an O/U line in the 120s while the Eagles are 7-3 ATS. Note that with the final combined score expected to be relatively low, that every point is that much more valuable.
While I do certainly respect Miami, Marquette has only lost two games by more than eight points this entire season. Four of the Golden Eagles losses have come by four points or less. Each of their last eight games has been decided by eight or less. I expect another one that comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10*
|03-27-13||Indiana Pacers v. Houston Rockets -4.5||Top||100-91||Loss||-107||9 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Rockets are playing some of their best basketball of the season right now. The Pacers are getting healthier but are still at less than 100%. Playing with "revenge" from an earlier loss at Indiana, I expect the Rockets to take care of business and to defend their homecourt.
The Rockets are averaging 109.7 points per game at home this season, hitting 47.5 % of their field goals here. On their current homestand, they've cranked up the defensive intensity, allowing an average of only 92.5 points. That's a dangerous combination.
Note that Houston is 24-5 when limiting teams to 101 or fewer points and that the Pacers average only 90.7 ppg on the road.
Losers of three of their last four road games, the Pacers are only 15-19 away from Indiana. On the other hand, the Rockets are 25-10 at home.
While they did lose at Indiana earlier, the Rockets are still 19-9 ATS (20-8 SU) against Eastern Conference opponents. (The Pacers are 14-11 against the West.)
The Rockets get tomorrow off and they've had two day's worth of rest coming in. They're 7-4 ATS (8-3 SU) when playing with two day's rest. The Pacers had yesterday off but are still playing their fourth game in the past six days - and they've got a game at Dallas tomorrow.
The Pacers have a comfortable lead over the Bulls in their division. While they'd still like to improve their positioning, assuming they hold off the Bulls, they'll get homecourt advantage in the first round.
I would argue this game is bigger for the Rockets. If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would be up against the Thunder. They've still got a very real chance of moving up to 6th though which would mean facing the Nuggets, Clippers or potentially the Grizzlies. I expect a highly motivated effort en route to a win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-25-13||RICHMOND +1 v. WRIGHT STATE||Top||51-57||Loss||-110||12 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on RICHMOND. The Raiders had a solid season. I would consider them to be "over-achievers." In fact, they're the last team from the Horizon League to even be playing this season. That said, I feel that they're facing a more talented opponent here and I look for their season to come to an end.
Richmond shook off a very disappointing loss to Charlotte in the A-10 Tournament by winning their first game in this tournament. I believe that they're motivated to win the entire thing and feel that they've got the talent to potentially do so.
Wright State coach Billy Donlon had this to say of the Spiders: "You
|03-24-13||Fla Gulf Coast v. San Diego St -7||Top||81-71||Loss||-110||13 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. As many of you are likely aware, I played on the Aztecs in their opening round game. Oklahoma played them tough for a half but the Aztecs blew out the Sooners in the second half. I believe that they're providing us excellent value again and I'm expecting them to deliver another double-digit win.
Unless you attended the school, its unlikely you had Florida Gulf Coast getting this far in your bracket. Still, the Eagles are here - and have shown that they can not be taken lightly. I don't believe that that battle-tested and well-coached Aztecs will make that mistake.
The Eagles are athletic and they do some "tricky" stuff. (Like switching from zone to man-to-man and back again on defense.) They're no longer an unknown commodity though and the Aztecs will be paying them far more attention than the Hoyas evidently did. (Air Force is a little bit like that - so the Aztecs aren't totally unfamiliar with a changing defense.)
Sure, the win over G-Town was certainly impressive. The Eagles did actually beat Miami way back in early November too. So, the victory over the Hoyas wasn't totally unprecedented. Keep in mind that the Eagles got blown out when facing other decent non-conference teams though. They lost by 23 vs. VCU. They lost by 21 vs. Duke. They also lost by 11 against both St. John's and Iowa State. Outside of those games, their schedule was "less than challenging." Indeed, the Atlantic Sun Conference is hardly the ACC, Big East or even the Mountain West.
While the other teams in the Mountain West have disappointed, that's still a very competitive conference. Six teams had 20 or more victories. I believe that it has the Aztecs well prepared - as has their past NCAA Tournament experience.
If you haven't heard of San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, you likely will soon. He should be the best player on the floor in this game.
Off an excellent defensive effort, note that the Aztecs are 45-7 SU and 26-17 ATS in lined games, when coming off a game where they allowed 60 or fewer points.
People love a good story and many will want to embrace the Eagles here. I don't care about good stories though. I just want (ATS) winners. If you recall, a couple of 15 seeds (Norfolk State and Lehigh) advanced to the Rd. of 32 last year. They both lost by double-digits. Norfolk State got blown out by 34 points. Lehigh lost by 12. I expect another double-digit win. 10* 2nd Rd GOY
|03-24-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Houston Rockets +1.5||Top||95-96||Win||100||10 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Off four straight wins, the always well-coached Spurs are on a roll. However, a closer look shows that all four of those victories came at home and that 10 of their last 11 games have been played at San Antonio. (They're also only 1-4 ATS their last five overall.) The Spurs' last road game resulted in a 107-83 loss at Minnesota. They'll be playing at a much more difficult venue here and I expect their win streak to come to an end.
While the Spurs have a far superior overall record, some might be surprised to learn that the Rockets 24-10 home record is actually better than San Antonio's 23-12 mark on the road. The Rockets average 110.1 ppg on this floor, best in the entire league. They've won 10 of their last 12 here.
The Spurs have won all three meetings in the season series, including the lone game here at Houston. It should be noted that Harden, who averaged 31 points in the two games at San Antonio, didn't play in the previous meeting here. Needless to say, he's a very important part of this team.
While they shouldn't need any added incentive, the three previous losses should be an excellent motivator for the Rockets. They haven't been swept in four games by their instate rivals since the 2005-2006 season.
The Rockets, 10-4 ATS their last 14 against teams with a winning record, are 8-5 SU/ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as home underdogs of three or fewer points, including 2-0 ATS their last two. They're off a dominant defensive effort (allowed only 78) and have quietly won four of five. Playing with "triple revenge," I say its "payback time." 10* Revenge GOM
|03-23-13||Indiana Pacers v. Chicago Bulls -3||Top||84-87||Push||0||15 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Pacers have won all three of this season's meetings. The schedule favors the Bulls here though and I expect them to step up and avoid the season sweep.
While the Bulls had yesterday off, the Pacers were busy beating up on the Bucks. Admittedly, they've been solid when playing the second of back-to-back games. However, I'd still rather have the rested team. Also, with West expected to be out again - that may make the b2b spot that much harder to deal with.
