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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|04-21-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Indiana Pacers -6.5||Top||90-107||Win||100||69 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Neither of these teams played particularly well down the stretch. Atlanta lost its final two regular season games and five of its last seven. The Hawks are only 2-8 ATS their last 10. Indiana hasn't been any better. The Pacers lost their last three games and five of their last six. They were 0-6 ATS during that stretch. Playing at home, I believe that the Pacers will be the team which is able to bounce back and return to form.
Homecourt is important to almost every team and that's certainly the case for both of these clubs.
The Hawks were 25-16 at home but only 19-22 on the road this season. On the other hand, the Pacers were 30-11 at home, going 19-21 on the road. They outscored teams by a 97.6 to 89.9 margin here. Visiting teams shot just 41.2% here.
Not surprisingly, given the above stats, the home team won all four meetings during the regular season. The Pacers won the two games here by an average of 8.5 points.
Despite the late season struggles, I believe that the well-coached Pacers will be ready to go. Indiana coach Vogel had this to say: ''The guys are really dialed in. Everything out of your mouth, they're nodding their heads and they're coaching themselves.''
The Pacers have only lost three in a row one previous time in 2013. After dropping three straight in late January, they responded with a 98-79 victory. I expect this well-coached team to again bounce back, picking up the cover along the way. 10* personal favorite
|04-20-13||Chicago Bulls +5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||89-106||Loss||-110||52 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. These teams faced each other four times during the regular season, most recently about three weeks ago. The Bulls won that 4/4 meeting, which was played here at Brooklyn, by a score of 92-90. The Bulls also won both meetings at Chicago, while losing the first game at Brooklyn by four points.
Including those results, the Bulls are 13-8 ATS the last 21 times that they were road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range, going 7-4 ATS their last 11 in that situation.
Meanwhile, the Nets are 8-15 ATS their last 23 as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, going 6-9 ATS their last 15 in that role.
Overall, the Nets were 16-23-2 ATS here while the Bulls are 23-17-1 ATS on the road.
While the Bulls sometimes struggled against lower tier competition, they were typically tough against better teams. They finished the season at 24-21 ATS (25-20 SU) against teams with a winning record, going 70-52-1 ATS (72-51 SU) against winning teams the past few seasons.
On the other hand, the Nets often had their way against weak teams but were only 14-24-1 ATS (15-24 SU) against teams with a winning record.
While Deron Williams may (arguably) be the best player on the floor, I believe that the Bulls have more depth and a more complete team. Perhaps more importantly, I also believe that they've got an edge in the coaching department.
The Nets weren't able to beat the Bulls by more than four points in any of this season's meetings, three of those being decided by four or less. I won't be surprised if this one also comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10* best bet
|04-17-13||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Charlotte Bobcats -2.5||Top||98-105||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Although this is technically a "meaningless" game, I expect both teams to want to win it. That said, I believe the Bobcats will want it a little more. Throw in the fact that they're also currently playing much better and I believe this low line is very fair.
Note that Charlotte's overall home record (14-26) is four games better than Cleveland's 10-30 mark on the road.
The Cavaliers would like to close out their season with a victory. There's a chance that Byron Scott won't be around next season and the players would likely want to send him out as a winner.
I believe the Bobcats have more to play for though. With a victory here, the Bobcats can win three in a row. A win here will also give them a chance to pass Orlando (teams are currently tied) and to avoid having the worst record in the league.
Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson had this to say about avoiding last place:"We want to take care of that. It's not been one of our goals to start the season, obviously, but it's become a smaller goal for us as we've come down the stretch."
The fact that the Cavs have won both this season's meetings should provide the Bobcats with a little extra incentive too, as they look to avoid the series sweep.
Motivation aside, the Bobcats are simply playing much better than the Cavs right now. While Cleveland had lost five straight and 15 of its last 17, Charlotte has quietly won seven of its last nine at home. I expect the Bobcats to "keep on rolling," as they close out the season with another victory, providing the home fans with some hope that next season may finally be different. 10* personal favorite
|04-15-13||New York Knicks v. Charlotte Bobcats +8||Top||95-106||Win||100||23 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Its been another difficult season for the Bobcats. However, they've played well at home in recent weeks and I feel this will prove to be a good spot for them.
The Bobcats last game resulted in a 10-point win over the Bucks, on Saturday. They had yesterday off. Including Saturday's victory, they're 3-1 SU/ATS their last four home games and 6-2 SU/ATS their last eight here.
The Knicks have fared quite when playing the second of back-to-back games. However, I believe that this is worse than a "typical" back-to-back spot.
Not only are the Knicks off a big game vs. the Pacers yesterday, they're also their fourth game in the past five days. This will also now be their ninth game in the past 14 days.
Given that grueling schedule and with their home finale (vs. Atlanta) on deck and throw in the fact that they've now locked up the #2 seed in the East, I feel that they're going to have trouble remaining fully focused on the lowly Bobcats.
I would feel that was going to be true, regardless of who was in the lineup. However, the already banged-up Knicks are also likely going to rest a number of regulars.
After yesterday's win, Carmello Anthony was quoted saying: "It was a big game for us so now guys can get their rest, I can get my rest and come back full speed ready for the playoffs."
I expect the Bobcats to be the far more motivated team here and look for them to come away with the cash. 10* best bet
|04-12-13||New York Knicks v. Cleveland Cavaliers +4.5||Top||101-91||Loss||-105||9 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Knicks saw their winning streak come to an end last night, falling in OT at Chicago. While many will expect them to immediately bounce back, I won't be surprised to see them lose two in a row.
While they've been solid when playing the second of back-to-back games, an OT loss on national TV is a little harder to bounce back from than a "regular" loss. Thats particularly true with a number of players still banged-up.
Note that the Knicks haven't fared too well as small-medium sized road favorites.
The Cavs, who got Dion Waiters back last game, have covered three of their last four and four of their last six. Despite an 0-2 SU mark, they've played the Knicks tough in both this season's meetings. Those games were decided by only six combined points.
Even with a loss here last month, the Cavs are still 4-1 ATS the last five times that they were a host in this series. They're also 4-1 ATS when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 200 to 204.5 range. I expect AT LEAST another cover tonight. 10* best bet
|04-12-13||Brooklyn Nets v. Indiana Pacers -5.5||Top||117-109||Loss||-103||19 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. The Pacers are in one of their better roles here. They're 20-11 ATS (23-8 SU) the past few seasons when listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range. That includes a 7-2 ATS (8-1 SU) mark their last nine in that situation. I expect them to improve on those stats tonight.
While the Nets are a respectable 22-17 on the road, the Pacers are a very strong 30-9 at home. A victory tonight will officially clinch the third seed.
The Pacers play with "double-revenge" here, as the Nets have defeated them in both previous meetings. That should provide some added incentive. Note that the Pacers are 7-4 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss.
Even with the earlier victories over the Pacers and a win vs. Boston on Wednesday, the Nets are still a poor 13-24-1 ATS (14-24 SU) against teams with a winning record this season. That includes a 5-11 ATS mark their last 16 against winning teams.
After dropping two straight, the Pacers got back on track with a win vs. Cleveland on Tuesday. The fact that they didn't cover in that game has helped to keep this line slight lower than it potentially could have been.
Note that that Pacers, who also get tomorrow off, are 9-6 ATS (10-5 SU) when playing with two day's rest in between games. Looking to lock up the third seed and looking to avenge the earlier losses, I expect another win and cover tonight. 10* personal favorite
|04-10-13||New Orleans Hornets v. Sacramento Kings -5.5||Top||110-121||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. The Hornets have won both meetings this season. However, I believe this one sets up nicely for the Kings to exact some revenge. Note that both of the first two meetings were played at New Orleans.
While the Kings have had the past two nights off, the Hornets are off a hard-fought game vs. the Lakers, a contest where they really left it all on the floor.
Off that "meaningful" game, one which they were leading with seven minutes remaining only to fall short, I feel it will be tough for them to get up for this "meaningless" one. Note that the Hornets may be without Eric Gordon and/or Grevis Vasquez.
For the Kings, I don't expect it to be meaningless though. For starters, the Kings haven't been swept by the Hornets this entire millennium. I believe that avoiding that "feat" will provide them with some added motivation here.
Additionally, the Kings hit the road for three games after this, before playing their last game vs. the Clippers. In other words, this is their best chance to give the fans one last victory.
A win here can bring the Kings to .500 (20-20) at home and would put them in a position to potentially finish with a winning record here. (The Hornets are 11-28 on the road.)
The Kings, who nearly beat Memphis in their most recent game here, are 17-4-1 ATS (17-5 SU) the last 22 times that they were a host in this series. I expect them to be both the "fresher" and the "hungrier" team here and for that to lead to another win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|04-09-13||Philadelphia 76ers +7.5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||83-104||Loss||-105||11 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Nets have failed to cover in two straight games and are now 1-4 ATS their last five. I expect them to have their hands full again tonight.
Some of you may recall that we backed the 76'ers when they beat up on the Nets at Philadelphia last month. Despite being listed as an underdog, Philly won that game by a score of 106-97.
The 76'er also played the Nets tough here in the lone meeting at Brooklyn, losing 95-92, back in late December.
Its true that the 76'ers are now officially playing out the string. However, they've known that the playoffs weren't in the future for some time (long before getting mathematically eliminated) and they've still been playing hard.
Coach Collins said this of his team: "I'm incredibly proud at how hard they've played every single night. We've competed and we've had some really tough losses but we can only grow from that.''
While they did get blown out at Miami on Saturday, tote that the 76'ers have won four of their last six game outright. The other loss came by only five points. In other words, they'd be 5-1 ATS their last six, if they were getting as many points as they are this evening.
Note that the 76'ers are 14-7 ATS when off a double-digit loss.
Its true that the Nets are trying to secure fourth place in the East, which makes every game important. However, with a big game at Boston on deck tomorrow night, I believe that Brooklyn may not be fully focused on the "lowly" 76'ers. Note that the Nets are a dismal 4-12-1 ATS the last 17 times that they played the front end of back-to-back games.
Its also worth noting that the Nets are only 5-14 ATS when facing an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting. So, "revenge" hasn't been much of a motivating factor for them.
The Nets are 4-6-1 ATS as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. They're also 4-8-1 ATS when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 190 to 194.5 range.
The 76'ers are 11-4 ATS the last 15 times that they were a guest in this series, including a perfect 5-0 ATS the last five. I expect their best effort, en route to at least another cover. 10* best bet
|04-08-13||Michigan v. Louisville -3.5||Top||76-82||Win||100||36 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. As you likely saw, the Cardinals received a stiff test vs. Wichita State. While that has helped to keep this line reasonably low, I believe that close game and the fact that they were able to battle back will serve them well here.
Needless to say, both teams are very good. Both are well-coached. Both are excellent on both sides of the ball. I believe the Cards bring a little more to the table though.
A look at the stats, when playing away from home, reveals that Michigan has outscored opponents by an average of 73 to 66.5. However, when playing away from home, Louisville has outscored opponents by an average of 73.6 to 59.9.
Not only did the Cards erase a 12-point second half deficit vs. the Shockers, they erased a 16-point second half deficit in the Big East Final, going on a 27-3 run and winning by 17. (That happened to be against Syracuse.) Indeed, this is a team that is never out of it.
This has been one of Louisville's best roles. In fact, the Cards are a perfect 7-0 ATS the last seven times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. (During that stretch, the Wolverines were 1-1 ATS as neutral court underdogs in the same range.)
While I respect Belein, I believe Pitino gives the Cards an advantage. I expect him to have the Cards ready and for their relentless pressure to ultimately prove the difference. 10* NCAA GOY
|04-07-13||New Orleans Hornets v. Phoenix Suns +4||Top||95-92||Win||100||29 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. The Suns have opened as underdogs here. I'll happily take whatever points are being offered. However, I expect them to win this one outright.
I successfully backed the Suns in their last game. While they ultimately lost the game, they easily covered the spread. They're stepping down in class here and I feel a similar effort will result in a SU victory.
While the Suns 16-23 home record isn't overly impressive, its considerably better than the Hornets' 10-27 mark away from New Orleans.
