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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|02-28-13||Gonzaga v. Brigham Young +6.5||Top||70-65||Win||100||18 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on BYU. Last night, I backed the USC Trojans in their game against highly ranked Arizona. The Trojans had been embarrassed by the Wildcats when the teams met earlier and I expected them to respond with their best effort. The Cougars are in a similar spot here. This time, they're the team hosting a highly ranked opponent, one which embarrassed them last time out. While they may not be able to pull off a double-digit win, as USC did, I expect them to also respond with their very best effort - and for that to lead to AT LEAST a cover.
Without question, the Bulldogs are a very good team. Currently, they've got their highest ranking in school history and are riding a 10-game winning streak.
That said, I feel that they're a bit over-valued at the moment - and that BYU is also a better team than many realize. Keep in mind that the Cougars are 13-2 at home and that they've outscored opponents by an average score of 81.3 to 65.7 here. The Cougars have made better than 48% of their field goals here while visiting teams have hit less than 40% of theirs.
Tyler Haws, the WCC scoring leader, is particularly dominant here at Provo. He averages better than 22 points on this floor, making greater than 49% of his shots.
While the Bulldogs would love to finish undefeated in conference play, they've already clinched at least a tie for first - and even if they lose here, they'll still win the conference by knocking off Portland, a home game that they'll be heavily favored for.
The Bulldogs can say all the right things about remaining hungry and focused and wanting more. However, that can be easier said than done for a team that's constantly hearing how good it is. Also, while the Gonzaga oaching staff would never admit it - after all their blowout wins - being involved in a "close game" would probably actually benefit this team.
The Cougars knocked off the Bulldogs by a score of 83-73 when the teams met here last season. Including that victory, they're 9-2 ATS (11-0 SU) the last 11 times that they played a home game where the O/U line ranged from 145 to 149.5. Going back further finds them at 17-7 ATS (24-0 SU!) their last 24 in that situation. Don't be surprised by another upset tonight. 10* best bet
|02-28-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Los Angeles Lakers -10||Top||94-116||Win||100||12 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. Everyone's pretty down on the Lakers these days. This is still a very talented team though, one which is more than capable of blowing out the league's weaker teams.
Tonight, they'll face a banged-up Minnesota squad which has dropped three straight and which is only 3-14 its last 17.
The Lakers, who were blown out at Denver last time out, are 7-5 ATS the last dozen times that that were off a double-digt loss. They're also 2-1 ATS (3-0 SU) the last three times that they were listed as home favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range.
The Lakers already beat the T-Wolves by double-digits to begin the month, a 111-100 win at Minnesota on 2/1. That continued a long-standing streak of dominance in the series. I expect them to close out the month with another double-digt win. *10 personal favorite
|02-28-13||Rider v. Niagara -8.5||Top||68-59||Loss||-106||14 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on NIAGARA. While the Broncs have had a solid season, I expect them to be in over their heads here.
These teams faced each other a couple of weeks ago, at Rider. The Broncs caught a break as they faced the Purple Eagles without Antoine Mason, arguably their best player. The game was close but Rider hung on for a 72-69 victory.
That was in the middle of a 4-game stretch which saw Niagara go 0-4 ATS and 1-3 SU though.
That stretch notwithstanding, the Purple Eagles may well be the best team in this conference. They've got Mason back and they're peaking at the right time.
Three games ago, while it didn't result in a cover, the Purple Eagles got back on track by winning at Marist. They followed that up with a victory at Manhattan. That may not sound like much but it was a big win. Not only are the Jaspers a little better believe (at least in my opinion) but the win snapped Niagara's ATS skid.
Last time out, the Eagles returned home to face Northwestern State, a team with 19 wins on the season and which was outscoring teams by an average of more than 10 points per outing. In fact, NW State entered that game as the highest scoring team in the country. Things were close at halftime, as Niagara was up by a score of 31-30.
However, the Purple Eagles flexed their collective muscles in the second half, scoring a whopping 61 points, en route to a 92-76 blowout win. Mason returned and promptly contributed 20 points.
Off that explosion, knowing the conference regular season title is within their grasp and with Mason now having a game under his belt, I expect the revenge-minded Purple Eagles to carry the momentum into tonight's contest. They're 5-1 the last six times that they attempted to avenge an earlier road loss and I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion tonight. 10*
|02-27-13||Arizona v. USC +7||Top||78-89||Win||100||12 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. The Trojans are another team which has treated me pretty well this season. I wasn't involved in their most recent game (blowout loss vs. UCLA) but feel that they're offering us very fair value this evening.
While they admittedly didn't fare too well against the revenge-minded Bruins, the Trojans have generally been very competitive, since the coaching change a few weeks ago. They're now 3-1-2 ATS and 4-2 SU their last six games. Only the UCLA game resulted in a loss of greater than eight points.
This time, its the Trojans who come in looking for some payback. They were beaten soundly at Arizona back on 1/26. As noted, however, the team is playing improved basketball since that time. Note that USC is 2-1 ATS the last three times that it attempted to avenge a loss of 20 or more points.
Arizona coach Sean Miller acknowledged that he's likely to see an improved USC team here. He was quoted saying the following: "We know that when we played USC we probably had them at an ideal time. They're really playing much better."
Overall, including the loss at Arizona, the Trojans are a respectable 7-5-2 ATS in Pac-12 play. That's actually a far better ATS record than what the Wildcats bring to the table. In fact, Arizona is an ugly 5-10 ATS in conference play.
The Wildcats are off back to back big wins over Washington and Washington State. However, both those games came at home. In their last road game, they won by only four against a fairly weak Utah team. Their previous road game resulted in a double-digit loss at Colorado.
A closer look at Arizona's last win shows that the Wildcats actually allowed Washington State to hit 45% of its shots. The final score would have been far closer if the Cougars didn't miss a whopping 14 free throws.
Miller said this of his squad: "Our team is having a hard time playing very, very hard for 40 minutes. The one thing that I know is we're not the most talented, prolific offensive team, so when we don't play over the top hard and together, it really shows up."
Off their two blowout wins and with a big game against UCLA, a team which upset them at Arizona a few weeks ago, I feel that the Wildcats could easily get caught looking ahead here and/or patting themselves on the back and that they may not be able to play "over the top." Note that they're 4-6 ATS off a conference win. (They also have a date with instate rival Arizona State following the UCLA game.)
The Trojans were embarrassed in the loss at Arizona and they were also embarrassed with their performance on Sunday afternoon. I expect them to bounce back with a highly motivated effort and for that to lead to AT LEAST a cover. 10* best bet
|02-27-13||Mississippi State v. Kentucky -18.5||Top||55-85||Win||100||11 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I've done very well in picking my spots to play on/against the Wildcats this season. Recently after going against them in their blowout loss at Florida, I came back and played on the Cats in their victory over Missouri. Off that important victory, now armed with the knowledge that they can indeed win without Noel and stepping down significantly in class, I feel that this will be another good spot to play ON Kentucky.
While Saturday's win certainly helped, the well-coached Cats know they absolutely can't afford to squander games against beatable teams. They also know that "blowing them out" would be helpful. The Bulldogs should provide them with the opportunity to do just that.
Mississippi State is the worst team in the conference. The Bulldogs have dropped 12 straight games. They've only covered the spread in three of those, going 3-9 ATS. Last time out, despite playing at home, they were destroyed 72-31 vs. Vanderbilt, a team Kentucky defeated a couple of games back. Three of the Bulldogs last five defeats have come by a minimum of 25 points.
While the Cats are dealing with the loss of Noel, admittedly a blow, the Bulldogs have much bigger issues.
Miss. State coach Rick Ray had this to say: "There
|02-26-13||Wake Forest v. Florida State -5||Top||62-76||Win||100||13 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. Its true that the Demon Deacons have been much better at the betting window than the Seminoles this season. Its also true that they hammered the Noles when the teams met at Wake Forest. However, that doesn't mean that they're the more talented team. Indeed, the Noles still have the better SU record. With tonight's rematch being played at Tallahassee, I expect the revenge-minded Seminoles to get some payback.
Off their biggest win of the season, I believe that Deacons are ripe for a letdown here. Note that they're only 1-8 SU (3-5 ATS) the last few seasons, when off a conference win.
Lets keep in mind that the Deacons are 0-7 on the road, in ACC play. Five of those losses came by double-digits. On the season, they're only 2-10 in road/neutral games and those two wins came at UNC-Greensboro and a 3-point win in a neutral court game against Mercer.
While the Noles haven't exactly been dominant at home, they did win their last game here.
These teams met at Wake Forest only three weeks ago. The Noles were actually 2.5 point favorites in that game. Normally, that would mean that they'd be laying a larger number than they currently are for a home game. Needless to say, FSU hasn't forgotten that it lost that game by 25 points, arguably the low point of the season.
Last month's loss notwithstanding, note that FSU has enjoyed recent success in this series.
The Noles are 8-6 ATS the past couple of seasons, when playing with one or less day's rest in between games, including a 1-0 SU/ATS mark in that situation this season. The only time that they were in that situation this season resulted in a 7-point win in a neutral court game vs. St Joseph's.
The Noles are also 2-0-1 ATS the last three times that they attempted to avenge a blowout road loss of 20 or more points.
I feel that this number could easily be higher and I'm expecting a solid win and cover for the home team. *10 personal favorite
|02-25-13||Villanova v. Seton Hall +4.5||Top||65-66||Win||100||12 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on SETON HALL. The Wildcats have obviously had a much better season than the Pirates. However, in a potential let-down spot, I'm not sure that they're ready to be laying this many points on the road against what I expect to be a very hungry Pirates squad.
Even with Saturday's (4-point) win and a 4-3 ATS mark this month, the Wildcats are still a money-burning 5-16 ATS in February the past few seasons. One of those ATS losses came here at Seton Hall last season. In a game that was close the entire way (tied at half) Villanova eked out a 3-point win, which wasn't quite enough to earn the cover.
Including that ATS loss here last season, the Wildcats are only 5-8 ATS the last 13 times that they were road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, an 0-3 ATS (1-2 SU) mark their last three in that role.
Off the big win vs Marquette and with their next game coming at Pittsburgh - against a Panthers team which blew them out earlier - I feel it may be tough to fully focus on the task at hand.
Off Saturday's strong defensive performance, note that Villanova is also only 8-14 ATS its last 22 after allowing 60 or fewer points its previous game and 4-10 ATS its last 14 with one or less day's rest in between games.
During that stretch, the Pirates were 9-5 ATS with one or less day's worth of rest in between games. With Saturday's cover at Louisville, they're also 10-5 ATS the past 15 times that they were on a losing streak of three or more games, as they are here.
Desperate to snap their skid and to earn a "quality" conference win, I expect the Pirates to rise to the occasion with AT LEAST a cover. *10 best bet
|02-24-13||Michigan State v. Ohio State -3||Top||60-68||Win||100||7 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO STATE. The Spartans won a close when these teams met at Michigan State. Playing at home, I expect the Buckeyes to deliver some payback.
The Spartans have been "respectable" on the road. They're outscoring teams by a 66.2 to 64.4 margin away from home.
However, the Buckeyes have been dominant here. They're outscoring opposing teams by a 74.3 to 55.4 count here at Columbus.
While the Spartans are off a loss, the Buckeyes are off a big win. Note that MSU is a surprisingly poor 6-10-1 ATS (11-6 SU) the last 17 times it was off a loss in conference play. The Buckeyes are 30-12 SU off a conference win, during the same period.
Coach Izzo knows the Buckeyes are going to be tough to beat, noting that they're even stronger now than the team they beat a few weeks ago.
''They're a better team I think, in some ways, and they're a different team in other ways. They've still got one of the best defensive guards in the country (Aaron Craft) and they still have (Deshaun) Thomas, who is capable of getting 30 any night you play him.''
Ultimately, I expect homecourt to be the difference as the revenge-minded Buckeyes pull away with a very important win and cover. 10* annihilator
|02-23-13||Missouri v. Kentucky -1.5||Top||83-90||Win||100||24 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I've had a pretty good read on the Wildcats this season, successfully picking my spots to play both on and against. Most recently, I played against them when they were blown out a Florida. I feel that this will be an excellent spot to go the other way and to come back with a play ON the Cats.
As you probably know, Kentucky lost Nerlens Noel a few games back. That was certainly a big blow to the team and they haven't covered the spread since he went down.
Those recent ATS losses combined with Noel's injury have many jumping off the Kentucky bandwagon. In turn, that has helped provide us with a very low line. That line is low enough that a SU win should also result in a cover. I feel that's providing us with plenty of value.
True, the Cats aren't what they were last season. And, I've already acknowledged that Noel's injury was costly. However, this is still Kentucky - an extremely well-coached team which is always loaded with talent.
The Cats got back on track last time out, winning by four against Vanderbilt. That wasn't enough for a cover but it does give them positive momentum. Note that KU, which has now failed to cover in four straight, is now 16-3 SU the last 19 times that it was off three or more consecutive non-covers.
Lets not forget that Kentucky is 46-2 its last 48 home games. The Cats are also an outstanding 9-2 SU/ATS the last 11 times that they were listed as home favorites of three or fewer points.
The Tigers certainly aren't slouches and they even beat Florida last time out. (That could easily have them ripe for a letdown.) However, they also aren't nearly as good away from home. While they've been unbeatable at Missouri, they're only 2-5 in true road games, 1-5 SU/ATS their last six.
Many will look at this game and use the following logic: Missouri just beat Florida while Florida just killed Kentucky. Therefore, Missouri will beat Kentucky. That type of thinking is flawed though. Expect homecourt to be the difference and for the Cats to come away with an important win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-23-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Milwaukee Bucks -4||Top||103-102||Loss||-110||24 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Bucks have struggled a bit lately. With the venue and schedule in their favor, I expect them to bounce back with a big win and cover this evening.
While the Bucks had the last two night offs, the Hawks were busy disposing of Sacramento yesterday. They'll be playing their third game in the past four days here.
While they won big last night, note that the Hawks are only 4-7 ATS off a double-digit victory, 21-30 ATS the last couple of seasons. During that stretch, they're also a money- burning 7-13 ATS (5-15 SU) when listed as a road underdog in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Bucks, 6-4 SU/ATS the last 10 times that they were off an "upset" loss, beat the Hawks by seven the last time that they were a host in this series.
While they didn't get Josh Smith, as they thought they might have, the Bucks did add a dangerous 3-point shooting threat in J.J. Redick, who should make his debut tonight.
I expect the Bucks to be the hungrier team and for them to also have the fresher legs. Ultimately, I expect that to lead them to a win and cover. *10 main event
|02-23-13||Kansas State v. Texas +3||Top||81-69||Loss||-105||23 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Wildcats come in with the better ranking and the higher ranking. Not surprisingly, they're favored. However, I'm expecting a win for the Longhorns.
The Wildcats crushed Texas when these teams met at K-State. That's not all that surprising, given that the young Longhorns have really struggled on the road, while the Cats have been very tough at home.
The Longhorns have gradually been "growing up" though and they're a much better team here at home. Coming off their first true road win of the season and with payback on their minds, I'm expecting their very best effort.
Keep in mind that the Longhorns 10-3 home record is actually superior to K-State's 7-4 away/neutral court record.
In their most recent home game, the Longhorns defeated a solid Iowa State team. In their most recent road game, the Cats were blown out by double-digits.
In conference play, the Cats are 4-2 on the road. However, a closer look shows that two of those wins came by two points or less. The only Big 12 teams that they beat by more than two points on the road were Texas Tech and TCU, the two worst teams in the conference.
