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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|03-31-10||New York Knicks v. Portland Trail Blazers -10||Top||90-118||Win||100||11 h 29 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with PORTLAND. The Knicks covered the spread at Utah last game. However, they lost their previous game (at Phoenix) by 36 points and I feel that they'll be in over their heads tonight.
The Blazers are on a roll. They've won eight of their last nine and have gone 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games. Their last two home games have both resulted in double-digit victories. Note that Portland has gone 26-17-1 ATS (28-16 SU) the last few seasons, when having won its previous three games.
With a big game at Denver on deck tomorrow, one might think the Blazers could get caught "looking ahead." However, I don't expect that to be an issue. The last time that they played the front end of back to back games (and they had a big one vs. Oklahoma City on deck) saw them earn a double-digit win (and easy cover) vs. the Hornets. More importantly, the Knicks already beat the Blazers at New York this season, which should ensure that they don't look past them tonight. In fact, with easier games vs. the Warriors and Clippers on deck, the Knicks may be the team that gets caught looking ahead.
The Blazers tend to take care of business against the league's weaker teams, particularly "defensively-challenged" ones like the Knicks. They're 18-13 ATS (24-7 SU) against teams with a losing record this season. That brings them to a profitable 59-45-1 ATS (84-21 SU!) against losing teams the past few seasons. That includes a perfect 11-0 SU record against losing teams. Note that they're also 12-5-1 ATS the last 18 times that they faced a team which allows 99 or more points per game.
The Blazers are 4-1 SU/ATS the last five times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 200 to 204.5 range. That brings them to a 13-6 ATS (15-4 SU) their last 19 home games with a total in that range. Playing their final game against an Eastern Conference opponent, I expect the revenge-minded Blazers to improve on those stats by recording a double-digit win. *10
|03-29-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. New Orleans Hornets +6||Top||100-108||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with NEW ORLEANS. The Lakers have the best record in the league while the Hornets are playing out the string. The Lakers are off a win and cover at Houston while the Hornets just lost, both SU and ATS, vs. Portland. As a result, naturally, most will be backing the Lakers. I feel that sentiment has given us excellent value with the Hornets, who I expect to be at their best.
Having officially been eliminated from the playoffs with Saturday's loss, the Hornets are completely free of pressure. Don't expect them to just roll over though. Coach Jeff Bower had this to say: "It's important for us to play well and give ourselves a chance to win every night. We want to finish as strong as we can to build momentum that we can take into the summer and build on for next season. The important thing is every game is an opportunity to compete. We want to show improvement across the board. Our players are competitive men and professionals, and regardless of the standings their makeup is to try and improve in every area."
Bower went on to say: "Will we win every game? It's unlikely, but we'll go into every game intending to win."
With the playoffs no longer part of the equation, this game figures to mean about as much to the Hornets as any game left on their schedule. After all, they're playing with 'double-revenge' and this is a chance to prove to themselves and to show the home fans that they're capable of beating the best team in the league.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have much bigger games on deck and have all but clinched the best record in the league. As a result, I feel that they may have trouble "getting up" for a "non-playoff team" which they've already beaten twice this season.
The Lakers are 5-7 ATS their last 12 games against teams with a losing record. They're also 5-7 ATS on the season, when listed as road favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range.
While the Lakers are playing the fourth game of a 5-game road trip, the Hornets are playing the fourth leg of a 5-game home-stand. Note that they're 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were coming off three or more consecutive home games, most recently covering at Cleveland and beating Houston. I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *10
|03-28-10||Golden State Warriors v. Los Angeles Clippers -5||Top||121-103||Loss||-110||22 h 59 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with the LA CLIPPERS. These teams have split two meetings this season. Both games were decided in "blowout fashion." The Clippers won the first one by 28 points. The Warriors returned the favor with a 30 point win in the most recent meeting. However, both those games were played at Oakland. Tonight's game will be played at LA, where the Clippers have dominated the Warriors.
The Clippers are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they hosted the Warriors. All eight victories came by a minimum of six points. The last time that they hosted the Warriors was last February. LA won that one by 13 points. The situation favors the Clippers again this evening.
While LA had the past two nights off, Golden State comes off a late game vs. Dallas. That's significant. The Warriors have just two wins the last 15 times that they played the second of back to back games. They're 0-3 SU/ATS their last three in that situation. All three losses came by double-digits. In fact, those three losses came by an average of 18 points each.
The Clippers, who won outright at Houston last time out, are a profitable 8-3 ATS (9-2 SU) the last 11 times that they were favored by six points or less. They're healthier, better rested and playing at home. I expect them to continue their homecourt dominance in the series, covering the relatively small number along the way. *10
|03-27-10||New Jersey Nets v. Chicago Bulls -9||Top||83-106||Win||100||19 h 52 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with CHICAGO. The Nets won yesterday, their second straight win. Meanwhile, the Bulls were absolutely destroyed by Miami on Thursday. That will likely cause many to want to take the points with the visitors. However, I feel that the Bulls will be the much more motivated team and that the situation sets up perfectly for a convincing victory.
With yesterday's victory, the Nets can no longer set the record for the all-time worst record in NBA history. Yes, they still need one more to avoid tying that mark. However, having officially gotten that monkey off their back, I feel that they'll be ripe for a letdown here.
Note that the Nets are 1-17 SU the last 18 times that they played the second of back to back games. They went a money-burning 3-9-1 ATS the last 13 of those games.
On the other hand, the Bulls should be extremely motivated. For starters, they were embarrassed on National TV Thursday. They're back on WGN here, which gives them a chance to atone for that debacle. Also, unlike the Nets, they're still very much alive in the race to make the playoffs. (They're currently in ninth place.) Additional motivation comes from the fact that the Nets beat them in this season's only other meeting.
Note that even with the earlier loss here, the Bulls are still 4-2 SU/ATS the last six games in this series. All four of those wins came by a minimum of nine points.
While the Bulls struggled against Miami, a good defensive team, they're a highly profitable 13-5 ATS their last 18 games against teams which allow 99 or more points. They're also 6-3 ATS the last nine times that they scored 85 or less in their previous game. I expect them to improve on those stats with a double-digit victory here. *10
|03-26-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Oklahoma City Thunder +1.5||Top||75-91||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. The majority of the betting public generally always sides with the Lakers. That's likely to be particularly true here. Not only have the Lakers gone 3-0 against the Thunder this season but they also just beat the Spurs, a team which recently beat the Thunder. I feel that sentiment has given us excellent value with the home team.
Yes, the Lakers have won all three meetings this season. However, the game here at Oklahoma City was extremely close. It was a 1-point game at halftime and the Lakers ended up winning by only three. Likewise for the most recent game, which was at LA, as it was also decided by three points.
Yes, LA comes off a fairly impressive defensive effort (92-83 win) at San Antonio, while listed as slight underdogs. However, note that the Lakers are just 2-6 ATS after allowing 85 or less in their previous game.
Tonight, even though the Thunder have a better record than the Spurs, the Lakers are small favorites, instead of underdogs. That's noteworthy as the Lakers are also a money-burning 7-12-1 ATS (9-11 SU) the last 20 times that they were listed as road favorites of three points or less.
In the earlier meetings, the Lakers still had a lot to play for. They've basically wrapped things up now though. The Thunder, on the other hand, are very much in a dogfight for playoff seeding. In other words, this game should mean a lot more to the Thunder. The fact that they're playing with 'triple-revenge' should add even further motivation.
Yes, the Lakers have dominated the Thunder. The same could be said of the Rockets up until a couple of days ago though. Indeed, Houston had beaten the Thunder/Sonics 13 straight times. Yet, the Thunder just handled the Rockets with ease, winning by a score of 122-104.
Coach Scott Brooks had this to say of the win: "That was a great game for us, we played great basketball. The pressure we put on our team is to play hard and play for each other. We can't worry about what other teams are doing. We can't control any of that."
While the Thunder got James Harden back from injury last game (he scored 23) the Lakers are still likely without Andrew Bynum. As of Wednesday, Phil Jackson had this to say of Bynum's return:
"Well, it's interesting. I haven't ruled it out, but I haven't thought about it in those terms. He did say he was feeling a lot better Wednesday. I can't see that happening right now, but it's a hopeful note." Even if he did return (unlikely) its doubtful he could play at 100%. That's noteworthy as Bynum has averaged 19.3 points against the Thunder against the season.
I expect the revenge-minded Thunder to build off the big win over the Rockets and for them to finally earn a victory over the Lakers. *10
|03-24-10||Orlando Magic v. Atlanta Hawks||Top||84-86||Win||100||9 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Magic have had a great year and are admittedly playing very well. However, this game is being played at Atlanta and I feel that it will mean more to the Hawks. I expect them to have the advantage.
Yes, the Magic are having a great season. However, a closer look reveals that Atlanta's home record (28-7) is actually much better than Orlando's 22-14 mark on the road.
Yes, the Magic are rolling. However, the Hawks are also playing very well, particularly at home. They've won six straight games here, going 16-3 here since early January.
Most importantly, this game should mean a lot more to the Hawks. For starters, unlike the Magic, they still haven't clinched a playoff spot. While that's a mere formality, clinching against the division-leading Magic would be extra special. That's particularly true, given that the Magic have beaten them in all three previous meetings this season.
A closer look at the last two series meetings shows that Atlanta was in a tough scheduling spot for each of them. In each case, the Hawks were off a win over Boston the previous night. Even the setup for the first meeting wasn't necessarily ideal, as they'd had four days off in between games, which isn't always a positive. No scheduling excuses here though. The Hawks did play back to back games on Sunday and Monday but they had yesterday off. They have tomorrow off and their next two games come against non-divisional opponents, who are not making the playoffs. In other words, they've had a day's rest and this is their most important game, for the time-being. No letdown. No look-ahead.
The Magic would surely like to make a statement by earning the series sweep and will be motivated to do so. However, that shouldn't mean as much to them, as avoiding the sweep does to the Hawks.
The Hawks are 8-1 SU/ATS the last nine times that they played a home game with a total in the 195 to 199.5 range and I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|03-22-10||San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder -4.5||Top||99-96||Loss||-110||18 h 7 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with OKLAHOMA CITY. I successfully played against both these teams yesterday. I had the Pacers and they blew out the Thunder. I also had the Hawks and they beat the Spurs in overtime. Tonight, off those losses, I feel that the situation strongly favors the home team.
As mentioned, the Thunder got blown out at Indiana yesterday. That was a disappointing loss for them, but it wasn't exactly a gruelling one. Additionally, it was a very early afternoon game, so they were able to return home in plenty of time to get a few things done around their homes and get a proper sleep.
On the other hand, the Spurs game was a late game and it was hard-fought the entire way, while also going to overtime. Even the overtime period was very intense and emotional. Bouncing back from that type of "heart-breaking" loss can often be a lot tougher than bouncing back from a "blowout" loss, particularly when it was so physical. The fact that it was a late game means that the Spurs didn't arrive into Oklahoma City until quite late at night.
Even if yesterday's games were "equal," which they were not, the Thunder figure to be better suited to playing the second of back to back games. That's because they've got younger legs than the Spurs. Ideally, the Spurs would like to give Tim Duncan the night off, when playing these back to back games. However, the games are now so important that they're unable to do that, particularly with Tony Parker still out of the lineup.
The Spurs are 6-7 ATS the last 13 times that they played the second of back to back games. The Thunder are 11-7 ATS the last 18 times that they played the second of back to back games. That includes a 2-1 ATS mark here at Oklahoma City. The last time that the Thunder played a home game, after having played the previous day, they blew out Miami by 18 points.
Including last night's loss, the Spurs are now 5-10 ATS the last 15 times that they were road underdogs in the +3.5 to +6 range. The Thunder are 7-5 ATS on the season as home favorites and they're a profitable 20-11 ATS the last 31 times that they played a team which defeated them in the last meeting. Catching the Spurs off the OT game and playing their fifth game in seven nights, I expect the Thunder to be the fresher team and for them to come away with a relatively convincing victory. *10
|03-21-10||San Antonio Spurs v. Atlanta Hawks -3||Top||114-119||Win||100||19 h 23 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with ATLANTA. The Spurs won big (115-90) when they hosted the Hawks back in late January. That's no real surprise as both these teams are much better at home. The Spurs are an excellent 25-10 at San Antonio but a very mediocre 16-16 on the road. Meanwhile, the Hawks are 17-17 on the road but an outstanding 27-7 here at Atlanta. With the Hawks now playing on their homecourt, I expect a much different result than we saw two months ago.
The Spurs won in a rout in their last game. However, that was at home and it was against Golden State. Their most recent road game resulted in a 26-point loss at Orlando. They know this one will be tough. Manu Ginobili was quoted as saying: "We have a really rough back-to-back now with Atlanta and Oklahoma City. Good teams, strong at home."
Both teams are battling for playoff positioning right now, so every game is very important for each. Both teams also face another playoff team from their own conference tomorrow night. As Ginobli noted, the Spurs are at Oklahoma City. As for the Hawks, they face the surging Bucks. If either is going get caught looking ahead to tomorrow, I think the Spurs are more likely to be the team which does so. That's because the Thunder are one of the teams that they are currently neck-and-neck with in the West. On the other hand, the Hawks aren't really competing with the Bucks as they enter today's action with a six game lead over Milwaukee.
Both teams had yesterday off, after playing on Friday. While they admittedly had a much easier game on Friday, the Spurs have still arguably had a tougher schedule the last couple of weeks. The Spurs are playing their 10th game since 3/5. During the same stretch, this will be the Hawks ninth game. The Hawks haven't played a road game outside their own time zone over that time and they haven't faced a team from the West. On the other hand, the Spurs have been all over the country playing numerous Eastern Conference road games.
The Spurs are 5-6 ATS on the season when listed as underdogs of four points or less. The Hawks are 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were favored by four points or less and 11-6 ATS their last 17 in that role. The Hawks are also 19-9 SU their last 28 against teams from the West. Playing on their homecourt and looking to avenge the earlier loss, I expect them to improve on those stats, covering the small number along the way. *10
|03-19-10||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Toronto Raptors +1||Top||115-89||Loss||-110||19 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. I respect the Thunder. They're an exciting young team with a star in Kevin Durant. That said, I successfully played against them last time out and I feel that they're over-valued again this evening.