True, the Pacers are now 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games. However, they were on a 2-5 ATS streak over their previous seven games, losing four of those outright. Also, note that they're only 4-7 ATS when off three or more consecutive victories.
The Bulls got Gibson and Hinrich back from injury on Thursday. While it can sometimes be difficult the first game a player (or players) return from injury, those guys now have a game under their belts and should provide a boost to the team going forward.
The Bulls should be extremely motivated here. Not only are they playing with "triple revenge," they're also off back-to-back losses - a 1-point heartbreaker vs. Denver was followed by a disappointing 10-point loss vs. Portland. The fact that they play on the road next time out - and then vs. Miami after that, should provide even further incentive.
Gibson had this to say: "Every game counts, and we need everybody. We've got to keep pushing. It doesn't get easy at all if you look at our schedule. We've got a lot of tough teams coming up. We've got to keep fighting."
The Bulls have been at their best off an upset loss in recent seasons, going 31-12-1 ATS and 36-8 SU. I expect them to bounce back with a much needed win and cover here. 10* Main Event
|03-23-13||Butler v. Marquette -2||Top||72-74||Push||0||30 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Long-time regulars will recall that I rode Butler hard the years the Bulldogs went to the Finals. In fact, one I successfully played on them every single game that they covered, while avoiding them in the one that they didn't. This isn't the same team though. Far from it. While still very well-coached, I feel that they'll be in over their heads here.
I really like how this one sets up for the Golden Eagles. They received their "wake up call" in the first round and I expect them to benefit from that here.
While the Bulldogs also rallied from a deficit, it wasn't as dramatic as Marquette's furious comeback. The fact that the Bulldogs covered and the Golden Eagles didn't is helping to provide a little extra line value here - as the perception for some as that Marquette got a little lucky.
You may recall that these teams met at the Maui Invitational, back in November. Butler won that one on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, earning a 72-71 victory. Note that Marquette was a 4-point favorite for that one. While I'm very aware of the Bulldogs' neutral court success, I believe its payback time for Marquette today. 10* personal favorite
|03-23-13||Toronto Raptors +6 v. New York Knicks||Top||84-110||Loss||-110||14 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. These teams met yesterday, at the Air Canada Centre. The Knicks earned a 5-point win, which was enough for the cover. I expect the Raptors to be highly motivated for the second end of this home and home series and look for them to earn at least a cover.
While I'm aware that Rudy Gay went down last night, I believe that the Raptors will be in better shape to handle the second of back-to-back games.
I was in attendance for Toronto's first win this season, a 105-86 blowout of Minnesota back in early November. Knowing what I do for a living, naturally, the people that I attended that game with wanted to know who I thought was going to win. I told them that I had a big play on the Raptors.
A few of them knew my NBA history and didn't question my pick. However, a couple of the others told me that they didn't think that the Raptors, who had played the previous night, would be able to handle playing their second game in as many days. I told them that I wasn't worried about that - as the Raptors were among a group of teams that actually often plays better in that situation. That's remained true, too.
In fact, including that early blowout of the T-Wolves, the Raptors are an impressive 14-5 ATS the last 19 times that they played the second of b2b games.
To be fair, the Knicks have also performed well when playing the second of b2b games. That said, they're severely depleted right now. Last night, they got a huge effort from Kenyon Martin - however, I feel it will be hard for the 35-year old (who played 36 mins last night) to match that performance two nights in a row. Note that Chandler Stoudemire, Thomas and Wallace all remain out.
Obviously, both teams played yesterday. However, the Knicks will also be playing their fifth game in the past seven days. The Raptors are playing their fourth game in the past seven, having played one less game during that stretch.
All three of this year's games have been decided by five or less, Toronto winning the first two.
With last night's win, the Knicks clinched a playoff berth. That could be cause for a minor letdown. Whether or not that proves to be the case, I expect them to have their hands full the entire way, with the Raptors earning AT LEAST a cover. 10* best bet
|03-22-13||Oklahoma v. San Diego St -2.5||Top||55-70||Win||100||17 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. I believe that the Aztecs will have some matchup advantages in this one. I also believe that their recent NCAA tournament experience will work in their favor against an Oklahoma team which hasn't been here in some time.
Both teams score roughly the same amount of points. The Sooners average 71.1 points while hitting 43.7% of their field goals. The Aztecs shoot 43.8% from the field, averaging 69.2.
The Aztecs are considerably better on the other side of the ball though. They allow only 60.7 ppg while limiting opponents to a 38.8 field goal percentage. Meanwhile, the Sooners allow 66.2 ppg with opposing teams hitting 41.9% of their field goals.
Those defensive differences are even more significant on the road. When the Aztecs play away from home, they allow 62.8 points and a 39.5% field goal percentage. On the other hand, the Sooners give up a high 70.4 ppg on the road, opposing teams hitting 43.5% of their field goals.
Over their last five games, Oklahoma is allowing opposing teams to hit a whopping 48.3% of their field goals, permitting 74.8 ppg. Conversely, San Diego State has permitted only 63.4 ppg their last five times out, opposing teams shooing 39.1% from the field in those games.
The fact that San Diego State is so stingy doesn't bode well for Oklahoma. The Sooners are only 17-23-1 ATS (14-27 SU) against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game the past few seasons, including a 10-15 ATS (9-16 SU) mark after a minimum of 15 games of the season had been played.
With an O/U line in the low to mid 130s, note that the Aztecs are 5-1 SU the last six times that they played a neutral court game with an O/U line in the 130 to 134. 5 range. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Sooners are only 1-3 when playing on a neutral court with an O/U line in the same range.
The Aztecs aren't intimidated by "good" teams. They're 40-24-2 ATS (46-20 SU) their last 66 against teams with a winning record. During that time, Oklahoma is only 25-35 SU against winning teams, 11-22 when at least 15 games of the season had been played. I expect a win and cover for San Diego State. 10* Opening Rd GOY
|03-22-13||Boston Celtics v. Dallas Mavericks -4.5||Top||94-104||Win||100||13 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. The Celtics eked out a win in double-OT when these teams met at Boston earlier in the season, a game that Dirk Nowitzki didn't play in. With this evening's game being played at Dallas, I'm expecting a much different result.
For starters, note that the Celtics are 12-21 (2-10 vs. Western teams!) on the road. The Mavericks are 18-14 at home.
Needless to say Dallas is a different team with Dirk in the lineup. Note that Notwizki averages 26.9 points (in 26 games) vs the Celtics. That's his highest average against any team.