Not surprisingly, the home team has won both meetings this season. The Hornets won by nine when the teams met at New Orleans in February. Earlier in the season, the Suns won by three points here at Phoenix. Note that it was the Suns who were favored for the previous game here - they were laying 5.5 points.
While the Suns are off a cover, the Hornets are off back-to-back double-digit losses. They're now 1-4 SU/ATS their last five. Going back further finds them at 0-8 SU/ATS their last eight road games.
Obviously, neither team is going to make the playoffs. In cases like this these, motivation often plays a pivotal role in determining which team will cover. In this case, playing at home and looking to snap an extended losing streak, I believe that the Suns will be the "hungrier" team.
Why do I expect the Suns to be more hungry? A closer look at the schedule reveals that this is their second last home game of the season. After this, four of their final five games come on the road. Their lone remaining home game, after this one, comes vs. Houston. Needless to say, the Rockets are a better team than the Hornets. In other words, this game offers the Suns their best chance to give the home fans a victory. They're aware of this and I believe it will prove to be a motivating factor.
The Suns have beaten the Hornets twice in a row here and are 5-2 SU their last seven as a host in the series. 10*
|04-07-13||Dallas Mavericks v. Portland Trail Blazers +3.5||Top||96-91||Loss||-104||13 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND. In terms of making the playoffs, the Mavericks certainly have more to play for. They're desperately trying to catch up and get into the 8th spot. The Blazers, on the other hand, are already eliminated from postseason contention. That will likely have many wanting to back the Mavs here. I feel the Blazers are going to be very hungry though and that we're going to get their best effort tonight.
Admittedly, the Blazers haven't played too well in recent days. However, lets not forget that their 24-15 home record is far superior to the Mavs' 15-24 mark on the road.
While the Mavs won both meetings at Dallas, the Blazers defeated them in the lone meeting here at Portland.
After a poor performance on Friday, Portland coach Terry Stotts said this of his team: "It's definitely a downer. To have a losing streak at this time of the year and playing against playoff teams, it's a difficult task. In general, I've found that most players bounce back pretty well and we'll bounce back Sunday."
The Blazers have LaMarcus Aldridge back and that's a big plus for this team. Aldridge was excellent in his first game back, scoring 32 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Now the team has had a game with him in the lineup, which should help them here.
Wesley Matthews said this of the team's motivation level: "It's not even about the playoffs. We've got to play like this is the blessing it is."
The Mavs are just 7-12 ATS the past few seasons as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, including a 1-3 ATS mark in that role this season. Meanwhile, the Blazers are 2-1 ATS as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
While they fought hard, the reality is that the Mavs aren't likely going to make the playoffs. This is the Blazers' chance to really put the nail in their coffin. They've won five of the last seven series meetings here and I expect them to step up and score the upset tonight. 10* best bet
|04-06-13||Atlanta Hawks +7.5 v. San Antonio Spurs||Top||97-99||Win||100||11 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. I'm well aware that the Spurs have dominated the Hawks over the years here. I also know that they've been very tough here all season and that they're still trying to lock up the #1 seed. That said, I expect the Hawks to give them all they can handle tonight and feel that they've got an excellent shot at scoring an upset.
As of this writing, it appears likely that Parker won't be able to go for the Spurs. Even if he does play, he's likely not going to be 100%. Last time out, Parker went just 1 of 6 for two points, before leaving with a shin injury. Already without Ginobili, the Spurs lost by double-digits. They've now dropped three of four.
Coach Popovich had this to say about Parker's performance and injury: "It looked like he had no energy to start the game and then as he went, he looked to me like he was limping. We saw him coming across halfcourt actually limping one time, and that's when we pulled him and I said to him, 'Tony, you got to stop.'"
Parker averages 20.6 points and 7.5 assists, both team highs. He's one of just three players averaging at least 20.0 and 7.0 per game.
Tim Duncan had this to say: "Obviously, Tony's down, Manu's down, so it's a concern, especially in this part of the season ... "
The Hawks are off a poor effort last night and that had Coach Drew steaming. I expect him to demand a much better effort tonight and for his team to respond accordingly.
Drew had this to say: "How you can come out and play like that when the game has that type of meaning is beyond me."
The Hawks beat Orlando by nine the last time that they played the second of back-to-back games and are a respectable 11-9 SU/ATS in that situation on the season. Note that four of those nine losses came by eight points or less - including a 5-point setback vs. these same Spurs.
The fact that they lost that game vs. San Antonio is noteworthy, as the Hawks are 23-14-1 ATS the last 38 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier home loss.
The Hawks are also 12-6 ATS (14-4 SU!) the last 18 times that they were off a double-digit loss. I expect them to rise to the occasion, earning AT LEAST a cover and improving to 5-2 ATS as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range. *non-conf. goy
|04-06-13||Indiana Pacers v. Washington Wizards +4||Top||85-104||Win||100||11 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Pacers are having a great season and they've got a much better overall record than the Wizards. However, many might be surprised to learn that the Wizards' home record is actually better than Indiana's road record. That said, I believe the home underdog is providing us with excellent value here.
Even after a recent successful road trip, the Pacers are still only 19-19 away from Indiana.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are 21-17 at home, going a lucrative 25-13 at the betting window. They've outscored opposing teams by a 98 to 95 margin here. In fact, they've won eight straight at home, covering in each of the last seven.
Going back further finds the Wizards at 17-4 since Wall returned to the lineup. Two of those four losses came by two points. The other two both came by eight. In other words, they haven't been blown out here in months and they'd be 18-2 ATS their last 20 here if the line was what it is today.
A closer look at the recent 8-game winning streak reveals that the Wizards have won those games by an average of 12.2 points, shooting a sizzling 50.4 percent from 3-point range. Wall has averaged an impressive 23.8 points and 8.6 assists.
While the Wizards, who lost at Toronto on Wednesday, have had the past couple of day's off, the Pacers got blown out by the Thunder last night.
While they have yet to beat the Pacers, the Wizards have been at their best against quality teams. They're 11-5 ATS their last 16 against teams with a winning record, going a lucrative 24-11-1 ATS against winning teams on the season.
Wall wasn't in the lineup for any of the Wizards' three losses vs. Indiana. (All three losses came by eight or fewer points.) As noted, he's back and playing very well right now though. The Wizards are 9-4 ATS off a double-digit loss and 29-18 ATS when playing with revenge. I expect them to continue their excellent play here, earning AT LEAST a cover and improving to 6-3 ATS as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. 10* Eastern Conf. best bet
|04-06-13||Wichita State v. Louisville -10||Top||68-72||Loss||-104||11 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. The Shockers have been a great story and deserve credit for advancing this far. I believe that the party will come to a crashing end on Saturday though.
While I certainly don't discount what the Shockers have done, I feel that the Cardinals are too deep, too talented and too well coached.
Normally, an underdog which had earned numerous upsets to get this far (like Wichita State) would have the support of the public and the fans watching the game. That can help provide some energy. That's not necessarily the case for the Shockers here though, as the gruesome injury to Ware has many wanting to see Louisville win it for him.
The Cardinals were already "on a mission," entering the tournament. Ware's injury has provided them with even further incentive.
The Cardinals have a lot more experience on the "big stage" and their 18-5 ATS record the past few seasons, when playing on a neutral court, is too good to ignore. I expect a double-digit win. 10* personal favorite
|04-05-13||Golden State Warriors v. Phoenix Suns +8||Top||111-107||Win||100||14 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. The Warriors have had a very solid season and enter tonight's game with a much better record than the Suns. That said, I don't feel that they're ready to be laying this many points on the road.
While they've been tough at home, the Warriors are only 17-21 on the road. That's almost identical to the Suns' 16-22 home record. (If the Suns win tonight, the records will be equal.)
The Warriors did win this season's previous meeting - but that victory came by only two points. For the season, the Warriors are being outscored by an average of 102.8 to 99.9 away from home.
The Warriors just won four of five games on a recent home-stand. Four of those five games were decided by 10 or less though. (Most recently, they beat the Hornets by 10.) With an arguably bigger game vs. Utah on deck, I feel they may not be fully focused on the lowly Suns. Note that they Warriors are only 13-23 their last 36 off a double-digit win, 7-9 ATS in that situation this season.
The Suns have certainly struggled on the defensive side of the ball lately. They've scored more than 100 points in three straight games though, making it four times in five games that they've hit triple-digits.
While they (obviously) aren't going to make the playoffs, I don't believe the Suns are ready to throw in the towel. At least not when playing with triple-revenge, against a divisional opponent.
Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic had this to say: "We're not going to make the playoffs, so we'll just try to compete until the end of the season."
Even including the loss earlier, the Suns are 16-4 the last 20 times that they were a host in this series. The four losses came by an average of less than six points. I expect their best effort tonight. 10* best bet
|04-03-13||New York Knicks v. Atlanta Hawks -2.5||Top||95-82||Loss||-105||8 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Hawks may claim that they don't care about positioning. However, I don't believe that to be the case. There's a big difference between finishing fourth and finishing fifth and they should be well aware of that fact. They've got the schedule in their favor and I expect them to step up with a win and cover.
The Knicks may have the better overall record but the Hawks' 24-13 mark at home is superior than the Knicks' 20-16 record away from MSG.
The Knicks have certainly been rolling and they're off an impressive win over the Heat last night. That said, I believe that this is a tough spot for them.
The Heat may have been without their stars last night but they still put up a fight. As a result, the Knicks starters were forced to log relatively heavy minutes.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Knicks will also be playing their third game in the past four days and their sixth game in the past nine. That's a pretty grueling stretch and I expect it to catch up with them here.
Playing with revenge from a 2-point loss at New York, I expect the Hawks to be both the "fresher" and "hungrier" team and for that to ultimately translate to victory. 10* main event
|03-30-13||Syracuse v. Marquette +4.5||Top||55-39||Loss||-110||7 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Both these teams were very impressive in their last game. Each of them dominated a very strong opponent. Syracuse seems to be getting a lot more credit/respect for its win over Indiana than Marquette is for its win over Miami though. While the Orange beat me last time, I've been riding the Golden Eagles the past couple of games. Getting a handful of points, I believe they're providing us with very fair value once again.
These teams met last month, at Marquette. The Golden Eagle won by three points. Unlike Indiana, which appeared confused by the zone played by Syracuse, the Golden Eagles have seen it before and are very familiar with the Orange.
One player that was particularly effective against the Cuse zone last month was Marquette's big man, Davante Gardner. He was 7 for 7 from the field, sank 12 of his 13 free throws, while also contributing eight rebounds.
Gardner commented: "I love playing against athletic guys. Because they think they can just stop me. But I use my weight to push them around."
While its obviously unrealistic to expect Gardner to hit at such a high percentage again, I do expect him to have another effective game. He had 14 points against Miami.
The Golden Eagles are 6-1 SU and 5-1 ATS when playing with one or less day's rest. They're now 19-8 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons. When they do lose, its generally not by many points. In fact, as I mentioned prior to the Miami game, Marquette has only lost two games by more than eight points this entire season. Four of the Golden Eagles losses have come by four points or less.
Prior to Thursday's "blowout win," each of the Golden Eagles' last eight games was decided by eight or less. I won't be surprised if this one also comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10*
|03-29-13||Fla Gulf Coast v. Florida -13||Top||50-62||Loss||-108||24 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Eagles have certainly been the story of the tournament. I avoided their game against Georgetown but they cost me when they knocked off San Diego State. They're up against an entirely different opponent now though and I expect their magical run to come to a crashing halt.
While I believe that the Gators have numerous matchup advantages, I also feel that the venue (Arlington, Texas) will favor them.
While the Eagles played their games at Philadelphia, the Gators played at Austin, only a few hours away. They remained in Texas the entire time, focusing entirely on the task at hand. On the other hand, the Eagles went from Philadelphia back to their school, where they were treated like rock stars. Not only was their extra travel involved, it figures to be hard for them to be fully focused, given all the attention that they've been receiving.