The Raptors earned an important come-from-behind win last time out, snapping a losing streak and defeating a talented Atlanta team by a single point. Meanwhile, that Thunder blew an early double-digit lead, snapping a winning streak while eventually getting blown out by the Bobcats. That will have the majority of the betting public backing the Thunder to bounce back. However, I typically see things differently and really like the way it sets up for the Raptors.
Toronto's win was of the "momentum-building" variety while Oklahoma City's loss was of the deflating or "momentum-killing" variety.
With the "monkey off their back" and the losing streak finally over, I expect the Raptors to start playing better down the stretch. While the Thunder have the better overall record, let's not forget that the Raptors' 23-10 home record is significantly better than the Thunder's 19-14 mark on the road.
The Thunder beat up on the Raptors when the teams met at Oklahoma City. However, they also beat the Raptors there the previous season. When the teams met at Toronto in March, the Raptors avenged the earlier loss with a 112-96 victory. Bosh, one of only three players in the NBA who averages 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds, was dominant in that win. He had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Including that victory, the Raptors have won three straight home games against the Thunder/Sonics. Bosh missed the game at Oklahoma City but he's back now and hit the game-winner for the Raptors on Wednesday. I expect him to lead his team to another important win. *10
|03-18-10||Orlando Magic v. Miami Heat +3||Top||108-102||Loss||-110||20 h 36 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MIAMI. These teams have met three times this season. The Heat were underdogs in all three games but won two of them outright. I feel they've got a great shot at scoring another upset tonight.
The Spurs just crushed the Heat a couple of days ago. Then, the Magic just crushed the Heat last night. Therefore, many will assume that the Magic will surely crush the Heat tonight. That type of 'logic' often doesn't hold much weight in the NBA though. Indeed, the opposite can often be true.
Let's not forget that prior to getting blown out by the Spurs, the Heat had been playing some of their best basketball of the season, winning three straight and six of seven. That stretch included victories over the likes of the Hawks and the Lakers.
The Magic have also been playing very well of late and last night's win was admittedly quite impressive. That said, even with that result, they're still just 12-17-3 ATS against teams with a winning record.
Even though last night's game wasn't exactly "gruelling," it should also still be noted that the Magic are just 3-7-1 ATS the last 11 times that they played the second of back to back games. The last time that they were in that situation they lost by seven points vs. Charlotte.
The Magic are 1-2/ATS as road favorites of three points or less. Meanwhile, Miami is 2-1 SU/ATS as a home underdog of three points or less.
In addition to playing on their homecourt, the Heat need this game more than the Magic do. Orlando is comfortably in second place in the East. They're not going to catch Cleveland and they've put some distance between themselves and the Celtics and Hawks. Miami, on the other hand, is in a dogfight with several teams. They could finish anywhere from fifth to eighth place, or even ninth if things got really bad.
Including this season's earlier 104-86 win here, the Heat are also 3-1 ATS the last four times that they hosted the Magic. I expect them to bounce back from Tuesday's loss and improve on those stats here. *10
|03-17-10||Milwaukee Bucks v. Los Angeles Clippers +5||Top||93-101||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with the LA CLIPPERS. With the Bucks red hot and the Clippers ice cold, many will be looking to back the road favorite in this one. That's given us a generous line on the home underdog, one which got even more generous thanks to an overnight line move. I expect the Clippers to surprise tonight and feel that they're providing us with plenty of value.
Yes, the Bucks are the much hotter team at the moment and have the better overall record. Let's keep in mind that LA's home record of 18-15 is actually significantly better than Milwaukee's 13-20 mark on the road.
It's also worth mentioning that the Clippers have been better again Eastern Conference opponents than the Bucks have been against teams from the West. Milwaukee is just 10-14 against Western Conference opponents. The Clippers, on the other hand, are a solid 13-13 against teams from the East, going a highly profitable 16-9-1 against the number.
The Clippers returned home from a difficult 5-game road trip last time out. That, in itself, can be a difficult task. However, they were also getting one of their stars (Eric Gordon) back, after he'd missed five games with an injury. That, too, can be difficult. Even though Gordon struggled and even though they got a terrible game from their other top scorer (Chris Kaman) they still hung around and lost by just eight points.
Now, Gordon has a game under his belt and should no longer be rusty. Also, Kaman should be determined to bounce back with a much better effort. Additionally, there won't be any of the "first game back home" effect, as they've been back in their own beds for a few days now.
As for the Bucks, on such a big winning streak, they have the danger of overlooking the "lowly Clippers." That will be costly though. A look at last season's results show that the Bucks routed the Clippers when the teams played at Milwaukee. However, when the teams faced each other here at LA, the underdog Clippers won outright by nine points. I'll grab the points but won't be surprised when they score another upset tonight. *10
|03-15-10||Denver Nuggets v. Houston Rockets +3||Top||123-125||Win||100||22 h 12 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with HOUSTON. Every game is big for the Nuggets right now. However, every game is critical for Houston. It's true that the Rockets probably aren't going to make the playoffs this season. However, it's also true that they're still within striking distance and that they're not ready to give up quite yet.
As Luis Scola said: "We need to make a last, final push. We can't hold anything. We got to give everything we have right now. If we lose a couple of games, we'll be on vacation in three weeks. We need to make a last run, try to get back in a playoff push. Hopefully, we'll be a little lucky ... and fight for the last spot."
Speaking of Scola, he's coming off his fifth consecutive double-double. During that span, he's averaged a very impressive 26.2 points and 15.2 rebounds. In Saturday's win over the Nets, Scola went off for 44 points (12 rebounds) while going an outstanding 20 of 25 from the field.
While the Nuggets are practically unbeatable at home, even with having won the first three games of their current road trip, they're still only a mediocre 17-16 on the road. Note that they haven't swept a road trip of four or more games since 2005. (They're 1-6 ATS the last seven times that they played their previous three games on the road.) Additionally, note that they haven't swept the Rockets in more than 30 years.
The Nuggets are also an awful 2-12 ATS the last 14 tiems that they were listed as favorites of four points or less. While I'll grab the points, I expect the revenge-minded Rockets to score the minor upset. *10
|03-12-10||Indiana Pacers v. Boston Celtics -9||Top||103-122||Win||100||9 h 48 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with BOSTON. Losing by two at Milwaukee was somewhat excusable, as that was a road game and the Bucks are red-hot. However, coming home and getting blown out by 20 points vs. the Grizzlies was inexcusable and the Boston faithful let the Celtics know about it. Off that disappointing result, I expect the Celts to be fired up to bounce back with a huge effort. Yes, they do have a showdown at Cleveland on deck on Sunday. However, off that embarrassing loss to Memphis, I really don't think there will be any 'looking ahead.' After all, the last thing they want to do is to go into Cleveland on a 3-game skid.
Kevin Garnett was quoted as saying: "We gotta play better, especially at home. This is where we make our mark and this is where we supposedly lay our heads, and we gotta protect it like that."
KG went on to add: "We're not looking down to May and April right now, right now we need to be taking care of March. That's the mindset. We've got to do it soon, and do it immediately."
The Pacers have covered a few lately and are off a big win. That was at home vs. the 76ers though. Those results, combined with Boston's struggles, have worked in our favor here, as the line is much lower than it could have been. Note that the line on Boston was -13.5 the last time the Pacers played here and -12 and -14.5 the previous two times that the teams met here. Tonight's line is significantly lower and I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
The Celts have won seven of their last eight home meetings with the Pacers. Five of those seven victories came by nine or more points and four of them came by 14 or more. I expect another double-digit victory here. *10
|03-10-10||Denver Nuggets v. Minnesota Timberwolves +8||Top||110-102||Push||0||10 h 35 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MINNESOTA. The Nuggets are tied with Cleveland for the second most home wins (28) in the entire NBA. Only the Lakers have more. They aren't nearly so tough on the road though. In fact, they're below .500 (14-16) away from Denver on the season. I feel that they're laying too many points here.
While they haven't beaten them here at Minnesota for some time, the T-Wolves have played the Nuggets fairly tough this season, going 2-1 ATS. The most recent meeting was at Denver and the T-Wolves lost by 11, covering as 13.5 point underdogs. The previous meeting, also at Denver, saw the T-Wolves score the outright upset.
Including those results, the T-Wolves are a respectable 17-16 ATS against teams with a winning record. On the other hand, the Nuggets are a money-burning 8-16-1 ATS against teams with a losing record.
Yes, the Nuggets did blow out Portland (118-106) last time out and they did it without Kenyon Martin in the lineup. However, that was at Denver and they've still struggled overall, without their leading rebounder in the lineup. Note that the Nuggets, who will also be without Coach Karl on the sideline, are also 9-12-2 ATS when coming off a double-digit victory. I expect them to have their hands full here. *10
|03-09-10||Utah Jazz v. Chicago Bulls +3.5||Top||132-108||Loss||-110||18 h 29 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHICAGO. I respect the Jazz and they enter tonight's game with the much better overall record. They've also been the hotter team recently. That said, the Bulls home record is actually much better than Utah's record away from Salt Lake City. Additionally and perhaps more importantly, this game is arguably much more important to the Bulls.
Yes, all games are important to the Jazz right now. The Western Conference playoff race is very competitive and they badly want to finish in the Top 4 to guarantee homecourt advantage in the first round. That said, they're currently in fourth and are within striking distance of second place. Even with a loss here, they're still in pretty good shape.
On the other hand, the Bulls desperately need a victory, as they're in a dogfight for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Currently, there are nine times battling for eight spots. The Bulls, Bobcats and Heat are all very close to each other and one of them (or the Raptors or Bucks) will be left out. This game becomes extra important when considering that the Bulls aren't nearly as good away from Chicago and that five of their next six games come on the road, with the lone home game coming vs. Cleveland.
While the Jazz are extremely tough (25-8) at home, even though they've been much better on the road recently, they're still a mediocre 15-14 on the road for the season. They're 67-85 away from Utah since the start of the 2006-2007 season. Meanwhile, even with some recent losses, the Bulls are still a much better 19-12 here at Chicago.
Yes, the Jazz beat up on them earlier. That was at Utah though and I've already noted that both teams are far better at home. The last meeting here at Chicago saw the Bulls, who were +2.5 point underdogs, win by eight, 106-98. The Bulls also beat the Jazz by a dozen (108-96) here the previous season. Including those results, the Bulls have won four of the last five home meetings in this series. I'll grab the points but expect the Bulls to step up and score the upset. *10 Best Bet
|03-07-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Orlando Magic -1.5||Top||94-96||Win||100||14 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on ORLANDO. I played against both these teams last time out. The Magic won but barely failed to cover vs. the Nets. The Lakers had a tougher matchup and were blown out at Charlotte. I also played against the Lakers the previous night, when they lost in overtime at Miami.
Off back to back losses, many will assume that the Lakers can't possibly lose three in a row here. After all, they haven't lost three in a row in two years. I believe that they can and that they will though. I also believe that the sentiment that the Lakers can't possibly lose three straight has provided us with very reasonable number on the Magic.
While they're still the champs, the Lakers haven't been very good in the underdog role. In fact, they're just 2-5 SU/ATS the last seven times that they were getting points. They're also a mediocre 17-12 on the road. On the other hand, the Magic are a much better 24-12 at home.
I believe that the Magic are catching the Lakers at the right time. While LA is not playing its best basketball, Orlando is rolling. The Magic have won four straight games and all four wins were by double-digits. They're 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS their last seven games. The Lakers, on the other hand, are a money-burning 1-7-1 ATS their last nine games, losing four of their last eight outright.
The Magic also have plenty of motivation. Not only did the Lakers beat them at LA earlier this season but they also knocked them out of last year's Finals. This is Orlando's chance to show that they've improved and to get a small measure of payback.
The Magic certainly haven't forgotten. Dwight Howard had this to say of last year's loss: "We didn't like it at all. We know how tough it is to get to the finals, and to make it and lose and have a team celebrate on your home floor, it hurts. But you live and you learn..."
The Magic are 57-36-1 ATS (64-30 SU) the last 94 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. I expect them to improve on those stats and hand the Lakers a rare 3-game losing streak. *9
|03-06-10||Dallas Mavericks v. Chicago Bulls +1||Top||122-116||Loss||-110||10 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Mavericks have been rolling and they won again last night. I expect their winning streak to finally come to an end tonight though.
While the Bulls had last night off, the Mavs were busy hosting the Kings. They won that one by eight points (and were trailing at halftime) so it wasn't exactly "easy." Five players played 30+ minutes of action, including Nowitski, who was on the floor for 42 minutes.
Playing one back to back game isn't that bad, provided a team has had some rest before that. However, that's not the case tonight. Indeed, not only will the Mavs be playing their second game in two days, but they're also playing their fifth game in the past seven days. All of those games were decided by eight points or less, too. In other words, they've really had to work hard this week. In fact, their last eight games have all been decided by single digits.
Making matters worse, the Mavs are now without Jason Terry, their second leading scorer. His absence didn't hurt them for a home game against the Kings. However, the Kings are a very poor road team. Playing their fifth game in seven nights, and now playing on the road against a Bulls team that is typically very good at home, the loss of Terry figures to loom much larger.
It should also be noted that center Brendan Haywood missed the final three quarters of yesterday's game, due to back issues. Even if he returns today, he may not be 100%. Like losing Terry, that's particularly a problem when playing the fifth game in seven nights. Worse yet, the Mavs are already without center Erick Dampier and forward Tim Thomas. So, if Haywood can't go, or isn't 100%, they're definitely rather thin in the middle.
The Bulls are also a bit banged-up themselves. However, unlike Dallas, they had yesterday off and are playing at home. Also unlike Dallas, every game is now critical for them. As Luol Deng noted: "It's not time to panic. We've got 21 games left. We've got to play with a lot more energy than Thursday..."
The Bulls, who are 11-6 ATS the last 17 times that they were home underdogs of three points or less, lost by only one at Dallas last season. They also beat the Mavs when the teams played here last season. I expect them to repeat that feat this evening. *10
|03-05-10||Orlando Magic v. New Jersey Nets +10||Top||97-87||Push||0||10 h 38 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with NEW JERSEY. This matchup features one of the best teams in the league against one of the worst. That alone will keep many people off the home underdog. However, I feel that the Nets are actually providing us with excellent value in this spot.