Sure, Terry would love to have a big game against his former team. However, I'd still argue that the Mavs need this game more and that they'll be the "hungrier" team. The Celtics are battling for a better seed. However, the Mavs are desperately just trying to make the playoffs.
Both teams were upset last time out. The Mavs were blown out by Brooklyn, the Celtics blew a double-digit second half lead vs. New Orleans and lost a 1-point heart-breaker. I feel that the Mavs' blowout loss will be easier to recover from than the Celtics' heartrbreaker.
Note that Boston is only 5-8 ATS off an upset loss while Dallas is 9-5 ATS off a double-digit loss.
With the Mavs also 17-8-1 ATS after allowing 105 or more points, I'm expecting a win and cover for the "desperate" home team. 10* personal favorite
|03-21-13||Oregon v. Oklahoma State -2||Top||68-55||Loss||-110||22 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA STATE. Many seem to be picking Oregon to win this one. (That's helped us by bringing the line down a bit from its opener.) While anything is certainly possible and the Ducks may indeed deserve a slightly higher seeding than the #12 they ended up with, I believe the Cowboys are favored for good reason.
While they came up short vs K-State in their last game (a team they had beaten the previous week) the Cowboys are 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) off a conference loss. (The lone non-cover was still an 18-point win, in a game where they were laying 18.5.)
In fact, they've only lost twice in a row once all season - and that was back on New Year's Eve (1 point loss vs. Gonzaga) and the subsequent game (at K-State) to begin the new year.
The Ducks did win at UNLV back in November. (The Rebels were quite inconsistent this year.) However, their non-conference slate really wasn't that difficult. The only other decent non-conf. foe was arguably Cincinnati - and the Ducks lost that one by double-digits. The Pac-12 wasn't particularly strong this season (at least not in my opinion) and, despite winning their final three games, the Ducks are still only 8-7 SU their last 15.
The Cowboys have a history of taking care of business in the first round of tournament games. Indeed, they're 17-6 SU/ATS their last 23 opening round games in tournament play.
The Cowboys are also 15-7 ATS (17-5 SU) the last 22 times that they were listed as neutral court favorites (or pick'em) of three or fewer points. I feel the number is more than fair and am expecting a win for the Cowboys. 10* personal favorite
|03-21-13||New Mexico State +9.5 v. St. Louis||Top||44-64||Loss||-110||20 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. The Billikens are a very solid and well-coached team. Needless to say, they've had an excellent season. That said, I feel that they're laying too many points here.
I've already acknowledged that the Billikens are a good team. The Aggies aren't slouches either though. They're here for a reason. They've got 24 wins to their credit and they only allow 62.1 points per game.
This team lost some key players from last year and so a slow start to the season wasn't all that surprising. However, they got it together and have been playing great for many weeks now. In fact, the Aggies, who enter off five straight wins, have only lost two games in all of 2013. Its important to note that both losses came by six or fewer points. Even if Watson (ankle) is unable to go, I believe they have what it takes to give St. Louis all it can handle.
With a 4-2 ATS (5-1 SU) mark this year, the Aggies are now an outstanding 33-16 ATS their last 49 lined games, excluding pushes, in the month of March. I believe the Aggies are playing their best basketball at the right time. While an outright win will admittedly be a tough task, I expect at least another cover. 10* best bet
|03-20-13||Charleston Sou +14 v. Southern Miss||Top||71-78||Win||100||21 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLESTON SOUTHERN. The Golden Eagles are heavy favorites here. However, I believe that this game will mean more to the underdog Buccaneers. I expect them to be much more competitive than the pointspread suggests.
The Golden Eagles had a very solid season. They can't be too happy to be here though, as they were really hoping to make the "Big Dance." Losing in double-OT in the CUSA Finals vs. Memphis may be tough to shake off.
Note that the Golden Eagles are only 5-11-1 ATS off a conference loss the past few seasons. During that stretch, they were 3-6-1 ATS when playing a game where the O/U line ranged in the 130s.
On the other hand, Charleston Southern is making its first postseason appearance since the 1997 NCAA Tournament and
|03-20-13||Toronto Raptors v. Charlotte Bobcats +6||Top||101-107||Win||100||19 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I've successfully backed the Bobcats in each of their last two games here. They were getting a lot of points in both games. Yet, they won outright by 26 and five points. I feel that they're again providing us with value and that they again have an excellent shot at an outright upset.
While the Raptors do have a far superior overall record, a closer look reveals that their road record (9-24) is identical to the Bobcats' home record. While the Bobcats have won back-to-back home games, the Raptors have lost back-to-back road games. Their most recent road game resulted in a 24-point loss. Yet, not only are the Raptors being asked to win - they're being asked to win by a handful of points.
The Bobcats haven't had much to feel good about this season - but they are feeling good right now - and I believe that they'll be motivated to keep on "rolling" tonight.
Kemba Walker said this after Monday's win: "...I think we took a huge step. Being down five points and sticking with each other and being able to win."
Gerald Henderson added: "We've got a lot of fight. We had a little bit of a lull in the fourth quarter, but we pulled it back and came together. We got sharp on offense and defense and got it done tonight. We've kept working and played hard. It feels good."
True, the Raptors are fairly well-rested, having had the past two days off. That hasn't helped them much though. Indeed, they're 1-7 SU (3-5 ATS) the last eight times that they played with two day's of rest in between games, going a dismal 4-19 SU in that situation the past few seasons.
Both the Bobcats recent home wins have come against teams (Boston and Washington) which they had beaten at least once already this season. The Raptors are another team which the Bobcats have already beaten this season. (Raptors won both meetings at Toronto but Charlotte won 98-97 the lone meeting here.) In fact, they're 4-0 SU the last four times that they hosted the Raptors and 6-1 the last seven. I'll take the generous points but won't be surprised by another "upset." 10* best bet
|03-19-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Milwaukee Bucks -4||Top||95-102||Win||100||15 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Bucks have failed to cover four games in a row. However, they snapped their 3-game SU losing streak last time out - a 6-point win - and I expect them to follow it up with a win and cover this evening.
While the Bucks had yesterday off, the Blazers are off a hard-fought and potentially demoralizing 1-point loss at Philadelphia. They'll be playing their third game in the past four nights now.
The Blazers are also in one of their worst roles here. They're 2-7 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range, going an ugly 8-20 ATS their last 28 in that role.
Milwaukee's coach (Boylan) is demanding more from his team. He had this to say: "First of all, we are not in the playoffs. ... We need to turn it up and we need to be a serious team. Right now, we are not playing like a serious team."