In non-conf. action, the Cats only played one true road game - they won by three as a 7-point favorite, at George Washington. So, they're only 2-5 ATS in true road games.
Going back a few years and we find that the Cats are only 4-15 ATS (5-14 SU!) the last 19 times that they were listed as road favorites of three or less, going 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) their last four in that role.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns are 6-3 ATS the last nine times that they were listed as home underdogs of three or less. Also 3-1 ATS the last four times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss, I expect AT LEAST another cover here. *10 Big 12 GOY
|02-20-13||Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers -7||Top||99-113||Win||100||18 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. I believe that the All Star Break will have benefitted the Lakers more than Boston. The Celtics entered the break on a roll. The Lakers, on the other hand, were off a blowout loss vs. the Clippers, the third time in their last five games that they lost by double-digits.
The first of those double-digit losses came at Boston, vs. these very same Celtics. I expect a much different result here at LA.
Lets keep in mind that the Celtics are only 8-16 away from Boston. (The Lakers are 16-11 when listed as the home team.) The Celts are only only 5-10 ATS (4-11 SU) the last 15 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range.
In addition to needing all the wins that they can get, the Lakers, who are currently 10th in the West, should have some added motivation to avenge the recent loss at Boston. Additionally, I believe that they'll want to give their best effort in honor of Jerry Buss, the team owner who recently died.
Kobe had this to say about the Lakers' beloved former owner. "Think about the impact that he's had on the game and the decisions he's made, and the brand of basketball he brought here with Showtime and the impact that had on the sport as a whole. Those vibrations were felt to a kid all the way in Italy who was 6 years old, before basketball was even global. His impact is felt worldwide."
Don't count out the Lakers yet. I'm expecting a double-digit win. 10* main event
|02-20-13||Colorado St v. UNLV -3||Top||59-61||Loss||-106||26 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNLV. I won with the Rams when these teams faced each other at Colorado State. However, with this game being played at UNLV, I expect the Rebels to have their revenge.
True, the Rebels don't have a very good mark at the betting window. They do still have a very solid SU record though - and tonight's line is low enough that a SU win will likely also result in a cover.
While I respect the Rams, they're definitely not unbeatable. Lets not forget that the Rebels are 13-1 at home while the Rams are 5-4 on the road.
In their last two games here, the Rebels beat the likes of San Diego State and New Mexico, both very strong teams. They certainly won't be intimidated.
Including last season's 82-63 destruction, the Rebels are 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS the last 11 times that they were a host in this series. With payback on their minds, I expect them to continue that dominance this evening. *10 personal favorite
|02-19-13||Wyoming v. San Diego St -11.5||Top||51-79||Win||100||15 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. The Cowboys beat up on the Aztecs when these teams met at Wyoming. Tonight, I expect the Aztecs to settle the score.
Even including last month's loss, the Aztecs are still 5-1 SU/ATS the last six meetings in this series. The Aztecs are also 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS the last five times that they were a host in the series. The five wins came by an average of greater than 23 points. Even the lone "non-cover" still a margin of 11 points.
Last month's game notwithstanding, the Aztecs tend to take care of "good' teams, a category which Wyoming falls into. In fact, San Diego State is an impressive 43-17 its last 60 against teams with a winning record.
One might think that a "good" team like Wyoming would fare well, when getting so many points. That's not the case for the Cowboys though, a team typically not as good away from its home. In fact, the Cowboys are an ugly 5-13 ATS (2-16 SU) the last 18 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 9.5 to 12 range, going 0-4 SU/ATS their last four in that role.
While the Aztecs have dealt with their share of injuries this season, note that Wyoming's Leonard Washington - a senior fwd who leads the team in both points and rebounds - is listed as doubtful.
Judging by his coach's comments, his chances don't seem very good: "He's doubtful right now, unless there's a miraculous improvement. We don't want to put him in harm's way."
Any chance that the Cowboys had of the Aztecs taking them lightly was likely eliminated due to the fact that San Diego State comes in off back-to-back losses. The only previous time that the Aztecs lost two in a row this season, they responded with a 21-point win, covering as four point favorites. I'm expecting a blowout. *10 Blowout GOM
|02-18-13||West Virginia v. Kansas State -10.5||Top||61-71||Loss||-110||18 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS STATE. I successfully played against these same Wildcats last Monday. That was at Kansas though, facing a team which has dominated them. Now, the Cats are back home, taking on a West Virginia team which they've already defeated. Big difference. I feel this a favorable matchup for them and I expect a convincing win.
I expect last Monday's blowout loss on National TV to provide some added motivation here. Coach Bruce Weber noted: "We won one, and now we move on in our little bracket to Monday night and get to play West Virginia at home, and see if we can do a little better than last Monday."
With a 14-1 home record, the Wildcats are very tough to beat here. Last time out, they dismantled Baylor by a score of 81-61. Prior to that, their previous home games saw them beat Iowa State by nine and Texas by 26.
On the other hand, the Mountaineers are only 5-9 away from home, 3-6 in true road games. Last time they played on the round, the Mountaineers lost by 20.
Note that WVU has missed 31 of 83 free throw attempts its last three games. Coach Huggins sarcastically noted: "With some of these guys, if they make 1 of 2 you should probably be happy."
Those free throw shooting woes already hurt the Mountaineers in the earlier loss vs. K-State. I feel that was their chance to salvage a split vs. the Cats and they blew it. I don't even expect them to have a chance in this one.
The line may seem a little high. However, given the talent gap between these teams this season (and the venue) I feel the line could even be higher. Note that K-State is 16-9 ATS (22-3 SU) the last 25 times it was a home favorite in the 9.5 to 12 range.
While the Mountaineers are 0-9 their last nine against ranked teams, the Wildcats have won 13 straight when hosting unranked teams. Determined to I expect them to improve on those stats with a double-digit win. *10 Main Event
|02-17-13||Appalachian State v. NC-Greensboro -4||Top||76-68||Loss||-106||7 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC GREENSBORO. Its been a tough stretch for the Spartans. This is a winnable game for them though. Playing with revenge from an earlier loss at Appalachian State, I expect a highly motivated effort to lead to a win and cover.
The Mountaineers are off a loss and are 4-6 their last 10. Two of those wins came in OT. A closer look shows they're 1-5 their last six road games, the lone win coming in OT.
The Spartans were actually up by a score of 39-32 at halftime in last month's 13-point loss at Appalachian State. So, they know they can play with this team.
Note that the Spartans beat the Mountaineers by 10 in last season's conference tournament, while also earning a win and cover in the regular season meeting here. (That was after having been blown out by 14 at Appalachian State earlier.)
Speaking of last year, note that the Mountaineers lost a few key seniors from that team. While it hasn't worked out the way they hoped, the Spartans came into the season as a team expected to be on the rise.
I feel this is a favorable matchup and I expect them to show us some of that pre season promise, en route to a win and cover. *10 personal favorite
|02-16-13||Oregon State v. Washington -4||Top||62-72||Win||100||15 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Huskies came up short against Oregon. Now more desperate than ever - and taking a step down in class - I expect them to respond with a much needed victory.
True, the Huskies have lost three straight. However, the losing skid shouldn't be cause to abandon ship. Two of those were on the road though and the home game was against a ranked opponent.
The last time that the Huskies were off three straight losses, (actually they'd lost four straight) they won and covered vs. ASU. Prior to that, when the losing streak was at three, they eked out a cover vs. Arizona.
Going back further finds Washington at a lucrative 28-15 ATS its last 43 lined games, when on a losing streak of three or more games.
The Beavers have trouble away from home. Allowing opposing teams to shoot 46.8% from the field in their road games hasn't helped.
Although they shouldn't need any added incentive, the fact that they already lost at Oregon State should provide the Huskies with even further motivation. This is a team that they've handled here, one they beat by 15 here last season (as a 4.5 pt favorite) and one I expect them to handle again tonight. *10 personal favorite
|02-16-13||Bowling Green v. Akron -12||Top||50-67||Win||100||12 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on AKRON. I believe that there's a big gap between these teams. The Zips already have 20 wins on the season. That includes a perfect 11-0 record in conference play. Bowling Green, on the other hand, is only 5-6 in conference play, 10-14 overall.
This line could actually be even higher and is being kept reasonable by the fact that the Zips have failed to cover a few in a row while the Falcons have been gotten the cash a few times.
Lets not forget that the Zips are outscoring teams by a 78-60 margin at home.
One of the Zips' victories came at Bowling Green. Laying nine points, Akron won by 13. True, Bowling Green would love to avenge that loss. Considering that the Falcons are 5-7 ATS and 0-12 SU the last dozen times that they attempted to avenge an earlier home defeat, wanting to do something and actually doing it are two entirely different matters.
An offensively challenged team, the Falcons strength is their defense. The problem is that the Zips are even better defensively than they are, plus the Zips can score points. The Zips also typically take care of defensive-minded teams.
In fact, Akron is 10-2 SU/ATS the last 12 times that it faced an opponent which allows 64 or fewer points, after at least 15 games had been played.
If you read today's Akron Beacon Journal Online, you'll find a story talking about how some students at Akron don't even know how well their team is doing.
Alex Abreu, a junior from Puerto Rico, said this: "When I got here, I was amazed that a team that has gone to the final of the MAC seven years in a row cannot sell out [besides] the Kent State game. I was like,
|02-15-13||Georgetown v. Cincinnati -3||Top||62-55||Loss||-110||11 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. Georgetown comes in with the better overall record. However, I believe that the Bearcats, who have won four straight in this series, are favored for good reason.
Off a couple of tough losses, the Bearcats responded with a blowout win over Villanova last time out. That 68-50 victory gives them both confidence and momentum. With back to back road games on deck, they know this is a game they need to take advantage of - a chance to knock off a ranked opponent.
Admittedly, the Hoyas come in on a major roll. However, they're far from unbeatable on the road. They've already lost at South Florida and Marquette in conference play.
A win at Notre Dame was pretty impressive. However, a closer look shows that the Hoyas' only other conference road wins came at Rutgers and St. John's.
Note that the Hoya's non-conference slate didn't include a single true road game. (Playing neutral court games, they lost vs. Indiana while beating Texas and UCLA.)
It should also be noted that Georgetown point guard Markel Starks has four turnovers in each of his last two games. That could present a bit of a problem against a Cincy pressure defense which had a big edge in the turnover battle against the Hoyas last season.
Additionally, although both teams are excellent defensively, the fact that the Bearcats are the top rebounding team in the Big East may give them a few extra possessions here.
With an O/U line currently in the 117 to 118 range, note that the Bearcats are 5-2 ATS (6-1 SU) the seven times that they played a game where the O/U line was less than 120. Playing at home, I expect the Bearcats to cool off their guests, covering the small number along the way. *10 Main Event
|02-14-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Los Angeles Lakers +3||Top||125-101||Loss||-105||12 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. The Clippers come in as the favorites. With the schedule in their favor, I expect the Lakers to score the "upset" there though.
The Lakers didn't cover last time out. However, they did win by a score of 91-85, holding the Suns to 41.2% from the field. Note that the Lakers, who have quietly gone 8-3 (4-0 at home) their last 11 games, are 4-2 ATS after allowing 85 or fewer points in their previous game.
While the Lakers had last night off, the Clippers were busy beating up on the Houston Rockets. Note that they're only 6-7 ATS when playing the second of back-to-back games. This is worse than a typical b2b situation though. The Clippers are also playing their third game in four days. Considering that the first two of those games came in the Eastern Time Zone (NY and Philly) thats quite a grueling stretch. The Clippers are already playing their 9th game through the first 14 days of February. The Lakers have played one less during that time. I believe it'll make a difference.
While they shouldn't need any added incentive, the fact that the Lakers are playing with "double-revenge" should ensure we see an extremely motivated Laker team. I expect them to be at their best. *10 best bet
|02-14-13||New Mexico State v. San Jose St +9.5||Top||67-57||Loss||-110||10 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN JOSE STATE. Playing without James Kinney for the past few weeks, the Spartans have struggled. Off a blowout loss vs. Utah State, not many are giving them much of a chance here. That's led to a generously high line. I believe it will prove to be too high.
Yes, the Spartans were blown out by Utah State. They'd won outright (as +10 dogs) at Idaho their previous game though, so have been showing some signs of coming around.
Last time out, the Spartans were getting 5.5 points vs. Utah State. The Aggies are 17-5 and 7-2 on the road. This time out, the Spartans are getting an extra handful of points against New Mexico State, despite the fact that the Aggies are 5-7 away from their home floor.
The Aggies, who currently have a few players missing, have been on quite a roll. However, it should be noted that they won their last two games (vs. Idaho and Seattle) by only five combined points. With Utah State on deck, I feel they may not be entirely focused here.
While the Aggies are now 6-9 ATS their last 15 in February, the Spartans are 10-5 ATS their last 15 February games.
Catching the Aggies possibly looking ahead to Saturday's showdown vs. Utah State, I expect the revenge-minded Spartans to step up with their best effort, giving their guests a much tougher game than most will be expecting. *9 best bet
|02-14-13||St. Johns v. Louisville -17||Top||58-72||Loss||-110||9 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. I've had a pretty good read when going on/against the Cardinals in recent weeks. I played against them when they lost at Notre Dame and I was also against them when they failed to cover vs. Pittsburgh. Yet, I was on them in their recent lopsided wins over Marquette and Depaul. I feel that they're ready to deliver another blowout here.
While the Red Storm are 20-23-1 ATS the past couple of seasons, when playing a game with an O/U line in the, the Cardinals are 25-16-2 ATS when doing so.
True, Louisville is off a devastating loss - a game that was the longest in Big East history. That was on Saturday though, so they've had plenty of time to recover.
The Red Storm would obviously love to pull the upset here. They're in over their heads though, in my opinion. Note that they've been beaten by double-digits six times already this season, most recently a 19-point loss on Saturday.
The Cardinals have dominated the Red Storm, including a 15 point win (as an 8-point favorite) at MSG last season. The gap between the teams is arguably even bigger right now. With the venue shifting to Louisville, I expect an even bigger win. *10 Blue Marlin
|02-14-13||Miami Heat v. Oklahoma City Thunder -4.5||Top||110-100||Loss||-110||10 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKC. Obviously these are both excellent. Both are capable of winning anywhere, at any time. That said, with this game being played at OKC and with the Heat having already held serve at Miami , I expect the Thunder to have the advantage.
For starters, the Heat are 12-11 (10-23 ATS) on the road. The Thunder are 23-3 (18-8 ATS) at home. Big difference there.
The Heat won (at Miami) on Christmas. Throw in the fact that the Heat knocked them out of the playoffs last year and its safe to say that the Thunder will be extremely motivated.
Note that OKC is an excellent 50-28-5 ATS the past few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier loss - 11-4 SU/ATS their last 15 in that situation.
I successfully played against the Thunder at Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Laying six points, they lost 109-94. That doesn't mean that we should expect another loss here though. In fact, the Thunder are 9-1 SU/ATS the last 10 times that they were off a SU loss as a favorite, going a profitable 32-12-1 (38-7 SU) their last 45 in that situation. The Thunder are also 12-5 ATS (13-4 SU) their last 17
Even including the win on Christmas, The Heat are still only 10-13 ATS against teams with a winning record. On the other hand, the Thunder are 16-7-1 ATS against winning teams. Add it all up and its payback time Thursday. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-13-13||Oregon v. Washington -1||Top||65-52||Loss||-122||15 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. I successfully played against the Huskies in their last game. However, that was on the road against a USC team which I felt was under-vajued and which I believed was was on the upswing. This one sets up much better. This time, the Huskies are back home. This time, they're the ones playing with "revenge." This time, they catch an Oregon team which is on a bit of a downswing.