For starters, New Jersey has been playing better basketball than it was earlier in the season. While they were blown out by Cleveland last time out (no shame in that) the Nets previous three losses all came by 10 points or less. Since mid-February, they've also beaten a couple of quality teams, winning at Charlotte (not easy) and then traveling to Boston and 'shocking' the Celtics.
With their next five games coming on the road, the Nets would love nothing more than to reward the home fans an upset victory. Added motivation should come from the fact that the Magic already beat them twice this season. Note that in both cases, the Nets played them relatively tough for much of the way. They were tied at halftime in one and down by six in the other.
As for the Magic, off three straight blowout wins and facing a team they already beat twice, it should be easy to get caught looking ahead to other things. That's particularly true when considering that they've got a showdown vs. the Lakers on deck, a rematch of last year's finals.
Note that Orlando is just 5-8 ATS (6-7 SU) the last 13 times it was off three or more consecutive victories. Also, during the same stretch, even with the recent wins, the Magic are still a money-burning 10-15-1 ATS when coming off a double-digit victory.
The Nets have won five of their last nine home meetings with the Magic. Only one of the four losses came by more than 10 points. I look for them to bounce back and give the Magic a much tougher game than most are expecting here. *10
|03-05-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Charlotte Bobcats +4||Top||83-98||Win||100||8 h 28 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHARLOTTE. I played against the Lakers last night and I feel that this should be a good spot to do so again.
Like last night, the Lakers are facing a team which played them very tough at LA and which had played them tough in three straight games. Last night, the Lakers were facing a Heat team which they beat on the final play of the game at LA. Tonight, they'll take on a Bobcats team which they only beat by two points at LA last month.
Looking back further and we find that the Bobcats have always fared well vs. the Lakers as they are a highly profitable 9-1 ATS the last 10 meetings, including 4-0 ATS the last four. Looking at the recent meetings here at Charlotte and we find that the Bobcats have won three of the last four outright. They were +5.5 point home underdogs vs. the Lakers last season and won by 10.
While the Bobcats had last night off, the Lakers were forced to go to Overtime at Miami. Note that the Lakers are 1-2 SU/ATS the last three times that they played the second of back to back games, going 7-10 ATS their last 17 in that situation. Including last night's loss, it's also worth noting that the Lakers are just 3-6 ATS the last nine times that were listed as road favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range.
The Lakers would surely like to bounce back from last night's loss. However, it's not "urgent" for them to do so. Additionally, they've got a showdown with Orlando (finals rematch) on deck. On the other hand, the Bobcats desperately need a victory, as they've been in slump and are fighting for the playoffs. I expect them to continue their success in this series, earning at least another cover. *9
|03-04-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Miami Heat +5||Top||111-114||Win||100||10 h 14 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MIAMI. These teams have played three times over the past two seasons. All three games have come down to the wire and all three were decided by three points or less. The Lakers won the two games at LA by one and three points. The Heat won last season's game here at Miami by two. The Heat very well could have won this season's earlier meeting (the one point LA win) as they were winning by two points before Kobe hit an off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer. At the time, Kobe was quoted as saying: "It was the luckiest shot I've ever taken, by far. It felt good, but I just couldn't believe this ball might go in on this shot..." Given the recent history between these teams, this one could easily also come down to the wire. That makes taking the points with the home underdog attractive.
Yes, the Heat have struggled recently. However, that was without their superstar in the lineup. Wade is back and he's now got a couple of games under his belt. He had 35 points and 12 assists and six rebounds last game, so he's clearly "ready to go" again.
while the Lakers are comfortably on top of the Western Conference, every game is huge for the Heat right now. They're currently in eighth place in the Conference. However, they're only one game out of ninth and two games behind the fifth place team.
Yes, the Lakers beat up on the Pacers a couple of nights ago. They're still 1-5-1 ATS their last seven games though. For the season, they're 3-5 ATS as road favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range.
While two of the previously mentioned three "close games" have come at LA, note that the Heat have also won four of their last five home meetings with the Lakers.
While they still didn't cover the spread, the Heat snapped their losing skid last time out. I expect them to build off that victory and give the Lakers all they can handle, for the fourth straight time. *10
|03-03-10||Indiana Pacers +8.5 v. Portland Trail Blazers||Top||79-102||Loss||-110||12 h 36 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with INDIANA. Many will automatically assume that the Blazers have the schedule in their favor here. After all, they had yesterday off while the Pacers were blown out by the Lakers at LA. However, the Pacers have actually been quite respectable when playing their second game in two nights. They're 10-8-2 ATS their last 20 in that situation. The last time that they played their second game in two nights (home game vs. Milwaukee) they lost by two points. The last time that they played a road game, following a game the previous day, they won outright - by 10 points - at Houston. Note that they had Sunday (and Monday) off before yesterday's game.
As for the Blazers, they're playing their first game back home, off a 5-game road trip, which started in New Jersey, went to Canada and wrapped up in Memphis. Teams playing their first game back after a road trip can often struggle. Note that the Blazers have only had one other road trip of more than a few games in 2010. They returned from that 4-game trip (1/18 to 1/23) and lost outright to the Hornets in their next game. Also, note that they've only had one other road trip of five or more games this season, a 5-game trip in November. They returned home from that game and failed to cover (won by 6 as a 10.5 pt favorite) vs. Detroit.
While the Pacers did give up a ton of points at LA last night, note that they're a profitable 18-12-1 ATS on the season, after allowing 105 or more in their previous game. Its also worth mentioning that they've gone 3-1 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 200 to 204.5 range.
While the Blazers won at Indiana in December, the Pacers are still a profitable 10-2 ATS the last 12 games in this series. That includes a perfect 5-0 ATS record their last five trips to Portland. They won four of those games outright and lost the other by only two points. I expect them to give the Blazers all they can handle once again. *10
|03-01-10||Dallas Mavericks v. Charlotte Bobcats -1.5||Top||89-84||Loss||-110||8 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. The Mavericks come in as the hotter team and they have the much better record overall. However, the Bobcats played them very tough at Dallas and Charlotte's home record (20-7) remains much better than Dallas' record (19-12) on the road. In addition to having homecourt advantage, the schedule also favors Charlotte.
The Mavs come off a late game last night vs. New Orleans. In addition to playing the second of back to back games, they'll also be playing their ninth game in the past 14 days. They had a big lead last night but the Hornets battled back. That forced the starters to keep playing in the fourth quarter, denying them the chance to gain some extra rest for tonight. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki had this to say: "Back-to-backs are part of the NBA and this is one of the tougher ones for us this season." Note that the Mavs are just 3-7 ATS last 10 times that they played their second game in two nights.
The Mavs only beat the Bobcats by only one point at Dallas, 99-98 on 12/12. That game went to OT and saw Nowitski hit the game winner in the final seconds. Charlotte's Stephen Jackson noted: "We deserved to win this game. We competed and did everything we're supposed to do to win this game. For some reason, it didn't happen that way."
That result should give the Bobcats both motivation and the confidence to know that they can finally beat the Mavs, the only team that they've never beaten. Of course, they're also in a battle for to make the playoffs for the first time, currently holding down the final spot in the East. Forward Gerald Wallace had this to say: "My thing is getting us to the playoffs. We're more focused on getting there. It's our first berth, and we
|02-28-10||Milwaukee Bucks v. Atlanta Hawks -8||Top||102-106||Loss||-110||8 h 49 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with ATLANTA. The Bucks are playing well these days and they're coming off a big win yesterday. However, this is a very tough spot for them.
For starters, Atlanta is among the toughest venues in the league. Despite a couple of recent losses here, the Hawks are still an impressive 22-7 at home. Milwaukee, on the other hand, is 12-19 on the road.
Also, the Bucks are catching the Hawks off an upset loss vs. Dallas - and that usually has them in an 'angry' mood. Indeed, the Hawks are 10-2 ATS the last dozen times that they were coming off a SU loss when listed as a favorite.
Additionally, the Hawks had yesterday off while the Bucks played at Miami. Playing the second of back to back games doesn't normally bother the Bucks too much, as they've had some success in that situation. However, isn't a "typical" back to back spot, as it also marks their fourth game in the past five days. As the NBA doesn't play five games in five days, that's as tough as it gets in pro basketball and teams in this situation often wear down, as the game progresses. We saw an example of that last night in Oakland. The Pistons were off a game the previous day and playing their fourth game in five nights. It didn't seem to affect them much at the beginning of the game, as they took a double-digit lead into halftime. However, fatigue became a factor in the second half, as the Warriors outscored them by a 58-38 margin after the break.
While the Bucks are playing better basketball than the Pistons, the Hawks are also a MUCH stronger team than the Warriors. They're a very athletic team that can get it done on both sides of the court. The Hawks are also 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS the last five times that they hosted the Bucks. They won those games by an average of 16.8 points, most recently a 117-87 blowout victory last January. I expect them to have the fresher legs and look for them to pull away and record another double-digit victory. *10
|02-28-10||Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Lakers -6||Top||89-95||Push||0||5 h 23 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with the LA LAKERS. The Lakers have been on an extended pointspread losing streak. Those results have kept this afternoon's line lower than it could have been. I feel that this will be a good spot for them to snap their ATS losing skid.
While the Nuggets are admittedly a very good team, lets not forget that the Lakers are still the champs. When properly motivated, they're fully capable of beating any team in the league, particularly here at LA. Having lost a couple of games recently and playing with 'double-revenge,' I expect a highly motivated effort.
Andrew Bynum said this of this afternoon's game: "That's a game we have to win..because, obviously, they're trying to show dominance over us."
Yes, the Nuggets beat the Lakers here earlier this month - getting a career game out of Chauncy Billups, who had nine 3-pointers and 39 points. However, let's not forget that the Lakers are still 16-3 SU and 14-5 ATS the last 19 times that they hosted the Nuggets.
It should be noted that there's a chance that the Nuggets will be without Kenyon Martin. That would be noteworthy, as they're just 2-4 in six games that he hasn't played, getting outrebounded in five of them.
The Nuggets are an outstanding 25-5 when playing in the high altitude of Denver. However, even with their win at LA earlier, they're still a mediocre 14-14 on the road. The Lakers, on the other hand, are 27-5 at home.
Speaking of the earlier loss, note that the Lakers are 46-34-1 ATS (62-19 SU) the past few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier loss. That includes a profitable 19-10-1 ATS mark when attempting to avenge a home loss. I expect the champs to pad those stats here, avenging the earlier losses in convincing fashion. *10 Main Event
|02-27-10||Detroit Pistons v. Golden State Warriors -3.5||Top||88-95||Win||100||18 h 8 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with GOLDEN STATE. This is a very difficult scheduling spot for the Pistons. For starters, while the Warriors had last night off, the Pistons played a hard-fought game in the high altitude of Denver last night. Making matters worse for the Pistons, in addition to playing the second of back to back games, they'll also be playing their fourth game in the past five days. Since NBA teams don't play five games in five nights, that's as gruelling as it gets. I expect fatigue to be a factor.
Note that the Pistons are 0-3 SU/ATS the last three times that they played the second of back to back games. Looking back further and we find them at a dismal 4-12-1 ATS the last 17 times that they played the second of back to back games.
While they covered last night, the Pistons are still only 11-14 ATS (7-18 SU) against teams from the Western Conference, including 2-6 SU/ATS against teams from the Pacific. On the other hand, the Warriors are 12-8-1 ATS against teams from the Eastern Conference, going 5-3-1 ATS against teams from the Central. It should also be noted that Golden State is 20-16-1 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier loss.
The Warriors are coming off a blowout loss vs. the Nuggets on Thursday. However, the Nuggets are a very good team while the same cannot be said for the Pistons. Also, note that Golden State is a profitable 14-6 ATS on the season, when coming off a double-digit loss.
The Warriors have still won three of their past six games here, despite being underdogs in five of those games. In fact, a closer look shows that the Warriors have only been favored twice over the last five weeks. They were laying -7.5 points vs. the Nets on 1/22 and they won by 32. More recently, they were laying -4.5 vs. the Kings on 2/17. They also won that one by 32 points. Playing with 'revenge' from an earlier loss at Detroit and catching the Pistons with 'tired legs,' I expect another convincing win and cover. *10 GOM
|02-27-10||Chicago Bulls v. Indiana Pacers -1.5||Top||90-100||Win||100||14 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. I won with the Bulls yesterday. However, I feel this will prove to be a good spot to play against them.
For starters, note that Chicago isn't nearly as good on the road, which has been the case for several years now. With yesterday's win, the Bulls are now 19-9 at home. However, they're just 12-18 on the road.
Next, note that the Bulls are just 2-7 SU the last nine times that they played a road game, after playing the previous day. Note that yesterday's game was especically taxing, as it was close the entire way and the Bulls were forced to play overtime.
Unlike their guests, the Pacers had yesterday off. Like the Bulls, they're much better at home. While they lost their last game, 112-110, they've still covered three of their last five here.
While playoff dreams are a distant memory, the Pacers still figure to be extremely motivated. Not only are the Bulls one of their division rivals, but the Bulls have beaten them in all three meetings this season, most recently a few days ago at Chicago.
The Pacers are 17-12-1 ATS after allowing 105 or more points and 11-8-1 ATS after scoring 105 or more. They've won 23 of their last 30 home meetings with the Bulls and I look for them to bounce back and serve up some 'payback' this evening. *10
|02-26-10||Portland Trail Blazers v. Chicago Bulls -3||Top||111-115||Win||100||10 h 56 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with CHICAGO. The Blazers beat up on the Bulls when these teams played at Portland earlier this season. I expect the Bulls, who are a much stronger team on their home floor, to get some payback this evening.
In addition to the fact that the earlier game was played at Portland, it came at a time when the Bulls were really struggling. Chicago entered that game having lost their previous two games by 15 and 19 points. Including the loss at Portland, they were in the middle of a stretch which saw them lose nine of 10 games.