While the Eagle are already heroes, no matter what happens here, the Gators are on a mission. They're a team loaded with seniors and they've come up short in their previous tries. After being to the regional finals each of their last two years, they want more here. Kenny Boynton noted: "We remember the pain it caused for us last year. I think we used it to learn. ... We've been close. And our goal is to get further this year.''
While the line may seem high, keep in mind that the Gators are 8-2 ATS their last 10 NCAA tournament games and 5-1 ATS (6-0 SU) the last six times that they were listed as neutral court favorites of 12.5 to 15 points. I say the clock strikes midnight for "Cinderella" in Arlington. 10* personal favorite
|03-28-13||Syracuse v. Indiana -5||Top||61-50||Loss||-110||14 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. I've had some success playing both on and against Syracuse this season. I feel that this will prove to be an excellent spot to go against the Orange.
The Hoosiers got a wake-up call against Temple, a team they didn't match up well against from a 'style' perspective. While they're certainly a formidable opponent, I believe the Orange present a better matchup for them.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim employs a 2-3 zone, generally for the entire game. That typically means that teams have to beat the Orange from the outside. The majority of teams aren't built to do so. The Hoosiers aren't like most teams though.
The Hoosiers shoot 40.8% from beyond the arc and 48.6% overall. Christian Watford (48%), Jordan Hulls (46%) and Victor Oladipo (43 percent) all shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. Will Sheehey (36%) is also highly capable of knocking them down from long range.
Note that Oladipo, a contender for National Player of the Year, played here in high-school. He was quoted as saying: "I'm going to have a lot of family and friends here, but at the same time, it's a business trip. We're here to be successful."
I also believe this matchup will allow Zeller to play to his strengths.
The Orange Syracuse lost 61-39 (vs. Georgetown a few weeks ago) the last time that they played at this arena, their fewest points since December 1962. With a total currently in the mid-high 130s, note that the Orange are 0-6 ATS the last six times that they played a neutral court game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range.
The fact that the Hoosiers have failed to cover a few in a row has kept this line slightly lower than I feel it could easily be. They've generally been at their best vs. "elite" teams. I look for them to rise to the occasion with a win and cover. 10*
|03-28-13||Marquette +5.5 v. Miami (Fla)||Top||71-61||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. I backed the Golden Eagles in their victory over Butler. While I marked that one down as a push, hopefully some were able to to get a win. Either way, I feel that back-to-back very close wins will serve them well here.
While the Hurricanes have admittedly fared well as favorite this season, the Golden Eagles are an outstanding 18-8 ATS the last 26 times that they were getting points.
Both teams score roughly the same number of points (68.8 vs. 69.9) and both are stingy defensively. the Golden Eagles allows 62.9% ppg while the Canes allow 60.3. Therefore, its worth noting that Marquette is 30-15 ATS (31-17 SU) its last 48 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points while Miami is 16-14 ATS (18-15 SU.)
The Hurricanes are 3-4-1 ATS in games with an O/U line in the 120s while the Eagles are 7-3 ATS. Note that with the final combined score expected to be relatively low, that every point is that much more valuable.
While I do certainly respect Miami, Marquette has only lost two games by more than eight points this entire season. Four of the Golden Eagles losses have come by four points or less. Each of their last eight games has been decided by eight or less. I expect another one that comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10*
|03-27-13||Indiana Pacers v. Houston Rockets -4.5||Top||100-91||Loss||-107||9 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Rockets are playing some of their best basketball of the season right now. The Pacers are getting healthier but are still at less than 100%. Playing with "revenge" from an earlier loss at Indiana, I expect the Rockets to take care of business and to defend their homecourt.
The Rockets are averaging 109.7 points per game at home this season, hitting 47.5 % of their field goals here. On their current homestand, they've cranked up the defensive intensity, allowing an average of only 92.5 points. That's a dangerous combination.
Note that Houston is 24-5 when limiting teams to 101 or fewer points and that the Pacers average only 90.7 ppg on the road.
Losers of three of their last four road games, the Pacers are only 15-19 away from Indiana. On the other hand, the Rockets are 25-10 at home.
While they did lose at Indiana earlier, the Rockets are still 19-9 ATS (20-8 SU) against Eastern Conference opponents. (The Pacers are 14-11 against the West.)
The Rockets get tomorrow off and they've had two day's worth of rest coming in. They're 7-4 ATS (8-3 SU) when playing with two day's rest. The Pacers had yesterday off but are still playing their fourth game in the past six days - and they've got a game at Dallas tomorrow.
The Pacers have a comfortable lead over the Bulls in their division. While they'd still like to improve their positioning, assuming they hold off the Bulls, they'll get homecourt advantage in the first round.
I would argue this game is bigger for the Rockets. If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would be up against the Thunder. They've still got a very real chance of moving up to 6th though which would mean facing the Nuggets, Clippers or potentially the Grizzlies. I expect a highly motivated effort en route to a win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-25-13||RICHMOND +1 v. WRIGHT STATE||Top||51-57||Loss||-110||12 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on RICHMOND. The Raiders had a solid season. I would consider them to be "over-achievers." In fact, they're the last team from the Horizon League to even be playing this season. That said, I feel that they're facing a more talented opponent here and I look for their season to come to an end.
Richmond shook off a very disappointing loss to Charlotte in the A-10 Tournament by winning their first game in this tournament. I believe that they're motivated to win the entire thing and feel that they've got the talent to potentially do so.
Wright State coach Billy Donlon had this to say of the Spiders: "You
|03-24-13||Fla Gulf Coast v. San Diego St -7||Top||81-71||Loss||-110||13 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. As many of you are likely aware, I played on the Aztecs in their opening round game. Oklahoma played them tough for a half but the Aztecs blew out the Sooners in the second half. I believe that they're providing us excellent value again and I'm expecting them to deliver another double-digit win.
Unless you attended the school, its unlikely you had Florida Gulf Coast getting this far in your bracket. Still, the Eagles are here - and have shown that they can not be taken lightly. I don't believe that that battle-tested and well-coached Aztecs will make that mistake.
The Eagles are athletic and they do some "tricky" stuff. (Like switching from zone to man-to-man and back again on defense.) They're no longer an unknown commodity though and the Aztecs will be paying them far more attention than the Hoyas evidently did. (Air Force is a little bit like that - so the Aztecs aren't totally unfamiliar with a changing defense.)
Sure, the win over G-Town was certainly impressive. The Eagles did actually beat Miami way back in early November too. So, the victory over the Hoyas wasn't totally unprecedented. Keep in mind that the Eagles got blown out when facing other decent non-conference teams though. They lost by 23 vs. VCU. They lost by 21 vs. Duke. They also lost by 11 against both St. John's and Iowa State. Outside of those games, their schedule was "less than challenging." Indeed, the Atlantic Sun Conference is hardly the ACC, Big East or even the Mountain West.
While the other teams in the Mountain West have disappointed, that's still a very competitive conference. Six teams had 20 or more victories. I believe that it has the Aztecs well prepared - as has their past NCAA Tournament experience.
If you haven't heard of San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, you likely will soon. He should be the best player on the floor in this game.
Off an excellent defensive effort, note that the Aztecs are 45-7 SU and 26-17 ATS in lined games, when coming off a game where they allowed 60 or fewer points.
People love a good story and many will want to embrace the Eagles here. I don't care about good stories though. I just want (ATS) winners. If you recall, a couple of 15 seeds (Norfolk State and Lehigh) advanced to the Rd. of 32 last year. They both lost by double-digits. Norfolk State got blown out by 34 points. Lehigh lost by 12. I expect another double-digit win. 10* 2nd Rd GOY
|03-24-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Houston Rockets +1.5||Top||95-96||Win||100||10 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Off four straight wins, the always well-coached Spurs are on a roll. However, a closer look shows that all four of those victories came at home and that 10 of their last 11 games have been played at San Antonio. (They're also only 1-4 ATS their last five overall.) The Spurs' last road game resulted in a 107-83 loss at Minnesota. They'll be playing at a much more difficult venue here and I expect their win streak to come to an end.
While the Spurs have a far superior overall record, some might be surprised to learn that the Rockets 24-10 home record is actually better than San Antonio's 23-12 mark on the road. The Rockets average 110.1 ppg on this floor, best in the entire league. They've won 10 of their last 12 here.
The Spurs have won all three meetings in the season series, including the lone game here at Houston. It should be noted that Harden, who averaged 31 points in the two games at San Antonio, didn't play in the previous meeting here. Needless to say, he's a very important part of this team.
While they shouldn't need any added incentive, the three previous losses should be an excellent motivator for the Rockets. They haven't been swept in four games by their instate rivals since the 2005-2006 season.
The Rockets, 10-4 ATS their last 14 against teams with a winning record, are 8-5 SU/ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as home underdogs of three or fewer points, including 2-0 ATS their last two. They're off a dominant defensive effort (allowed only 78) and have quietly won four of five. Playing with "triple revenge," I say its "payback time." 10* Revenge GOM
|03-23-13||Indiana Pacers v. Chicago Bulls -3||Top||84-87||Push||0||15 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Pacers have won all three of this season's meetings. The schedule favors the Bulls here though and I expect them to step up and avoid the season sweep.
While the Bulls had yesterday off, the Pacers were busy beating up on the Bucks. Admittedly, they've been solid when playing the second of back-to-back games. However, I'd still rather have the rested team. Also, with West expected to be out again - that may make the b2b spot that much harder to deal with.
True, the Pacers are now 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games. However, they were on a 2-5 ATS streak over their previous seven games, losing four of those outright. Also, note that they're only 4-7 ATS when off three or more consecutive victories.
The Bulls got Gibson and Hinrich back from injury on Thursday. While it can sometimes be difficult the first game a player (or players) return from injury, those guys now have a game under their belts and should provide a boost to the team going forward.
The Bulls should be extremely motivated here. Not only are they playing with "triple revenge," they're also off back-to-back losses - a 1-point heartbreaker vs. Denver was followed by a disappointing 10-point loss vs. Portland. The fact that they play on the road next time out - and then vs. Miami after that, should provide even further incentive.
Gibson had this to say: "Every game counts, and we need everybody. We've got to keep pushing. It doesn't get easy at all if you look at our schedule. We've got a lot of tough teams coming up. We've got to keep fighting."
The Bulls have been at their best off an upset loss in recent seasons, going 31-12-1 ATS and 36-8 SU. I expect them to bounce back with a much needed win and cover here. 10* Main Event
|03-23-13||Butler v. Marquette -2||Top||72-74||Push||0||30 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Long-time regulars will recall that I rode Butler hard the years the Bulldogs went to the Finals. In fact, one I successfully played on them every single game that they covered, while avoiding them in the one that they didn't. This isn't the same team though. Far from it. While still very well-coached, I feel that they'll be in over their heads here.
I really like how this one sets up for the Golden Eagles. They received their "wake up call" in the first round and I expect them to benefit from that here.
While the Bulldogs also rallied from a deficit, it wasn't as dramatic as Marquette's furious comeback. The fact that the Bulldogs covered and the Golden Eagles didn't is helping to provide a little extra line value here - as the perception for some as that Marquette got a little lucky.
You may recall that these teams met at the Maui Invitational, back in November. Butler won that one on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, earning a 72-71 victory. Note that Marquette was a 4-point favorite for that one. While I'm very aware of the Bulldogs' neutral court success, I believe its payback time for Marquette today. 10* personal favorite
|03-23-13||Toronto Raptors +6 v. New York Knicks||Top||84-110||Loss||-110||14 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. These teams met yesterday, at the Air Canada Centre. The Knicks earned a 5-point win, which was enough for the cover. I expect the Raptors to be highly motivated for the second end of this home and home series and look for them to earn at least a cover.
While I'm aware that Rudy Gay went down last night, I believe that the Raptors will be in better shape to handle the second of back-to-back games.
I was in attendance for Toronto's first win this season, a 105-86 blowout of Minnesota back in early November. Knowing what I do for a living, naturally, the people that I attended that game with wanted to know who I thought was going to win. I told them that I had a big play on the Raptors.
A few of them knew my NBA history and didn't question my pick. However, a couple of the others told me that they didn't think that the Raptors, who had played the previous night, would be able to handle playing their second game in as many days. I told them that I wasn't worried about that - as the Raptors were among a group of teams that actually often plays better in that situation. That's remained true, too.