In fact, while they did manage to beat Utah last time out, the Ducks have now failed to cover the spread in six straight games, losing three of those. Its no coincidence that freshman point guard Dominic Artis has been out the past five games. Artis averages double-digits in points and his 3.8 assists per game leads the team. He's currently listed as doubtful to return tonight. Even if Artis did manage to play, he may not be 100%.
Off the loss vs. the Trojans, the Huskies, 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were listed as home favorites of three or less, are starting to get desperate for wins. I feel that will work in our favor.
Washington guard Scott Suggs commented: We can't give away any more games. We're beating ourselves. It's not like we are not capable or not talented enough to win these games."
Even with the loss at USC, the Huskies have still covered four of their last five. Their most recent home game resulted in a victory over Arizona State. The Huskies are 10-4 ATS against winning teams and 3-1 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier road loss. Throw in the fact that they've also won three in a row and 11 of 12 against the Ducks in Seattle and I'm expecting another win and cover. *10 personal favorite
|02-13-13||Miami (Fla) v. Florida State +6.5||Top||74-68||Win||100||14 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. The Hurricanes are having a great season and they've come through for me when asked. However, off a win over UNC, I feel they're laying a few too many points against a revenge-minded instate rival.
All the way up to #3 in the polls, I believe the Canes may be patting themselves on the back a little here. Keep in mind they've never been higher than #8 in school history before.
Senior center Reggie Johnson admitted: "I've never really thought that Miami could be a top 10 program. I didn't think we'd be here in February. It's surreal."
The Seminoles come in off a bad effort and have admittedly had some trouble lately. Coach Leonard Hamilton let his team have it after the last game though and I expect a much better effort from the Noles here. Keep in mind that Florida State, the defending ACC Tournament Champs, also has a recent blowout loss at Miami fresh in its mind.
Hamilton had this to say after the last game: "We put our uniforms on right. That's about where it stopped. ... I look at the stats, even though the stats are not very good from my standpoint, I think we probably played worse than the stats say."
The Noles are 6-4 ATS as underdogs, 19-13 ATS the past couple of seasons, when getting points. They're also 7-4 ATS the past couple of seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier road loss and that includes a 2-0 ATS mark when attempting to avenge a loss of 20 or more points.
The last three regular season meetings here (all FSU wins) were all decided by six or fewer points. I feel this one could easily come down to the wire once again and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 best bet
|02-12-13||Houston Rockets v. Golden State Warriors -4.5||Top||116-107||Loss||-110||17 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. I successfully played against the Rockets in their last game. Favored by a handful of points, they lost outright at Sacramento. Playing at a more difficult venue and now facing a better team than the one that just beat them, I expect the Rockets to stumble once again.
These teams just faced each other last week at Houston. The Warriors came in riding high but they were run right out of the building, losing 140-109. That was the beginning of an ugly 0-4 SU/ATS road trip. Needless to say, the Warriors happy to be back home.
Golden State checks in with 14-15 record on the road but a stellar 16-6 record here at home. Meanwhile, the Rockets are an impressive 18-8 at Houston but an ugly 10-17 on the road.
While the Warriors allow about eight points less per game at home than they do on the road, the Rockets score about eight points per game less on the road than they do at home.
The Warriors are in one of their better roles here too, as we find them at 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. Note that the Warriors are also 7-4-1 ATS after allowing 105 or more points. With last week's embarrassing loss still fresh in their memories, I'm expecting them to respond with another win and cover here. *10 personal favorite
|02-12-13||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Utah Jazz +6||Top||94-109||Win||100||14 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. The Thunder have the second best record in basketball and are tied for the fewest losses. They enter tonight's game on quite the roll. That record and recent win streak has them laying quite a few points. At this difficult venue, I feel that it will prove to be too many.
While the Thunder do have a much better overall record, some may be surprised to learn that Utah's 19-6 home record is actually superior to OKC's 16-9 mark on the road.
Although they lost their last game here, the Jazz have still won 10 of their last 12 home games. The recent loss came by four points. Going back further finds the Jazz at 65-36 here the past 2+ seasons. (OKC is 69-48 on the road during that time.)
With their strong home record, its not that surprising that the Jazz are 5-3 ATS the past couple of seasons, when listed as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Thunder were 9-11-1 ATS during that stretch, when listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range.
Although they have tomorrow off, its still worth noting that the Thunder have a big Thursday game vs. Miami on deck.
The last meeting here at Salt Lake City saw the (+3) Jazz upset the Thunder by a score of 97-90. Looking to avenge a November loss at OKC, looking to bounce back from consecutive losses and to prove they can play with the best in their division, I expect a highly motivated effort from the Jazz, en route to at least a cover. *10 best bet
|02-12-13||Kentucky v. Florida -9.5||Top||52-69||Win||100||12 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. It was exactly one week ago that I played on the Wildcats in their blowout win over South Carolina. Needless to say, this is a far more difficult opponent. Last week, I felt that the Gamecocks were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The shoe's on the other foot here though, as I believe the Cats are coming to Gainesville at the wrong time.
The Gators have won nine of 10 SEC games by double-digits, beating SEC opponents by an average of 22.6 ppg. This is arguably the biggest game of them all for the Gators though, as they haven't forgotten that Kentucky beat them in all three meetings last season, or that the Cats have beaten them in five straight overall.
While Kentucky suffered heavy losses from last year, the same cannot be said of Florida, although the Gators did lose Will Yeguete last week.
Kentucky coach Calipari said this of the Gators: ''You've got a top-five team on the road, they play well in their building, it'll be a hard game for us to win. Let's put it this way: Last year, they were an Elite Eight team that should've been in the Final Four, one game short of that, and they've got everybody back. And college basketball isn't what it was a year ago, so that's how good a challenge, how big a challenge and how good a team they are.''
While the line might initially seem high, I believe it could easily be even higher. The fact that Florida has failed to cover a few in a row has worked to our advantage in keeping it at its current level. (Note that the Gators are 21-10 ATS their last 31 lined games after failing to cover three or more consecutive games.)
The Cats are better than they were at the beginning of the season. However, I don't feel that they're ready for what they're going to encounter here. With payback on their minds, I expect the Gators to pull away for a double-digit win, in a game they've had circled since the day they saw the schedule. *10 personal favorite
|02-11-13||Kansas State v. Kansas -7.5||Top||62-83||Win||100||12 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS. Some may look at the lead up to this game and feel that the Wildcats are catching their rivals at the right time. After all, the Jayhawks have lost a few in a row and are in danger of their longest losing streak in 24 years. I see it the other way though. Instead, I feel that the Wildcats are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A few losses doesn't mean that the Jayhawks aren't still very dangerous, a fact Kansas State knows all too well. (The Jayhawks are 45-3 against the Wildcats, 17-1 at Allen Fieldhouse.)
Kansas coach Bill Self had this to say of his team's recent skid and its performance on Saturday: "Obviously three in a row is not good, but this game to me today, I'm not leaving out of here disgusted with my team at all because we actually played better. You don't go from being a good team to a bad team overnight. We've had a couple of bad outings, but we're still a good team."
Admittedly, the Wildcats are pretty tough. They're still just 10-15 ATS the last 25 times that they were underdogs though, including a loss vs. these same Jayhawks on 1/22. (Kansas won by 4 as a 3.5 point favorite.) Sure, the Wildcats would love nothing more than to avenge that loss. However, it should be noted that they're only 2-5 ATS the last seven times that they attempted to avenge and earlier home defeat.
While they did fail to cover for the fourth straight time, the Jayhawks are still 4-1 ATS the last five times that they were off three (or more) consecutive non-covers. Some of you may recall that I played on them against Baylor, when off three consecutive ATS losses earlier. The Jayhawks rewarded me with a 61-44 victory in that one. I'm expecting a desperate and highly motivated Kansas squad to record another double-digit win here. *10 Main Event
|02-11-13||Washington Wizards v. Milwaukee Bucks -4||Top||102-90||Loss||-107||11 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Wizards come in as the hotter team. That's kept this line very low and likely has many backing the underdog. I feel the low line is providing us excellent value on what I expect to be a highly motivated home favorite.
Before getting too caught up in the recent winning streak, lets not forget that the Wizards are only 3-21 on the road, 15-83 the past few seasons. That includes a 5-14 ATS (4-15 SU) record as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
During that stretch, the Bucks were 52-46 at home, going 11-9 ATS (13-7 SU) as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. That includes a 3-1 ATS mark in that role this season.
The Bucks are 6-2 ATS the last eight times that they were off an upset loss and 16-6 ATS the last couple of seasons, after losing three or more consecutive games. They've dominated the Wizards and I look for them to bounce back with a much needed win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-11-13||Boston Celtics v. Charlotte Bobcats +4.5||Top||91-94||Win||100||10 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. The Bobcats have been going through another tough stretch. The schedule-makers have helped them out a bit here though and I feel that they're in a good spot to take advantage.
The Celtics, who are only 7-13-2 ATS (8-14 SU) on the road, aren't in a very good situation here. For starters, they're just 11-19 ATS the last 30 times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, 1-3 ATS this season. They're also only 18-32-2 ATS the last couple of seasons, after playing the previous day.
This is worse than a typical back-to-back spot though. That's because last night's game went to triple-OT. Pierce played more than 54 minutes. Garnett topped the 47 minute mark while Bradley played nearly 46. Both Green and Terry also played more than 40 minutes while Bass contributed 32+.
While the Celts have certainly been impressive since Rondo went down, off last night's marathon, I expect them to finally miss him tonight. I look for the revenge-minded Bobcats to have the fresher legs and better focus, en route to at least a cover. *10 Eastern Conf Best Bet
|02-11-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Philadelphia 76ers +5.5||Top||107-90||Loss||-105||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Clippers are obviously a much different team with Chris Paul back in the lineup. That said, I feel that they're in a tough spot and laying too many points here.
For starters, lets establish that the Clippers' 16-12 road record is no better than the 76'ers 16-12 home record. Yet, despite those identical records, the 76ers are getting a solid handful of points to work with.
In addition to having homecourt advantage, the 76'ers have a solid scheduling edge. They had last night off and are also playing their 8th straight home game. They didn't play a single set of back-to-back games during that entire homestand and they had two games off in between a couple of the games. Off a double-digit win Saturday and now 4-1 SU/AS their last five, they should be fresh.
On the other hand, the Clippers played at MSG last night and are now playing the final leg of a season-long 8-game road trip. Note that they're only 5-7 ATS when playing the second of back-to-back games. Obviously, they'd like to close out the trip with a victory. However, after so many days on the road, thoughts of the return home could cause them to lose a little focus.
While they lost by a single point against the Clippers here last season, the 76'ers are still 12-3 (9-5-1 ATS) the last 15 times that they were a host in this series. Playing some of their best basketball of the season and with the schedule in their favor, I expect at least another cover here. *10 non-conf. best bet
|02-10-13||Washington v. USC -2||Top||60-71||Win||100||13 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've won with the Trojans on a few different occasions this season. I feel that this will be another excellent spot to back them.
Off back-to-back victories, the Trojans are feeling good about themselves. They've adjusted to the coaching change and are optimistic about the future. This team was always more talented than its record indicated and its now finally living up to its potential.
Two games ago, the Trojans went on the road and upset UCLA. Off that big win, they started a little slowly against Washington State on Thursday. However, playing in front of the home crowd, they roared back for a 4-point win.
The Trojans step up in class a little here to take on the Huskies. However, this isn't nearly as strong as many Washington teams of the past and the Huskies currently aren't playing well. In fact, they've lost five of their last six games, going 0-3 on the road during that stretch.
With an O/U line in the high 130s, note that the Trojans are 14-3 SU and 11-4-2 ATS the last 17 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range, including a 2-0 SU/ATS mark in that situation the past couple of seasons. During that stretch, the Huskies were just 1-5 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the same range.
The Trojans were beaten soundly by the Huskies in both meetings last season. They haven't forgotten. I believe they're catching them at the right time to get some payback and I look for homecourt to prove significant. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-09-13||Louisville v. Notre Dame +5.5||Top||101-104||Win||100||15 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on NOTRE DAME. I've had a pretty good read on the Cardinals in recent days. I successfully played against them when they failed to cover vs. Pittsburgh and came right back and played on them when they blew out Marquette. I feel that tonight will prove to be an excellent spot to go against them.
While I believe the Irish have an excellent shout at an outright win, I also feel that we could easily see a very close game and that the points could come into play. Keep in mind that four of the last five meetings went to OT, a couple of those going to double-OT.
Pitino had this to say of the Irish "Notre Dame has a great home-court advantage, one of the best in college basketball. We've been in some really, really tight ball games with Notre Dame, a lot of exciting ones, and this should be another exciting one."
Also note that the Irish have won their last three home meetings against the Cardinals by average of 19.5 points. The last game on this floor was exactly two years ago to the day - the Irish won by 10. The last time that the Cardinals won here was way back in 1994 - a 3 point win in OT.
The Irish are 46-3 their last 49 at home. They're also 8-4 ATS the last dozen times that they were listed as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. I expect them to rise to the occasion with at least another cover here. *10 main event
|02-09-13||New Mexico v. UNLV -5||Top||55-64||Win||100||14 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNLV. The Lobos are a strong and well-coached team, worthy of their high national ranking. However, they're not as good on the road as they are at home. Facing what should be a very determined Rebels team, I expect the Lobos to struggle at this difficult venue.
The Rebels should be highly motivated here. Not only have they lost two in a row, but they've also got "revenge" on their minds, having suffered a 5-point loss at New Mexico exactly one month ago. They also haven't forgotten that the Lobos beat them here in last year's conference tournament.
I believe that the Rebels need this game more and I expect an extremely motivated effort.
Like their guests, the Rebels are a much different team at home, last March notwithstanding. They're 12-1 here and the lone loss came in November. Not only have they won 11 straight at the Thomas & Mack Center, they're 30-1 in regular-season games here since the start of last season.
To their credit, the Lobos did win an early season neutral court game vs. UConn and they also did eke out a 1-point win at Cincinnati. Their overall record (8-2) away from home does look pretty good, at least at first glance. However, their best conference road win came at Wyoming, a 4-point win . That's not an easy venue - but the Cowboys aren't as talented as the team that they'll face here.
Prior to win at Laramie, when facing a top tier team (San Diego State) of the likes of the one they'll see here, the Lobos were destroyed by a score of 55-34. (Some of you will likely recall that I backed the Aztecs in that one.)
The blowout loss at San Diego State was preceded by a close win at Boise, another team not in the class of the one they'll face here. Prior to that, when facing a good Billikens squad at St. Louis , the Lobos were crushed by a score of 60-46.
The last regular season meeting between these teams here at UNLV saw the Rebels win by 15. Don't be surprised when they pull away for another double-digit win tonight. *10 GOM
|02-09-13||Detroit Pistons v. Milwaukee Bucks -6.5||Top||105-100||Loss||-109||15 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Pistons have taken two of three meetings this season. Playing at home and with the schedule in their favor, I expect the Bucks to even the season series tonight.
The Bucks have lost two straight. However, those games came at Utah and Denver. Their last home game resulted in a 9-point win.