Things are much different for the Bulls these days. They won their last game by double-digits. That brought them to 5-1 SU/ATS their last six and 7-2 SU/ATS their last nine. They're 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games here at Chicago. They won those games by 10, 32 and 33 points. Looking back further and we find them at 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS their last 16 games here.
It should also be noted that the Blazers still had Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla in the earlier meeting. Oden was particularly dominant as he had one of his best games as a pro, scoring 24 points and adding 12 rebounds. Of course, both those big men are now out. The Blazers did add Marcus Camby at the deadline. That was a good move, as he's an elite defensive player. That said, he's currently questionable and even if he does play, he may not be 100%.
For the season, the Bulls are 18-9 at home. The Blazers are 15-13 on the road. While the Blazers have been a profitable road team overall, they're just 3-4 ATS as road underdogs in the +3.5 to +6 range. Looking back further and we find them at a money-burning 8-16 ATS (5-19 SU) in that role the past few seasons.
In addition to the fact that they're playing with 'revenge,' the Bulls are anxious to prove that they can beat a 'good' team from the West, as many of their recent victories have come against weaker Eastern Conference opponents. Luol Deng was quoted as saying: "The schedule will get tough, but we're confident in the team that we have. When we play our best, we feel like we can play with anybody..."
Even with the earlier loss at Portland, the Bulls are still a respectable 12-9-1 ATS against teams from the West this season. They're also 12-9 ATS the last 21 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. I expect them to continue their home winning streak and improve to 8-3 ATS the last 11 times that they were coming off a double-digit victory. *10
|02-23-10||New Orleans Hornets v. Cleveland Cavaliers -11||Top||95-105||Loss||-110||9 h 48 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with CLEVELAND. I like the Hornets. However, this is a case of being at the wrong place, the wrong time. The Cavaliers have been among the best teams in the league the past few years and they've been "on a mission" this season. Off three straight losses for the first time all season and with a pair of tough road games (Boston and Toronto) on deck, I expect them to bounce back with a "blowout" victory.
Yes, the Cavs have lost three straight. However, the first of those games was vs. Denver, a very good team which has proven to be capable of beating any opponent in the league. I had the Nuggets in that one, so that result didn't shock me. The next two losses both came on the road, at Charlotte and at Orlando. Those two teams are a combined 42-13 at home. In other words, none of those three games were exactly "easy."
The Cavs were also adjusting to the addition of Antawn Jamison the last couple of those games. The "adjustment period" should now be over and the Cavs are also returning home, while taking a step down in class. (With all due respect to the Hornets, they're not as good as Denver - at least not without Chris Paul in the lineup.)
The Hornets have managed to remain respectable, even without their star guard in the lineup. They come in having won three of their last four. However, all four of those games came at home. Their most recent road game resulted in a 6-point loss at Orlando - and they were catching the Magic off a win at Boston the previous night. They won't have the luxury of catching tonight's opponent in a 'letdown spot.' For the season, the Hornets are 11-17 on the road.
It's also worth noting that the Hornets, who play at Milwaukee tomorrow, are just 3-8 ATS on the season, when playing the front-end of a back to back situation. That includes an 0-4 ATS mark their last four in that situation.
Even with the loss vs. Denver, the Cavs are still an outstanding 24-4 at home. That includes a 3-1 ATS (4-0 SU) mark when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 195 to 199.5 range. Looking back further and we find them at a profitable 14-5 ATS (16-3 SU) their last 19 home games with a total in that range.
The Cavs beat the Hornets by 14 here last season and I expect another convincing victory this evening. *10 Blowout GOW
|02-22-10||Atlanta Hawks +5.5 v. Utah Jazz||Top||105-100||Win||100||11 h 52 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with ATLANTA. Both these teams are off exciting games yesterday, both of which had vastly different results. The Hawks blew a huge lead and lost at Golden State. Conversely, the Jazz overcame a huge deficit and won at Portland. Those results will likely have many backing the favorite here, particularly as the Jazz are very tough at home and will be looking to avenge an earlier loss at Atlanta. However, while I respect the Jazz, I feel yesterday's results actually favor the visitors here.
While both teams played on the road yesterday, the Hawks game started at 8:00 ET. Also, even though it was a "heart-breaker," it still finished in regulation. Additionally, as they were winning much of the way, they didn't need to exert quite as much energy as they would have, if they were losing or involved in a close game.
On the other hand, the Jazz fell behind early and were forced to use every ounce of energy they had, in order to get back in the game. Their game started at 10:30 ET and also went to overtime. Williams and Boozer were the two stars and they both were on the floor for 44 mins. Boozer played a very physical game (set a career high in rebounds) while Williams got a little-banged up early in the game - although it didn't stop him from leading his team to the win.
It should also be noted that Kirilenko left the game early with back spasms. At this point, it's unclear whether or not he'll return tonight - however, even if he does, he may not be 100%. That's significant. Even though they won without him yesterday, Kirilenko is a unique player, who plays a big role. He's also shot better than 60% from the field, since rejoining the starting lineup in early January.
It's true that the Hawks aren't as tough away from Atlanta and that they've never had much success at Utah. However, it's also true that the Hawks have only lost more than two consecutive games all season - they had a 4-game losing skid in early January. More importantly, in my opinion, this is a stronger Hawks team than we've seen in previous years. They'd like nothing better than to prove that point by bouncing back and earning a rare win here at Salt Lake City.
Looking at the earlier meeting and we find that the Hawks did a great job in shutting down Utah's two stars. They held Williams to 1 of 8 shooting and limited Boozer to six points. Boozer was quoted as saying: "Whatever their scheme was, it worked..." I expect the Hawks to be the 'fresher team' and look for them to bounce back and close out their road trip with a huge effort, improving to 14-6 ATS the last 20 times that they played a road game where the total ranged from 195 to 199.5. *10 Best Bet
|02-21-10||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Minnesota Timberwolves +6.5||Top||109-107||Win||100||18 h 60 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MINNESOTA. I successfully played against the Thunder yesterday and I feel that this will be another good spot to do so.
Yesterday's result worked out very well. Not only did the Thunder fail to cover, giving us the win with the Knicks, but they also managed to win the game. That extended their winning streak and could help them relax a bit here. Addditionally, they were forced to "leave everything on the court" and battle the entire way to get the win. In fact, they needed a late 4th quarter rally just to send the game into Overtime and then also needed to rally in OT.
Even though the Thunder do have "young legs" and even though they had an extended break before yesterday, last night's game still figures to have been rather exhausting. Indeed. Durant, Green and Westbrook ALL played for 47 minutes.
The Thunder are 5-8 SU the last 13 times that they played the second of back to back games. Of those five victories, three of them came by four points or less. In other words, if all those games had the same pointspread as today's, they'd be just 2-11 ATS.
Unlike their guests, the T-Wolves had last night off.
While most don't realize it, the T-Wolves have quietly been among the most profitable home teams in the league recently. In fact, even after failing to cover here on Friday (they still only lost by six) they're still an outstanding 8-1 ATS their last nine home games. Looking back further and we find them at 14-5 ATS their last 19 games here.
One of the T-Wolves pointspread victories, during that stretch, came against these same Thunder. That 1/20 game came down to the wire, with Oklahoma City earning a 2-point win.
Looking at the recent series history between these franchises and we find that six of the last seven games have been decided by seven points or less. The only one that wasn't resulted in a 42 point win for Minnesota, in a game here last January. With the Thunder off an exhausting OT win, I expect this one to also come down to the wire and feel the home underdog has a great shot at the outright win. *9 Roast
|02-20-10||Oklahoma City Thunder v. New York Knicks +5.5||Top||121-118||Win||100||9 h 46 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with NEW YORK. The Knicks have admittedly been struggling. They're also already looking ahead to next summer, when they will be spending big bucks to land at least one of the premier free agents which will be available. That said, there's still a lot of time left on this season and I don't expect them to just "pack it in" the rest of the way. They should have McGrady in the lineup today and he'll be anxious to prove that he's still a star.
McGrady was quoted as saying: "I can't wait to get back on the court to continue doing what I love to do. I am excited to be headed to New York and look forward to wearing a Knick uniform. I know that I can and will contribute to this organization. It's a dream to play in New York and there is nothing that compares to playing in the Garden."
Unlike their hosts, the Thunder have been rolling. They closed out the break on a winning run and started the second half with a convincing home win at Dallas. That said, they've had a few days to cool off and they're just 6-10 ATS this season when coming off a double-digit victory. Note that the Thunder, who play at Minnesota tomorrow, are also just 7-11 SU the last 18 times that they played the front end of back to back games.
While the Thunder have been a profitable team away from Oklahoma City, they're still only outscoring teams by a 97.5 to 95.6 margin on the road. Meanwhile, despite their overall struggles, the Knicks are only being outscored by a 103.8 to 103.5 margin here at home.
Even including an earlier loss at Oklahoma City, the Knicks are still a lucrative 8-2 ATS their last 10 games against teams from the Northwest division. That includes a double-digit win vs. the Thunder here last season. Overall, they're 8-3 SU the last 11 times that they hosted the Thunder/Sonics. With the trade deadline out of the way, I expect them to deliver a highly motivated effort, leading to at least a cover. *10
|02-18-10||Denver Nuggets +6 v. Cleveland Cavaliers||Top||118-116||Win||100||20 h 37 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with DENVER. Some may be surprised that I'm backing the Nuggets here, as I played against them last Thursday. That's particularly true as last Thursday's game was at home, while this week's game is at Cleveland, where the Cavaliers are an extremely impressive 24-3 on the season. However, as great as the Cavs have been at home, that hasn't translated to success at the betting window. In fact, they're just 12-15 ATS in games here at Cleveland.
While the Cavs are below .500 ATS when laying points, the Nuggets have been terrific in the underdog role. They're 5-1-2 ATS when getting points in 2010. They won five of those eight games outright. Looking back further and we find the Nuggets at a profitable 12-5-3 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs.
As you're probably aware, neither team has played in a full week. Both teams have fared well when playing with three or more day's rest. However, in this case, I feel that the long layoff will benefit the Nuggets more. The Cavs were rolling and the extended break may cool off some of their momentum. Meanwhile, the Nuggets were banged-up and having some trouble. The time off gave them a chance to heal their various nagging injuries.
You may have also heard that Denver coach George Karl recently announced that he's suffering from throat and neck cancer. He'll be behind the bench tonight though and knowing their coach is fighting a much tougher battle than they are, I expect the Nuggets to give everything they have tonight. Kenyon Martin noted: "...He's going to do all he can to get his body right and his health together and we're going to do all we can to make sure the basketball end is taken care of..."
Including a 99-97 over the Cavs at Denver last month, the Nuggets are a lucrative 5-2 SU/ATS in seven meetings with the Cavs since 2007. The Nuggets have also won four of their last six trips to Quicken Loans Arena. I expect them to return from their break refreshed and look for them to earn at least another cover here. *10
|02-11-10||San Antonio Spurs +6 v. Denver Nuggets||Top||111-92||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with SAN ANTONIO. The Nuggets had a winning record without Carmelo Anthony in the lineup. They even beat the Spurs without him. Anthony returned last game and they punished Dallas by 36 points. With the Spurs having recently lost to the "Kobe-less" Lakers and the "Roy-less" Blazers, many will be expecting an easy victory for the Nuggets tonight. I'm not one of them.
While the Nuggets are certainly a talented team, the Spurs are not to be counted out. They're still a team that can beat any team, on any given night. They've got talent, experience, veteran leadership and are very well-coached. Playing with 'double-revenge' here and with Popovich recently describing their play as 'soft,' they should also be extremely motivated.
Note that while the Nuggets will have Anthony back, its possible that they'll be without Kenyon Martin. (Martin sat out Tuesday because of tendinitis in his left knee and is currently questionable. If he does play, he may not be 100%.) That's significant. Not only does he lead the Nuggets in rebounds but he had 27 points and 11 rebounds in the Jan. 31 win against the Spurs.
Going back to the Spurs previously mentioned losses to the Lakers and Blazers and we find that they played those games with 1 and 0 day's rest in between games. The Spurs also had just one day's rest in between each of the earlier losses to the Nuggets. Tonight, they'll be playing with two day's rest in between games. That's noteworthy as we find them at 5-2 SU this season, when playing with two day's rest in between games, going 141-61 SU (108-82-12 ATS) their last 202 in that situation.
Even with the big win over the Mavericks, a team which was playing the second of back to back games, note that the Nuggets are still just 17-23-1 ATS the on the season, when laying points.
While they lost both meetings at San Antonio, the Spurs have had plenty of success here at Denver. Listed as underdogs for both games, they split last year's games here, winning by 17 and losing by eight. Going back further and we find them at 14-6 ATS their last 20 trips here. I expect a highly motivated effort and look for them to improve on those numbers this evening. *10 Roast
|02-09-10||Utah Jazz v. Los Angeles Clippers +5||Top||109-99||Loss||-115||12 h 58 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with the LA CLIPPERS. The Jazz have admittedly been playing well lately. However, I feel that the situation strongly favors the home team here. The Clippers' last game resulted in a blowout loss vs. the Spurs on Saturday. That was a difficult spot for them though, as they were playing their first game back home after eight straight on the road. Even with that result, the Clippers have still quietly been very good at home over the past six weeks.
In fact, given their recent struggles (almost all on the road) many might be surprised to learn that they've gone an outstanding 9-1 ATS their last 10 games here, going an impressive 8-2 SU. Prior to Saturday's loss to the Spurs, their only home loss since those same Spurs beat them on 12/13 came by a single point vs. the Cavaliers.
Knowing that they're back on the road for a couple of games after tonight and playing with 'revenge' from an earlier loss at Salt Lake City, I expect the Clippers to be highly motivated to make the most of just their second home game since 1/20. They'll also be anxious to earn a victory for their new (interim) coach, Kim Hughes.
I've already acknowledged that the Jazz have been on a roll. That said, I feel that it may be easy for them to overlook the Clippers here. Not only are they off a win vs. Denver in their last game but they've got a big home date vs. the Lakers on deck tomorrow. Note that the Jazz are just 1-3 SU/ATS the last four times that they played a road game when they had a game on the deck the following day.