In fact, including that early blowout of the T-Wolves, the Raptors are an impressive 14-5 ATS the last 19 times that they played the second of b2b games.
To be fair, the Knicks have also performed well when playing the second of b2b games. That said, they're severely depleted right now. Last night, they got a huge effort from Kenyon Martin - however, I feel it will be hard for the 35-year old (who played 36 mins last night) to match that performance two nights in a row. Note that Chandler Stoudemire, Thomas and Wallace all remain out.
Obviously, both teams played yesterday. However, the Knicks will also be playing their fifth game in the past seven days. The Raptors are playing their fourth game in the past seven, having played one less game during that stretch.
All three of this year's games have been decided by five or less, Toronto winning the first two.
With last night's win, the Knicks clinched a playoff berth. That could be cause for a minor letdown. Whether or not that proves to be the case, I expect them to have their hands full the entire way, with the Raptors earning AT LEAST a cover. 10* best bet
|03-22-13||Oklahoma v. San Diego St -2.5||Top||55-70||Win||100||17 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. I believe that the Aztecs will have some matchup advantages in this one. I also believe that their recent NCAA tournament experience will work in their favor against an Oklahoma team which hasn't been here in some time.
Both teams score roughly the same amount of points. The Sooners average 71.1 points while hitting 43.7% of their field goals. The Aztecs shoot 43.8% from the field, averaging 69.2.
The Aztecs are considerably better on the other side of the ball though. They allow only 60.7 ppg while limiting opponents to a 38.8 field goal percentage. Meanwhile, the Sooners allow 66.2 ppg with opposing teams hitting 41.9% of their field goals.
Those defensive differences are even more significant on the road. When the Aztecs play away from home, they allow 62.8 points and a 39.5% field goal percentage. On the other hand, the Sooners give up a high 70.4 ppg on the road, opposing teams hitting 43.5% of their field goals.
Over their last five games, Oklahoma is allowing opposing teams to hit a whopping 48.3% of their field goals, permitting 74.8 ppg. Conversely, San Diego State has permitted only 63.4 ppg their last five times out, opposing teams shooing 39.1% from the field in those games.
The fact that San Diego State is so stingy doesn't bode well for Oklahoma. The Sooners are only 17-23-1 ATS (14-27 SU) against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game the past few seasons, including a 10-15 ATS (9-16 SU) mark after a minimum of 15 games of the season had been played.
With an O/U line in the low to mid 130s, note that the Aztecs are 5-1 SU the last six times that they played a neutral court game with an O/U line in the 130 to 134. 5 range. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Sooners are only 1-3 when playing on a neutral court with an O/U line in the same range.
The Aztecs aren't intimidated by "good" teams. They're 40-24-2 ATS (46-20 SU) their last 66 against teams with a winning record. During that time, Oklahoma is only 25-35 SU against winning teams, 11-22 when at least 15 games of the season had been played. I expect a win and cover for San Diego State. 10* Opening Rd GOY
|03-22-13||Boston Celtics v. Dallas Mavericks -4.5||Top||94-104||Win||100||13 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. The Celtics eked out a win in double-OT when these teams met at Boston earlier in the season, a game that Dirk Nowitzki didn't play in. With this evening's game being played at Dallas, I'm expecting a much different result.
For starters, note that the Celtics are 12-21 (2-10 vs. Western teams!) on the road. The Mavericks are 18-14 at home.
Needless to say Dallas is a different team with Dirk in the lineup. Note that Notwizki averages 26.9 points (in 26 games) vs the Celtics. That's his highest average against any team.
Sure, Terry would love to have a big game against his former team. However, I'd still argue that the Mavs need this game more and that they'll be the "hungrier" team. The Celtics are battling for a better seed. However, the Mavs are desperately just trying to make the playoffs.
Both teams were upset last time out. The Mavs were blown out by Brooklyn, the Celtics blew a double-digit second half lead vs. New Orleans and lost a 1-point heart-breaker. I feel that the Mavs' blowout loss will be easier to recover from than the Celtics' heartrbreaker.
Note that Boston is only 5-8 ATS off an upset loss while Dallas is 9-5 ATS off a double-digit loss.
With the Mavs also 17-8-1 ATS after allowing 105 or more points, I'm expecting a win and cover for the "desperate" home team. 10* personal favorite
|03-21-13||Oregon v. Oklahoma State -2||Top||68-55||Loss||-110||22 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA STATE. Many seem to be picking Oregon to win this one. (That's helped us by bringing the line down a bit from its opener.) While anything is certainly possible and the Ducks may indeed deserve a slightly higher seeding than the #12 they ended up with, I believe the Cowboys are favored for good reason.
While they came up short vs K-State in their last game (a team they had beaten the previous week) the Cowboys are 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) off a conference loss. (The lone non-cover was still an 18-point win, in a game where they were laying 18.5.)
In fact, they've only lost twice in a row once all season - and that was back on New Year's Eve (1 point loss vs. Gonzaga) and the subsequent game (at K-State) to begin the new year.
The Ducks did win at UNLV back in November. (The Rebels were quite inconsistent this year.) However, their non-conference slate really wasn't that difficult. The only other decent non-conf. foe was arguably Cincinnati - and the Ducks lost that one by double-digits. The Pac-12 wasn't particularly strong this season (at least not in my opinion) and, despite winning their final three games, the Ducks are still only 8-7 SU their last 15.
The Cowboys have a history of taking care of business in the first round of tournament games. Indeed, they're 17-6 SU/ATS their last 23 opening round games in tournament play.
The Cowboys are also 15-7 ATS (17-5 SU) the last 22 times that they were listed as neutral court favorites (or pick'em) of three or fewer points. I feel the number is more than fair and am expecting a win for the Cowboys. 10* personal favorite
|03-21-13||New Mexico State +9.5 v. St. Louis||Top||44-64||Loss||-110||20 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. The Billikens are a very solid and well-coached team. Needless to say, they've had an excellent season. That said, I feel that they're laying too many points here.
I've already acknowledged that the Billikens are a good team. The Aggies aren't slouches either though. They're here for a reason. They've got 24 wins to their credit and they only allow 62.1 points per game.
This team lost some key players from last year and so a slow start to the season wasn't all that surprising. However, they got it together and have been playing great for many weeks now. In fact, the Aggies, who enter off five straight wins, have only lost two games in all of 2013. Its important to note that both losses came by six or fewer points. Even if Watson (ankle) is unable to go, I believe they have what it takes to give St. Louis all it can handle.
With a 4-2 ATS (5-1 SU) mark this year, the Aggies are now an outstanding 33-16 ATS their last 49 lined games, excluding pushes, in the month of March. I believe the Aggies are playing their best basketball at the right time. While an outright win will admittedly be a tough task, I expect at least another cover. 10* best bet
|03-20-13||Charleston Sou +14 v. Southern Miss||Top||71-78||Win||100||21 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLESTON SOUTHERN. The Golden Eagles are heavy favorites here. However, I believe that this game will mean more to the underdog Buccaneers. I expect them to be much more competitive than the pointspread suggests.
The Golden Eagles had a very solid season. They can't be too happy to be here though, as they were really hoping to make the "Big Dance." Losing in double-OT in the CUSA Finals vs. Memphis may be tough to shake off.
Note that the Golden Eagles are only 5-11-1 ATS off a conference loss the past few seasons. During that stretch, they were 3-6-1 ATS when playing a game where the O/U line ranged in the 130s.
On the other hand, Charleston Southern is making its first postseason appearance since the 1997 NCAA Tournament and
|03-20-13||Toronto Raptors v. Charlotte Bobcats +6||Top||101-107||Win||100||19 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I've successfully backed the Bobcats in each of their last two games here. They were getting a lot of points in both games. Yet, they won outright by 26 and five points. I feel that they're again providing us with value and that they again have an excellent shot at an outright upset.
While the Raptors do have a far superior overall record, a closer look reveals that their road record (9-24) is identical to the Bobcats' home record. While the Bobcats have won back-to-back home games, the Raptors have lost back-to-back road games. Their most recent road game resulted in a 24-point loss. Yet, not only are the Raptors being asked to win - they're being asked to win by a handful of points.
The Bobcats haven't had much to feel good about this season - but they are feeling good right now - and I believe that they'll be motivated to keep on "rolling" tonight.
Kemba Walker said this after Monday's win: "...I think we took a huge step. Being down five points and sticking with each other and being able to win."
Gerald Henderson added: "We've got a lot of fight. We had a little bit of a lull in the fourth quarter, but we pulled it back and came together. We got sharp on offense and defense and got it done tonight. We've kept working and played hard. It feels good."
True, the Raptors are fairly well-rested, having had the past two days off. That hasn't helped them much though. Indeed, they're 1-7 SU (3-5 ATS) the last eight times that they played with two day's of rest in between games, going a dismal 4-19 SU in that situation the past few seasons.
Both the Bobcats recent home wins have come against teams (Boston and Washington) which they had beaten at least once already this season. The Raptors are another team which the Bobcats have already beaten this season. (Raptors won both meetings at Toronto but Charlotte won 98-97 the lone meeting here.) In fact, they're 4-0 SU the last four times that they hosted the Raptors and 6-1 the last seven. I'll take the generous points but won't be surprised by another "upset." 10* best bet
|03-19-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Milwaukee Bucks -4||Top||95-102||Win||100||15 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Bucks have failed to cover four games in a row. However, they snapped their 3-game SU losing streak last time out - a 6-point win - and I expect them to follow it up with a win and cover this evening.
While the Bucks had yesterday off, the Blazers are off a hard-fought and potentially demoralizing 1-point loss at Philadelphia. They'll be playing their third game in the past four nights now.
The Blazers are also in one of their worst roles here. They're 2-7 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range, going an ugly 8-20 ATS their last 28 in that role.
Milwaukee's coach (Boylan) is demanding more from his team. He had this to say: "First of all, we are not in the playoffs. ... We need to turn it up and we need to be a serious team. Right now, we are not playing like a serious team."
The Bucks already won by six at Portland at January. Last year's two meetings against the Blazers resulted in victories of 22 and 29 points. With the schedule in their favor, I expect Boylan's crew to "get serious" and another double-digit win won't surprise. 10* personal favorite
|03-19-13||Kentucky v. Robert Morris +5.5||Top||57-59||Win||100||15 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on ROBERT MORRIS. I've been quite successful this season when playing on/against Kentucky. I believe that this will be a good spot to go against the Wildcats.
How the mighty have fallen. Champions of the NCAA Tournament only a year ago, the (once) mighty Wildcats find themselves in the NIT. Needless to say, this is not what they were hoping for or expecting.
Adding insult to injury, the Cats find themselves playing on the road, due to the fact that Rupp Arena is being used. Instead, the Cats will be playing at the "Sewall Center."
Although they are surely hating being here, I don't expect the Cats to just roll over. They'd surely like to show their critics up by winning this tournament.
That said, I believe that its going to be very difficult to match the emotion that Robert Morris will bring to the table.
This is the biggest game ever being played here. Tuesday night classes have been cancelled. The game is a sellout - and tickets are already being scalped for many times their normal price. Senior point guard Velton Jones noted: "It's crazy around here. I saw a girl actually crying when she heard the news. There are not too many times Robert Morris has had a chance for a school like that to come here."
Obviously, the Colonials don't have the same type of pedigree as Kentucky. Their schedule was certainly much easier. Still, this is a team which won 23 games.
The Wildcats knew they needed to beat a mediocre Vanderbilt team in the SEC Tournament, yet they got crushed, losing 64-48. Note that they're only 1-6 ATS after scoring less than 60 points. In true road games, the Cats were only 3-8 ATS. They've only had one road win since the beginning of February (at [email protected] on 2/2) and that victory came by only four points.
The Colonials were the best team in their conference during the regular season. This is their chance to make up for a disappointing conference tournament. In fact, while its debatable, one could argue that a win here would be even bigger than advancing to the NCAA Tournament would have been for them.