Since being upset by the Pistons here in early January, the Bucks have played only four home games. They won three of them, all three victories coming by a minimum of seven points.
As for the Pistons, they're just 1-4 on the road, since that 1/11 victory here. The four losses came by 59 combined points, three of them by at least a dozen. For the season, they're a dismal 5-19 away from Detroit.
While the Bucks have had the last two days off, the Pistons are off an upset win vs. the Spurs last night. Give them credit for winning that game. However, keep in mind that they're only 2-6 ATS when off an upset win and just 5-7 ATS (3-9 SU) when playing the second of back-to-back games.
The Bucks, 7-4 when off two day's rest in between games, are 8-5-1 ATS (10-4 SU) when off a double-digit loss. I expect them to take care of business here. *10 personal favorite
|02-08-13||New York Knicks v. Minnesota Timberwolves +6||Top||100-94||Push||0||7 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. Playing the final game of a homestand, I expect a highly motivated effort from the revenge-minded T-Wolves tonight.
The T-Wolves played the Knicks very tough at MSG earlier, losing by just three points. That 94-91 game should give them some confidence here.
Now, in addition to playing at Minnesota, they catch the Knicks off a 10-point loss at Washington.
While its true that T-Wolves are still dealing with some injury issues, their point guard (Rubio) has a number of games under his belt and is heating up. Over his last two games alone, Rubio has 25 assists.
Center Greg Stiemsma said this of Rubio: "He's been playing really well lately. His pace of the game, his playcalling, everything is elevated. It's fun to see, fun to be a part of."
The Knicks have played only five road games in 2013 and they've won just two of them. Those two victories came by an average of only 5.5 points too, a 3-point and an 11-point win.
The T-Wolves are 8-4 ATS when off a double-digit loss. In addition to the 3-point loss at MSG earlier, the T-Wolves lost by two by the Knicks in last season's game here, a 100-98 affair last February. I won't be surprised to see this one also come down to the wire and am grabbing all those generous points. *10 best bet
|02-08-13||Dartmouth v. Columbia -11.5||Top||60-57||Loss||-104||8 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLUMBIA. The Lions have lost a few in a row. Stepping down in class to take on a team which they swept each of the past two seasons, I expect them to snap their losing streak in convincing fashion this evening.
Dartmouth is 1-8 on the road and has yet to beat a quality team away from home. This season's lone road win came at Longwood back on 12/1. (With a 3-21 record, Longwood is the worst team in the Big South.) Note that the Big Green are 0-2 ATS as road underdogs in the 9.5 to 12 range.
When the Lions win, they tend to do so by a fairly comfortable margin. Seven of their nine victories have come by greater than 10 points. (The other two came by 9 and 7.) I believe there's a fairly wide gap between these teams and I'm expecting more of the same here. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-07-13||Seattle +17 v. Denver||Top||55-72||Push||0||12 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. I successfully played on the Redhawks a couple of times early in the season. Playing their first season in the WAC Conference, I suggested that this team was going to play with a chip on its shoulder. While its been some time since I've backed them, off a blowout loss, I expect the Redhawks to again "play with a chip on their shoulder" en route to an ATS victory.
The Redhawks, who lost by 13 (as 6.5 point underdogs) at home against Denver last month, are 2-1 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss, while going 5-3 ATS when off a conference loss. The Redhawks are also an impressive 8-2 ATS their last 10 road lined games.
Note that five of Denver's last six victories have come by 15 or fewer points.
True, Seattle did lose its last game by 20 points. However, a closer look shows that was the first in 2013 that the Redhawks lost by greater than 13 points. In fact, seven of their last nine losses have been by seven or less. I look for this one to be closer than many will be expecting and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10
|02-07-13||Los Angeles Lakers +2.5 v. Boston Celtics||Top||95-116||Loss||-107||9 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. My "Personal Favorite" plays are typically reserved for plays on teams which are favored. However, when I strongly believe an underdog is poised to win outright, I'll occasionally use one on an underdog. That's the case here.
The Lakers, who had yesterday off, have been a much better team of late. They've won three straight and six of seven. Last time out, they limited Brooklyn to 83 points. Thats noteworthy as we find them at 29-5 SU the last 34 times that they held their previous opponent to 85 or fewer points, 4-1 SU/ATS their last five in that situation.
While the Celtics won last night, the absence of Rondo - and perhaps the Garnett trade-talk - figures to catch up with them in this back-to-back spot. Note that the Celtics are an ugly 17-32-2 ATS the past couple of seasons, when off a game the previous day.
Listed as small underdogs, the Lakers scored a minor upset here almost exactly (2/9/12) a year ago. With the schedule in their favor and playing arguably their best basketball of the season, I look for history to repeat itself here. *10 personal favorite
|02-07-13||Canisius v. Manhattan +3||Top||54-67||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. While Canisius comes in as the favorite, I believe that the Jaspers will be the team which comes away with the win.
I believe this is a bit of a tough spot for the Golden Griffins. They're off games against Loyola-MD and Iona, two of the top teams in the conference. After this, they face Niagara- the team's biggest rival - and also one of the top teams in the conference. That's followed by Loyola-MD again. With all those "big" games in the recent past and near future, I feel that it will be difficult to fully focus on a Manhattan team which ranks near the bottom of the conference and which the Golden Griffins already defeated. Note that Cansisius is only 3-8 ATS the last 11 times it was listed as a road favorite of three or fewer points.
On the other hand, I feel that the revenge-minded Jaspers should be fully focused on the task at hand. They still view themselves among the upper teams in the conference and believe that they can show in in the conference tournament. However, they also know that they can't afford to wait and just suddenly turn it on.
Note that the Jaspers won by eight last time out, their second win in three games. They were 17.5 point favorites when they hosted Canisius last season, winning by 13. Things have changed - but not enough to warrant such a massive line swing. At least not in my opinion. *10 best bet.
|02-06-13||Indiana Pacers v. Philadelphia 76ers -2.5||Top||88-69||Loss||-105||11 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The 76'ers are suddenly catching fire. They're 4-1 SU/ATS their last five and 3-0 SU/ATS their last three. Its true that none of those recent wins have come against elite teams. However, tonight's schedule provides them with an excellent opportunity to extend their winning streak while beating a quality opponent at the same time.
Its true that the 76'ers will be without Thaddaeus Young here. Admittedly, he's an important player for them. However, we often see teams play their best the first game after one of their top players goes down. I expect the 76'ers to come together and play their hardest to help make up for the loss of Young - and feel that the venue and schedule advantages will more than compensate.
After a dominating 78-61 victory over Orlando on Monday, the third straight time that they allowed less than 85 points, the 76'ers had last night off. This is the sixth day of February and this will be only their third game.
By comparison, the Pacers will be playing their third game in the last three days alone. A tough scheduling spot, indeed. In fact, this is the only set of back-to-back-to-back games in the NBA this season, only made possible due to a December 26th blizzard that caused a game at Indiana to be postponed.
After last night's game, the Pacers were already admitting they felt fatigue creeping in. After scoring 29 last night, Paul George noted: "You definitely feel it. I felt it tonight, really ... "
Regardless of the schedule, the Pacers typically haven't fared too well as small road underdogs. In fact, they're 4-11-1 ATS (4-12 SU) the last 16 times that they were listed as road underdogs of three or fewer points, going 0-6 ATS their last six in that role. Overall, they're only 10-16 on the road.
The 76'ers recent winning streak has come here at Philadelphia, as this will mark the sixth game of an 8-game homestand. Now 14-8 ATS the last 22 times that they played their previous three at home, I expect the 76'ers to be the fresher team and expect a win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-06-13||Boston Celtics v. Toronto Raptors -3||Top||99-95||Loss||-110||7 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. Some might be surprised to see the Raptors favored against the Celtics. Indeed, its not something you see every day. I feel that the home team is laying points for good reason though.
The Raptors, who may see Bargnani return tonight, have been playing hard for many weeks. Now, they've got a legit star in Rudy Gay in the fold - and he's got a couple of games with the team under his belt. The team and the city are buzzing - really, this is arguably as good as this team has "felt" in quite some time.
On the other hand, already without Rondo, the Celtics may be distracted by all the recent trade talk surrounding Garnett. While the team does have a few recent covers, clearly these aren't the happiest of days.
A look at the schedule shows that both teams had the past two nights off. The Raptors will also have tomorrow off. On the other hand, the Celtics will host the Lakers, a long-time rival, tomorrow. I feel it may be easy for them to look past Toronto.
Note that the Celtics are a rather surprising 2-5 SU/ATS when playing with two day's rest in between games. Perhaps more importantly, they're also an ugly 1-5 SU/ATS the last six times that they played the front-end of back-to-back games.
The Raptors lost big at Boston back in November. They've had recent success against the Celtics here at Toronto recently though, winning three of the last four meetings including each of the last two. They won those games by scores of 86-74 and 84-79. More of the same here. *10 Atlantic DIV GOW
|02-06-13||Baylor v. Oklahoma State -7||Top||67-69||Loss||-110||7 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA STATE. As is the case for most teams, homecourt is significant for both these clubs.
The Cowboys are a strong team, particularly at home. They began the season by winning their first five, before suffering a road loss at Virginia Tech. They responded with five more victories en route to a 10-1 start and a national ranking. Early wins came against the likes of NC State and Tennessee.
The Cowboys then suffered a tough 1-point home loss against Gonzaga. That led to a stretch where they lost three straight road games, a home win against TCU mixed in between. The last of those road losses came at Baylor, against these same Bears.
The Cowboys have since responded with three straight big wins and find themselves back in the Top 25. Most recently they won at Kansas.
Playing with "revenge" and looking to prove that they belong in the rankings, I expect a highly motivated effort from the Cowboys here.
Note that Oklahoma State is 11-1 at home, 7-4 ATS in lined games.
The Bears remain relatively tough at home but mediocre on the road. They come in off an 8-point loss at Iowa State, their second straight. Prior to that, they were upset by Oklahoma. This isn't one of their better roles as we find them at only 7-12 ATS the last 19 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range.
While they were beaten by a strong Baylor team here last season, the Cowboys are still 13-2 the last 15 times that they were a host in this series. Its payback time at the Gallagher-Iba Arena tonight. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-05-13||South Carolina v. Kentucky -17.5||Top||55-77||Win||100||14 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. The Wildcats may not be as dominant as usual but I still believe they've got more than enough to lay a beating on South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are off a double-digit home loss against Georgia and have now dropped six of their last eight. In the game against the Bulldogs, they shot 35.8% from the field, while watching Georgia connect at a 58% rate.
Off an OT win on Saturday and now stepping down in class, I feel the Wildcats are ready to explode against a team they've dominated. The Wildcats are 5-0 the last five meetings with the Gamecocks and 46-10 all-time.
With an O/U line in the high 130s, note that the Wildcats are 23-15-1 ATS (36-3 SU) the last 39 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range. Note that the Gamecocks are 0-5 SU/ATS the last five times that they played a road game with an O/U line in that range.
Kentucky's last three wins against the Gamecocks have come by 24, 15 and 31 points, an average of greater than 23. I look for them to win this one by 20+ too. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-04-13||Seton Hall +16.5 v. Pittsburgh||Top||46-56||Win||100||14 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on SETON HALL. I respect the Panthers. In fact, they've covered three straight games and I've been on them in every single one of those games. However, I feel that they're laying a few too many points here and that they're in a bit of a difficult scheduling spot.
Off big televised games at Louisville and vs. Syracuse and with Cincinnati, Marquette and Notre Dame on deck, I feel that the Panthers may be ripe for a bit of a letdown.
While I did back the Panthers when they blew out Depaul a couple of weeks ago, it should be noted that was the only one of Pittsburgh's last seven games which resulted in a victory of greater than 15 points.
Speaking of that Depaul game, the Panthers, 4-9 ATS the last 13 times that they were favored at home by greater than a dozen points, were actually laying a (slightly) larger number for that game than they are here. Yet, Seton Hall is a significantly better team than Depaul, at least in my opinion. While the Blue Demons are 10-11, the Pirates are 13-9, including a victory at Depaul the only time those teams faced each other.
True, the Pirates have lost a few in a row. However, two of those losses came by six or fewer points and they barely missed covering in each of those. The Pirates have only lost by greater than 15 points twice all season and just once in their past seven games.
Note that the Pirates are 3-1 ATS the last couple of seasons after failing to cover three in a row and 7-2 ATS after three or more consecutive SU losses. Last year's game was decided by seven points (73-66 Seton Hall) and I won't be surprised when this one is also decided by single-digits. *10 best bet
|02-04-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Minnesota Timberwolves -2.5||Top||100-98||Loss||-113||13 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The T-Wolves come in playing with "double-revenge." Not only did the Blazers beat them at Portland back in November, the Blazers also knocked off the T-Wolves here at Minnesota last month.
When these teams mets last month, the Blazers were playing arguably their best basketball of the season, as they were in the middle of a stretch which saw them win four straight six of seven. They've since cooled off a little though, winning just four of 12 games.
Admittedly, the T-Wolves haven't been too good. I believe that they may have turned the corner a little in their last game though, a 115-86 blowout win over the Hornets, a team which had quietly been playing quite well.
Luke Ridnour had this to say about the big win: "To have a blowout win is something that our team needed at this point. Hopefully we can build on it.''
Overall, the T-Wolves are 12-9 at home while the Blazers are 7-15 on the road, 0-4 their last four.
Even factoring in last months upset against Portland here, the T-Wolves are 9-6 ATS (11-4 SU) when laying points this season. That includes a 4-0 ATS mark when favored at home by three or fewer points. I expect a highly motivated effort to lead to another win and cover tonight. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-04-13||Charlotte Bobcats +13.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||94-99||Win||100||13 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Obviously, I can't claim that the Bobcats are as good as the Heat. However, I can say that they're getting a large handful of points and that I feel this is a good spot for them.
The Bobcats had last night off. They're playing the second last leg of a 5-game road trip, one which hasn't gone particularly well. They're beyond the point of trying to have a winning record on road trips - but the Bobcats generally do try and salvage something from each of their excursions away from Charlotte. Going into Miami and playing the champs tough would accomplish that goal.
Note that the Bobcats are 26-16 ATS the last 42 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 12.5 to 15 point range, going a lucrative 13-5 ATS their last 18 in that situation.
It should be mentioned that Charlotte appears likely to be without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who left last game with a concussion. The Bobcats didn't fare well after he went down but they know he's going to be OK now though and have had a chance to prepare for his potential or probable absence.
The Heat are off a game in Canada last night. A look at the last nine times that they played the second of back to back games, dating back to last season, reveals that the Heat went a respectable 5-4 ATS and 8-1 SU.
However, an even closer look shows that NONE of those nine games resulted in a victory of greater than 13 points. The Heat did lose by 19 but their victories came by 9, 13, 5, 3, 3, 9, 11, and 3 points. (That's an average of seven per game.)
Even off a cover last night, the Heat are still only 7-11 ATS their last 18. They've lost two of three and only two of their last six games has resulted in a double-digit win. I look for them to receive a tougher test than most will be expecting. *10 best bet
|02-04-13||Fairfield -6.5 v. Siena||Top||64-54||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on FAIRFIELD. The Saints used to be class of this league. Those days are gone now though. Those days are gone now though. Averaging less than 60 points per game, the Saints are only 6-16 overall, going 7-11 ATS.
The Stags, on the other hand, are a fairly respectable 13-10. That includes a perfect 5-0 record (3-2 ATS) when facing a team which scores 64 or fewer points per game. They're also 3-0 their last three, two of those victories coming by double-digits.