It's also worth noting that the Jazz are a dismal 7-14 ATS the last 21 times that they were listed as road favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range. They lost a dozen of those games outright, too.
While the Jazz have been a better team than the Clippers forever and have dominated them at Utah, the Clippers have actually enjoyed plenty of success against them here at LA for quite a few years. Dating back to the 2004/05 season, the Clippers have gone 6-3 SU/ATS the last nine series meetings here. I expect them to earn at least another cover here. *10 Best Bet
|02-04-10||San Antonio Spurs -1.5 v. Portland Trail Blazers||Top||93-96||Loss||-110||11 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN ANTONIO. Both teams are coming off road games last night. The Spurs played managed a win at Sacramento while the Blazers lost at Utah. Normally, one might assume that the home team would have an advantage when both teams are in a back to back situation. Also, Portland is younger than San Antonio. so, if all things were equal one might also assume that the Blazers could better handle the 'fatigue factor.' However, in this case, I don't feel that all things are equal and I expect the Spurs to be the fresher team.
For starters, as you're probably aware, Portland has been decimated by injuries this season. This is also a very difficult scheduling spot though, too. In addition to playing the second of back to back games, the Blazers are also playing their fifth game in the last seven days. They've played a whopping 11 games since January 18th. Worse, seven of those games came on the road, several of them in the Eastern time zone. On the other hand, the Spurs are playing just their eighth game since January 18th and only two of those have been on the road and both those road games came against teams in the Western Conference.
Popovich tends to have his team really playing well by this time of the year. With last night's win (didn't cover) they're now 18-5 SU and 14-8-1 ATS in February the past few seasons. Conversely, the Blazers are now just 13-15 SU and 11-17 ATS in their February games, during the same stretch.
In addition to having the schedule in their favor, the Spurs are also playing with 'double-revenge,' as the Blazers have beaten them in both this season's previous meetings. Therefore, its worth noting that they're a profitable 17-9 ATS (18-8 SU) the last few seasons, when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss. Regardless of whether Roy (currently doubtful) plays, I expect the revenge-minded Spurs to build on those stats with a victory here. *10
|02-03-10||Chicago Bulls v. Philadelphia 76ers -1.5||Top||103-106||Win||100||20 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Bulls already beat the 76'ers at Chicago. However, they're generally not as good away from home and this is a tough spot for them.
Check this out. The Bulls played a home game vs. Detroit on 1/11. That was followed by a road game at Boston. Next, they returned to Chicago for a game vs. Washington. That was followed by a 7-game road trip. Last night, they finally returned home to host the Clippers. Now, they're back on the road to play at Philadelphia. While Chicago to Philadelphia may not be that long of a trip, this still marks the 12th straight time that the Bulls will be playing in a different city than they played their previous game in. Eventually, that takes a toll.
The Bulls did win and cover at Houston the last time that they played the second of back to back games. However, Houston, now 1-8 ATS its last nine when playing b2b games, was also playing the second of back to back games and that won't be the case for Philadelphia tonight. Even including that victory, the Bulls are still just 3-8 SU/ATS the last 11 times that they played the second of back to back games. That includes a 1-7 SU record the last eight times that they played a road game after having played the previous day.
After coming up a little short vs. the Lakers in their most recent game here, the 76'ers went on the road and won 83-79. Granted, that was at New Jersey. Still, its worth noting that they're a profitable 17-10-1 ATS the last 28 times that they were coming off a game in which they allowed 85 points or less.
While the 76'ers lost the game at Chicago, they did cover the spread in that game. They also won outright the last time that the teams played here at Philadelphia. Including that victory, which came last March, the 76'ers have gone 12-7 the last 19 times that they were a host in this series. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10 Personal Favorite
|02-02-10||Toronto Raptors v. Indiana Pacers +1||Top||115-130||Win||100||7 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. The Pacers have cost me a couple of times recently. I'm going to give them another shot this evening though. They've played the Raptors three times this season, most recently a 117-102 loss on Sunday. That game was at Toronto though, where the Raptors are now 2-0 SU/ATS against the Pacers on the seasons. The Raptors aren't nearly as strong outside of Canada though and the Pacers won and covered the lone meeting here at Indiana. Note that they were laying -2.5 points for that game. Now, with an even better line, a SU win ensures a cover.
Including that 1/11 victory, the Pacers are 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times that they hosted the Raptors. Looking back further and we find them at 20-7 SU in 27 all-time meetings here.
As already noted, the Raptors aren't nearly as tough away from Toronto. They're an outstanding 17-6 in Canada but just 9-16 on the road. With a game on deck tomorrow (Pacers have next two days off) its also worth noting that the Raptors are 1-4 the last five times that they played the front end of back to back games. Additionally, despite their recent wins, the Raptors are still just 7-11 ATS the last 18 times that they were coming off three or more consecutive victories.
Even with the recent loss at Toronto, the Pacers are still 29-19-1 ATS against teams from the Atlantic, the past few seasons. While the playoffs are growing less and less likely, the Pacers are still within striking distance. That said, they desperately need to snap their losing streak and string together some victories. They rallied from a 23-point deficit in their previous home game vs. the Raptors and I look for them to continue their homecourt dominance in the series this evening. *10 Eastern Conf. GOW
|01-31-10||Phoenix Suns v. Houston Rockets -3.5||Top||115-111||Loss||-103||8 h 8 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with HOUSTON. This is a big game for both teams. Both were on losing streaks before each earned an important victory on Friday. I'd argue that its much more important to the Rockets though. That's because they've already lost both meetings with the Suns this season. Playing with 'double-revenge' is generally a pretty good motivator by itself. However, in this case, its got some extra importance. That's because these two teams could very well be battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West and if Houston loses today, then Phoenix is guaranteed of winning the season series and holding the tiebreaker advantage.
The Suns did win here back in November. However, they still aren't nearly as good away from Phoenix while the Rockets are much better here at Houston. For the season, the Suns are 9-15 on the road. Meanwhile, the Rockets are 15-8 at home.
Prior to the November loss, the Rockets had won two straight home games vs. the Suns. They won each game by a minimum of four points and by an average of 7.5. I expect them to be the 'hungrier' team here and look for that to lead to a win and cover. *9 Western Conf. GOW
|01-31-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Boston Celtics||Top||90-89||Loss||-110||4 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. As usual, these are two of the top teams in basketball. The Lakers have the best record in the West and are only one win behind the Cavaliers for the best overall record. The Celtics are on top of the Atlantic Division, only a few games back of the Lakers and Cavs.
Obviously, both teams are very capable. However, I believe this game is more important to the Celtics and that, as a result, they'll be the more "motivated" team. Not only have they lost some games recently but they also were beaten in both games by the Lakers last season. A nationally televised victory over the defending champs would quickly make everything right and would allow the Celts to immediately regain some of their swagger.
Paul Piece, an LA native, had this to say of the game's importance: "We feel like it's a must-win. These are teams we're going to see in the playoffs so we're giving them psychological edge right now. That's not something that you're going to be able to turn on once the playoffs start. So we've got to turn it around right now."
As far as the Lakers having the better record, that is true. However, keep in mind that the Celts have dealt with injuries to both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce at various times. Both are back now. Pierce led the team with 35 points in Friday's game. Garnett was second with 15, adding seven rebounds. Also, it should be noted that Boston's home record (13-7) is actually a little better than the Lakers' 13-8 record on the road.
Yes, the Celts are playing their third tough game in four days. However, they had a couple days off before that. Let's not forget that the Lakers are in a tough schedule spot of their own. This marks the seventh game of their 8-game road trip and their seventh game in the last 11 days.
Looking back to last season's meeting here (Lakers won by 1) and we find that the Celts were laying -6.5 or -7 points. Now, we're getting a MUCH better line to work with, where a victory ensures a cover. Even with last year's loss, the Celts are 4-1 SU/ATS the last five times that they hosted the Lakers. I expect them to bounce back and improve on those numbers with a huge effort on both sides of the floor. *10 Main Event
|01-30-10||Portland Trail Blazers v. Dallas Mavericks -8.5||Top||114-112||Loss||-109||10 h 12 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with DALLAS. Its true that the Mavericks haven't been blowing many teams out here at home this season. However, I feel that the situation calls for a big win tonight. The Mavs had last night off, after losing at Phoenix on Thursday night. Prior to that, they had Wednesday off.
On the other hand, the Blazers come off a hard-fought loss at Houston last night. In addition to playing the second of back to back games, this will also be their sixth game in the past nine days. They've been all over the country during that stretch too, playing at Boston, Detroit, home to Portland and now in back to back Texas games. For a depleted team, still dealing with numerous injuries, and playing without its best player, eventually that figures to take a toll.
Yes, the Blazers did win here at Dallas earlier. However, they weren't playing the second of back to back games in that one. Additionally, Roy played and had 23 points, six assists and four steals. Note that the Blazers are now just 1-4 since he went down with injury.
Additionally, prior to last month's win here, the Blazers had lost 11 straight games here at Dallas. Note that the Blazers are 6-10-1 ATS (3-14 SU) as road underdogs in the +6.5 to +9 range the past few seasons and they're 6-9 ATS when coming off three or more consecutive SU losses. I expect the revenge-minded Mavs to have the fresher legs and look for them to resume their homecourt dominance in the series, providing the home fans with a rare blowout win. *10
|01-29-10||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Indiana Pacers +6.5||Top||94-73||Loss||-110||19 h 20 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with INDIANA. After playing them tough for a half, the Pacers came up short vs. the Lakers on Wednesday. However, despite that loss, they've shown that they can beat elite teams here at Conseco Fieldhouse.
They're still 4-3 SU/ATS their last seven games here. That includes victories over good teams like the Suns, Raptors and Magic. They've also beaten the Celtics here this season. While the Pacers did lose vs. the Cavaliers earlier this season, they beat them in one of last year's two meetings here. Listed as +6.5 point underdogs, they beat the Cavs 96-95 here last February.
I feel we're getting excellent line value here. Not only are we getting slightly more points than we were for Wednesday's game vs. the Lakers, but we're also getting significantly more points than we were with the Pacers for the earlier meeting. Indiana was just +3.5 for that game.
With the higher line, note that the Pacers are an outstanding 7-2 ATS the last nine times that they were listed as home underdogs in the +6.5 to +9 range. Looking back a bit further and we further and we find them at a highly profitable 13-3 ATS their last 16 in that situation.
Yes, the Cavs come in on a 6-game winning streak. However, a closer look at their recent games away from Cleveland reveals that they've all been very close. Indeed, their last four road games have been decided by a grand total of six points. Each of the last three of those were decided by a single points.
Counting the 1-point win at Miami as a 'push,' (results varied based on opening/closing line) the Cavs are just 5-12-1 ATS the last 18 times that they were coming off three or more consecutive SU victories. In a game that could easily come down to the wire again, I feel the number is more than generous. *10
|01-28-10||Toronto Raptors v. New York Knicks -3||Top||106-104||Loss||-110||9 h 52 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with NEW YORK. I won with the Knicks in their last game. They were off a 50-point loss vs. Dallas and responded with a wire-to-wire blowout win vs. Minnesota. I feel this should be another good spot for them to earn a victory.
I like the Raptors and won with them against the Lakers recently. (Although I lost with them to 'under' last night) While tonight's opponent isn't as formidable, this is a much tougher spot for them. When facing the Lakers, they were playing at home. Now, however, they're on the road. Given that they're 16-6 at home and 8-16 on the road, that's extremely significant.
Worse, the Raptors are also playing the second of back to back games. That's also significant. Indeed, the Raptors are 1-4 SU/ATS the last five times that they played the second of back to back games. In fact, the only win came at home, so they're actually 0-4 SU/ATS when playing a road game, after having played the previous day. Looking back further and we find them at an awful 1-8 SU/ATS their last nine in that situation.
One of the Raptors rare road wins came here at New York back on 1/15. That's noteworthy as we find the Knicks at a profitable 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier home loss. I expect them to build off the big win over Minnesota and improve on those stats here. *9 Roast
|01-27-10||Los Angeles Lakers v. Indiana Pacers +5.5||Top||118-96||Loss||-109||8 h 12 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with INDIANA. The Lakers rolled to an impressive double-digit win last night. That was at Washington though. Not only are the Wizards without Arenas but they've also got the second worst record in the Eastern Conference. Granted, the Pacers overall record isn't that much better. However, they ARE a much better team and their home record of 10-11 is significantly stronger than Washington's 8-15 mark.
Additionally, the Pacers have proven they can beat good teams here. Despite losing vs. the 76ers in their last game here (a loss they avenged at Philadelphia last time out) they're still 4-2 SU/ATS their last six games here. That includes victories over good teams like the Suns, Raptors and Magic. They've also beaten the Celtics here this season.
Even with last night's win, the Lakers are still just 8-10-1 ATS their last 19 games. Kobe's been playing with a hurt finger and hasn't always been getting much help from his supporting cast. On the season, the Lakers are a money-burning 2-4 ATS when listed as road favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range.
While they did beat the Knicks the last time they played the second of back to back games, the Lakers are still just 5-8 ATS their last 13 in that situation. This is much worse than a "typical" back to back spot though, as they're also playing their fifth game in the past seven days. NBA teams don't play six games in seven days, so that's as tough as it gets. Even with last night's win, the Lakers are still just 7-12 ATS on the road.
The Pacers have played the Lakers really tough lately. They lost by just two at LA last January, which was the most recent meeting. Additionally, they won outright when the Lakers last traveled here to Conseco Fieldhouse. Now the Pacers have added defensive specialist Dahntay Jones to help with Kobe, too. I feel the Pacers will be the fresher team and expect another one which comes down to the wire. *10 Best Bet
|01-26-10||Minnesota Timberwolves v. New York Knicks -5.5||Top||105-132||Win||100||9 h 13 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with NEW YORK. Many of you probably saw the Knicks on Sportscenter on Sunday, and/or read about them in the paper. That wasn't because they did anything 'good' either. Rather, its because they suffered their worst-ever loss at Madison Square Garden, falling by whopping 50 points vs. Dallas. That type of embarrassing loss can sometimes actually be good for a team though. Taking a major step down in class, I expect that to be the case here and look for the Knicks to bounce back with a solid victory of their own.