The Bucks already won by six at Portland at January. Last year's two meetings against the Blazers resulted in victories of 22 and 29 points. With the schedule in their favor, I expect Boylan's crew to "get serious" and another double-digit win won't surprise. 10* personal favorite
|03-19-13||Kentucky v. Robert Morris +5.5||Top||57-59||Win||100||15 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on ROBERT MORRIS. I've been quite successful this season when playing on/against Kentucky. I believe that this will be a good spot to go against the Wildcats.
How the mighty have fallen. Champions of the NCAA Tournament only a year ago, the (once) mighty Wildcats find themselves in the NIT. Needless to say, this is not what they were hoping for or expecting.
Adding insult to injury, the Cats find themselves playing on the road, due to the fact that Rupp Arena is being used. Instead, the Cats will be playing at the "Sewall Center."
Although they are surely hating being here, I don't expect the Cats to just roll over. They'd surely like to show their critics up by winning this tournament.
That said, I believe that its going to be very difficult to match the emotion that Robert Morris will bring to the table.
This is the biggest game ever being played here. Tuesday night classes have been cancelled. The game is a sellout - and tickets are already being scalped for many times their normal price. Senior point guard Velton Jones noted: "It's crazy around here. I saw a girl actually crying when she heard the news. There are not too many times Robert Morris has had a chance for a school like that to come here."
Obviously, the Colonials don't have the same type of pedigree as Kentucky. Their schedule was certainly much easier. Still, this is a team which won 23 games.
The Wildcats knew they needed to beat a mediocre Vanderbilt team in the SEC Tournament, yet they got crushed, losing 64-48. Note that they're only 1-6 ATS after scoring less than 60 points. In true road games, the Cats were only 3-8 ATS. They've only had one road win since the beginning of February (at [email protected] on 2/2) and that victory came by only four points.
The Colonials were the best team in their conference during the regular season. This is their chance to make up for a disappointing conference tournament. In fact, while its debatable, one could argue that a win here would be even bigger than advancing to the NCAA Tournament would have been for them.
The Colonials lost by only two points at Xavier and by only five at Arkansas. (Kentucky lost by 13 at Arkansas.) When playing at home, they beat Ohio by eight points, Cleveland State by nine, Bowling Green by 11 and Duquesne by 22.
Robert Morris Coach Andy Toole said this of tonight's game:
|03-18-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Memphis Grizzlies -14.5||Top||77-92||Win||100||18 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on MEMPHIS. I believe that the T-Wolves are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I played against the Grizzlies in their last game. That was a very tough spot for them though. They were off a "heart-breaking" loss in the high altitude of Denver the previous night and were playing their fourth game in the past five days. They were also playing at a difficult venue against a rested Utah team.
Tonight's game sets up much differently. This time, the Grizzlies are playing at home and had yesterday off. This time, they're taking a big step down in class to face a banged-up Minnesota team which rarely wins on the road and which played last night.
While they did eke out a victory last night, the T-Wolves were at home and they were facing New Orleans. Needless to say, a road game at Memphis is an entirely different story. Throw in the fact that they'll be playing their fifth game in the last seven days and last night's win figures to take a toll.
While they lost their last road game by "only" eight points, the T-Wolves previous recent road games had resulted in losses of 16, 23, 15 and 22 points. (They lost by 16 and 23 points the only previous two times that they played the second of b2b games this month.)
On the season, the T-Wolves are 7-25 on the road, compared to Memphis' 25-8 mark at home. Even with the recent cover at Houston, the T-Wolves are still 1-5 ATS as road underdogs of greater than a dozen points.
The Grizzlies know they can't afford to mess around with these type of games. They appear likely to face Denver in the playoffs and they'd much rather have homecourt advantage, knowing that the Nuggets are a much better team when playing in their own building.
The Grizzlies have dominated Minnesota here. They're 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) the last five meetings here, most recently a 17 point win last month. Don't be surprised if this one results in an even bigger blowout. 10* personal favorite
|03-17-13||Atlanta Hawks +4.5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||105-93||Win||100||12 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. After suffering three straight losses, one of them coming against these same Nets, the Hawks have gotten back on track. Friday's double-digit win over Phoenix was on the heels of a victory against the Lakers on Wednesday. Playing with recent revenge, I expect a highly motivated effort and look for them to keep on rolling for another day.
The Nets have have the past four days off. They're only 1-3 ATS when playing with three or more day's worth of rest.
With today's O/U line in the high 180s, note that the Nets are also an ugly 6-13-2 ATS the last 21 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 185 to 189.5 range.
During that stretch, the Nets are also a poor 7-12-1 ATS when listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Hawks are 22-14-1 ATS the past few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss. I expect them to improve on those stats with AT LEAST a cover here. 10* best bet
|03-17-13||Mississippi v. Florida -11||Top||66-63||Loss||-105||5 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Gators are fairly heavy favorites here. However, I believe the line could easily be even higher. When these teams met (at Florida) in February, the line was -17.5. The Gators won by 14. They're 11-1 their last 12 in this series.
Despite narrowly failing to cover yesterday, the Gators still won by double-digits. They lead the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 18.9 points per game. A rough patch at the end of the regular season is now ancient history, as this team has won five straight.
Even with yesterday's ATS loss, the Gators are 60-34-2 ATS (68-28 SU) their last 96 tournament games, 10-5 ATS (11-4 SU) their last 15.
I feel they've got a number of advantages here and am expecting another double-digit win. 10*
|03-16-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Utah Jazz -2||Top||84-90||Win||100||18 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. These teams have met twice so far this season. Both those meetings were back in 2012. The Grizzlies won each of them. Tonight, things set up nicely for the Jazz to avenge those losses.
While the Jazz have had the past couple of day's off, the Grizzlies are in a very difficult scheduling situation. Last night, playing in the high altitude of Denver, the Grizzlies coughed up a fourth quarter lead, en route to a hard-fought and disappointing 87-80 loss. That type of loss can be difficult to immediately bounce back from.
This is much worse than a "typical" back-to-back situation though. That's because the Grizzlies will also be playing their fourth game in the past five days AND their sixth game in the past nine. That's a very grueling stretch and this is not an easy venue to play at.
While the Grizzlies are still a solid 19-12 on the road, the Jazz are an outstanding 23-8 here at Utah.
While their last two home games both resulted in double-digit wins, the Jazz did get blown out at OKC last time out. That should provide them with some added motivation here.
Utah's Gordon Hayward noted: "We're trying to get in the playoffs we can't have games like this. We were down by 20-plus points and that's just stupid. We gotta execute our offense better."