The Colonials lost by only two points at Xavier and by only five at Arkansas. (Kentucky lost by 13 at Arkansas.) When playing at home, they beat Ohio by eight points, Cleveland State by nine, Bowling Green by 11 and Duquesne by 22.
Robert Morris Coach Andy Toole said this of tonight's game:
|03-18-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Memphis Grizzlies -14.5||Top||77-92||Win||100||18 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on MEMPHIS. I believe that the T-Wolves are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I played against the Grizzlies in their last game. That was a very tough spot for them though. They were off a "heart-breaking" loss in the high altitude of Denver the previous night and were playing their fourth game in the past five days. They were also playing at a difficult venue against a rested Utah team.
Tonight's game sets up much differently. This time, the Grizzlies are playing at home and had yesterday off. This time, they're taking a big step down in class to face a banged-up Minnesota team which rarely wins on the road and which played last night.
While they did eke out a victory last night, the T-Wolves were at home and they were facing New Orleans. Needless to say, a road game at Memphis is an entirely different story. Throw in the fact that they'll be playing their fifth game in the last seven days and last night's win figures to take a toll.
While they lost their last road game by "only" eight points, the T-Wolves previous recent road games had resulted in losses of 16, 23, 15 and 22 points. (They lost by 16 and 23 points the only previous two times that they played the second of b2b games this month.)
On the season, the T-Wolves are 7-25 on the road, compared to Memphis' 25-8 mark at home. Even with the recent cover at Houston, the T-Wolves are still 1-5 ATS as road underdogs of greater than a dozen points.
The Grizzlies know they can't afford to mess around with these type of games. They appear likely to face Denver in the playoffs and they'd much rather have homecourt advantage, knowing that the Nuggets are a much better team when playing in their own building.
The Grizzlies have dominated Minnesota here. They're 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) the last five meetings here, most recently a 17 point win last month. Don't be surprised if this one results in an even bigger blowout. 10* personal favorite
|03-17-13||Atlanta Hawks +4.5 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||105-93||Win||100||12 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. After suffering three straight losses, one of them coming against these same Nets, the Hawks have gotten back on track. Friday's double-digit win over Phoenix was on the heels of a victory against the Lakers on Wednesday. Playing with recent revenge, I expect a highly motivated effort and look for them to keep on rolling for another day.
The Nets have have the past four days off. They're only 1-3 ATS when playing with three or more day's worth of rest.
With today's O/U line in the high 180s, note that the Nets are also an ugly 6-13-2 ATS the last 21 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 185 to 189.5 range.
During that stretch, the Nets are also a poor 7-12-1 ATS when listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Hawks are 22-14-1 ATS the past few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss. I expect them to improve on those stats with AT LEAST a cover here. 10* best bet
|03-17-13||Mississippi v. Florida -11||Top||66-63||Loss||-105||5 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Gators are fairly heavy favorites here. However, I believe the line could easily be even higher. When these teams met (at Florida) in February, the line was -17.5. The Gators won by 14. They're 11-1 their last 12 in this series.
Despite narrowly failing to cover yesterday, the Gators still won by double-digits. They lead the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 18.9 points per game. A rough patch at the end of the regular season is now ancient history, as this team has won five straight.
Even with yesterday's ATS loss, the Gators are 60-34-2 ATS (68-28 SU) their last 96 tournament games, 10-5 ATS (11-4 SU) their last 15.
I feel they've got a number of advantages here and am expecting another double-digit win. 10*
|03-16-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Utah Jazz -2||Top||84-90||Win||100||18 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. These teams have met twice so far this season. Both those meetings were back in 2012. The Grizzlies won each of them. Tonight, things set up nicely for the Jazz to avenge those losses.
While the Jazz have had the past couple of day's off, the Grizzlies are in a very difficult scheduling situation. Last night, playing in the high altitude of Denver, the Grizzlies coughed up a fourth quarter lead, en route to a hard-fought and disappointing 87-80 loss. That type of loss can be difficult to immediately bounce back from.
This is much worse than a "typical" back-to-back situation though. That's because the Grizzlies will also be playing their fourth game in the past five days AND their sixth game in the past nine. That's a very grueling stretch and this is not an easy venue to play at.
While the Grizzlies are still a solid 19-12 on the road, the Jazz are an outstanding 23-8 here at Utah.
While their last two home games both resulted in double-digit wins, the Jazz did get blown out at OKC last time out. That should provide them with some added motivation here.
Utah's Gordon Hayward noted: "We're trying to get in the playoffs we can't have games like this. We were down by 20-plus points and that's just stupid. We gotta execute our offense better."
The Jazz are 10-7 (11-6 SU) off a double-digit loss. Even with the loss here at December, they've won 24 of their last 31 as a host in this series. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to bounce back with an important win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-16-13||Wisconsin v. Indiana -6||Top||68-56||Loss||-110||9 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Give the Badgers credit for playing a great game yesterday and having a strong season. However, this Indiana team, arguably as talented as any in the country, is a different beast - one which I expect to be extremely hungry.
The Hoosiers blew out Illinois by 16 points yesterday, a game which was never in doubt. They dominated in the paint, Zeller having a huge game.
The Hoosiers already believe they deserve to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, that's certainly not a given. Adding their first ever Big Ten touney title to a season that already saw them win their first outright conference title would ensure that. I don't expect them to leave anything to chance.
As if they didn't already have enough to play for, the fact that the Badgers beat them in the regular season, should provide the Hoosiers with plenty of motivation.
While the Badgers are 2-6 ATS their last eight tournament semi-final games. the Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS their last five tournament semi-final games. I feel that they've got a "score to settle" and I look for them to get their "payback" in convincing fashion this afternoon. 10* personal favorite
|03-15-13||San Diego St +1.5 v. New Mexico||Top||50-60||Loss||-110||15 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. I backed the Aztecs in their first game of this tournament. While it may not have been "pretty," I feel that game played out the best way that the Aztecs could have hoped for.
The Aztecs jumped out to a big lead in that game vs. Boise State. However, they allowed the Broncos to come charging all the way back. They didn't fold though. Rather, they stayed strong, showed some fortitude, took Boise's best shot and then responded by earning the win and cover.
In recent years, the Aztecs have been a team that has fared very well in close games. However, this year's team has largely struggled in close games. That's why I feel that winning a close one was so "good for them."
Despite earning the win over Boise, the Aztecs are still on the bubble - although they could very well make it, even with a loss here. While the current roster of players wasn't around at the time, coach Fisher will surely have reminded them of what happened in 2009.
In case you don't remember, the 2009 Aztecs were also "on the bubble." They got all the way to the tournament title game but lost, 52-50, to Utah. On "Selection Sunday," San Diego State was left off the field. Instead of going to the Big Dance, they were forced to do their "dancing" at the NIT. Needless to say, they don't want to leave anything to chance this time.
New Mexico is indeed a very good team. The Lobos likely won't have the same sense of urgency as the Aztecs though, as they know they're already going to the NCAA Tournament.
Note that the Aztecs are 11-8-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs. They're also 40-23-2 ATS (46-19 SU) their last 65 against teams with a winning record and 22-10-1 (24-9 SU) their last 33 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game.
While the Lobos did beat the Aztecs at "The Pit" a few weeks ago, the Aztecs pounded them (55-34) at San Diego State in the first meeting. (That was the fewest points New Mexico had scored since the mid-70s!) I backed them in that game and I'm doing so again here. 10* best bet
|03-15-13||Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5 v. Dallas Mavericks||Top||86-96||Loss||-110||15 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Cavs may be banged-up and they may be playing out the strong. However, they're still fighting hard. They've got the schedule in their favor and I expect another big effort.
Last time out, despite playing without Irving (and Varejao) the Cavs beat Washington by five points. That was their second straight cover. They're now a profitable 9-3 ATS their last 12 games, winning six of those games outright. The six losses came by 1, 4, 16, 5, 9 and 4 points. In other words, only two of their last 12 games has resulted in a loss of greater than five points.
The Cavs, 6-6 SU when playing with two day's rest, are well-rested. They last played on Tuesday.
On the other hand, the Mavericks are off a hard-fought 1-point loss at rival San Antonio last night. That's the type of "heart-breaker" which can often be difficult to immediately bounce back from. That may be particularly true here, due to that loss really hurting their playoff chances.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Mavs will also be playing their third game in the past four days and their fourth game in the past six. Throw in the fact that they've got a big game vs. Oklahoma City on deck, a team which blew them out last month, and I feel that this will prove to be a very difficult scheduling spot.
While they did win at Cleveland back in November, the Mavs are still a money-burning 6-16 ATS against teams from the Central the past few seasons. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way here, as the Cavs earn AT LEAST the cover, improving to 6-2 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line of 200 to 204.5. 10*
|03-15-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Houston Rockets -14||Top||100-108||Loss||-110||14 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. I played against the T-Wolves last time out. They hung around for awhile but eventually lost by 16. It was the third time in their last four games that the T-Wolves lost by a minimum of 16 points. The other two losses, during that stretch, both came by 23 points. I expect them to get blown out again here.
The Rockets have been excellent at home all season. They're 21-9 here, going 20-10 SU. Their last two games here have resulted in victories of 30 and 33 points. Note that they're 13-7 ATS off a double-digit win.
Dealing with major injury issues, the T-Wolves are now 2-9 their last 11 games, going 4-7 against the number. That includes a 0-6 mark on the road. Five of those road losses, including each of the last four, came by a minimum of 15 points.
On the season, the T-Wolves are now 0-5 ATS as road underdogs of greater than a dozen points. They're also 2-8-1 ATS (1-10 SU) their last 11 against teams with a winning record.
The fact that the T-Wolves humiliated them at Minnesota in the last month should have ensure that the Rockets are fully focused here. Of course, having the Lakers and Jazz (and Mavs and Blazers) nipping at their heels should be more than enough motivation. The Rockets are much healthier, playing with revenge, playing at home and have much more to play for. I expect them to take care of business, picking up the cover along the way. 10* personal favorite
|03-14-13||New York Knicks v. Portland Trail Blazers -3.5||Top||90-105||Win||100||17 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND. The Knicks are normally a pretty "popular" team. Off back-to-back blowout losses, many might be tempted to grab the points with them here. The Blazers have a number of advantages though and I expect another big loss for NY.
While I certainly don't ignore them, I sometimes don't give as much weight to injuries as many handicapper probably do. Players are in this league for a reason and many back-ups are capable of rising to the occasion, when injuries to starters provide them with an opportunity. That said, the Knicks' current injury issues can't be ignored.
Like him or not, Carmelo Anthony remains one of the most talented players in the game. He'll be back in New York by the time that the Knicks play tonight's game. Normally, that might provide a chance for Stoudemire to step up and be the man. However, he's out too. Perhaps worse, Tyson Chandler got hurt last night. I'm currently seeing him listed as doubtful. However, even if he is able to go, he may not be 100%.
Add it all up and the Knicks have a seriously depleted front court. That should allow the Blazers a solid edge in the paint. Note that they already out-rebounded the Knicks by a 45-35 margin at NY, winning 105-100.
Sure, the Knicks would love to get back on track and to avenge that loss. They're only 10-14 ATS in the "revenge" role though. So, that's generally not a huge motivator for them.
Getting blown out in their previous game doesn't necessarily provide the Knicks with much extra incentive either. In fact, they're now only 16-23-2 (14-27 SU!) the past few seasons, off a double-digit loss.
True, the Knicks have been OK when playing the second of back-to-back games. This is worse than a typical b2b spot though. First, there are the injuries to consider. Second, last night's game was in the high altitude of Denver. Third, this will also be NY's third game in four days. Going back a bit further finds that the Knicks will be playing their sixth game in the last nine days, a span that has seen them fly all over the country. Going back still further shows that this is their eight game in the past 12 days and ninth through the first 14 days of March.
Meanwhile, the Blazers had yesterday off and will be playing just their seventh game in March.
The Blazers aren't currently in the top eight. However, they're not that far off. Seeing the Lakers lose (and Kobe go down) last night should have them feeling hopeful again. They also should be playing with some "desperation."
As LaMarcus Aldridge noted: "Definitely that door is closing. We're going to have to string together some wins fast or that door is going to close on us.''