While they have managed a couple of recent wins against lesser quality opponents, the Saints are only 2-7 ATS (2-9 SU) against teams with a wining record. They're also only 7-13 their last 20 off a conference win. The only previous time that they won two in a row this season, they stepped up in class to face Niagara and lost by 17. Stepping up in class to face Fairfield, I expect them to receive another dose of reality. *9 personal favorite
|02-03-13||Baltimore Ravens +4 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||34-31||Win||100||301 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing BALTIMORE. I've been riding the Ravens these playoffs, backing them in their victories over the Colts, Broncos and Patriots. Once again, I believe they're offering us excellent value.
The general consensus seems to be that the 49'ers are better in all facets of the game, with the exception of kicker. At least, I sure seem to hear a lot of people making that claim.
I don't see it that way.
Let's start by looking at the quarterbacks, the most important players on the field.
While I know many/most would probably choose Kaepernick but if I had the choice to have either QB for this game, I'd personally take Flacco.
There's no denying that Kaepernick has been really good. He's deadly on the ground, can beat you with his arm and has made good decisions.
That said, since the playoffs began, I believe Flacco has been every bit as good, some could argue better. I like the fact that he's got more playoff and overall experience. I like his demeanor and believe that he's peaking at the right time.
When making my Super Bowl pick, I probably give more weight to the head coach than many other handicappers. While I lost with Belichick last year, I've successfully backed the likes of Green Bay and New Orleans in recent years in no small part because I respected McCarthy and Payton.
Both Harbaugh brothers have obviously done a great job in getting their teams this far. I consider both to be very good coaches.
However, if given the choice, I'd take the older brother, John.
I backed Baltimore when these teams met on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. I remember Jim saying: "John's the smartest guy I know.
Growing up, as brothers would do, the two brothers competed against each other. Jim was born with the better physical gifts. However, John made up for it with smarts. Obviously any athletic advantage Jim might have, won't play a factor here. The older and typically calmer brother, I feel John has the edge.
True, the 49'ers defense had the better regular season stats. However, this Raven defense is peaking at the right time - having shut down the likes of Luck, Manning and Brady. Meanwhile, the 49er defense has shown some vulnerability in the playoffs.
I believe that the two weeks in between games may also favor a Baltimore team which was forced to play one more playoff game to get here. Aging defenders like Lewis and Reed will benefit from the rest. (I also believe the experience of those type of players will prove invaluable.) Perhaps more importantly, the Ravens will have extra time to compare for the unconventional SF offense.
Note that the Ravens are 14-5 SU and 13-6 ATS the last 19 times that they played with two week's worth of rest, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS their last four in that situation.
While I like the Ravens to win, in a game that could come down to the wire, getting more than a field goal, I'll happily grab the points. *10 Best of Best
|02-03-13||Marquette v. Louisville -10.5||Top||51-70||Win||100||15 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. Some of you will likely recall that I successfully played against the Cardinals in their most recent game. Hosting Pittsburgh, the Cardinals were mired in a 3-game losing streak. Yet, they were still laying six points. I noted that I felt the Panthers had an excellent shot at an upset and also that I felt Louisville would be happy just to eke out a win.
While it wasn't easy, the Cardinals did indeed manage to eke out a 64-61 win over the Panthers. Now, with their losing streak snapped, I feel that they're ready for bigger and better things ... a blowout win.
Speaking of blowouts, the Carinal have won three of the last four in the series and their last two victories have come by 13 and 25 points.
The Golden Eagles are great at home but only mediocre on the road. They're definitely not slouches and they have been competitive. However, I feel that they're going to be in over their heads against what I expect to be a highly determined Louisville team.
Back in their groove, note that the Cardinals are 22-10 ATS the past few seasons, when off a conference win. During that time, they're 4-2 ATS as home favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range. I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion here. *10 personal favorite
|02-02-13||Michigan v. Indiana -4.5||Top||73-81||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Obviously these teams are both very good. I like what the Hoosiers bring to the table a little more though and I feel that homecourt will prove significant.
Michigan averages a healthy 74.6 points per game on the road. However, Indiana averages a whopping 87.3 at home.
Michigan allows just 63.5 ppg on the road. However, Indiana permits a paltry 58.6 at home.
I feel that the Hoosiers have a little more to prove and I expect them to play with a chip on their shoulder, en route to a statement win and cover. *10 Big Ten GOM
|02-02-13||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Cleveland Cavaliers +10.5||Top||110-115||Win||100||5 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Obviously the Thunder are an excellent team. However, that doesn't mean that they can't over-valued. In this case, I feel they're laying a little too large a number.
While the Cavs are off a loss vs. the Pistons last night, note that they're a solid 8-3 ATS when off a divisional game. They're also 4-1 ATS the last five times that they played the second of back-to-back games, most recently an outright win at Toronto.
The Thunder are just 8-15-2 ATS (10-15 SU) the last 25 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 200 to 204.5 range. I expect them to have their hands full here. *10 best bet
|02-01-13||Dallas Mavericks v. Phoenix Suns -2.5||Top||109-99||Loss||-110||14 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. The Suns come in with double-revenge, having lost to these same Mavericks twice already this season. Although they haven't typically been too good in the "revenge role" in recent years, I feel that this will be prove to be an excellent spot for the Suns to get some payback.
While Phoenix had last night off, the Mavs are off a hard-fought "emotional" loss at Golden State. Playing their third game in four nights, they'll be without Kaman and it appears likely that they'll also be without Nowitzki.
Note that the Mavs have won just three of 10 games, when playing the second of back-to-back games. Note that ALL seven losses came by at least four points, six of them by eight or more.
The Suns have quietly played well at home recently. Their last two games here have seen them beat the Lakers and the Clippers, both wins coming by a minimum of five points. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to step up with another big effort, en route to a win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-01-13||Youngstown State v. Detroit -11||Top||77-88||Push||0||13 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Penguins enter on a bit of a roll including an impressive win over Valparaiso on Wednesday. I expect reality to set in this evening though.
The Titans already crushed the Penguins by a score of 101-60 - and that was at Youngstown State.
Naturally, the Penguins would like to get some payback from that loss. However, wanting and actually doing are entirely different matters.
The Titans average 78.6 points per game and more than 80 in games against other Horizon teams. That's by far the most in the conference. That number climbs to 83.7 at home.
As it was on their own homecourt, I believe that's going to make it tough for the Penguins, who average 67.5 on the road, to keep up.
While the Penguins have won just 12 of their last 40 on the road, the Tiants are 34-10 at home during the same stretch.
The Titans beat the Penguins by 17 in a neutral court game last March. However, they probably still haven't forgotten that the Penguins did upset them here early last season. I expect them to keep the pedal to the metal the entire way here, en route to another double-digit win. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-31-13||Oregon State v. California -7.5||Top||68-71||Loss||-110||15 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. Admittedly, the Bears haven't been a very good bet at home this season. Their early season results have worked in our favor a bit here though, as I believe that this line, which has come down a bit from its opener, could easily be higher.
The Bears hold opposing teams to 37.3% shooting here. On the other hand, when playing on the road, the Beavers allow their hosts to hit 46.8% of their shots.
While the Bears are 26-18-3 ATS (40-7 SU) the last 47 times (4-3 ATS and 6-1 SU L7) that they were listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range, the Beavers are a poor 1-5 ATS (0-6 SU) the last six times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range.
One of those games came in last year's game here. The Bears were favored by nine and they won by 14. The Bears were also laying nine points in the previous meeting here. They won that one by 28.
The Bears just finished up a 1-2 road trip with a 10-point loss at Colorado. They won their most recent home game (vs. WSU) by 13 points though and we find them at 3-0 SU/ATS when off a conference loss. They're 13-5 ATS their last 18 in that situation. During that stretch, they're also 2-0 SU/ATS after playing three straight on the road. I expect a double-digit win. *10 End of Month Blowout
|01-31-13||Butler v. St. Louis -2.5||Top||58-75||Win||100||14 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST LOUIS. Butler comes in with the higher ranking and has certainly proven that its worthy of respect. That said, I feel that the Billikens are favored for good reason.
While Saturday's 83-71 win vs. Temple was impressive, the Bulldogs managed only 53 points in losing their most recent road game. Back on the road and facing a very stingy opponent, I expect them to have some trouble scoring here.
The Billikens are a very good team. They've won two in a row and 11 of 13. Long known for their defense, they're allowing just 57.8 ppg. At home that number dips to 55.8 points, opposing teams hitting 41.3% from the field. By comparison, Butler is giving up an average of 67.5 ppg on the road.
The Billikens came into this season with high expectations. They could badly use a "signature win" and this game provides an excellent opportunity to beat a ranked opponent.
The Bulldogs are only 1-3 ATS the last four times that they scored 80 or more points in their previous game. Don't be surprised when they suffer a rare loss tonight. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-31-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Oklahoma City Thunder -8.5||Top||89-106||Win||100||13 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. I successfully played against the Thunder in their last game. They got blown out by the Lakers. The Thunder were playing the final game of a long road trip and a grueling stretch to start the year. They were also facing a revenge-minded Laker team which was in "desperation mode." Things set up much differently here.
For starters, the Thunder are back home, where they're a dominating 19-3 SU and 14-8 ATS. They're also now well-rested. Fatigue will no longer be a factor.
Russell Westbrook noted: "It's a great feeling to get back in front of your home fans. We have to take advantage of it."
Note that the Thunder are an outstanding 30-12-1 ATS (36-7 SU) the last 43 times that they were off an upset loss, going 7-1 SU/ATS their last eight.
Instead of facing a desperate Laker team, the Thunder will now take on a Memphis team which is somewhat comfortable in its spot in the standings and which may be a little distracted from yesterday's big trade.
While they had talked of trading him for some time and while they do get a couple of solid players in return, Gay was a top tier player. He was the team's leading scorer and he just hit the go-ahead shot, scoring 26 overall, in Monday's win. Facing an elite team like OKC, I expect him to be missed.
Instead of facing a "revenge" minded Laker team, this time the Thunder are the ones playing with payback on their minds. That's because Memphis beat them here back in November. Lack of motivation should not be an issue.
Note that the Thunder are an excellent 18-9 ATS the last few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss, including 4-1 SU/ATS their last five in that situation. Overall, they're 48-28 ATS (51-25 SU) the last 76 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. I expect them to improve on those stats with a double-digit win. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-30-13||Oregon v. Stanford -2||Top||52-76||Win||100||10 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on STANFORD. The Ducks come in with the the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Cardinal are favored (slightly) for good reason.
Give the Ducks credit for winning. However, also note that they are averaging 15.7 turnovers per game (most in the conference) and that their last five wins have come by an average of just five points. They turned the ball over 23 times on Saturday but a great shooting day bailed them out. I expect their good fortune to come to an end against what figures to be a very determined Stanford squad.
The Ducks will be without starting point guard Dominic Artis, out with a foot injury. They're 2-4 ATS off a conference win and 14-15 on the road the past few seasons. During that time the Cardinal are 36-10 at home.
While Oregon got the upper-hand last season, the Cardinal have long dominated the Ducks here. (They're 13-2 SU and 11-4 ATS L15 as a host against Oregon.) I expect them to resume that domination this evening. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-30-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Minnesota Timberwolves +5||Top||96-90||Loss||-110||8 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Clippers did manage to get back on track with a win last time out. However, I still don't believe they currently deserve to be laying this many points on the road. Not without their leader.
The Clippers are still just 1-4 their last five, 0-3 on the road.
The T-Wolves are playing with "double-revenge," having lost both previous meetings. Lack of motivation should not be an issue.
When these teams met here a little less than two weeks ago, Rubio was playing his first game of the season and the T-Wolves were also playing without their head coach - that can be tough for a team and the T-Wolves struggled.
Rubio's got some games under his belt now though and Minnesota's coach (Adelman) is back tonight, the first time since Jan 5th.
I expect the well-rested and revenge-minded T-Wolves to give their best effort, en route to earning at least a cover. *10 Western Conf Best Bet
|01-30-13||Toronto Raptors +7 v. Atlanta Hawks||Top||92-93||Win||100||7 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Raptors have lost a couple lately. However, they've still been excellent at the betting window in recent weeks. They're 9-6-1 ATS their last 16.
While they've lost two in a row, the first of those came by a single point. The second loss came Monday, a 114-102 defeat vs. Golden State. Note that the Raptors are 6-4-1 ATS off a double-digit loss.
The Hawks are off a tough 2-point loss vs. New York. Prior to that, they'd won three straight. However, they'd lost eight of 10 before that. A closer look shows that only three of the Hawks' last 14 games have resulted in an Atlanta victory of greater than eight points. While they haven't played since Sunday, which would normally be a good thing, note that the Hawks are 0-5 ATS when playing with two day's rest.
Listed as 9.5 point underdogs the last time that they played here, the Raptors won by 16 points. While another blowout win is probably unlikely, another upset wouldn't shock me. Either way, I expect a competitive game with the visitors earning at least a cover. *10 Eastern Conf. Best Bet
|01-30-13||Villanova v. Notre Dame -7.5||Top||60-65||Loss||-106||7 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on NOTRE DAME. The Wildcats are off back to back very impressive wins. Both were at home though. They're at a very difficult venue tonight though and I expect their streak to come to an end.
While the Wildcats are 13-17 on the road the past few seasons, the Irish are 45-3 at home. That includes a 19-1 SU and 13-7 ATS record when playing a home game with an O/U linein the 135-139.5 range.
After going through a rare rough patch, the Irish got back on track in the second half of Saturday's game. Down 35-28 at South Florida at the break, they dominated the second half, outscoring the Bulls by a 45-30 margin. I expect them to carry the momentum into today's game.
The Irish won at Villanova last season. The previous year, playing at Notre Dame and laying five points, they won by a score of 93-72. I expect homecourt to again prove significant and for the Irish to cruise to another double-digit win. *10 main event
|01-29-13||Dallas Mavericks v. Portland Trail Blazers -2||Top||104-106||Push||0||13 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND. The Mavericks pounded Portland when these teams met earlier in the season. However, that was at Dallas. The Blazers are a different team here at the Rose Garden. Although one could argue that the Mavs, who are further out of the race, need the game more, the Blazers also desperately need all the wins they can get. I expect homecourt to prove significant.
While the Mavs are 7-16 on the road, the Blazers are 15-8 here at home. That includes a 6-2-1 ATS (7-2 SU) record when listed as home favorites of three or fewer points.
While his team has played well recently, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle knows tonight's game won't be easy. He was quoted as saying:
|01-29-13||Northern Iowa +1.5 v. Evansville||Top||51-54||Loss||-110||10 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTHERN IOWA. Evansville has home-court advantage and already won the first meeting between these teams. I still believe that Northern Iowa is the better team though. Tonight, I expect the revenge-minded Panthers to prove that point on the floor.
The Panthers have four players that average double-digits in scoring and five that average 9.5 or more.
The Panthers lost by one last time out. They've been excellent off a loss though, going 3-1 SU/ATS off a conference loss. Don't be surprised when they step up and get some payback tonight. *10 best bet
|01-29-13||Golden State Warriors v. Cleveland Cavaliers +1.5||Top||108-95||Loss||-110||9 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. With Curry having left last night's game, the Cavaliers have gone from being slight underdogs to slight favorites. I don't expect the pointspread to come into play though.