The Jazz are 10-7 (11-6 SU) off a double-digit loss. Even with the loss here at December, they've won 24 of their last 31 as a host in this series. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to bounce back with an important win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-16-13||Wisconsin v. Indiana -6||Top||68-56||Loss||-110||9 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Give the Badgers credit for playing a great game yesterday and having a strong season. However, this Indiana team, arguably as talented as any in the country, is a different beast - one which I expect to be extremely hungry.
The Hoosiers blew out Illinois by 16 points yesterday, a game which was never in doubt. They dominated in the paint, Zeller having a huge game.
The Hoosiers already believe they deserve to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, that's certainly not a given. Adding their first ever Big Ten touney title to a season that already saw them win their first outright conference title would ensure that. I don't expect them to leave anything to chance.
As if they didn't already have enough to play for, the fact that the Badgers beat them in the regular season, should provide the Hoosiers with plenty of motivation.
While the Badgers are 2-6 ATS their last eight tournament semi-final games. the Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS their last five tournament semi-final games. I feel that they've got a "score to settle" and I look for them to get their "payback" in convincing fashion this afternoon. 10* personal favorite
|03-15-13||San Diego St +1.5 v. New Mexico||Top||50-60||Loss||-110||15 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. I backed the Aztecs in their first game of this tournament. While it may not have been "pretty," I feel that game played out the best way that the Aztecs could have hoped for.
The Aztecs jumped out to a big lead in that game vs. Boise State. However, they allowed the Broncos to come charging all the way back. They didn't fold though. Rather, they stayed strong, showed some fortitude, took Boise's best shot and then responded by earning the win and cover.
In recent years, the Aztecs have been a team that has fared very well in close games. However, this year's team has largely struggled in close games. That's why I feel that winning a close one was so "good for them."
Despite earning the win over Boise, the Aztecs are still on the bubble - although they could very well make it, even with a loss here. While the current roster of players wasn't around at the time, coach Fisher will surely have reminded them of what happened in 2009.
In case you don't remember, the 2009 Aztecs were also "on the bubble." They got all the way to the tournament title game but lost, 52-50, to Utah. On "Selection Sunday," San Diego State was left off the field. Instead of going to the Big Dance, they were forced to do their "dancing" at the NIT. Needless to say, they don't want to leave anything to chance this time.
New Mexico is indeed a very good team. The Lobos likely won't have the same sense of urgency as the Aztecs though, as they know they're already going to the NCAA Tournament.
Note that the Aztecs are 11-8-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs. They're also 40-23-2 ATS (46-19 SU) their last 65 against teams with a winning record and 22-10-1 (24-9 SU) their last 33 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game.
While the Lobos did beat the Aztecs at "The Pit" a few weeks ago, the Aztecs pounded them (55-34) at San Diego State in the first meeting. (That was the fewest points New Mexico had scored since the mid-70s!) I backed them in that game and I'm doing so again here. 10* best bet
|03-15-13||Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5 v. Dallas Mavericks||Top||86-96||Loss||-110||15 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Cavs may be banged-up and they may be playing out the strong. However, they're still fighting hard. They've got the schedule in their favor and I expect another big effort.
Last time out, despite playing without Irving (and Varejao) the Cavs beat Washington by five points. That was their second straight cover. They're now a profitable 9-3 ATS their last 12 games, winning six of those games outright. The six losses came by 1, 4, 16, 5, 9 and 4 points. In other words, only two of their last 12 games has resulted in a loss of greater than five points.
The Cavs, 6-6 SU when playing with two day's rest, are well-rested. They last played on Tuesday.
On the other hand, the Mavericks are off a hard-fought 1-point loss at rival San Antonio last night. That's the type of "heart-breaker" which can often be difficult to immediately bounce back from. That may be particularly true here, due to that loss really hurting their playoff chances.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Mavs will also be playing their third game in the past four days and their fourth game in the past six. Throw in the fact that they've got a big game vs. Oklahoma City on deck, a team which blew them out last month, and I feel that this will prove to be a very difficult scheduling spot.
While they did win at Cleveland back in November, the Mavs are still a money-burning 6-16 ATS against teams from the Central the past few seasons. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way here, as the Cavs earn AT LEAST the cover, improving to 6-2 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line of 200 to 204.5. 10*
|03-15-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Houston Rockets -14||Top||100-108||Loss||-110||14 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. I played against the T-Wolves last time out. They hung around for awhile but eventually lost by 16. It was the third time in their last four games that the T-Wolves lost by a minimum of 16 points. The other two losses, during that stretch, both came by 23 points. I expect them to get blown out again here.
The Rockets have been excellent at home all season. They're 21-9 here, going 20-10 SU. Their last two games here have resulted in victories of 30 and 33 points. Note that they're 13-7 ATS off a double-digit win.
Dealing with major injury issues, the T-Wolves are now 2-9 their last 11 games, going 4-7 against the number. That includes a 0-6 mark on the road. Five of those road losses, including each of the last four, came by a minimum of 15 points.
On the season, the T-Wolves are now 0-5 ATS as road underdogs of greater than a dozen points. They're also 2-8-1 ATS (1-10 SU) their last 11 against teams with a winning record.
The fact that the T-Wolves humiliated them at Minnesota in the last month should have ensure that the Rockets are fully focused here. Of course, having the Lakers and Jazz (and Mavs and Blazers) nipping at their heels should be more than enough motivation. The Rockets are much healthier, playing with revenge, playing at home and have much more to play for. I expect them to take care of business, picking up the cover along the way. 10* personal favorite
|03-14-13||New York Knicks v. Portland Trail Blazers -3.5||Top||90-105||Win||100||17 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND. The Knicks are normally a pretty "popular" team. Off back-to-back blowout losses, many might be tempted to grab the points with them here. The Blazers have a number of advantages though and I expect another big loss for NY.
While I certainly don't ignore them, I sometimes don't give as much weight to injuries as many handicapper probably do. Players are in this league for a reason and many back-ups are capable of rising to the occasion, when injuries to starters provide them with an opportunity. That said, the Knicks' current injury issues can't be ignored.
Like him or not, Carmelo Anthony remains one of the most talented players in the game. He'll be back in New York by the time that the Knicks play tonight's game. Normally, that might provide a chance for Stoudemire to step up and be the man. However, he's out too. Perhaps worse, Tyson Chandler got hurt last night. I'm currently seeing him listed as doubtful. However, even if he is able to go, he may not be 100%.