The Blazers have won seven of their last 10 here at the Rose Garden and the three losses came by only 11 combined points. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to earn a much needed victory, picking up the cover along the way. *10 TNT GOM
|03-14-13||Tex San Antonio v. Louisiana Tech -10||Top||73-67||Loss||-106||16 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISIANA TECH. I believe that there's a large gap in talent between these teams, even larger than the (fairly high) pointspread indicates. I also believe that the Roadrunners are catching the Bulldogs at the wrong time.
A look at the overall records shows Texas-San Antonio at just 9-21, including a 1-9 mark vs. teams with a winning record. Meanwhile, LA Tech checks in with a 26-5 mark. As I said, the gap between these teams is a wide one. Note that Roadrunners are 1-2 their last three games. The two losses came at Utah State and vs. Seattle. they lost those games by 20 and 16 points, respectively.
Some of you may recall that I played against the Bulldogs exactly one week ago. (At New Mexico State on 3/7.) At the time, LA Tech was on a huge undefeated streak and had made its way all the way into the Top 25. However, I felt the Bulldogs were a bit over-valued and noted that I felt they were walking into a hornet's nest. What happened? The Bulldogs got smoked by 18 points, losing 78-60.
I didn't touch their next game, as I felt the line was about right and wasn't quite sure how LA Tech would respond to the big loss at New Mexico State. However, the Bulldogs would go on to lose by an even bigger margin, getting crushed 78-54 at Denver. Needless to say, I wish I played against them there, too.
I believe that those losses have worked in our favor. For starters, they should have the Bulldogs fully "wide awake" again, as they look to regain their swagger. They also very likely killed their chances of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Certainly, they can't afford to lose here.
The Roadrunners should represent an ideal opponent for the Bulldogs to "get healthy" against. Lets not forget that LA Tech is 15-0 SU against teams with a losing record this season and 15-7-1 ATS (23-0 SU!) when favored. In other words, while they may have had some trouble on the road against top tier opponents, the Bulldogs have been a team that knows how to take care of business against weaker opposition.
When these teams faced each other last month, laying 15.5 points, the Bulldogs won by 25. They were up 15 by halftime and never looked back.
While LA Tech is still averaging 80.8 points its past five games, Texas San Antonio is averaging only 61.
The Bulldogs are 7-2 SU/ATS their last nine "neutral court" games, including a 2-0 ATS mark when favored in the 9.5 to 12 range. I'm expecting a double-digit win. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Boise State v. San Diego St -4||Top||67-73||Win||100||31 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. These teams just faced each other a few days ago, at Boise. The Broncos won that game by a score of 69-65. I expect the Aztecs to return the favor on Wednesday.
Recent results have kept this line lower than it could have easily been. That puts the Aztecs in one of their better roles. They're 6-3 SU/ATS the last nine times that they were favored by four or fewer points, going 13-7 ATS (14-6 SU) their last 20 in that role.
One could potentially make a case that the Broncos need this one more. While the Aztecs should already be safely in the field of 64, the Broncos may need a win here to punch their ticket.
Needing a game more doesn't guarantee victory though. Far from it.
I'm also not so sure that the Broncos do need this one more. Having lost a number of close ones, the Aztecs have badly want some momentum, entering the tournament.
Coach Fisher said this of the regular season loss at Boise: "It's not OK. We've had too many like this. We've been close but not been able to make that extra play, get that one whistle, make that one basket."
The fact is that the 3/9 game at Boise didn't mean much of anything for the Aztecs. They played sloppily and made numerous mistakes. Yet, they still nearly won.
Now playing on a neutral court, playing with recent revenge and with much more to play for, I expect them to improve their game and to come away with the win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Indiana Pacers -13.5||Top||91-107||Win||100||14 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. This one sets up nicely for a big win for the home team.
The Pacers had the past two days off. In addition to being well-rested, they should be in a foul mood, after getting blown out by the Heat in their last game. Note that the Pacers are 8-1 ATS off a double-digit loss.
Adding to their "anger" and likelihood that they'll keep the pedal to the metal the entire way, the Pacers haven't forgotten that they lost at Minnesota earlier. They've still dominated the T-Wolves in recent seasons though, including a 23-point victory the last time that the teams played here at Indiana.
While the Pacers come in with fresh legs, the same cannot be said for the T-Wolves. They left everything on the floor in upsetting San Antonio last night. Now, in addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, this banged-up team will also be playing its fourth game in the past five days.
Even with last night's win, the T-Wolves are still only 2-7-1 ATS (1-9 SU) their last 10 against teams with a winning record. (They're now 4-40 SU the past few years, when facing a team with a winning record, during the second half of the season.) Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Pacers are 7-1 SU/ATS when facing a team with a losing record.
For the season, the Pacers are a dominating 26-14 (32-8 SU) when laying points. With everything in their favor, I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. 10* personal favorite
|03-13-13||Miami Heat v. Philadelphia 76ers +9||Top||98-94||Win||100||14 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I won with the 76'ers in their last game, an upset win over Brooklyn. I feel that this will be another good spot to back them.
While the 76'ers had yesterday off, the Heat were busy beating up on Atlanta. Tonight, in addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, they'll be playing their third game in the past four days. This will also mark their 7th game in the last 11 days.
Even with a cover last night, the Heat are still only 4-5 ATS their last nine games, one of the those ATS losses coming vs. the 76ers on 3/8.
The 76'ers lost that game but only by nine points, enough to earn the cover. Playing at home and with the schedule in their favor, I expect them to play the Heat even tougher tonight. In fact, while I'll happily grab all those generous points, I won't even be "shocked" if they step up and score the outright win. *10 best bet
|03-12-13||Boston Celtics v. Charlotte Bobcats +10.5||Top||74-100||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I'm well aware of how poorly the Bobcats have been playing. In fact, I successfully played against them in their very last game, while also cashing on the over in the same contest. While I've avoided them during their skid, I feel that they're ready to give their best effort tonight and feel that they're providing us with very value this evening.
As you are likely aware, the Bobcats haven't won too many games this season. They did beat the Celtics the last time that they faced them though, a 94-91 win almost exactly one month ago. Taking a look at that line and we find that Charlotte was only a 4.5 point underdog. We're getting significantly more points to work with here. In fact, this line is as high as it was when the Bobcats played at Boston, in January.
The Celtics have won five of their last seven. However, NONE of those victories came by more than eight points. Having played a number of "big games," most recently against OKC on national TV, they may not be fully focused on the lowly Bobcats. Note that the Celtics are only 6-10 ATS (7-9 SU) off a double-digit loss. They're also 5-7 ATS the last dozen times that they were listed as road favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range.
These same two teams will face each other at Boston again on 3/16. I feel that will work in our favor. The Celtics will think that they can easily blow out the Bobcats in that one; the Bobcats will also know that getting blown out there is a distinct possibility and that if they want to be competitive that tonight's likely their best chance. It should also be noted that Boston plays tomorrow while Charlotte has the next two days off.
Note that the Celts are 3-3 the last six times that they played the front end of b2b games and that NONE of the three victories came by more than eight points. They're 4-7 SU in that situation since the beginning of December, only one win coming by more than eight.
Overall, the Celts remain a poor 12-19 (12-17-2 ATS) on the road. Add it all up and I don't feel that they're ready to be laying double-digits here, not even against the Bobcats. 10* NBA Shocker GOM
|03-11-13||Saint Marys CA +6 v. Gonzaga||Top||51-65||Loss||-110||15 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. MARY'S. I respect Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are very well-coached. They're talented and they've had a great year. They also know they likely need this game to give them a #1 seed in the upcoming tournament. That doesn't mean that they can't be over-valued though. I believe that's the case here.
The Gaels are also well-coached and they're also talented. They didn't have quite as good a year as the Bulldogs - thanks largely to two head-to-head losses - but they were still very solid. Indeed, they bring a 27-5 record to the table.
While Gonzaga is going for a #1 seed, the Gaels arguably have even more motivation. Not only are they looking to avenge the pair of regular season losses but they are still trying to guarantee a trip to the Big Dance. A loss here and there's a chance that they could find themselves playing in a lesser tournament. (They could very well still make it but definitely would rather not leave anything to chance.)
As Gonzaga coach Mark Few noted: "We're going to have to match the intensity of our opponent. There's a sense of desperation when you don't know if you're in the NCAA tournament."
While it wasn't pretty, the Gaels gutted out an OT win over San Diego to get here, one of their players (Waldow) losing a tooth in the process - and still putting up huge stats. I believe that's the type of performance that they can build some momentum from, the type that brings a team together.
Note that the Gaels were only underdogs twice all season, once at Gonzaga and once at BYU. They covered both times, winning outright at BYU.
Two of the last three meetings between these rivals were decided by five or fewer points. Last year's WCC Final needed overtime to produce a winner. I expect another close one and with the line having climbed a bit from its opener, I feel we're getting excellent value with the revenge-minded "desperate" underdog. 10* main event
|03-10-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Sacramento Kings -1||Top||115-113||Loss||-108||14 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. Daylight savings snuck up on me and has me running a bit short on time today. As a result, my writeups may be a little more brief than usual. Rest assured. the same amount of time was spent researching the plays, as always.
This one sets up nicely for the Kings. While Sacramento has last night off, the Bucks are off a late game at Oakland.
While some teams are OK when playing the second of back-to-back games, the Bucks typically aren't one of them. They're 4-10-1 ATS their last 15 in that situation and 25-34-1 (23-37 SU) their last 60.
The Kings won big last time out, scoring 121 points and hitting a whopping 54.9% of their field goals. They've now covered three of their past four and five of their past seven. Going back a little further finds them at 10-5 ATS their last 15. (Even with last night's win, the Bucks are 5-12 ATS since the end of January.)
The Kings lost at Milwaukee back in December but they've had some success against the Bucks here at Sacramento over the years. They were three point underdogs for last year's meeting here. Down by 19 at halftime, they rallied for a 103-100 victory.
Hopefully they won't have to dig themselves out of such a big hole here. Either way. I expect the end result to be the same. 10* nba personal favorite
|03-10-13||Boston Celtics v. Oklahoma City Thunder -9.5||Top||79-91||Win||100||22 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. Off five straight victories, the Celtics are rolling. None of those games have come against the Thunder though. I expect the Celts win streak to come to an end here.
The Thunder are also playing well. They're 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS their last eight games. Their last home game resulted in a 17-point rout of the Lakers. Their previous three games here saw them win by 45, 30 and 16 points.
Including those blowout victories, the Thunder are 27-4 at home. On the other hand, even with a few recent wins, the Celts remain a poor 12-18 away from Boston.
While the Celts are still hoping to finish in the top four in the East, the Thunder now believe they have a real shot at first in the West.
The Thunder play with "revenge," as they were beaten at Boston back in November. That doesn't mean much to a lot of teams. However, the Thunder tend to thrive in the revenge role. With the recent beat-down of the Lakers, they're 12-6 ATS the last 18 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 51-30 ATS (54-27 SU) in that role the past few seasons and a lucrative 100-63-1 ATS their last 164.
Last year's meeting here saw the Thunder win by 15 points, a 119-104 blowout. I'm expecting another double-digit win here. 10* main event
|03-09-13||SEATTLE U +6 v. IDAHO U||Top||72-76||Win||100||16 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. My very first play of this NCAA season was on Seattle. The Redhawks crushed Montana State by a score of 87-72. At the time, I said that I expected them to "play with a chip on their shoulder," attempting to show that they belong in the WAC. (This was the first year they made the jump to Div 1 basketball.)
The season hasn't gone exactly as planned for the Redhawks, as they've had a lot more losses than wins. However, one area which as remained consistent is their effort on the road, where they rarely get blown out.
In their last true road game, the Redhawks won by 16 at Texas San Antonio. Their previous road game resulted in a 2-point loss at Texas State. Their previous road game came at New Mexico State, which is not an easy place to play. Getting 14 points, the Redhawks lost by only three. Other notable road efforts include a seven point loss at LA Tech, also a very difficult venue and single digit road losses at Utah State and Stanford. Prior to the narrow loss at LA Tech, they won by 17 at Texas Arlington, which was preceded by a 5-point loss at SJ State.