The Cavs, who had the last two nights off, are playing their best basketball of the season. They're 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games and 4-1 SU/ATS their last five. Note that they're also 5-3 SU/ATS when playing with two day's rest in between games.
They should be fresh and they also know that they get some time off after this game. Playing with revenge from an earlier loss at Oakland, I expect them to be at their best.
Unlike their guests, the Warriors are not well-rested. They played at Canada yesterday. They're thousands of miles away from home and playing the final leg of a road trip.
While Curry's status remains uncertain at this point, I like the Cavs even if he does play and regardless of who the Warriors have in the lineup. It should be noted that the Warriors finally got Bogut in the lineup last night but that he's not expected to play tonight either.
While last night's win was impressive, note that the Warriors are a dismal 9-19 ATS the last 28 times that they were off a double-digit win, 3-5 ATS their last eight in that situation.
Behind another big game from Irving, the current Player Of The Week, I expect the Cavs to win their fourth straight for the first time in the "post Lebron" era. *10 best bet
|01-28-13||Indiana Pacers +5.5 v. Denver Nuggets||Top||101-102||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. The Nuggets are off three straight wins while the Pacers are off back to back losses. I expect that to lead to a very determined effort from the visiting Pacers, who will look to wrap up their road trip with a victory. Note that they're 3-1 ATS after playing their previous three (or more) on the road.
Even with a 4-point loss at Utah last time out, the Pacers are still an impressive 16-7 SU their last 23 games.
The last time that the Pacers lost back-to-back games was back in early December, when they were beaten by the Thunder and by these same Nuggets. (Indiana would immediately respond to that 2-game slide with a 15-point victory.)
Speaking of the earlier meeting, the Nuggets won that one by three points, winning at Indiana. The Pacers haven't forgotten that loss and will be looking for some payback here.
Prior to the 2-game slide in early December, the Pacers' previous 2-game losing streak was in mid-November when they lost games on 11/13 and 11/14. They responded to that 2-game skid by winning their next game by 20 points.
Even with the earlier cover at Indiana, the Nuggets are still only 5-9 ATS against Eastern Conference opponents. Their last two games against the Pacers have each been decided by four points or less. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way once again. *10 non-conf best bet
|01-28-13||Orlando Magic +9.5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||77-97||Loss||-110||11 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on ORLANDO. The Magic have certainly had trouble winning games. Many will see that their poor overall record and be quick to go against them here, particularly after realizing that the Magic played yesterday. I expect Orlando's best effort tonight though and feel that the line is generously high.
Many would likely be surprised to learn that the Magic are actually among the most profitable road teams in the entire league. They're 13-6 ATS away from Orlando.
True, the Magic did play yesterday, a 2-point loss vs. the Pistons. Before getting too concerned about the back-to-back spot, keep in mind that the Magic had two day's off, prior to yesterday's game. So, its not like they are playing three games in four days (or 4 in 5) or anything like that. In fact, this is the first time that the Magic have played b2b games in all of 2013. So, their schedule has been very manageable of late. I don't expect fatigue to be an issue.
It should also be noted that the Magic are 3-0 ATS the last three times that they played a road game, after having played the previous day. They beat Charlotte and Golden State outright and covered at Atlanta.
This is the first game of a road trip for the Magic. Given their recent woes at home (and Orlando's strong ATS stats on the road) I believe the trip is coming at a good time.
JJ Redick said. "The way we're losing is tough. But we can control our mindset, our attitude, our perspective over these last nine games before the All-Star break. We have a chance to use this road trip to get better, and we will."
I believe this may prove a tough spot for the Nets. At the very least, its not a good spot to be laying such a large number. They're off back-to-back losses and they're not playing good defense right now.
As coach Carlesimo said, "... we're just getting annihilated on points in the paint."
For the reason, the Nets rank 28th in the league in terms of their field goal defense, opposing teams hitting 46.3% against them.
Playing their first game back off a trip, with games against the Heat, Lakers and Bulls to follow, I believe the Nets may have trouble getting fully focused for a struggling Magic team which they already defeated three times back in November.
The Nets have struggled as home favorites in this range and they're only 3-6 ATS when off a double-digit loss.
I expect the revenge-minded Magic, who have been excellent as road underdogs in this range, to be a little more hungry tonight and for that to lead to at least another cover. *10 main event
|01-28-13||Pittsburgh +6 v. Louisville||Top||61-64||Win||100||7 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I won with the Panthers on Saturday. They absolutely dismantled Depaul. While I respect Louisville, I feel that the Panthers are providing us with excellent value again here.
While the Cardinals figure to be desperate, the Panthers are playing well and they know this is their opportunity to steal a win against a highly ranked opponent.
After his team scored more than 90 on Saturday, coach Dixon noted: "Obviously we'll be ready for Monday."
Pittsburgh has played the Cardinals tough here recently. Last season, the Panthers lost by three points here. The previous season, they also lost by three here.
A closer look shows that nine of the last 11 meetings between these teams have been decided by seven or fewer points.
The Panthers boast a balanced lineup with many players capable of stepping up to lead the team.
As Trey Zeigler noted: "Any night anyone can lead us in scoring," Zeigler said. "When you have 10 guys that can bring something to the table ... "
While the Cardinals have been a strong favorite overall, they haven't fared well as home favorites in this range. Off a loss last time out, their third straight, note that the Cards are now only 7-10 ATS the past couple of seasons, when off a conference loss. They should be more than happy just to eke out a win here to "stop the bleeding" and aren't likely to be concerned with "winning big."
The Panthers are 8-5 ATS as underdogs the past couple of seasons. I expect at least another cover here. *10 Main Event
|01-27-13||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Los Angeles Lakers +4||Top||96-105||Win||100||6 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. The Lakers got the monkey off their backs with a big win last time out. While the Thunder obviously represent a significant step up in class, I expect Kobe and co. to build some momentum and for them to be at their very best this afternoon.
The Lakers had a player's only meeting after losing against Memphis. I believe it will help them moving forward.
Dwight Howard noted: "After the Memphis game, we put the past behind us. We've got to sustain it for the rest of the season. We have to play together and play for each other."
Kobe, who is averaging better than 35 points per game his last five meetings with the Thunder, had this to say: "We're bonding together and we're communicating with each other very well. You can't just sweep things under the rug all the time. It's not about showing we've turned the corner. It's about doing it."
The Thunder are very good - but they're not unbeatable. They've already lost twice on the current trip and seven times on the road on the season. Note that they're playing the final game of a fairly long trip. Although they had yesterday off, its been quite a grueling schedule for the Thunder for some time. Also, note that they're 0-3 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 205 to 209.5 range.
One of the best things about Friday's win was that the Lakers allowed only 84 points, holding the Jazz to 42% shooting. That's the type of defense they need to play to compete with top tier teams like the Thunder. They're 3-1 ATS the last four times that they allowed 85 or less in their previous game.
I expect to see a very hungry Laker team that builds off Friday's win and follows it up with AT LEAST another cover here. *10 best bet
|01-26-13||New York Knicks v. Philadelphia 76ers +3.5||Top||80-97||Win||100||9 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Knicks eked out a win at Boston on Thursday, their second straight game decided by three points.
The 76'ers, who are 6-3 ATS the last nine times that they were underdogs of four or fewer points, are in a good scheduling spot. They had the last few nights off and they don't play tomorrow. They should be fresh and fully focused on avenging a pair of earlier losses suffered against these same Knicks. Note that they're 5-2 SU/ATS the last seven times that they played with three or more day's rest in between games.
On the other hand, with Atlanta on deck tomorrow night, note that the Knicks are just 1-3 the last four times that they played the front end of back to back games. The only victory came against Charlotte. That was back in early December and the win came by only two points.
The Knicks may get Felton back tonight and that should eventually make them stronger. However, he's been gone a dozen games now and working him into the lineup may not initially pay dividends.
Even with Thursday's victory, note that the Knicks are only 3-6 ATS the last nine times that they were listed as favorites of four or fewer points.
Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young had this to say of the 76ers current mindset: "Somehow we have to figure it out, come together and stay together as a team. We know what the problem is. We've been in every game so far and fought back."
I'll grab the points but I expect Young, Holliday and co. to rise to the occasion and to score the upset. *10 Atlantic Div. GOM
|01-26-13||DePaul v. Pittsburgh -16.5||Top||55-93||Win||100||8 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. At first glance, this line may seem a little high. However, I believe it could actually be even higher and I'm expecting a blowout.
There's a very big difference in level of talent between the top teams in the Big East and bottom ones. The Panthers are a top tier Big East team while the Blue Demons are among the worst.
The Blue Demons are just 1-5 (2-4 ATS) their last six games. The lone win came against Providence, perhaps the only team worse than them in the conference this season. Last time that they played on the road, the Demons lost by 21 at Connecticut, a team Pittsburgh beat with relative ease last Saturday.
Off a couple of fairly close wins and with Louisville and Syracuse on deck, I believe the Panthers will be motivated to keep the pedal to the metal the whole way here.
The Panthers are 8-3-2 ATS (13-0 SU) the last 13 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 15.5 to 18 point range. I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion this afternoon. *10 personal favorite
|01-26-13||New Mexico v. San Diego St -4||Top||34-55||Win||100||8 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. The Lobos have the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Aztecs are favored for good reason.
The Aztecs may not be ranked at the moment. However, they were not long ago and they got back on track with a big win last time out.
Coach Steve Fisher noted: "We're a veteran ball club that knows how to win. This victory started on Sunday when we started watching film. We had not been practicing like a championship team should. We were better the last couple days. I'm not surprised with how we came out and played."
The Aztecs are typically at their best against good teams. They're 8-3 SU/ATS their last 11 against teams with a winning record, going 36-18-1ATS (41-14 SU) their last 55.
The Aztecs are also 21-12 ATS the last 33 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range and 18-9 ATS (21-6 SU) their last 27 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game.
After getting beaten by the Lobos in last year's conference tournament final, the Aztecs have had this game circled. I expect their best effort and for that to lead to a win and cover. *10 annihilator
|01-25-13||Utah Jazz v. Los Angeles Lakers -5||Top||84-102||Win||100||11 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. The Lakers struggles have continued recently and things are getting desperate. Playing with "double-revenge" against a Jazz team which is never as good away from Utah, I expect Kobe and co. to respond with their best effort.
The Jazz have been playing well lately and they did beat Miami not long ago. However, their last three wins have come at home and the most recent two came against the likes of Cleveland and Washington. So, they fact that they've been winning was somewhat expected. Note that the Jazz are just 6-11 ATS the last 17 times that they played their previous three at home. (They're 63-83-3 ATS their past 100+ in that situation.)
While they did score an upset here earlier, the Jazz are only 9-15 (9-14-1 ATS) on the road. When playing away from Salt Lake City, they get outscored by a 101 to 96.2 margin, allowing opposing teams to hit more than 48% of their shots.
As for the Lakers, their last three games all came on the road, most recently at Memphis and Chicago. Those aren't easy venues to win at. Their last home game came against Miami - obviously another tough opponent. Their previous two home games both resulted in double-digit victories though.
Note that every Laker victory since Christmas has come by at least six points. All but one of those wins came by double-digits.
Enough is enough. LA rises to the occasion and gets it done. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-25-13||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Sacramento Kings +9.5||Top||105-95||Loss||-110||12 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. I successfully played against the Thunder when they lost against the Warriors a couple of nights ago. At the time I noted that the Thunder had been going through quite a grueling schedule recently and that I thought they may not be all that fresh.
Here's an excerpt from Wednesday's writeup which includes what I said about OKC's recent schedule: "Tough spot for the Thunder. Not only did they play a late game vs. the Clippers last night, they also played an OT game in the high altitude of Denver on Sunday night. This will be their 7th game in the last 11 nights and their 11th game since January 6th. By comparison, the Warriors will be playing just their eighth game since January 5th..."
The Thunder have since had a night off and they've admittedly been great at bouncing back from a loss. However, I'm still not sure that they're ready to be laying nearly double-digits on the road. Note that they're 0-3 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 205 to 209.5 range.
It should also be noted that the Thunder have a date with the Lakers on deck. LA may be struggling at the moment but a game vs. Kobe and co. remains something to potentially get caught looking ahead to.
The Kings do indeed struggle on the road. They're actually above .500 here at Sacramento though and have won two of three here.
The Kings have played the Thunder relatively tough of late, as each of the last three meetings were decided by 11 or less. They covered at OKC in this season's only previous meeting and they're 5-2 ATS when off a game against a division opponent. Knowing they've got an extended road trip on deck, I expect the Kings to go all out with their best effort tonight and for that to lead to at least a cover. *10 best bet
|01-25-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Cleveland Cavaliers +4.5||Top||108-113||Win||100||10 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. It would be easy to make a case for the Bucks. They've got a better overall record, they've had success in this series and they're 6-2 since making a coaching change. All that's been factored into the line though. I believe that the Cavs are better than their record suggests. I expect their best effort tonight and feel that the line is providing us with excellent value.
When Kyrie Irving is on top of his game, the Cavs are a different team. Indeed, they're 4-2 when the reigning Rookie of the Year tops the 30 point mark.
As Byron Scott noted: "When he's aggressive, everyone picks up on that ... That's the type of player that we need out there. He's obviously capable of doing that every single night. When he's aggressive, he makes us a better basketball team."
Irving had 40 last time out. The Cavs won outright vs. Boston.
The Bucks have won three straight. They're an awful 46-74-7 ATS (54-73 SU) the last 127 times that they were off three straight victories though.
Also just 4-6 SU/ATS the last 10 times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, I expect the Bucks to have their hands full the entire way here. *10 Central GOM
|01-25-13||Loyola Md v. Manhattan +3||Top||51-41||Loss||-110||10 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. Loyola-MD sits in its customary spot on top of the conference. I expect the Greyhounds to get upset this evening though.
While I respect the Greyhounds, I see them coming in a bit "complacent" here. They're off a big road win at Fairfield, the team that they faced in the finals of last year's MAAC Tournament, and they've got a showdown vs. Iona on deck on Saturday. I feel it will be easy for them to look past lowly Manhattan.
That'll prove costly though. Having finally adjusted to life without Beamon, the Jaspers are starting to play well. They've covered five of their last six and they've had this game circled. Their last home game resulted in a 12 point victory.
The Jaspers are 5-1 ATS against teams with a winning record and they're 3-1 ATS when off a SU conference loss. They're also 3-1 ATS in lined home games.
Last year's game here saw Manhattan lose by two points. That was preceded by a 1-point win by the Greyhounds at Loyola-MD. Needless to say, the Jaspers could have won either of those games. They haven't forgotten. I'll gladly take the points but I look for the Japsers "to take the next step" and for them to record the outright win. *10 best bet
|01-24-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Phoenix Suns +6.5||Top||88-93||Win||100||11 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. I know the Clippers are a very good team. I'm aware that the Suns have had some trouble winning games this season. I'm also aware that the Suns played last night. Even taking those three factors into consideration, I believe that the Suns are providing us with excellent value here.
Lets start by taking a look at the three factors I mentioned.
1. Yes, when healthy, the Clippers are a very good team. However, they're not the same club without Chris Paul running the show. He's expected to be out of the lineup again tonight.
2. True, the Suns have had trouble earning victories. They won one last night though, a 106-96 win at Sacramento. They've now won two of their last four.
3. The Suns are indeed playing the second of back-to-back games. However, its also true that they had an extended layoff before last night's game. So, this is actually only their third game in the past 10 nights. So, its definitely not the most grueling of b2b spots.