Add it all up and the Knicks have a seriously depleted front court. That should allow the Blazers a solid edge in the paint. Note that they already out-rebounded the Knicks by a 45-35 margin at NY, winning 105-100.
Sure, the Knicks would love to get back on track and to avenge that loss. They're only 10-14 ATS in the "revenge" role though. So, that's generally not a huge motivator for them.
Getting blown out in their previous game doesn't necessarily provide the Knicks with much extra incentive either. In fact, they're now only 16-23-2 (14-27 SU!) the past few seasons, off a double-digit loss.
True, the Knicks have been OK when playing the second of back-to-back games. This is worse than a typical b2b spot though. First, there are the injuries to consider. Second, last night's game was in the high altitude of Denver. Third, this will also be NY's third game in four days. Going back a bit further finds that the Knicks will be playing their sixth game in the last nine days, a span that has seen them fly all over the country. Going back still further shows that this is their eight game in the past 12 days and ninth through the first 14 days of March.
Meanwhile, the Blazers had yesterday off and will be playing just their seventh game in March.
The Blazers aren't currently in the top eight. However, they're not that far off. Seeing the Lakers lose (and Kobe go down) last night should have them feeling hopeful again. They also should be playing with some "desperation."
As LaMarcus Aldridge noted: "Definitely that door is closing. We're going to have to string together some wins fast or that door is going to close on us.''
The Blazers have won seven of their last 10 here at the Rose Garden and the three losses came by only 11 combined points. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to earn a much needed victory, picking up the cover along the way. *10 TNT GOM
|03-14-13||Tex San Antonio v. Louisiana Tech -10||Top||73-67||Loss||-106||16 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISIANA TECH. I believe that there's a large gap in talent between these teams, even larger than the (fairly high) pointspread indicates. I also believe that the Roadrunners are catching the Bulldogs at the wrong time.
A look at the overall records shows Texas-San Antonio at just 9-21, including a 1-9 mark vs. teams with a winning record. Meanwhile, LA Tech checks in with a 26-5 mark. As I said, the gap between these teams is a wide one. Note that Roadrunners are 1-2 their last three games. The two losses came at Utah State and vs. Seattle. they lost those games by 20 and 16 points, respectively.
Some of you may recall that I played against the Bulldogs exactly one week ago. (At New Mexico State on 3/7.) At the time, LA Tech was on a huge undefeated streak and had made its way all the way into the Top 25. However, I felt the Bulldogs were a bit over-valued and noted that I felt they were walking into a hornet's nest. What happened? The Bulldogs got smoked by 18 points, losing 78-60.
I didn't touch their next game, as I felt the line was about right and wasn't quite sure how LA Tech would respond to the big loss at New Mexico State. However, the Bulldogs would go on to lose by an even bigger margin, getting crushed 78-54 at Denver. Needless to say, I wish I played against them there, too.
I believe that those losses have worked in our favor. For starters, they should have the Bulldogs fully "wide awake" again, as they look to regain their swagger. They also very likely killed their chances of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Certainly, they can't afford to lose here.
The Roadrunners should represent an ideal opponent for the Bulldogs to "get healthy" against. Lets not forget that LA Tech is 15-0 SU against teams with a losing record this season and 15-7-1 ATS (23-0 SU!) when favored. In other words, while they may have had some trouble on the road against top tier opponents, the Bulldogs have been a team that knows how to take care of business against weaker opposition.
When these teams faced each other last month, laying 15.5 points, the Bulldogs won by 25. They were up 15 by halftime and never looked back.
While LA Tech is still averaging 80.8 points its past five games, Texas San Antonio is averaging only 61.
The Bulldogs are 7-2 SU/ATS their last nine "neutral court" games, including a 2-0 ATS mark when favored in the 9.5 to 12 range. I'm expecting a double-digit win. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Boise State v. San Diego St -4||Top||67-73||Win||100||31 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. These teams just faced each other a few days ago, at Boise. The Broncos won that game by a score of 69-65. I expect the Aztecs to return the favor on Wednesday.
Recent results have kept this line lower than it could have easily been. That puts the Aztecs in one of their better roles. They're 6-3 SU/ATS the last nine times that they were favored by four or fewer points, going 13-7 ATS (14-6 SU) their last 20 in that role.
One could potentially make a case that the Broncos need this one more. While the Aztecs should already be safely in the field of 64, the Broncos may need a win here to punch their ticket.
Needing a game more doesn't guarantee victory though. Far from it.
I'm also not so sure that the Broncos do need this one more. Having lost a number of close ones, the Aztecs have badly want some momentum, entering the tournament.
Coach Fisher said this of the regular season loss at Boise: "It's not OK. We've had too many like this. We've been close but not been able to make that extra play, get that one whistle, make that one basket."
The fact is that the 3/9 game at Boise didn't mean much of anything for the Aztecs. They played sloppily and made numerous mistakes. Yet, they still nearly won.
Now playing on a neutral court, playing with recent revenge and with much more to play for, I expect them to improve their game and to come away with the win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Indiana Pacers -13.5||Top||91-107||Win||100||14 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. This one sets up nicely for a big win for the home team.
The Pacers had the past two days off. In addition to being well-rested, they should be in a foul mood, after getting blown out by the Heat in their last game. Note that the Pacers are 8-1 ATS off a double-digit loss.
Adding to their "anger" and likelihood that they'll keep the pedal to the metal the entire way, the Pacers haven't forgotten that they lost at Minnesota earlier. They've still dominated the T-Wolves in recent seasons though, including a 23-point victory the last time that the teams played here at Indiana.
While the Pacers come in with fresh legs, the same cannot be said for the T-Wolves. They left everything on the floor in upsetting San Antonio last night. Now, in addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, this banged-up team will also be playing its fourth game in the past five days.
Even with last night's win, the T-Wolves are still only 2-7-1 ATS (1-9 SU) their last 10 against teams with a winning record. (They're now 4-40 SU the past few years, when facing a team with a winning record, during the second half of the season.) Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Pacers are 7-1 SU/ATS when facing a team with a losing record.
For the season, the Pacers are a dominating 26-14 (32-8 SU) when laying points. With everything in their favor, I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Miami Heat v. Philadelphia 76ers +9||Top||98-94||Win||100||14 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I won with the 76'ers in their last game, an upset win over Brooklyn. I feel that this will be another good spot to back them.
While the 76'ers had yesterday off, the Heat were busy beating up on Atlanta. Tonight, in addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, they'll be playing their third game in the past four days. This will also mark their 7th game in the last 11 days.
Even with a cover last night, the Heat are still only 4-5 ATS their last nine games, one of the those ATS losses coming vs. the 76ers on 3/8.