I say 'major step down in class,' as New York's last two games have come against the likes of the Mavericks and Lakers. (Prior to those games, they beat the Pistons by eight points.) This evening, they'll face a Minnesota team which has the worst record in the Western Conference and which is second worst in the entire NBA.
Indeed, the T-Wolves come in at 9-36 and that includes a dismal 3-19 record on the road. They're 2-12 their last 14 overall and they haven't won a road game since before Christmas. In fact, their last road win came vs. New Jersey - and the Nets are the only team worse than them in the league.
Since the win at New Jersey, the T-Wolves have gone 0-7 on the road. Those losses came by 18, 11, 14, 11, 6, 25 and 33 points.
Like the Knicks, the T-Wolves are off a lopsided loss. They were beaten by 33 points at Milwaukee on Saturday. They haven't been very good at bouncing back from bad losses though, going just 10-12 ATS after a double-digit defeat. They're also a money-burning 6-14 ATS after losing three or more consecutive games. The Knicks, on the other hand, are a respectable 7-5 ATS their last 12, after coming off a double-digit loss.
Including a 102-94 win at Minnesota the last time that these teams faced each other, the Knicks are 15-9 ATS their last 24 against teams from the Northwest Division. With the O/U line currently at 207, its also worth noting that the Knicks are a profitable 14-7 ATS the last 21 times that they played a home game with a total in the 205 to 209.5 range.
When asked about Sunday's performance, New York coach Mike D'Antoni commented: "It's regretful, but it happened, and we'll just try to flush it down the toilet..." I expect them to do just that, bouncing back with a win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-25-10||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Miami Heat +1||Top||92-91||Push||0||9 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Cavaliers bring a 4-game winning streak to the table and they beat the Heat here back in November. I believe this will be a good spot for the Heat to avenge that loss though.
Yes, the Cavs have won four straight. However, they're dealing with some injury issues at the moment, including guards Williams out and West doubtful. They won their last game (vs. OKC at Cleveland) by only one point and are a money-burning 3-8-1 ATS their last 12. It's also worth noting that with the ATS loss vs. Thunder, they're now just 4-12 ATS the last 16 times that they were coming off three or more consecutive victories.
As for the Heat, they shook off an embarrassing loss to Charlotte by winning their next two games by double-digits, winning by 24 and 31 points, respectively. This is a huge game for them. Not only are they looking to avenge the earlier loss but they also play 11 of their next 13 on the road.
Dwayne Wade, who has always matched Lebron when the two rivals have gone head-to-head, had this to say of the game's importance: "It's a very important game for us because it's our next game and it's a home game and they came in the first time and took one on our home floor. We need to really come out and play well ... For us, every game is a must-win.'
Even with the earlier loss, the Heat are still 10-3 the last 13 times they hosted the Cavs. I expect them to build off their recent big wins and score the minor upset. *10 Best Bet
|01-22-10||Milwaukee Bucks v. Toronto Raptors -7||Top||96-101||Loss||-110||16 h 30 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with TORONTO. These teams have met twice this season. In both cases, I successfully played on the Bucks. On 12/9, the Bucks won by a score of 117-95. More recently, two days ago, they won by a score of 113-107. In both those cases, the Bucks had both the venue and the schedule in their favor. Not only were they playing at Milwaukee in both cases, but they were also catching the Raptors off a game the previous day. The situation is much different here. Not only did the Raptors had last night off, but they're also facing the Bucks here at Toronto.
That's extremely significant. Not only are the Raptors very poor when playing the second of back to back games but both these teams are much better at home. The Bucks are a respectable 12-7 at home but an awful 5-16 on the road. Likewise, the Raptors are a poor 8-16 on the road but a solid 13-6 at home.
While they've had some trouble at Milwaukee, the Raptors have dominated the Bucks here at Toronto. They covered the number in four of the last six of the last six meetings here, each of those four ATS wins resulting in wins of nine points or more. The most recent meeting between these teams here came late last March. The Raptors won by a score of 115-106. Looking to avoid the season series sweep, I expect the revenge-minded Raptors to bounce back with a convincing win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|01-15-10||Indiana Pacers v. New Jersey Nets +3.5||Top||121-105||Loss||-118||20 h 9 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with NEW JERSEY. I won with the Pacers in their last game. Down and out early in that game, they rallied all the way back to earn the minor upset. The general feeling here will be, 'if they can beat the Suns, then surely they can beat the lowly Nets.' That attitude has provided us with solid value on what I feel should be a highly motivated New Jersey team.
Yes, the Pacers beat the Suns. However that was at Indiana and, as I mentioned at the time, the Pacers are capable of beating any team there. Road winners have been much more difficult to come by. Indeed, they're 10-9 at home but just 3-17 on the road. That includes a 0-9 mark their last away games.
Its also worth noting that the Pacers, who host the Hornets tomorrow night, are just 1-5 SU/ATS the last six times that they played the front end of back to back games. Their most recent time in that situation, they lost by seven points at Minnesota. Looking back further and we find them at just 3-11 SU the last 14 times that they played the front end of back to back games.
While the Nets are admittedly pretty brutal, I expect them to be extremely motivated for this game. For starters, they're playing with 'double-revenge,' having already lost both earlier series meetings. Also, they know that a game against the Pacers offers them a real chance for a win, due to Indiana's struggles on the road. Additionally, they were very upset in their last game, as they gave up more than 70 points in the first half and were behind 71-35 at the break. Leading scorer Devin Harris was particularly upset, as he chewed his teammates out at halftime.
Granted the Celts were coasting in the second half and were playing second stringers. Still, Harris' halftime speech seemed to light a fire under the Nets. They won both the third and fourth quarters, outscoring Boston by a 52-40 margin in the second half. I expect the revenge-minded Nets to be the "hungrier" team here and look for them to carry the momentum from the second half of the Boston game into tonight's game, leading to them scoring the minor upset. *10
|01-14-10||Chicago Bulls +7 v. Boston Celtics||Top||96-83||Win||100||20 h 31 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHICAGO. Its true that the Celtics are a very good team. Indeed, they won by 24 points last night and are now 27-10 on the season. That said, last night's win was at New Jersey, a team that is now 3-35 on the season. (No other team in the Eastern Conference has less than 12 wins.) The Celtics, will playing without Garnett (and Wallace and Daniels), will face a much tougher opponent tonight, one that comes in rested, red-hot and with plenty of motivation.
The Bulls still don't have a very good overall record. However, they're off back to back double-digit victories. Additionally, they've been the among the most profitable teams in the league in recent weeks. Indeed, since coach Vinny Del Negro survived Christmas (there had been a lot of speculation he might get fired over the holidays) the Bulls have responded by going a lucrative 8-1 ATS their last nine games.
Speaking of Del Negro, when asked about the Bulls recent success, he was quoted as saying: "We got Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich back healthy. We got some practice time in where we weren't practicing with seven or eight guys. I think our practices have been more productive, and how you practice is a lot of times how you play. That's had something to do with it."
Hinrich went on to add: "It just seems like we're kind of clicking. It seems like we have a good feel for how we're playing and how we need to play to be successful."
While last night's blowout win by the Celtics was hardly "gruelling," it was still a game. Even though the stars were able to get some rest, they still had to be there and still had to make the short trip home from New Jersey to Boston. Granted, there are much tougher back to back spots. However, its still worth mentioning the Celts are a money-burning 1-5 ATS the last six times that they played the second of back to back games. Most recently, they lost outright, here at home, to the Hawks. Prior to that, they lost outright at Golden State.
This isn't just a typical "back to back" spot for the Celts either. That's because they're also playing their fourth game in the past five days, fifth game in the past seven and sixth in the past nine. While last night's game was an easy win, the previous five games were all decided by eight points or less. Even with last night's cover, the Celts are still just 7-10 ATS their last 17.
While the Celtics are playing their fourth game in five days, the Bulls had the last two nights off. They've got plenty of motivation as they'll be playing with 'double-revenge' here. The last time they faced the Celts they were in the middle of a terrible slump and got blown out. The previous time, they were playing the second of back to back games and the Celts had the previous night off. That also resulted in a blowout win by Boston. The shoe is on the other foot now though. Additional motivation comes from the fact that the Celts knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs last season. Time for some payback. *10
|01-13-10||Phoenix Suns v. Indiana Pacers +4.5||Top||114-122||Win||100||9 h 38 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with INDIANA. The Suns are favored largely because they've got the better overall record. However, the Pacers' home record is actually slightly better than the Suns' road record. Indiana is 9-9 at home, Phoenix is 9-10 on the road. Both teams won their last game by identical 105-101 scores. However, the Pacers win was arguably more impressive and was of the "momentum-building" variety. The same can't be said of the Suns victory. That said, I feel the Pacers have an excellent shot at scoring the upset.
I say that the Pacers last win was the type a team can build momentum from because they rallied from a 23-point deficit. That came against a Toronto team which had been red hot, too. Prior to that, the Raptors had won eight of 10. With that win, the Pacers are now a perfect 3-0 here at home in 2010. That's got them back to .500 here and they're hungry to climb above the mark tonight. Prior to the win over the Raptors, they'd beaten a very good Orlando team. In other words, if they're capable of defeating the defending Eastern Conf. champs here, they're capable of beating just about anyone. (They also beat the Celtics here earlier in the season - the Celts and Magic are a combined 27-13 on the road)
While the Pacers rallied from a big deficit in their last game, the Suns blew a big lead. Facing a Milwaukee team which is now just 4-13 on the road, they Suns squandered a 24-point deficit, fell behind by a point, and hung on to win by only four points. That wasn't anything new for the Suns, either. In their previous three games, they'd blown leads of 13, 16 and 20 points.
With the likes of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire on the floor, we know that the Suns can score. They also allow the second most points in the league though - only Golden St. allows more - and I believe the Pacers match up well against them.
The Pacers, who recently got leading scorer Danny Granger (24.1, 5.9, 2.8) back, have five players averaging in double-digits and seven players who average nine or more points per game. The Pacers did have some trouble with the Suns in recent years. However, they beat them outright in the last meeting and are 3-1 ATS the last four meetings. They're also a profitable 7-4 ATS the last 11 times that they were coming off a game in which they scored 105 or more points. I expect them to build off the Toronto win and improve on those stats this evening. *10 Best Bet
|01-11-10||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors +5||Top||117-114||Win||100||12 h 28 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with GOLDEN STATE. The Cavaliers are off a fairly impressive outing last night. Lebron came out on fire and finished with 41 points, to go along with 10 boards and eight assists. The Cavs won by a score of 106-94. They had to fight hard the entire game though as the Blazers rallied from a 15-point deficit to tied the game at 89-89, midway through the fourth. As a result, Lebron was forced to see extended playing time. In fact, he played a season-high 45 minutes. Off that hard-fought victory, now they travel to Oakland to take on a well-rested Warriors team which is currently playing very well.
After losing 21 of 28 games, the Warriors have responded with four wins in their last seven. That includes outright wins over the likes of the Celtics and Suns. I played on them in both those games and feel they've got an excellent shot at another outright winner here. Note that they've gone 6-1 ATS over that seven game stretch and the only pointspread loss was a game vs. the Lakers, when the Warriors were playing the second of back to back games.
The Warriors are a tough team to face, when playing the second of back to back games. That's because they push the ball up and down the floor and play at such a fast pace. Note that their victories over Boston and Phoenix both came when the Suns and Celtics were playing the second of back to back games. Additionally, note that the Cavs are 0-2 ATS the last two times that they were in a back to back spot, most recently losing outright vs. Charlotte.
The Warriors already played the Cavs tough at Cleveland, losing by six points on 11/17. They easily covered in that game. They also covered the spread when they hosted the Cavs last January, losing by a single point. In fact, the last three meetings between these teams here have all been decided by four points or less. Prior to that the Warriors had won four of five as a host in the series. Catching the Cavs off last night's win, I expect the Warriors to earn at least another cover, improving to 14-7-1 ATS the last 22 times they were attempting to avenge an earlier loss. *9 Best Bet
|01-08-10||Boston Celtics v. Atlanta Hawks -3||Top||85-93||Win||100||17 h 58 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with ATLANTA. Some may feel that the Celtics will be the more motivated team here, due to the fact that the Hawks beat them at Boston last month, back in mid-November. However, I expect the Hawks to be every bit as "hungry."
Keep in mind that the Hawks are trying hard to break into the upper echelon of teams in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics, Magic and Cavaliers remain firmly established as "The Big Three" in the East. The Hawks believe they belong in that group and badly want to earn the respect that they feel that they deserve. A win over the Celts on National TV (ESPN) would help in the standings and will go a long way to earning some of that respect. The fact that the Cavs beat them here recently (and again at Clev) should serve to make them even that much more motivated. That was a "statement" game and so is this one.
Speaking of the "Big Three," of course, it should also be mentioned that the Celts will still be without Kevin Garnett for this game.
As for the Celtics getting their "revenge," let's not forget that they're just 3-5 ATS the last eight times they tried to avenge an earlier loss. That includes a 1-2 SU/ATS mark when trying to avenge a home loss. Also, with these teams playing again at Boston in a few days (on 1/11) the Celts know they'll still get a chance for some payback, no matter what happens here. Armed with the same knowledge, the Hawks know they need this one - as winning at Boston twice in a row will be tough.
Admittedly, the Celts are tough (14-4 SU and 9-9 ATS) on the road. However, the Hawks home record (13-4 SU and 12-5 ATS) is every bit as good.
The Hawks recently had a "players-only meeting" and responded with a 30-point win in their last game. I expect them to build off that effort, improving to 11-6 SU/ATS when coming off a double-digit win and making a "statement" that they belong among the best teams in the East. *10
|01-07-10||Charlotte Bobcats +3.5 v. New York Knicks||Top||93-97||Loss||-104||9 h 10 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHARLOTTE. Both teams have been playing much better than they were earlier in the season. The Knicks have won two straight and have covered three of their last four. The Bobcats have been even better, as they've won three straight and have covered four of five. The Bobcats winning streak has arguably been even more impressive. Yes, the Knicks big win over Indiana was impressive. However, the Bobcats won at Miami and then followed it up by winning at Cleveland, one of the toughest venues in the league. Regarding the victory over the Pacers, it should also be noted that the Knicks are 0-3 ATS the last three times they were off a double-digit win.