The Clippers are off back-to-back losses. They're 0-3 ATS their last three games. They're also 1-3 ATS when off a double-digit defeat.
The Suns should have plenty of motivation. Not only have the Clippers beaten them soundly twice already this season but this is a rare home game on TNT. They're 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 190 to 194.5 range. I expect them to step up and improve on those stats tonight. *10 best bet
|01-24-13||USC +3.5 v. Arizona St||Top||93-98||Loss||-106||12 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've had success picking my spots to back the Trojans in recent weeks. I feel that this is another good spot to do so.
Whenever I take a small underdog, I generally need to think that they're going to win the game outright, or at least I need to believe that they've got a very serious chance of doing so.
In this case, I do believe that USC has an excellent chance of winning outright. However, as the Trojans' last two games have been decided by only three combined points, a 1-point win and a 2-point loss, getting a few extra points to work with could easily prove valuable. Note that two of Arizona State's last five games were also decided by three or fewer points.
Also, note that last year's game here was very close, a 4-pt win by ASU. The previous year's game here was even closer, a 2-point win by USC.
The Trojans have covered three of four and four of six. I believe that they're more talented than many realize. They're also in one of their best roles, as they're 19-8 ATS the last 27 times they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
On the other hand, the Sun Devils, who are off back to back losses, are only 9-20 ATS the last 29 times that they were laying points.
The Trojans have been the better team over the last week and I won't be surprised when they take this game down to the wire and score the upset. *10 best bet
|01-23-13||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Golden State Warriors +2||Top||99-104||Win||100||15 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. Tough spot for the Thunder. Not only did they play a late game vs. the Clippers last night, they also played an OT game in the high altitude of Denver on Sunday night. This will be their 7th game in the last 11 nights and their 11th game since January 6th. By comparison, the Warriors will be playing just their eighth game since January 5th.
While the Thunder have the superior overall record, the Warriors' home record (13-6) is nearly identical to OKC's 14-6 road record.
While last night's game did result in a double-digit win, Durant and Collison both still saw more than 40 minutes while Westbrook and Ibaka averaged greater than 38 minutes, each playing more than 37. Even for an athletic team like the Thunder, I believe fatigue may well prove to be a factor this evening.
Even with last night's victory, note that the Thunder are still 2-3 SU/ATS as road favorites of three or fewer points. The Warriors are 13-9 ATS as underdogs.
The Warriors did lose a couple of games last week, when they were without Curry in the lineup. He's back now though and has scored 48 points his last two games, both of them Golden State victories.
The Warriors very nearly beat the Thunder in the last meeting here, losing a 119-116 thriller last February. With the schedule in their favor, I feel that they're in good position to take the next step and score the outright win. *10 best bet
|01-23-13||Denver Nuggets v. Houston Rockets -2||Top||105-95||Loss||-105||15 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. I successfully played against the Rockets on Martin Luther King Day. The Rockets were mired in a losing streak and I didn't feel that they deserved to laying such a large number on the road. They did up battling back and winning by six but that wasn't enough to cover.
The Rockets did get a win though, which was all that mattered to them. Now, they've got some much-needed confidence back. They're also back on their home floor and are now laying a much smaller number than they were on Monday. Granted, they're stepping up considerably in class, as the Nuggets are tough. However, I still feel that they're in a good spot and I expect homecourt advantage to prove significant.
The Nuggets already upset the Rockets here back in early November. The Rockets have been very good as small home favorites ever since though; they're 4-1 ATS as home favorites of three or fewer points. Overall, they're 13-8 ATS (14-7 SU) here at Houston.
On the other hand, even with their earlier win here, the Nuggets are still a poor 9-15 away from Denver.
Knowing that they'll have to play a rematch at Denver before January is over, I expect the revenge-minded Rockets to build off Monday's win and to protect their homecourt with a win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-22-13||Orlando Magic v. Detroit Pistons -5||Top||90-105||Win||100||15 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. These teams have met twice already this season. They'll also play each other again on January 27, less than a week away. Knowing that they loss both of the first two meetings and knowing that the upcoming game is at Orlando, I expect the Pistons to be very determined to take care of business on their homecourt this evening.
The Pistons will face a struggling Orlando squad. The Magic are off back to back losses, one of those coming vs. lowly Charlotte. Going back further finds them with only two wins in their last 15 games.
The Pistons are off a 15-point win over Boston last time out. They've now won eight of their past 12 games.
Even with the earlier loss here, the Pistons have still beaten the Magic 28 of the last 39 times that the teams faced each other here. I expect them to improve on those stats, picking up the cover along the way. *10 personal favorite
|01-22-13||Michigan State v. Wisconsin -5.5||Top||49-47||Loss||-107||14 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN. The Spartans have the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Badgers are favored for good reason.
The Badgers have long been dominant at home and this typically been a very strong role for them. They're 22-6 ATS (26-2 SU) the last 28 times that that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range.
During the same stretch, the Spartans were an ugly 6-13 ATS (5-14 SU) when listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Spartans are off an impressive 59-56 win over Ohio State. However, they're still just 3-6 ATS their last nine lined games. They're also a dismal 1-9 ATS the last 10 times that they held their previous opponent to 60 or fewer points.
The Badgers lost at Illinois last time out. However, they'd won at Indiana in their previous game and they crushed Illinois by 23 in their most recent home game.
The Badgers have won 12 of their last 15 home games against Top 25 teams. With revenge on their mind from last season, I expect them to deliver a solid win and cover. *10 Main Event
|01-21-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Philadelphia 76ers +6.5||Top||90-85||Win||100||10 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The 76'ers come in with some momentum. .They have won two of three including a big comeback OT win over Toronto last time out. The Raptors have been playing well and they had a 19-point lead in the second half. So, coming back showed a lot of character. While that comeback was likely fairly taxing, the 76'ers have had the last two nights to recover. This will be the fourth time in a row that they've had two days off in between games. They should be fresh and rejuvenated with some new found confidence.
Holliday is playing great basketball for this time recently, averaging 30.7 points and 11.3 assists over the 76'ers last three games.
Thaddeus Young, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds of his own said this of Holliday's game agains Toronto. "Jrue was incredible and carried us in overtime. It was a gut-check type of performance and he was there for us when we needed it in overtime.''
The Spurs won on the road last time out. However, they won by only five points and they're still just 3-7 their last 10 away from San Antonio. Only one of those three wins came by more than seven. Note that they're currently without Ginobili.
Playing their fourth straight here at Philadelphia, note that the 76'ers are, 13-7 ATS the last 20 times that they played three or more consecutive at home. Looking back further finds that they're 75-51-4 ATS their last 130 in that situation.
The 76'ers, who are playing with revenge from a 1/5 loss at San Antonio, are 11-5 ATS the last 16 times that they were a host in this series. I expect at least another cover here. *10 best bet
|01-21-13||Loyola (Md.) v. Fairfield -4.5||Top||65-60||Loss||-101||9 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on FAIRFIELD. These teams just faced each other on 1/11, at Loyal-MD. I won with the Greyhounds in that matchup. However, I like the revenge-minded Stags on their home floor.
The Stags have won eight of their last 12, when in the "revenge" role. They've won 28 of their last 37 at home. During that stretch, the Greyhounds areonly 20-18 on the road.
With Fairfield having failed to cover a few in a row, I believe we're getting a very fair line. Note that the Stags are 8-3 SU (5-3 ATS in lined games) the last few seaons, after failing to cover their previous three. They're 21-13 ATS (24-13 SU) their last 37 in that situation.
The Stags are looking to avenge more than just the recent loss. This is the team which kept them out of the NCAA Tournament last year. Revenge is sweet. I expect a win and cover for the highly motivated home team. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-21-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Atlanta Hawks -7.5||Top||96-104||Win||100||6 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Since a New Year's Day victory, the Hawks have only won two games. Laying five points, they can beat Utah by eight on 1/11. Their next win came vs. Brooklyn on 1/16. Laying three points, they won by 14. I backed them in both of those games while avoiding them i their losses. I feel that this will be another good spot for them to break out with a big win.
While the Hawks have won 13 of 20 home games, the T-Wolves are only 6-14 on the road. When playing away from Minnesota, they allow opposing teams to hit 48% of their shots.
The Hawks, who have won nine straight home meetings in this series and 11 of 12 in the series overall, are playing with "revenge" from a loss at Minnesota.
While the Hawks are banged-up themselves, they've catching the T-Wolves with an even longer list of injured players including big men Kevin love and center Nikola Pekovic. Note that Pekovic.25 points and 18 rebounds in the previous game. Alexey Shved is another key player out. In addition to all the injuries, the T-Wolves are also without their coach.
The T-Wolves are an ugly 39-65-2 ATS the last 100+ times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 185 to 189.5 range. During that same stretch, the Hawks are 84-69-1 ATS when playing at home with a line in the same range. I expect the Hawks to improve on those stats with a big win and cover this afternoon. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-20-13||Baltimore Ravens +10 v. New England Patriots||Top||28-13||Win||100||34 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. The Patriots remind me a of a school yard bully, a bit like Mike Tyson in about the mid 90s. Not Tyson like he is today and not Tyson like he was before losing to Buster Douglas. Rather, the Tyson that would beat up on guys with names like Peter McNeeley. Buster Mathis Jr. and Frank Bruno.
While he was no longer invincible, the Mike Tyson was still considered to very good. He'd only lost once and many were writing that loss to Douglas in Japan off as a fluke.
Other fighters were typically still very intimidated by Tyson and he'd routinely destroy any opponent that was lacking confidence. However, when matched up against an opponent that wasn't scared of him (Holyfield) Tyson found the going far more difficult.
It seems to me that some, perhaps many, teams are intimidated by New England. Like Tyson, the Pats annihilate a lot of opponents.
While it remains to be seen if they can pull off the upset, I believe the Ravens will have the type of mentality that Holyfield had in the Tyson fights. I don't believe that they're intimidated. They believe that they're on a mission and they're confident that they can beat this team. After the fashion in which they won at Denver - a game nobody was giving them a chance for - they truly believe that anything is possible, many believing fate is on their side.
I feel that type of confidence will serve them well here.
Lets not forget that the weather figures to be fairly nasty and Brady won't have Gronkowski to throw to.
These teams met at Baltimore in September. The Ravens won 31-30. They also faced each other here in last year's playoffs. New England won by a field goal, 23-20. That was also the exact same score in the previous game here, a 23-20 win by the Pats in Oct. 2010.
I'm expecting another close one, with the Ravens refusing to be intimidated and am grabbing all those generous points. *10 annihilator
|01-20-13||San Francisco 49ers v. Atlanta Falcons +5||Top||28-24||Win||100||30 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Last week, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were the talk of the town. This week, its Colin Kaepernick and the 49'ers who are all the rage. I feel that they're over-valued.
While they've had an extra day in between games, the 49'ers are still a West Coast team playing on the East Coast. While he may indeed be pretty "special," Kaeparnick is still a rookie making his first playoff road start.
While they are obviously a very talented team, I've found that every time that the 49'ers start winning a couple in a row, everyone wants to start handing them the Super Bowl. More often than not, that's when they've stumbled. (They were just 2-5 ATS and 2-4-1 SU after two straight wins.)
Many aren't giving the Falcons any credit for last week's win. They only see a team which nearly blew it and can't get over Atlanta's past postseason failures. I see a team which jumped all over a very opponent and a team which had the poise to come back and win, when it really mattered. I also see a team which exorcised some demons by earning that elusive playoff win.
Last week, I said the Falcons were being "disrespected," as they were barely favored against Seattle. This week, they're getting more than a field goal against the 49'ers, a team which was recently destroyed (42-13) by the Seahawks. Needless to say, I feel that the #1 seed is again being dis-respected.
Seemingly tired of being "disrespected," the Falcons were 3-0 ATS as underdogs (or in pick'em games) this season. All three of those resulted in outright victories. In fact, the Falcons didn't just win, they crushed those opponents.
When getting three points at San Diego, they won 27-3. When getting three points at Philadelphia, they won 30-17. Then, when listed at pick'em here at home against the Giants, the Falcons won by a score of 34-0. That's a combined score of 91-20 in the Falcons' favor, in the three games when they weren't favored.
The Falcons are 21-5 here the past few years, including 8-1 here this season. I'll happily take the points but expect them to win outright. *10 nfc main event
|01-19-13||UNLV v. Colorado St -3||Top||61-66||Win||100||13 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO STATE. This is a very good conference with a number of strong teams. These are two of them. The Rebels are off a fairly impressive win at San Diego State. That will have many expecting another win here. Not me.
The Rams are stronger than many people realize. They've already hammered the likes of Washington and Virginia Tech. They won at Washington by 18 and beat the Hokies on a neutral floor by 36. They're also undefeated on their home floor.
Off a dominating win over Air Force last time out, the Rams are now 24-15 ATS as favorites the past couple of seasons. Colorado State jumped out to a 34-19 lead at halftime and never let up. The Rams would finish with a commanding 79-40 victory and a 40-19 advantage on the boards.
Note that the Rams are a perfect 9-0 SU the last nine times that they allowed 60 or fewer points, 6-1 ATS in lined games. They're 10-7-1 ATS off a conference win the past 2+ seasons.
On the the hand, the Rebels typically don't respond well to a big conference win. They're 7-16 ATS the past couple of years off a conference win and just 9-17 ATS after scoring 80 or more points.
The Rebels are still 6-9 ATS the last 15 times that they were underdogs and they're still only 1-4 ATS in 2013. (They're now 5-12 ATS in January the past 2+ years.) They're also 0-4 ATS the last four times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 140 to 144.5 range.
Conversely, the Rams are 11-5 SU/ATS the last few seasons when the line was in the 140s including a 2-0 SU/ATS mark when playing at home with a line in the 140 to 144.5 range.
One of those victories came over these same Rebels here last season, a 66-59 victory. I expect another win and cover here. *10 personal favorite
|01-19-13||Kansas v. Texas +8.5||Top||64-59||Win||100||9 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. Needless to say, the Jayhawks are a strong team. In fact, some of you may recall I won with them in their very last game, a blowout win over Baylor. I feel that they're laying too large a number here.
Off their big win over Baylor and with rival Kansas State on deck, it may be easy for the Jayhawks to look past a struggling Texas team. I feel that will prove costly though.
True, the Longhorns are 0-3 to start conference play. They've never started 0-4 under Rick Barnes though and I believe that they're better than we've seen. I feel we can expect their best effort here.
Kansas coach Bill Self noted: "It's not an uncommon scene - good teams and good programs getting off to rough starts - depending on where they are playing. But, this is different than most Texas games, I believe, because they are off to a start that isn't indicative of how great their program has been. And they'll get it back, Rick will get it back. But let's just hope that doesn't happen at our expense."
While the Jayhawks are expected to have McLemore, he may be a little less than 100%. He practiced Thursday after getting hurt late in the win over Baylor.
Even with the Baylor win, the Jayhawks are only 6-8 ATS when laying points. Despite their struggles, the Longhorns are still 4-3 ATS when getting points, moving to a profitable 14-8 ATS in the underdog role the past few seasons.
Last year's game here came down to the wire, a 69-66 Kansas win. I'm expecting another close one and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 best bet
|01-18-13||Toronto Raptors v. Philadelphia 76ers -4||Top||101-108||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Raptors have been fighting hard and have been quite a profitable team in recent weeks. Their "competitiveness" combined with Philadelphia's recent struggles has helped in keeping this line quite low. While I respect the Raptors, I believe that the low line is providing us with excellent value on what should be a very hungry home team.