The 76'ers lost that game but only by nine points, enough to earn the cover. Playing at home and with the schedule in their favor, I expect them to play the Heat even tougher tonight. In fact, while I'll happily grab all those generous points, I won't even be "shocked" if they step up and score the outright win. *10 best bet
|03-12-13||Boston Celtics v. Charlotte Bobcats +10.5||Top||74-100||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I'm well aware of how poorly the Bobcats have been playing. In fact, I successfully played against them in their very last game, while also cashing on the over in the same contest. While I've avoided them during their skid, I feel that they're ready to give their best effort tonight and feel that they're providing us with very value this evening.
As you are likely aware, the Bobcats haven't won too many games this season. They did beat the Celtics the last time that they faced them though, a 94-91 win almost exactly one month ago. Taking a look at that line and we find that Charlotte was only a 4.5 point underdog. We're getting significantly more points to work with here. In fact, this line is as high as it was when the Bobcats played at Boston, in January.
The Celtics have won five of their last seven. However, NONE of those victories came by more than eight points. Having played a number of "big games," most recently against OKC on national TV, they may not be fully focused on the lowly Bobcats. Note that the Celtics are only 6-10 ATS (7-9 SU) off a double-digit loss. They're also 5-7 ATS the last dozen times that they were listed as road favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range.
These same two teams will face each other at Boston again on 3/16. I feel that will work in our favor. The Celtics will think that they can easily blow out the Bobcats in that one; the Bobcats will also know that getting blown out there is a distinct possibility and that if they want to be competitive that tonight's likely their best chance. It should also be noted that Boston plays tomorrow while Charlotte has the next two days off.
Note that the Celts are 3-3 the last six times that they played the front end of b2b games and that NONE of the three victories came by more than eight points. They're 4-7 SU in that situation since the beginning of December, only one win coming by more than eight.
Overall, the Celts remain a poor 12-19 (12-17-2 ATS) on the road. Add it all up and I don't feel that they're ready to be laying double-digits here, not even against the Bobcats. 10* NBA Shocker GOM
|03-11-13||Saint Marys CA +6 v. Gonzaga||Top||51-65||Loss||-110||15 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. MARY'S. I respect Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are very well-coached. They're talented and they've had a great year. They also know they likely need this game to give them a #1 seed in the upcoming tournament. That doesn't mean that they can't be over-valued though. I believe that's the case here.
The Gaels are also well-coached and they're also talented. They didn't have quite as good a year as the Bulldogs - thanks largely to two head-to-head losses - but they were still very solid. Indeed, they bring a 27-5 record to the table.
While Gonzaga is going for a #1 seed, the Gaels arguably have even more motivation. Not only are they looking to avenge the pair of regular season losses but they are still trying to guarantee a trip to the Big Dance. A loss here and there's a chance that they could find themselves playing in a lesser tournament. (They could very well still make it but definitely would rather not leave anything to chance.)
As Gonzaga coach Mark Few noted: "We're going to have to match the intensity of our opponent. There's a sense of desperation when you don't know if you're in the NCAA tournament."
While it wasn't pretty, the Gaels gutted out an OT win over San Diego to get here, one of their players (Waldow) losing a tooth in the process - and still putting up huge stats. I believe that's the type of performance that they can build some momentum from, the type that brings a team together.
Note that the Gaels were only underdogs twice all season, once at Gonzaga and once at BYU. They covered both times, winning outright at BYU.
Two of the last three meetings between these rivals were decided by five or fewer points. Last year's WCC Final needed overtime to produce a winner. I expect another close one and with the line having climbed a bit from its opener, I feel we're getting excellent value with the revenge-minded "desperate" underdog. 10* main event
|03-10-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Sacramento Kings -1||Top||115-113||Loss||-108||14 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. Daylight savings snuck up on me and has me running a bit short on time today. As a result, my writeups may be a little more brief than usual. Rest assured. the same amount of time was spent researching the plays, as always.
This one sets up nicely for the Kings. While Sacramento has last night off, the Bucks are off a late game at Oakland.
While some teams are OK when playing the second of back-to-back games, the Bucks typically aren't one of them. They're 4-10-1 ATS their last 15 in that situation and 25-34-1 (23-37 SU) their last 60.
The Kings won big last time out, scoring 121 points and hitting a whopping 54.9% of their field goals. They've now covered three of their past four and five of their past seven. Going back a little further finds them at 10-5 ATS their last 15. (Even with last night's win, the Bucks are 5-12 ATS since the end of January.)
The Kings lost at Milwaukee back in December but they've had some success against the Bucks here at Sacramento over the years. They were three point underdogs for last year's meeting here. Down by 19 at halftime, they rallied for a 103-100 victory.
Hopefully they won't have to dig themselves out of such a big hole here. Either way. I expect the end result to be the same. 10* nba personal favorite
|03-10-13||Boston Celtics v. Oklahoma City Thunder -9.5||Top||79-91||Win||100||23 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. Off five straight victories, the Celtics are rolling. None of those games have come against the Thunder though. I expect the Celts win streak to come to an end here.
The Thunder are also playing well. They're 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS their last eight games. Their last home game resulted in a 17-point rout of the Lakers. Their previous three games here saw them win by 45, 30 and 16 points.
Including those blowout victories, the Thunder are 27-4 at home. On the other hand, even with a few recent wins, the Celts remain a poor 12-18 away from Boston.
While the Celts are still hoping to finish in the top four in the East, the Thunder now believe they have a real shot at first in the West.
The Thunder play with "revenge," as they were beaten at Boston back in November. That doesn't mean much to a lot of teams. However, the Thunder tend to thrive in the revenge role. With the recent beat-down of the Lakers, they're 12-6 ATS the last 18 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 51-30 ATS (54-27 SU) in that role the past few seasons and a lucrative 100-63-1 ATS their last 164.
Last year's meeting here saw the Thunder win by 15 points, a 119-104 blowout. I'm expecting another double-digit win here. 10* main event
|03-09-13||SEATTLE U +6 v. IDAHO U||Top||72-76||Win||100||16 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. My very first play of this NCAA season was on Seattle. The Redhawks crushed Montana State by a score of 87-72. At the time, I said that I expected them to "play with a chip on their shoulder," attempting to show that they belong in the WAC. (This was the first year they made the jump to Div 1 basketball.)
The season hasn't gone exactly as planned for the Redhawks, as they've had a lot more losses than wins. However, one area which as remained consistent is their effort on the road, where they rarely get blown out.