With their win at Cleveland, the Bobcats are now a profitable 11-6 ATS on the road. Overall, they're 21-12 ATS. That includes a 6-1 ATS mark their last seven road games. The Knicks, on the other hand, are 9-9 ATS at home and 17-17 ATS overall.
The Knicks have been playing better defense lately but they're still ranked in the bottom 10 in the league, in terms of points allowed. The Bobcats, on the other hand, allow fewer points than any team in the league. Of course, playing stingy defense is a positive trait when trying to cover spreads as an underdog. They're 14-8 ATS when getting points. The Knicks are 4-5 ATS when laying points and are now a money-burning 16-28 ATS in that role, the past few seasons. Note that Charlotte is 11-2 ATS when facing a team that allows greater than 99 points per game.
It should be noted that this line has climbed a bit from its opener and that every extra point could (and has been) be valuable, when these teams face each other. The Bobcats have won two of three meetings with those victories coming by two and seven points. The Knicks' lone victory came by only four. In other words, all three games have been extremely close. Looking back a bit further and we find the Bobcats at a lucrative 13-4 ATS the last 17 meetings. That includes a perfect 5-0 ATS mark their last five. I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *9 roast
|01-06-10||Golden State Warriors v. Minnesota Timberwolves -3||Top||107-101||Loss||-108||10 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Warriors crushed the T-Wolves when the teams met earlier. That was at Oakland though and the Warriors are a MUCH better team at home. Indeed, they're a somewhat respectable 6-7 at home. However, with last night's loss, they're an awful 3-17 on the road. That includes an 0-8 mark their last eight road games. In addition to the fact that they're playing on their own homecourt, the T-Wolves have the schedule in their favor.
The Warriors, who are off a late up-tempo game in the high altitude of Denver, are 0-7 the last seven times that they played the second of back to back games. All seven of those losses came by a minimum of six points. Last night's loss wasn't just any old ordinary loss, either. In addition to the fact that it was a "run and gun" game, played at high altitude, it was a devastating defeat. The Warriors actually had the lead with one second left in the game. They committed a foul with 0.4 seconds left though and the Nuggets took advantage, earning a 123-122 victory. That's the type of loss that can make it tough on a team the next day.
Golden State coach Don Nelson had this to say: "You lose at the buzzer, it's tough....We played our hearts out..."
In addition to the fact that the earlier meeting was at Oakland, the T-Wolves played without leading rebounder, Kevin Love. Love who averages better than 15 points and 12 boards per game should make a big difference.
Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis knows his team is better than they were for the earlier meeting, stating: "We're much better now than we were in the first matchup..."
For all their struggles, the T-Wolves have still managed to go a profitable 10-7 ATS against teams which allow 99 or more points per game. I expect them to deliver a highly motivated effort and improve on those stats this evening. *9 Personal Favorite
|01-05-10||Phoenix Suns v. Sacramento Kings +2.5||Top||113-109||Loss||-110||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with SACRAMENTO. The majority of the betting public will likely favor the Suns in this one. After all, the Suns have a much better overall record. They already beat the Kings this season and they've dominated them in recent years. All that may be true, however, a closer look reveals several factors favoring the Kings.
Yes, the Suns have the better overall record. That's because of their strong play at Phoenix though. The Kings home record of 11-7 is actually much stronger than the Suns' road record of 8-10.
Yes, the Suns did beat the Kings earlier. That was at Phoenix though and the Kings covered the spread. I've already mentioned that both teams are much better on their homecourt.
Yes, the Suns have had success vs. the Kings. However, the last game played here at Arco Arena (last March) resulted in a 126-118 upset win by the Kings. They're a much better team this season. The Suns won their previous game here but that victory came by only two points. Looking back further and we find the Kings at 4-1 ATS the last five times they hosted the Suns and 8-3 ATS the last 11 meetings here. Looking back still further shows the Kings have won 13 of the last 20 series meetings here outright.
Both teams have had the past two days off. That's noteworthy as we find the Suns at 17-19 ATS the past few seasons, when playing with two day's off in between games. During the same stretch, the Kings were a profitable 23-9 ATS when playing with two days off. That includes a 6-2 ATS mark in that role this season.
Its also worth noting that the Kings have the next two days off. The Suns, on the other hand, host the Rockets tomorrow night. They're 1-2-1 ATS last four times that they played the front end of back to back games.
The Suns earned impressive recent wins over Boston and LA. However, they followed up those victories by getting destroyed by Memphis. They're just 3-5 ATS the last eight times they were off a double-digit loss.
The Kings have struggled to get wins recently. They've been playing well though. They took the Cavs to OT and very nearly beat the Lakers, twice. They lost their last game vs. Dallas by eight and recently beat Denver, outright.
The Kings have been profitable in the 'revenge' role and they're 3-1-1 ATS the last five times that they were off three or more consecutive losses. They're also 12-5 ATS (10-7 SU) on the season when facing a team which allows 99 or more points per game. They've got Tyreke Evans back in the lineup and now he's had a game under his belt to work off the rust. I'll grab whatever points the books are willing to give but I expect the Kings to step up and score the outright upset. *10 Best Bet
|01-03-10||Dallas Mavericks v. Los Angeles Lakers -6||Top||96-131||Win||100||19 h 35 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with the LA LAKERS. The Mavericks upset the Lakers here on 10/30. The schedule favors the Lakers to avenge that loss this evening. While the Lakers had the night off, Dallas is off a relatively hard-fought game at Sacramento last night. Tonight marks the Mavs' third game in the past four nights. Note that the Mavs are 8-12 ATS the last 20 times that they played the second of back to back games, including 1-3 ATS their last four in that situation.
The Lakers don't lose too many home games, so they aren't often attempting to avenge a home loss. They're a profitable 16-9-1 ATS the last 26 times that they were in that situation though. Overall, during the same stretch, the Lakers are 39-29-1 ATS when playing with revenge, going 53-16 SU.
Prior to the October loss, the Lakers had beaten the Mavs four straight times here at LA, each of the last two victories coming by a minimum of seven points. Overall, the Lakers are 16-4 SU the last 20 meetings here. I expect them to resume that homecourt series dominance here, covering the generously small number along the way. *9 GOW
|01-02-10||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Milwaukee Bucks -1||Top||97-103||Win||100||8 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Thunder come in on a roll and they beat the Bucks earlier. That was at Oklahoma City though and the Bucks are a much better team here at Milwaukee. They're 3-11 on the road and 9-7 at home. Despite losing at Orlando last time out, their fourth straight loss, the Bucks are 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were off three straight losses. They're also a respectable 10-8 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier loss. Additionally, they're a perfect 4-0 ATS the last four times they played a home game with a total in the 195 to 199.5 range. (The Thunder are 4-4 ATS when playing a road game with a total in the same range.)
The Bucks crushed the Thunder 115-98 when they hosted them last season. That was their fifth straight victory over the Thunder/Sonics. Four of those victories came by double-digits. A SU victory is all they need for a cover here. I expect them to get back on track, cooling off the Thunder, avenging the earlier loss and resuming their homecourt dominance in the series. *9 Best Bet
|12-30-09||Miami Heat v. New Orleans Hornets -2||Top||91-95||Win||100||10 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ORLEANS. These teams faced each other a little over a month ago. The Heat won but the Hornets covered. The Heat had several advantages in that game. For starters, the game was being played at Miami. Also, the Hornets entered on a 3-game winning streak and were playing the second of back to back games. Additionally, the Hornets were without their star, Chris Paul. All of those factors were significant. Tonight's game sets up much differently and this time, I expect the Hornets to have the edge.
Tonight's rematch is being at New Orleans. Considering that the Hornets are now 2-13 on the road and 11-3 at home, that's a major difference. New Orleans has won nine of 10 here.
Also, Chris Paul is back. Given that he's among the very best players in the entire league, that's also extremely significant.
This time, the Hornets are off back to back losses. That, combined with the 'revenge factor,' should make them "hungrier" than they were the last time. This time, the Heat are the ones on a 3-game winning streak - which could make them slightly "complacent." Note that Miami hasn't won four straight for more than a year. Also, they haven't won three straight road games in nearly three years.
Yes, the Hornets are again playing the second of back to back games. However, that hasn't bothered them, when they've done so at home, in the past. Dating back to December of last year, the Hornets have played just four home games, after having played the previous day. They went 3-1 SU/ATS in those games. The victories came against a trio of tough teams (Spurs, Rockets and Magic) and each of them came by a minimum of seven points.
The Hornets have also dominated the Heat here. They've won four straight meetings here, going 3-0-1 ATS. All four victories came by double-digits. Looking back further and we find the Hornets at 10-2 SU and 9-2-1 ATS as a host of the Heat, since moving to New Orleans. I expect them to bounce back and continue that homecourt series dominance this evening. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-29-09||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Atlanta Hawks -3||Top||95-84||Loss||-105||9 h 12 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with ATLANTA. If there had previously been any doubt, the Christmas Day win at LA showed that the Cavaliers are capable of beating bigtime teams on the road. That said, they're still 12-6 away from Cleveland, which isn't nearly as good as the Hawks record here at Atlanta.
With a 12-2 record here at Atlanta, the Hawks are tied (with Denver, Clev. and Phoenix) for the fewest number of home losses in the league. They're 4-0 their last four here and each of their last five wins here have come by double-digits. In fact, they won those five games by an average of 23 points!
In their previously mentioned win at LA, the Cavs proved to be "hungrier" than their opponent. I don't expect that to be the case this evening, as the Hawks figure to be extremely motivated. Most importantly, they were swept by the Cavs in last year's playoffs - this is their first chance to earn some payback. Additionally, the Hawks know that they play at Cleveland tomorrow night. Given that both teams are much stronger at home, the Hawks know they can't afford to lose tonight.
I also feel that the schedule favors Atlanta. The Cavs did have last night off. However, they played the previous night (home game vs. Houston) and prior to that, they'd played four straight out West. In fact, they haven't played consecutive home games since way back on 12/2 and 12/4. That means that this will be the 15th straight game that they will be playing in a different city, than the one they played their previous game at.
The Hawks are also off a recent road trip. However, they didn't have to go all the way to the West Coast and prior to that, they'd played three straight at home. Additionally, they've had the past two days (instead of just one for the Cavs) off. Note that they're a perfect 4-0 SU/ATS on the season, when playing with two days off in between games.
The Hawks, 28-12 ATS their last 40 in December, are 17-7 ATS when laying points this season, incl. 1-0 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-26-09||Phoenix Suns v. Golden State Warriors +3||Top||127-132||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with GOLDEN STATE. For the second Boxing Day in a row, the Warriors get the benefit of facing a team which played on Christmas Day. I feel this is a real advantage and expect them to make the most of the opportunity. Last season, the Warriors got to play the Celtics on Boxing Day. The Celts, who were coming off a big showdown with the Lakers, opened as -10 favorites over the Warriors and closed as -11.5 point favorites. The home underdog Warriors beat them by double-digits, scoring a 99-89 upset! This year, the Warriors get to face a Phoenix teams which destroyed the Clippers yesterday evening.
While I think that playing back to back games over Christmas is particularly challenging, note that the Suns have really struggled in the b2b role, regardless of the date. In fact, they're an ugly 7-13 SU the last 20 times that they played the second of back to back games. That includes a 0-4 mark their last four in that situation. All four losses came by a minimum of six points and by an average of 15.5 points. Looking back a bit further and we find the Suns at just 2-7 the last nine times that they played the second of back to back games.
It's true that the Warriors have lost seven straight. However, lets not forget that Phoenix has lost six straight on the road. Note that while the Warriors have struggled at Phoenix, they've won four of the last five series meetings here at Oakland.
The Warriors haven't quit fighting either. After their most recent game, Coach Nelson made the following statement: "I can't ask for anything more out of this team. They gave everything they had on a back-to-back. I'm really proud of them..."
Despite their overall struggles, the Warriors are a respectable 7-5 ATS when facing teams with a winning record. They're also 8-7 ATS when playing with 'revenge' Here they're attempting to avenge 123-101 loss at Phoenix on 10/30. More impressive, they're a highly profitable 11-4 ATS the last 15 times that they were listed as home underdogs of three points or less. They won nine of those games outright and I look for them to do the same this evening. *9 Best Bet
|12-23-09||Portland Trail Blazers v. San Antonio Spurs -10||Top||98-94||Loss||-110||11 h 34 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with SAN ANTONIO. Give the Blazers credit. Despite dealing with numerous injuries, they've remained very competitive. Last night, they gutted out an upset win at Dallas. I expect all those injuries to catch up with them tonight though.
The Blazers entered last night's game with only 10 healthy players. They, then lost Joel Przybilla for the game (and perhaps the season) another devastating blow.
After the game, coach Nate McMillan had this to say: "Things just keep happening to us. We don't know the reason why. Tonight, we lost big Joel and the guys came together, they didn't quit, they rallied and they stayed together. I think we played on emotions tonight. I think they were (ticked) off that this happened to another brother, in a sense, another family member. And even though Dallas didn't really have anything to do with it, I think they kind of took it out on them."
That's great but "playing on emotions" will only take you so far.
Potentially an even bigger blow, in the postgame locker room, star Brandon Roy couldn't even lift his left arm over his shoulder. He "tweaked" it in the fourth quarter and was in considerable pain. As I write this, his status remains unclear. However, I won't be surprised if he doesn't play tonight either.
With or without their star, I believe the Blazers are in trouble.
Not only are they off a very hard fought and emotional win but they're also playing the second of back to back games. Worse, this will mark their fourth game in the past five nights - as grueling a situation as it gets the NBA - made much worse by the injuries.
Don't expect the Spurs, who have dealt with numerous issues of their own in recent seasons, to offer any sympathy. The Spurs lost by double-digits at Portland earlier this season. While I won with Portland in that game. I fully expect the revenge-minded Spurs to return the favor here.