The Raptors did have yesterday off. However, they lost a heart-breaker on Wednesday and I feel that the may not yet be fully recovered. Down significantly against Chicago, they battled all the way, only to ultimately lose in OT.
Off that heartbreaker, the Raptors are back on the road where they've won just four of 20 games. While the 76'ers have struggled, they're still above .500 here at home.
Not surprisingly, homecourt has been significant in two of this season's previous three meetings. The teams split the two games at Toronto. However, the 76'ers won by eight in the lone meeting here at Philadelphia. Note that the 76'ers were laying 5.5 points for that game and that we're getting a better number on them here.
Including that result, the 76ers are 3-2 ATS (4-1 SU) as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range while the Raptors are only 1-4 SU/ATS as road underdogs in the same range.
While the Raptors may be still hurting a bit from Wednesday, the 76'ers should be very fresh. They had the last two days off and have actually had two day's off after each of their last three games. The Raptors have been outworking and out-hustling some teams but I don't expect that to happen here. *10 Atlantic GOM
|01-17-13||Oregon v. USC +3.5||Top||76-74||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've had some success with the Trojans of late. They've covered three of their last four games and I've been on all three of those ATS wins, while avoiding the loss. The three covers came against Utah, Colorado and Stanford (they beat Stanford outright and crushed Utah.)
The Ducks have certainly been playing well and their recent win streak has propelled them into the Top 25. While I respect the Ducks, I don't believe there's as much of a talent gap between these teams as suggested by the standings.
I also feel that the Ducks could be potentially patting themselves on the back a bit, while possibly looking past "lowly USC" and ahead to Saturday's showdown at UCLA.
While backing the Trojans recently, I've been mentioning that I believe they're better than their record indicates and that they've been under-valued.
Apparently USC athletic director Pat Haden felt the same way. Even after the blowout win at Utah, the school fired coach Kevin O'Neill.
Haden was quoted as saying: "Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."
While it can admittedly sometimes go either way, I expect the USC players to respond well to the change, at least for tonight. With a legit chance to take out a ranked opponent, I expect the Trojans to rise to the occasion, stepping up and earning AT LEAST a cover. *10 best bet
|01-17-13||Miami Heat v. Los Angeles Lakers -2.5||Top||99-90||Loss||-103||15 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. After avoiding them during their skid, I've successfully backed the Lakers each of their last two games. Both of those resulted in blowout victories. Those were against lesser teams, so obviously the Heat represent a significant step up in class. I believe that the Lakers will be up for the challenge though and I expect them to continue their current "winning streak" for another day.
While the Lakers had last night off, the Heat were busy beating up on the Warriors. True, that game wasn't that taxing, as the Heat were in cruise control by the fourth quarter and the starters got some added rest. However, they still had to play. Wade, Chalmers, Bosh and Allen still played at least 26 minutes while Lebron played more than 30.
While the Heat are certainly capable of winning in a back-to-back spot, I do think the fact the Lebron "made history" last night (youngest player to reach 20,000) could be cause for a potential letdown, if only a very slight one.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Heat will be playing their third game in four nights and they're playing the final game of a 6-game road trip.
Note that Miami is a surprisingly poor 4-10-1 ATS the past 15 times that it was listed as a road underdog of three or fewer points.
Lebron always plays with a chip on his shoulder and will surely want to try and get the better of Kobe on national TV. However, the same can be said of Kobe and its the Lakers who need this game more.
The Lakers had recently stumbled against some "elite" competition and they're still trying to get themselves back in the playoff race. A victory over the defending champs on national TV would make a statement that they're officially "back," capable of beating top tier teams and that the "new era" is now really underway. Of course, the "W" is the standings is also important, particularly with the Lakers' next three games coming on the road.
Kobe had this to say: "It's a good measuring stick for us to see how much we've improved since last week, when we played against several top teams and they all beat us. This is a big test with the defending champs coming to town."
While Nash and Howard are settling in nicely, Gasol is also expected to return tonight.
For all their struggles, lets keep in mind that the Lakers still have a better record at home (12-9) than the Heat do on the road. (Miami is now 9-9 away from home.)
I expect Kobe and co. to "pass the test," covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-17-13||Michigan v. Minnesota -2.5||Top||83-75||Loss||-110||6 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. Both teams are off to great starts. However, both lost last time out. Playing at home, I expect the Gophers to be the team which bounces back.
The Gophers now have two losses. On the other hand, the Wolverines are coming off their first defeat. That alone will have many favoring Michigan. However, I actually believe that will favor Minnesota.
The Gophers have already had to deal with failure. They've already successfully bounced back from a loss. (After losing vs. Duke back in November, Minnesota responded with a 9-point win over Memphis in its next game.)
On other had, the Wolverines had thoughts of going undefeated. Losing that first game, after being perfect so long, can be difficult.
I believe that last year's games will provide some extra motivation for the Gophers. They very easily could have been 2-0 against the Wolverines last year but instead went 0-2. Note that neither game was on this floor.
Note that the Gophers are a physical team, one which leads the conference in offensive rebounds and that they're undefeated at home.
Michigan coach John Beilein noted: "We could have lost both games very easily last year. They were both last-second games. It's another great opportunity for us to grow. ... It is all about the process, and the journey and the process are what leads you to the end."
The Wolverines are only 5-12-2 ATS (3-16 SU) the last 19 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range. Don't be surprised when they lose their second straight. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-16-13||Brooklyn Nets v. Atlanta Hawks -4||Top||95-109||Win||100||15 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. After back-to-back road losses including an embarrassing 97-58 blowout at Chicago on Monday, I expect the Hawks to be in an extremely foul mood here. I said the same thing the last time that they played here (as they were also off b2b road losses) and the Hawks rewarded me with an 8-point victory over the Jazz. With the schedule in their favor, I expect the Hawks to again bounce back with a badly needed win and cover.
While the Hawks have had trouble on the road of late, they've still won four of their last five at home. All four wins came by a minimum of seven points. They've now won 11 of their last 15 here.
While the Hawks had last night off, the Nets were involved in a hard-fought game vs. pesky Toronto. They'll be playing their third game in four nights here. Note that the Nets are just 1-5 SU/ATS when playing a road game, after playing the previous night. Overall, they're just 3-8 ATS the last 11 times that they played the second of back to back games.
I like that this is the front-end of a home-and-home series. The Hawks are desperate and know they need to defend their home floor. The Nets are potentially a little weary and also potentially patting themselves on the back a bit. They know they'll get a chance to beat these same Hawks at Brooklyn on Friday and may not be quite as hungry here, as a result.
The Hawks are 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were off a double-digit loss. They've dominated the Nets here at Atlanta and I expect that to continue for at least another night. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-15-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Los Angeles Lakers -6.5||Top||88-104||Win||100||15 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. The Lakers snapped their skid in a big way on Sunday night, blowing out Cleveland. While the Bucks are having a better season than the Cavs, I feel that they're another team which the Lakers should be able to handle.
This season's Bucks, who are averaging 96.5 points per game, have had trouble keeping up with the league's better offensive teams. In fact, they're just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS when matched up against teams which score 99 or more points per game. The Lakers average 103.4 and have scored 99 or more in 15 straight games.
The Bucks have also long had trouble with the Western Conference. In fact, they're a dismal 19-40 SU/ATS against teams from the West the past few seasons, including a 2-9 ATS (3-8 SU) mark this season.
While Gasol remains out, the Lakers got Dwight Howard back last time out.
As Steve Nash noted: It's great to have Dwight back. He's obviously huge for our team. We need him down there anchoring the defense and drawing a crowd on offense."
Note that Howard averaged 27.3 points and 16.7 rebounds in his last three matchups against the Bucks, all with Orlando.
Kobe had this to say: "We obviously ran into a tough patch last week. We were struggling, were decimated by injuries and we just so happened to play some of the top teams in the league. Now here's an opportunity to really pick it up and get going."
When stuck in a losing streak, a big win can do wonders for a team. I expect the Lakers' confidence to be high here and for them to "pick it up and get going" en route to another win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-15-13||Northern Iowa +13 v. Creighton||Top||68-79||Win||100||12 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTHERN IOWA. The Bluejays are a very good team. Having the reigning Missouri Valley Conference player (Doug McDermott) helps. That said, the Panthers are a solid team and they had success in limiting McDermott last season. I believe the line will prove to be too high.
The Panthers limited McDermott to less than 20 points each time that they faced him last season. Jake Koch, now a senior, was a big part of that. Koch, both taller and heavier than McDemott, leads the Panthers in both steals and rebounds.
Having limited McDermott to 14 and 18 points, the Panthers were able to play the Bluejays very tough last season. Both games were decided by a mere three points, the home team winning each.
Going back further finds that these teams have met nine times (3 times in the 2011 season) since 2009. Northern Iowa won five of those games, four of the wins coming by eight or less. All of Creighton's four victories came by single-digits, an average margin of victory of only five.
The Panthers may only be 2-2 SU in 2013. However, both losses came by four or fewer points. Additionally, they're off a momentum and confidence-building 84-53 destruction of Bradley.
After the big win, Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson, who has ties to Creighton coach Greg McDermott, had this to say: "We just needed a little bit of bounce in our step."
While the Bluejays are 5-7 ATS the last dozen times that they were a home favorite of greater than 12 points, the Panthers are 8-2 ATS the last 10 times that they were road underdogs in the 12.5 to 15 range, 13-5 ATS the last 18 times that they were road underdogs of greater than a dozen.
The Panthers won't be able to stop McDermott. However, they should be able to do a much better job than Missouri State just did. I expect that to allow them to keep it relatively close the entire way, giving the Bluejays and their fans a much tougher game than they were probably expecting. *10 best bet
|01-15-13||Toronto Raptors +7 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||106-113||Push||0||13 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. These teams have faced each other twice already this season. The Nets managed to win those games. However, neither victory was easy; both were decided by seven or fewer points. I expect the revenge-minded Raptors to give their hosts all that they can handle again here.
The Raptors really felt that they let last month's meeting at the Air Canada Centre, a game they led by eight at halftime, get away from them. They believe that they can play with this team and I expect them to come in both confident and motivated.
Dating back to last month's meeting at Toronto, the Raptors have won 10 of 14 games. That includes a 3-1 SU/ATS record on the road, too. The lone loss came at San Antonio, the day after Christmas.
Granted, the Nets have been playing very well recently. However, they've also had a pretty favorable recent schedule. They did beat a good Indiana team last time out. However, they were playing with rest and the Pacers were in a back-to-back spot. Prior to that, the Nets previous four opponents had been Phoenix, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Washington. None of those four teams have played nearly as well as Toronto in recent weeks. (To their credit, they did beat OKC before that.)
Having already beaten the Raptors twice and perhaps patting themselves on the back a bit from the recent win streak, I feel the Nets may not be quite as focused as their guests here.
Note that the Nets play tomorrow, the first leg of a home and home series vs. Atlanta. The Raptors have tomorrow off. While the Raptors are a non-factor in the playoffs, the Nets and Hawks are currently #4 and #5 in the Eastern standings and have very similar records. So, that could be potential cause to be "looking ahead."
Furthermore, note that the Nets are 1-4 ATS the last five times that they played the front end of back-to-back games. The only one of those five games that resulted in a win of greater than two points came against Charlotte, the worst team in the league.
The Raptors did suffer a disappointing loss last time out. They're 33-27 ATS the past couple of seasons when off a double-digit loss though the Nets are 9-13 ATS off a double-digit win, during the same stretch. With the Nets also only 3-5 ATS as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range, I'm grabbing the points. *10 best bet
|01-14-13||NC-Greensboro +4.5 v. Appalachian State||Top||70-83||Loss||-110||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC GREENSBORO. The Mountaineers have been excellent as underdogs this season. However, I don't believe that they're ready to be laying this many points against what I feel may well be a superior Spartans squad.
Playing without Trevis Simpson, the Spartans lost last time out. However, that defeat came by only three points (as a 7 point dog) and they'd won their previous game by 39.
While the Spartans are 11-8 ATS off a conference loss, the Mountaineers are 8-11 ATS the past couple of seasons off a conference win.
These teams both faced Virginia Tech back in November. I find it revealing that the Mountaineers were 19-point underdogs against the Hokies while the Spartans were only 5-point underdogs, a few days earlier. Granted, the venues were different. However, a 14-point difference in lines is significant.
The Spartans have won back-to-back games in this series, most recently a 10-point win in the conference tournament last March. Note that three of the previous four meetings were decided by four or fewer points. I believe this one could again easily come down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Southern Conf. GOY
|01-13-13||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Los Angeles Lakers -7.5||Top||93-113||Win||100||13 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. Enough is enough. The Lakers have lost six straight, failing to cover in five of those games. A closer look shows that their last five games have come against the likes of OKC, San Antonio, Denver, Houston and the Clippers. Needless to say, the Cavaliers represent a significant step down in class.
True, the Lakers are still without Gasol and Howard. Defeating elite teams without those two bigs is going to be challenging. Beating a Cleveland team which is 9-29 (5-17 on road) and which is without its own big (Varaejo) should be an entirely different matter.
Coach D'Antoni knows that the time is now and this team needs to take advantage of this very winnable game. He was quoted as saying: "I told the team, the biggest thing is our season starts Sunday. We've got to make a run. We've got one shot at it, and everybody needs to get ready mentally and physically. We won't be mathematically out of it Tuesday if we don't do it Sunday, but it has got to turn around somewhere. And we have to make our stand and do it. I am an optimist and I think it can happen."
Both teams had Saturday off. While the Lakers also have tomorrow off, the Cavs will be playing at Sacramento. That's noteworthy as they're just 7-13 AT (5-15 U) the last 20 times that they played the front end of back-to-back games. That includes a 1-4 SU/ATS mark their last five in that situation, the lone victory coming by just two points vs. lowly Charlotte.
Playing with revenge from a loss at Cleveland last month and desperate to snap their skid, I expect the Lakers to step up and "make their stand" with a big win and cover. *10 Non-Conf GOM
|01-13-13||Houston Texans +10 v. New England Patriots||Top||28-41||Loss||-115||120 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. You probably remember that these teams faced each other here about a month ago. If so, you'll recall that the Pats crushed the Texans in that game. That result is one of the factors causing this line to be much higher than it was for last month's meeting. I believe it will prove to be too high.
The Texans were among the best teams in the league for much of the season. Right up until the time they played here, at least. That loss sent them into a bit of a tailspin. The Texans flipped the switch back on last week though, knocking off a tough Cincy team which was playing very well. With their "mojo" back and having earned some "relief" in bouncing back, I expect the revenge-minded Texans, who are now 5-0 ATS their last five January games, to be at their best here.
Note that Houston is 10-2 ATS the last 12 times it attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 3-0 SU/ATS its last three in that situation.
The Texans rode Arian Foster hard in the win over the Bengals. He had 140 yards on 32 carries. While Foster deserves a lot of that credit, the Houston offensive line did an excellent job of opening holes for him, against a touch Bengals' defensive line. I believe that strong running game will serve the Texans well here.
The Pats are only 1-3 ATS their last four playoff games and they're also a somewhat surprising 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) the last four times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest in between games. When in that situation this season, they eked out a 6-point win over the Bills.
This O/U line is a bit lower than it was for last month's meeting. Therefore, its worth noting that the Pats are a poor 2-7 ATS the last nine times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 45.5 to 49 range. Going back further finds them at just 9-23 ATS their last 32 in that situation. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. *10 AFC Best bet
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