In their last true road game, the Redhawks won by 16 at Texas San Antonio. Their previous road game resulted in a 2-point loss at Texas State. Their previous road game came at New Mexico State, which is not an easy place to play. Getting 14 points, the Redhawks lost by only three. Other notable road efforts include a seven point loss at LA Tech, also a very difficult venue and single digit road losses at Utah State and Stanford. Prior to the narrow loss at LA Tech, they won by 17 at Texas Arlington, which was preceded by a 5-point loss at SJ State.
Indeed, this team has been very competitive on the road all season long and that's led to a lucrative 8-3 ATS away record. The Redhawks are now 10-4 ATS their L14 lined road games.
Meanwhile, the Vandals check in with a terrible 1-11 ATS record in their home lined games.
These teams played a close game at Seattle on 12/29. The Redhawks led at halftime but the Vandals would go on to win by a 71-64 margin. The most recent meeting (2/7/12) here at Idaho was even closer. The Redhawks had a 45-33 lead at halftime but the Vandals came back to beat them by a single point, 70-69.
I still feel that the Redhawks "have something to prove." Playing with revenge from the earlier loss at Seattle, I expect them to again give the Vandals all they can handle and I won't be at all surprised if they shock them with an outright win. 10* shocker GOM
|03-09-13||Fresno State v. UNLV -14||Top||61-52||Loss||-106||12 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNLV. While the margin of defeat at Air Force was a little bigger, a 64-55 loss at Fresno State on 2/6 was arguably the low point of the Rebels' season. It marked the only time all season that the Rebels lost two games in row and was their biggest upset loss. (They were favored by 3.5 when they lost at AF but but 8.5 when they lost at Fresno.)
Off five straight victories, the Rebels are now playing much better than they were for last month's meeting with the Bulldogs. I expect them to avenge that loss in convincing fashion.
The Bulldogs may have beaten the Rebels earlier and they are coming off a win in their home finale, however they're still the worst team in the Mountain West. The fact that they've covered some games recently has worked in out favor, in helping to keep this line more reasonable than it would have been otherwise.
Bottom line. The Rebels are a much stronger and more complete team. Last month's embarrassing result and the fact that this is their regular season home finale should ensure that they keep the pedal to the metal the entire way. 10*
|03-09-13||Dayton v. George Washington +1||Top||80-81||Win||100||8 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGE WASHINGTON. Admittedly, Dayton enters as the hotter team. The Flyers do also have some motivation, as they are trying to improve their seeding in the upcoming A-10 tournament. I believe the Colonials will want this one even more though.
Not only is this "senior day" and their final regular season home game, its also potentially their final game overall. That's because this team is in danger of missing the A-10 tourney entirely. However, a win this afternoon could potentially change that. I expect to see an extremely hungry team.
The Flyers did win their last road game. However, they're still a dismal 2-7 on the road, 1-7 their last eight.
The Colonials have also had trouble on the road of late and they did also lose their last home game. However, that was against a very strong St. Louis squad and they were in it the entire way, leading in the second half. Their previous home game resulted in an eight point win.
The Colonials have won eight of the last 11 as a host in this series, most recently a 60-58 win here in March of 2011. I expect homecourt to prove the difference, as an extremely motivated effort leads to a victory for the home fans. 10* motivational mismatch
|03-08-13||Kent State v. Akron -8.5||Top||68-64||Loss||-106||14 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on AKRON. The Zips have had an excellent regular season. I expect them to cap it off with a blowout win tonight.
The Zips saw their dream of a perfect "MAC" record shattered a couple of games ago, losing at Buffalo. Unfazed, they returned home and responded with a double-digit win over Miami Ohio last time out. The game was relatively close at halftime but the Zips pulled away in the second half, scoring 41 while allowing only 30.
Admittedly, the Golden Flashes have been playing well and they are still trying to crack the Top 4 in conference play. That said, I don't think they match up well here - and I expect them to be in over their heads vs. a very solid and balanced Akron squad.
At first glance, this line may initially seem a little high. However, its come down a bit from its opener and I believe it could well be higher, if not for Akron failing to cover in back-to-back games. Keep in mind that the Zips are still a fantastic 36-19-2 ATS (51-6 SU) the past few seasons, when laying points.
The Zips also tend to be at their best against other good teams. They're 7-2 ATS against teams with a winning record, going 33-16 ATS the past few seasons. That includes a superb 20-5 ATS record, when facing a team with a winning record after at least 15 games of the season had been played - 3-0-1 ATS this season. (The lone push came against the Golden Flashes, a 4-point win at Kent State.)
Kent State has been respectable on the road, outscoring teams by a 69.7 to 66.5 margin. However, the Zips have been dominant in going undefeated here at home. They've outscored teams by a 76.2 to 58.8 mark here, outshooting them by a 48% to 37.6% margin from the field.
Last year's regular season meeting here saw Akron win by nine, laying 4.5. This year's team is even stronger and I'm expecting them to "make a statement" with an even bigger margin of victory. 10* personal favorite
|03-07-13||Louisiana Tech v. New Mexico State -2||Top||60-78||Win||100||14 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. The Bulldogs have had a great season. They're on an extended winning streak and come in with the better overall record. The Aggies have also had a very strong season though and their home record is superior to LA Tech's mark on the road. I believe that they're favored for good reason.
The Bulldogs have played their last three at home, where they've been unbeatable. A look at their schedule reveals that only nine of their last 21 games have come on the road. None of those opponents (Idaho, Seattle, Texas State, SJ State, Texas SA, Texas Arlington, Arkansas LR, Mcneese St, NW State) are as good at home as the Aggies are. The Bulldogs lost at Northwestern State and also at McNeese State. They won at Arkansas Little Rock by only two and at Texas Arlington by just three. Wins at Texas San Antonio and at Utah State also came by only two and three points. In fact, only the wins at SJ St and Texas State came by greater than six points.
In other words, despite playing at venues that arguably aren't as tough as this one, the Bulldogs have been "eking out" a lot of their road wins.
The Aggies lost at Denver last time out but did cover the spread. They're 9-5 SU/ATS off a conference loss the past couple of seasons. During that time, they're 11-7 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier road loss.
With the cover at Denver, the Aggies are 7-3 ATS their last 10 lined games in March, going a lucrative 30-14 ATS their last 44, excluding pushes.
Note that the Aggies are 2-0 ATS the past couple of seasons, when listed as home favorites of three or fewer points.
While the Aggies did come up short at LA Tech, they've dominated the Bulldogs here for years. They'll need to play their best game to continue that domination but I feel that they'll be up for the task. 10* personal favorite
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