Indeed, this team has been very competitive on the road all season long and that's led to a lucrative 8-3 ATS away record. The Redhawks are now 10-4 ATS their L14 lined road games.
Meanwhile, the Vandals check in with a terrible 1-11 ATS record in their home lined games.
These teams played a close game at Seattle on 12/29. The Redhawks led at halftime but the Vandals would go on to win by a 71-64 margin. The most recent meeting (2/7/12) here at Idaho was even closer. The Redhawks had a 45-33 lead at halftime but the Vandals came back to beat them by a single point, 70-69.
I still feel that the Redhawks "have something to prove." Playing with revenge from the earlier loss at Seattle, I expect them to again give the Vandals all they can handle and I won't be at all surprised if they shock them with an outright win. 10* shocker GOM
|03-09-13||Fresno State v. UNLV -14||Top||61-52||Loss||-106||12 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNLV. While the margin of defeat at Air Force was a little bigger, a 64-55 loss at Fresno State on 2/6 was arguably the low point of the Rebels' season. It marked the only time all season that the Rebels lost two games in row and was their biggest upset loss. (They were favored by 3.5 when they lost at AF but but 8.5 when they lost at Fresno.)
Off five straight victories, the Rebels are now playing much better than they were for last month's meeting with the Bulldogs. I expect them to avenge that loss in convincing fashion.
The Bulldogs may have beaten the Rebels earlier and they are coming off a win in their home finale, however they're still the worst team in the Mountain West. The fact that they've covered some games recently has worked in out favor, in helping to keep this line more reasonable than it would have been otherwise.
Bottom line. The Rebels are a much stronger and more complete team. Last month's embarrassing result and the fact that this is their regular season home finale should ensure that they keep the pedal to the metal the entire way. 10*
|03-09-13||Dayton v. George Washington +1||Top||80-81||Win||100||8 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGE WASHINGTON. Admittedly, Dayton enters as the hotter team. The Flyers do also have some motivation, as they are trying to improve their seeding in the upcoming A-10 tournament. I believe the Colonials will want this one even more though.
Not only is this "senior day" and their final regular season home game, its also potentially their final game overall. That's because this team is in danger of missing the A-10 tourney entirely. However, a win this afternoon could potentially change that. I expect to see an extremely hungry team.
The Flyers did win their last road game. However, they're still a dismal 2-7 on the road, 1-7 their last eight.
The Colonials have also had trouble on the road of late and they did also lose their last home game. However, that was against a very strong St. Louis squad and they were in it the entire way, leading in the second half. Their previous home game resulted in an eight point win.
The Colonials have won eight of the last 11 as a host in this series, most recently a 60-58 win here in March of 2011. I expect homecourt to prove the difference, as an extremely motivated effort leads to a victory for the home fans. 10* motivational mismatch
|03-08-13||Kent State v. Akron -8.5||Top||68-64||Loss||-106||14 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on AKRON. The Zips have had an excellent regular season. I expect them to cap it off with a blowout win tonight.
The Zips saw their dream of a perfect "MAC" record shattered a couple of games ago, losing at Buffalo. Unfazed, they returned home and responded with a double-digit win over Miami Ohio last time out. The game was relatively close at halftime but the Zips pulled away in the second half, scoring 41 while allowing only 30.
Admittedly, the Golden Flashes have been playing well and they are still trying to crack the Top 4 in conference play. That said, I don't think they match up well here - and I expect them to be in over their heads vs. a very solid and balanced Akron squad.
At first glance, this line may initially seem a little high. However, its come down a bit from its opener and I believe it could well be higher, if not for Akron failing to cover in back-to-back games. Keep in mind that the Zips are still a fantastic 36-19-2 ATS (51-6 SU) the past few seasons, when laying points.
The Zips also tend to be at their best against other good teams. They're 7-2 ATS against teams with a winning record, going 33-16 ATS the past few seasons. That includes a superb 20-5 ATS record, when facing a team with a winning record after at least 15 games of the season had been played - 3-0-1 ATS this season. (The lone push came against the Golden Flashes, a 4-point win at Kent State.)
Kent State has been respectable on the road, outscoring teams by a 69.7 to 66.5 margin. However, the Zips have been dominant in going undefeated here at home. They've outscored teams by a 76.2 to 58.8 mark here, outshooting them by a 48% to 37.6% margin from the field.
Last year's regular season meeting here saw Akron win by nine, laying 4.5. This year's team is even stronger and I'm expecting them to "make a statement" with an even bigger margin of victory. 10* personal favorite
|03-07-13||Louisiana Tech v. New Mexico State -2||Top||60-78||Win||100||14 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. The Bulldogs have had a great season. They're on an extended winning streak and come in with the better overall record. The Aggies have also had a very strong season though and their home record is superior to LA Tech's mark on the road. I believe that they're favored for good reason.
The Bulldogs have played their last three at home, where they've been unbeatable. A look at their schedule reveals that only nine of their last 21 games have come on the road. None of those opponents (Idaho, Seattle, Texas State, SJ State, Texas SA, Texas Arlington, Arkansas LR, Mcneese St, NW State) are as good at home as the Aggies are. The Bulldogs lost at Northwestern State and also at McNeese State. They won at Arkansas Little Rock by only two and at Texas Arlington by just three. Wins at Texas San Antonio and at Utah State also came by only two and three points. In fact, only the wins at SJ St and Texas State came by greater than six points.
In other words, despite playing at venues that arguably aren't as tough as this one, the Bulldogs have been "eking out" a lot of their road wins.
The Aggies lost at Denver last time out but did cover the spread. They're 9-5 SU/ATS off a conference loss the past couple of seasons. During that time, they're 11-7 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier road loss.
With the cover at Denver, the Aggies are 7-3 ATS their last 10 lined games in March, going a lucrative 30-14 ATS their last 44, excluding pushes.
Note that the Aggies are 2-0 ATS the past couple of seasons, when listed as home favorites of three or fewer points.
While the Aggies did come up short at LA Tech, they've dominated the Bulldogs here for years. They'll need to play their best game to continue that domination but I feel that they'll be up for the task. 10* personal favorite
|03-07-13||Virginia Cavaliers v. FLORIDA STATE +4.5||Top||51-53||Win||100||14 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. The Cavaliers crushed the Seminoles when these teams met at Virginia. No surprise there. The Cavs are 17-1 at home while the Noles are 7-7 on the road. Tonight's rematch is at Tallahassee though and the Cavs aren't even close to being the same team on the road that they are at home. I believe the Noles have an excellent shot at the upset.
Last time out, the Cavs lost 53-52 at Boston College. Their previous two road games also both resulted in losses. Granted, those were at very difficult venues (Miama and UNC) but the fact remains that this team isn't the same away from home. They've lost at Georgia Tech by six and at Clemson by 15. They've also lost at George Mason and a neutral court game at Old Dominion.
Note that the Cavs are just 5-11 ATS the last 16 times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, 1-2 ATS in that role this season.
With the loss at BC, its also worth pointing out that Virginia is now a dismal 21-39-1 ATS (19-42 SU) its last 61 games played in the month of March.
The Noles, 10-4 ATS in March the past couple of seasons, are 3-0 ATS the last three times that they attempted to avenge a loss of 20 or more points. They tend to fare well in games here which are expected to be low-scoring, going 9-1 SU (6-2-2 ATS) the last 10 times that that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 120s.
The Noles beat the Cavs by three here last season and are 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS the last 13 times that they were a host in the series. They've won back-to-back games here, most recently blowing out Wake Forest by 14. I backed them in that game and I feel they're in a good spot to earn us AT LEAST another cover here. 9* best bet
|03-06-13||Boston Celtics v. Indiana Pacers -9||Top||83-81||Loss||-105||9 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. The Celtics beat me yesterday. That won't prevent me from going against them again today though.
Even with last night's win, the Celtics are still a poor 11-18 on the road. On the other hand, the Pacers are a very impressive 25-6 here at Indiana. That includes a 21-3 mark their last 24 here.
The Pacers are also playing some of their best basketball of the season. They've won 11 of 14 in the second half, going 10-4 ATS. That includes a 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS mark their last eight games.
While the Celtics are playing the second of back-to-back games, the Pacers had the past two days off. Note that Indiana is 7-4 ATS in that situation this season. Meanwhile, the Celtics are 6-7-2 ATS when playing the second of b2b games, going a money-burning 19-34-2 ATS in that situation the past few seasons.
The Pacers should have payback on their minds, as the Celtics pounded them earlier, at Boston. Knowing that they could see the Celts in the playoffs, the Pacers should be motivated to "make a statement" and to deliver a message that they can beat Boston. (That's particularly true given that the Celts have now beaten them three straight and eight of 11.)
The Pacers are 25-13 ATS (31-7 SU) when laying points and they're 10-1 ATS off a divisional game. With the schedule and venue in their favor, I'm expecting a "blowout." 10* personal favorite
|03-06-13||Georgetown v. Villanova -1.5||Top||57-67||Win||100||10 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on VILLANOVA. The Hoyas boast the superior record and ranking. I believe that the Wildcats are favored for good reason.
While the Hoyas are looking to improve their NCAA tournament positioning by locking down a #1 seed, the Wildcats are still looking to guarantee that they punch their ticket. Needless to say, a win here would go a long way. I feel that they'll be a little more hungry, as a result.
The Wildcats do have wins over the likes of Louisville and Syracuse, teams which were ranked #5 and #3 at the time. However, after missing the NCAA tournament last season, they don't want to leave anything to chance.
Villanova coach Jay Wright had this to say: "We understand there are implications to this game. Playing in the Big East Conference, you aren't fazed by playing a top 10 team. I think that's something that has always helped our teams in the NCAA tournament. I like the fact we're going to play important games late in the season. That's how I want it to be."
While they've had some trouble on the road, the Wildcats have been very tough at home of late. They've played three games here over the past month. All three resulted in victories, most recently a 60-56 win over a Marquette team which currently has a 21-7 record.
Admittedly, the Hoyas have been on an impressive roll. The pointspreads have started to catch up with them a little though. They're 0-1-1 ATS their last two games. They've got a big game vs. Syracuse on deck, their regular season and home finale. I feel that they could get caught "patting themselves on the back" a little and/or looking ahead. Note that with the ATS loss vs. Rutgers, the Hoyas are now only 2-7 ATS (3-6 SU) their last nine games in the month of March.
The Wildcats are 7-4 ATS as favorites, including a 1-0 ATS mark as a home favorite of three or fewer points. They've had some trouble with the Hoyas in recent seasons but I look for them to rise to the occasion with a very important victory this evening. 10* personal favorite
|03-05-13||Boise State v. UNLV -7.5||Top||64-68||Loss||-110||14 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNLV. The Broncos have the better ATS record this season and they did beat the Rebels earlier. That doesn't mean that they're the better team though. Playing with revenge and now playing on their home floor, I expect the Rebels to settle the score tonight.
The Broncos are not in one of their better roles here. In fact, they're 0-4 ATS the last few seasons, when listed as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range.
During the same stretch, the Rebels were 3-1 ATS (4-0 SU) when listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range.
Winning on the road has admittedly proven to be difficult for the Rebels. However, they've remained dominant here in Las Vegas, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, winning by an average score of 75.8 to 62. Visiting teams are hitting a mere 36.2% of their field goals here.
Note that Broncos are just 8-11 ATS (6-13 SU) the past few seasons, when facing a team which allows 64 or fewer points, after a minimum of 15 games had been played.
Last year, the Rebels were laying 13.5 points when they hosted the Broncos. They would go on to win by 17, a 75-58 blowout. Boise State would hit only 35.7% of its shots. Behind another strong defensive effort, I expect the revenge-minded Rebels to win by double-digits, once again. 10* top "revenge" report
|03-05-13||Boston Celtics v. Philadelphia 76ers +2||Top||109-101||Loss||-110||13 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Celtics seem to be a popular pick in this one. I don't see it.
The "streaky" 76'ers have their "mojo" back. After winning three straight and four of five in early February, the 76'ers went into free-fall, getting killed (going winless) during the second half of the month.
They began March with a win though, knocking off a solid Golden State squad. I backed them in that game. In part of my analysis I mentioned the following: " ... I expect the 76ers to come away with the win. Admittedly, the 76'ers have certainly struggled of late. However, lets not forget that their home record is still superior to the Warriors' road record. While the playoffs are looking less and less likely - the 76'ers are still in contention - they're six games behind 8th place Milwaukee. So, there's still plenty of incentive to play hard ..."
As I acknowledged when they beat the Warriors, the playoffs aren't looking very likely. (Milwaukee's OT win last night made their job even harder.) However, as I also mentioned - the 76'ers aren't out of contention yet. They've had some success against the Celtics, a team I feel that they match up well against. I expect them to be both hungry and confident here, a dangerous combination.
While they've had a few days off, the Celtics are still mired in a stretch where they play nine of 11 on the road. Lets not forget that this team is only 10-18 on the road, not nearly as good at Philadelphia's 17-15 home record.
The Celts are 5-8 ATS the past few seasons as road favorites of three or fewer points. During that stretch, they're 7-12 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 180 to 184.5 range.
The 76'ers are 4-1 SU/ATS the last five times that they were listed as home underdogs of three or fewer points, going 12-5 SU/ATS in that role the past few seasons. They're 7-1 ATS (6-2 SU) as a host in this series, including a 95-94 win earlier this season. I'll grab the points being offered but am expecting another "upset." 10* best bet
|03-05-13||Arkansas v. Missouri -10||Top||63-93||Win||100||12 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on MISSOURI. Many of you will recall that I played against the Tigers a little over a week ago. They lost 90-83 at Kentucky. Now, they'll take on an Arkansas team which just defeated Kentucky. Some will have the following logic: "If Kentucky just beat Missouri and Arkansas just beat Kentucky, then surely Arkansas will be able to hang around against Missouri." That type of logic doesn't hold up in the world of handicapping though, as things are rarely that simple.
In this case, we have to remember the very important fact that the Razorbacks were at home when they beat Kentucky while the Tigers were on the road when they lost against them.
This time, Missouri will have homecourt advantage. With Missouri boasting a perfect home record and Arkansas really struggling on the road, needless to say, this is an extremely significant fact.
The Razorbacks are a dismal 4-24 on the road the past few seasons, going a money-burning 7-21 ATS. That includes a 1-3 ATS record, when they've been listed as road underdogs in the 9.5 to 12 range. This season, they're getting outscored by a 72.5 to 61.5 mark on the road.
On the other hand, Missouri is outscoring teams by a 80.8 to 62.3 margin here at home. The Tigers hit 47.7% of their field goals here, visiting teams making only 37.5% of theirs.
The Tigers, who lost a close one at Arkansas a few weeks ago, are 2-1 ATS (3-0 SU) the last three times that they attempted to avenge an earlier road loss. Playing their final home game of the season, I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion. 10* personal favorite
|03-04-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Denver Nuggets -9.5||Top||88-104||Win||100||16 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. I really like how this one sets up for the home team. The Hawks are in a very difficult scheduling spot and the Nuggets, who are a commanding 25-3 here at Denver, should be poised to take advantage.
Last time out, the Nuggets beat Oklahoma City - one of the best teams in the league. That was their fourth straight win. The Nuggets, who should be filled with confidence from that big win, have since had two day's off. They come in well-rested. Their previous home game resulted in a double-digit victory against a talented Laker team which has been starting to find its groove.
Speaking of the Lakers, the Hawks just lost a 1-point heartbreaker at LA last night. Those are the type of losses that often can be difficult to recover from. Playing in the altitude against a dangerous opponent doesn't help.
Not only are the Hawks playing the second of back-to-back games, they're also playing the final leg of a 6-game road trip. This will be their 7th game in the last 11 days - every one of those games came in a different city - a journey that began in Atlanta and has seen the Hawks travel all over the country. Fatigue may well be a factor - and the Nuggets should look to push the pace every chance they get.
That's one of the reasons why we've got such a high O/U line here; as I write this the number is sitting at 211 with some shops still at 211.5. That's noteworthy as the Nuggets tend to excel in games that are expected to be high-scoring, like this one.
In fact, they're 38-20-2 ATS (46-14 SU) the past 60 times that they played a game which had an O/U line of 2010 or greater, including a lucrative 11-1 ATS (12-0 SU) mark their last 12 in that situation. When playing here at Denver, they're a perfect 7-0 SU/ATS when the O/U line was at least 210.
Given the fact that the Hawks beat them earlier at Atlanta, the Nuggets should be fully focused on exacting some revenge. I expect them to keep the pedal to the metal the entire way, en route to a double-digit win. 10* personal favorite
|03-03-13||Dallas Mavericks v. Houston Rockets -5||Top||103-136||Win||100||15 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Mavericks have taken the first two games of the season series. However, the Rockets still have the superior record overall. I expect them to be highly motivated this evening and for them to get a small measure of revenge.
Both teams like to push the pace and both are very capable offensively. I expect that tempo to work in the Rockets' favor. Note that Houston is 5-2 ATS its last seven against team which score 99 or more points per game. During that time, Dallas is only 2-3 ATS (1-4 SU) against teams which average 99 or more points per game.
This is a very big game for Dallas as the Mavs are trying to catch the Rockets in the standings. However, I would argue that its every bit as big for Houston. Note that these teams will face each other again in a few days, at Dallas. Obviously, the Rockets are well aware of this fact. Knowing that will likely be a harder game to win, they should be doing everything possible to defend their home floor this evening.
The Rockets are 19-9 at home. The Mavs are 10-20 on the road. The Rockets are outscoring teams by a 110.6 to 104.3 margin at home. The Mavs are getting outscored by a 103.6 to 97.9 average on the road.
Ultimately, I expect homecourt to be the difference as the Rockets bring their "A Game" and improve to 16-12 ATS when in the "revenge" role. 10* personal favorite
|03-03-13||DePaul v. South Florida -3||Top||73-83||Win||100||10 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on SOUTH FLORIDA. Admittedly, its been an extended tough stretch for the Bulls. They're taking a major step down in class here though and I feel that they're favored for good reason.
They've come close a number of times but the Bulls haven't actually won a game since way back on 1/19, when they defeated Georgetown. With games vs. UConn and at Cincinnati on deck, the Bulls know that this is by far their best chance to reward the home faithful with a victory. I expect an extremely motivated effort.
The Blue Demons have struggled every bit as much as the Bulls, arguably even more so They defeated Rutgers (not as impressive as beating GTown) a couple of weeks ago but have lost every game since by double-digits. They're 1-12 their last 13 games. Note that every one of those dozen losses came by four or more points.
Keep in mind that the Bulls are 8-8 at home while the Blue Demons are 4-8 on the road. While the Blue Demons are permitting 79.2 ppg on the road, the Bulls allow only 62.7 here at Tampa.
The Bulls are a team that takes care of business when they get the chance. In fact, they're 13-0 SU (7-2 ATS in lined games) the past few seasons, when taking on a team with a losing record.
On the other hand, during the same stretch, Depaul is only 14-12 (7-12 ATS in lined games!) when taking on a team with a losing record. A closer look reveals that those victories came early in the season, vs. complete cupcakes. When matched up against a team with a losing record, after at last 15 games have been played, the Demons are 0-7 SU and 0-6 ATS. Note that the Depaul is also an ugly 2-19 over that period, when facing a team which allows 64 or fewer points per game, after a minimum of 15 games had been played.
Given the above stats, its not surprising to learn that USF has dominated this series in recent years. That includes a 16-point win (at Depual) in last season's lone meeting. I expect another convincing victory for the Bulls here. 10* personal favorite
|03-02-13||Golden State Warriors v. Philadelphia 76ers -1||Top||97-104||Win||100||17 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. My "Personal Favorite" selections are generally reserved for "favorites." However, I'll occasionally use them for a "pick'em" game or on a very slight underdog,
|03-02-13||Kansas State v. Baylor -2.5||Top||64-61||Loss||-110||18 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on BAYLOR. The Wildcats come in with the higher ranking and better overall record. However, I believe that the Bears are favored for good reason.
A closer look reveals that Baylor's home record is superior to Kansas State's road record. Despite having a winning SU record away from home, the Wildcats are actually getting outscored by a 64.7 to 64.1 margin in their road games. (They're just 3-5 ATS on the road.)
On the other hand, Baylor is outscoring teams by a dominating 77.3 to margin in its home games.
True, the Wildcats hammered them a couple of weeks ago. However, that was at Manhattan. As seen above, the Bears are a much better team at home. Needless to say, they'll have payback on their minds here.
While the Cats already know they're destined to be "dancing," the Bears are still trying to ensure that they get there. Wednesday's win at West Virginia got them back on track and boosted their hopes. It also should give them momentum and confidence for today's important tilt.
Ultimately, I expect homecourt to prove the difference, as the Bears pull away for the win, covering the small number along the way. 10* personal favorite
|03-02-13||St. Louis v. George Washington +6.5||Top||66-58||Loss||-110||14 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGE WASHINGTON. The Billikens are a very solid team. I believe that their high ranking is justified and they've been good to me this season. However, I believe that they're a little over-valued here. I also believe that they may well be ripe for a letdown and that they may get caught looking past this afternoon's opponent. Meanwhile, I feel the opposite about the Colonials. I believe that that they'll be extremely motivated and that they're a bit under-valued.
True, the Billikens are still trying to wrap up first place in the conference. This game is arguably even bigger for the Colonials though - as they're desperately just trying to qualify for the tournament. (They enter today's action in a four-way tie for ninth place in the A-10- one game ahead of 13th-place Dayton. Only the top 12 teams in the league qualify for the tourney.)
I say that the Billikens could get caught looking past the Colonials as they've been playing bigger name teams recently, have successfully won a game since entering the Top 25 and have teams like Xavier on deck.
While they've had trouble on the road, the Colonials won their last home game by eight points. Their only other conference home game in February resulted in a 3-point loss vs. Butler, a game they were getting 2.5 points for. Here, despite the fact that St. Louis and Butler have similar rankings, we're getting a handful of extra points to work with. Any loss they've had here in 2013 has come by single-digits and only one came by more than three points. In fact, no team has beaten them by more than single-digits here all season.
The Colonials are outscoring teams by an average score of 69.3 to 61.5 margin here - which is actually better than the 66.1 to 61.4 margin that the Billikens have averaged away from St. Louis.
The Colonials have hosted the Billikens four times since 1997. They won all four of those games, covering three of them. I expect to see a highly determined Colonials team today and look for them to step up with AT LEAST another cover. 10* best bet
|03-01-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Phoenix Suns +4.5||Top||87-92||Win||100||14 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHOENIX. I believe we're getting excellent value with the home team here.
The Suns are quietly starting to play well. After eking out a 1-point win over the T-Wolves on 2/26, they followed it up with an outright (comeback) win at San Antonio. Needless to say, that's not an easy thing to do - for any team. (The Spurs had won 18 straight at home.) I expect their confidence to be sky high here.
Note that the Suns don't play again until 3/6 after this. So, there's nothing to "look ahead" to and no reason to try and "save themselves."
Off the win vs. the Spurs, Jermaine O'Neal, who had a "double-double" (22/13) in that game had this to say: "For us, we're obviously not in the playoff run, but it's about trying to be a better team. Games like these are what build character and put us in the right direction. That's what we're trying to do."
Admittedly, the Hawks have been playing very well on their current road trip. In fact, they're 3-0 through the first three games on the trip and are now 4-0 SU/ATS their last four overall.
That said, I feel that they may be ripe for a letdown. They jut scored an upset at Utah last time out and they face the Lakers, followed by Denver, in their next two games. Off that big win and with the two "bigger name" opponents on deck, I feel that it will be easy to overlook the lowly Suns.
Note that the Hawks are only 2-5 ATS off an upset win.
The Suns played the Hawks very tough last season, including an outright win at Atlanta. Last year's game here at Phoenix was decided by only two points, the Hawks rallying for a 101-99 comeback victory. I expect the Suns to give them all they can handle once again, en route to AT LEAST a cover. 10* best bet
|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
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