San Antonio, which had last night off, is 6-1 SU and 4-2-1 ATS its last seven games. For the season, the Spurs are 10-6-1 ATS when laying points. Now, its payback time. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-22-09||Atlanta Hawks v. Minnesota Timberwolves +9.5||Top||112-87||Loss||-110||7 h 46 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MINNESOTA. The Hawks are a talented team. That said, I successfully played against them in their last game (outright loss at Chicago) and I feel that this will prove to be another very good spot to go against them.
Some teams struggle when playing the second of back to back games. Even though I played against them last time, which was a back to back spot, I noted that the Hawks are not one of those teams. Typically, they fare well when playing the second of b2b games. However, other teams don't fare as well when playing the front end of b2b's, which is the situation the Hawks are in this evening - they play at Denver tomorrow. Atlanta has been one of those teams recently.
In fact, the Hawks are just 5-8 ATS the last 13 times that they played the front-end of back to back games, losing seven of those games outright. That includes a 1-3 ATS mark their last four in that situation. Of course, a game at Denver is "bigger" than a game at Minnesota and it may be easy to get caught looking ahead. That's particularly true with Christmas on deck, with a home and home vs. the Cavs looming in the not too distant future.
Conversely, Minnesota, which also plays tomorrow, has gone 5-2 ATS the last seven times that it played the front end of b2b games, incl. a perfect 3-0 ATS mark their last three in that situation.
While they were blown out at Boston last time out (no shame in that) the T-Wolves won their last home game (vs. Sacramento) by double-digits, 112-96. I played them in that game and noted that they've quietly been a very profitable team in recent weeks. In fact, even with the Boston loss, they're still a very healthy 9-3 ATS their last dozen games, dating back to late November.
The T-Wolves didn't cover vs. the Hawks here the last two seasons. However, they still "only" lost by eight points last year and seven the previous year. The problem was that they were favored by two points last year. The previous season, the T-Wolves 4.5 point underdogs. Tonight, we're getting significantly more points to work with and with the line having climbed from its opener, I feel we're also getting excellent value. Look for this one to be much closer than most are expecting. *9 Best Bet
|12-21-09||Utah Jazz v. Orlando Magic -8||Top||99-104||Loss||-110||9 h 23 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with ORLANDO. I really like how this one sets up for the home team. The Magic, an excellent home team, are playing with 'revenge' from an earlier loss at Utah. The Jazz, a poor team when playing away from their homecourt, may be starting to become a little 'road-weary.'
The Jazz are playing the fourth leg of a five-game road trip. They did win at Charlotte last time out but are still just 5-7 SU/ATS on the road for the season. They're now an ugly 39-64 away from Salt Lake City the past few seasons. That includes a money-burning 4-11 SU/ATS mark when playing a road game with a total in the 200-204.5 range. While they did have yesterday off, they're still playing their third game in four nights here.
The Magic are coming off a momentum-building win over Portland on Saturday. The Blazers played well the whole way. However, Howard and co. were too much for them down the stretch and pulled away for a 9-point win. That was either a 1/2 point cover or a 'push,' depending on when/where one played. Tonight's current line is a bit lower, meaning that another 9-point victory will be good enough for an ATS win. Note that while the Jazz played both Friday and Saturday, the Magic had Friday off.
With Saturday's win, the Magic are now an impressive 10-2 at home. Only Denver and Phoenix have fewer home losses. They've outscored opponents by a 105.8 to 95.9 margin here. The Magic are now 79-32 at home the past few seasons. Counting Saturday's game as a 'push,' that includes a profitable 20-11-1 ATS (24-8 SU) record as home favorites in the -6.5 to -9 range. That also includes a 12-4 ATS (14-2 SU) record when playing a home game with a total in the 200 to 204.5 range.
Yes, the Magic did lose at Salt Lake City. That's a very tough venue though and the Jazz are capable of beating anyone there. The Magic crushed the Jazz (105-87) when they hosted them last year though. They were up by double-digits by the first quarter and never looked back. In fact, The Magic built a 13-2 lead and never allowed the Jazz closer than nine points for the rest of the game. That's the very definition of a "wire-to-wire winner."
Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds in that game, prompting Utah's Carlos Boozer to state: "Howard was a monster. He is one of those guys that people don't appreciate like they should. He should be in the MVP talk, too. He cleans up everything and corrects any mistake they make."
With the Magic at a highly profitable 53-28 ATS the last 81 times that they were attempting to avenge an earlier loss, I feel the number is more than reasonable. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-19-09||Atlanta Hawks v. Chicago Bulls +5||Top||98-101||Win||100||10 h 31 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHICAGO. The Hawks are a talented team and they're off to a great start. That said, this is a tough spot for them.
While the Hawks were busy beating Utah last night, the Bulls were here, waiting for them. Granted, the Hawks have had some success, when playing the second of b2b games. Still, that doesn't mean its "ideal."
The Bulls have been playing better of late. They fought hard vs. the Lakers and played them a lot tougher than the final score (9 pt loss) indicates. They followed that up by beating up on the Knicks on Thursday. They had to rally from a big deficit in that one. As I noted with New Orleans last night (Hornets were also coming off a big comeback win) that's the type of victory that can really build some positive momentum.
The Hawks, 0-2 ATS on the season after playing three consecutive home games, have been solid on the road this season. However, that's still a pretty limited sample size and they've had real troubles away from Atlanta in the past. Even including this year's record, they're still just 36-66 their last 102 on the road.
The Bulls will have 'payback' on their minds, as they already lost at Atlanta earlier this month. They're a MUCH better team at home again this year though - as has been the case the past few years. Note that they're 7-2 the last nine times they hosted the Hawks. While both the losses came in the two most recent games here, both those losses came by five points or less. While I'll grab the points, I expect the Bulls, 10-7 SU/ATS the last 17 times that they played three or more consec. home games, to step up and score the outright upset here. *9 Best Bet
|12-18-09||Denver Nuggets v. New Orleans Hornets +1||Top||92-98||Win||100||10 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ORLEANS. The Hornets have been good to me recently. Two games ago, I successfully played on them to finish 'under' the total vs. Dallas. Last game, I successfully backed them as favorites vs. the Pistons. That game didn't start very well, as the Hornets fell way behind early. However, they battled back, dominating the Pistons by a commanding 53-32 margin in the second half. That's the type of victory that can build positive momentum. I expect that to be the case here and believe that the Hornets are again providing us with excellent value.
The Nuggets are undoubtedly a very good team and they've gotten off to a great start. That said, they've been much better at home. They've lost two straight on the road and, in my opinion, neither of those opponents (Detroit and Charlotte) are as good as the one that they'll face tonight. Looking back further and we find that the Nuggets are just 3-7 ATS (4-6 SU) their last 10 on the road. For the season, they're 7-6 away from Denver.
Meanwhile, despite their struggles on the road, the Hornets are still a very respectable 9-3 here at home. That includes an impressive 7-1 (5-3 ATS) mark their last eight here. Looking back further and we find them at 74-29 SU the past few seasons here. That includes a 8-1 SU record when playing a home game with a total ranging from 200 to 204.5 Keep in mind that a SU win gets them the cover tonight.
Note that the Hornets have won three of their last five home meetings with the Nuggets and they'll very likely be catching them without Billups tonight.
They've also been terrific (49-19 SU and 40-26-2 ATS) the past few seasons when coming off a game vs. a team from the Eastern Conference. I expect them to pad those stats this evening, continuing their strong homecourt play with an important victory. *10 Best Bet
|12-18-09||Sacramento Kings v. Minnesota Timberwolves +2.5||Top||96-112||Win||100||10 h 37 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MINNESOTA. The Kings are currently slight favorites for tonight's game. I can understand the reason for this - the Kings have a better overall record and they just beat the T-Wolves. However, that doesn't mean that I agree with it.
Yes, the Kings did just beat the T-Wolves. However, that victory came at Arco Arena. The Kings have been much better there for many years and they're currently an impressive 10-3 there this season. They're an entirely different team on the road though. Indeed, they're 0-7 their last seven road games and an ugly 1-10 on the season.
Granted, the T-Wolves 2-11 home record isn't much better. However, with the exception of an admittedly poor outing vs. the Clippers on Wednesday, Minnesota had started to make real strides here recently. We can also cut the T-Wolves a little slack for Wednesday's effort, or lack thereof, as they were playing their first game back off a road trip and in a letdown spot off a huge road upset (were +13.5 point underdogs) at Utah.
Looking at the T-Wolves' previous two home games, prior to Wednesday's loss, and we find that they lost by only one point vs. New Orleans and beat the Jazz outright. Before that, they lost by only two vs. Memphis - and the Grizzlies have been playing very well of late.
Conversely, five of the Kings last six road losses have come by at least seven points. Note that the Kings are 0-3-1 ATS (1-3 SU) the last four times that they were road favorites of three points or less. It should also be mentioned that while they did have last night off, the Kings have already been involved in three back to back situations in December and that they've been flying all over the country. That takes a toll on a team and I won't be surprised if we see some fatique down the stretch here.
Looking at the series history and we find that the T-Wolves are 4-2 SU the last six times that they hosted the Kings (split two meetings here last season) and that they're 13-7 the last 20 meetings between the teams here. Even with Wednesday's loss, the T-Wolves have still quietly gone a profitable 8-2 ATS their last 10 games. I expect the revenge-minded Wolves to bounce back and avenge the recent loss at Arco by scoring the minor upset tonight. *9
|12-17-09||Phoenix Suns v. Portland Trail Blazers -2||Top||102-105||Win||100||12 h 18 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with PORTLAND. The Blazers have some injury issues right now. Those have been factored into the line though, as we're getting a much lower line than we would have if they were 100% healthy. Even without their entire cast of players, they're still more than capable of defeating teams, particularly here at home. Note that they're 9-4 here this season and that they were 34-7 here last season. While four of their last six games came on the road, they've won each of their last two here at home, most recently a 7-point win over Sacramento on Tuesday.
Tonight, the Blazers catch a Phoenix team which is really struggling on the road right now and which is already looking forward to finally getting home. The Suns have played the fewest number of home games (9) in the entire league but know that they play 10 of their next 12 at home. Note that the Suns have now lost five straight on the road. Four of the losses came by a minimum of six points and the five losses came by an average of greater than 14 points.
Of course, the Suns would really like to snap that road losing streak before they start their home stretch. However, with four difficult road games on the deck, the Blazers will be every bit as motivated to earn themselves a home victory. They playe at Orlando on Saturday.
Looking at last year's meetings here and we find that the Blazers handled the Suns, going 2-0 SU/ATS. Almost exactly one year ago, on 12/18, laying four points, they beat the Suns by five. They followed that up by crushing them by 20 points (120-109) in the next - and most recent - meeting.
After the Sacramento win, coach Nate McMillan, back from an injury of his own, had this to say: "We needed a win. For us, we can't make a lot of mistakes because of the depth that we have and the personnel that we have. We have to play almost flawless ball. We've got to outhustle you, outwork you and keep believing in ourselves." Behind another big game from star Brandon Roy, who's averaging 39 his last two home games vs. the Suns, I look for McMillan's crew to "outwork and outhustle" the Suns, en route to earning another important home victory. *9 roast
|12-16-09||Detroit Pistons v. New Orleans Hornets -4.5||Top||87-95||Win||100||9 h 20 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with NEW ORLEANS. I believe that recent results have provided us with excellent value on the home favorite here, keeping this line lower than it normally would have been. Yes, the perception is that the Pistons have been winning while the Hornets have been losing. However, the Pistons' 5-game winning streak game to an end last night, as they lost by double-digits at Houston.
A look at their previous five wins shows that four of those games came at home. The lone road win came at Philadelphia, a game that Detroit barely won and vs. a team that was mired in a major losing streak. As for the Hornets, they've lost two in a row but one of those losses was a close, hard-fought road loss at Dallas. Prior to that, they'd won three straight. Let's not forget that the Hornets are still 8-3 at home while the Pistons are still 3-9 on the road.
In addition to the recent results keeping the number reasonable, I expect them to also make the Hornets the "hungrier" team. After their rare 5-game winning streak, the Pistons may be starting to become a little complacent, patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Even with a loss last night, they still have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. Note that Detroit, which still isn't perfectly healthy, is just 6-12 ATS (3-15 SU!) the last 18 times that it played the second of back to back games. That includes a money-burning 2-5 ATS (1-6 SU) mark its last seven in that situation. The lone b2b win came at home. The last time that they played on the road, following a game the previous day, they were beaten by 26 points. This will also be their fifth game in the past eight days.
On the other hand, the Hornets had last night off and they had two days off before their loss (covered) at Dallas. They weren't at all happy with their performance in their last game here (loss vs. the Knicks) and they'll be highly motivated to avoid losing two straight home games to beatable Eastern Conf. opponents.
The Hornets have thrived as home favorites in this range in recent seasons. They're 16-8 ATS (17-7 SU) the last 24 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range. They beat the Pistons in both meetings last season. Chris Paul scored at least 20 points and 13 assists in both of those games while David West averaged 25 points. I expect those two stars to lead their team to a victory here, covering the small nubmer with relative ease. *9 Blowout GOW
|12-15-09||Los Angeles Lakers v. Chicago Bulls +10.5||Top||96-87||Win||100||10 h 1 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with CHICAGO. With the Bulls struggling and the Lakers off a rare loss, the majority of the betting public will surely expect the Lakers to bounce back with a blowout victory. I expect a different result and feel that sentiment has provided us with excellent value on the home underdog.
Its true that the Lakers don't lose two in a row that often - however, that doesn't mean that it won't and can't happen. Also, with such a big number to work with, we don't need an outright win here. With Saturday's loss, the Lakers are now just 1-4 ATS on the road. Of their five road games, only one has resulted in a win by greater than three points. Note that they haven't been a particularly strong team at this time of year either. They're now 15-20 ATS their last 35 December games, incl. 2-8 ATS their last 10 December road games.
I hesitate to mention Kobe Bryant, as I'm sure that he'll play much better than he did in his last game. That said, it should still be noted that he's not 100% at the moment.
Despite their recent and overall struggles, the Bulls are still a respectable 6-4 at home on the season. They're 14-6 their last 20 games here, dating back to last season. Of this season's 10 home games, only two have resulted in losses of greater than two points.
While the Bulls are just 4-4 the last eight times that they hosted the Lakers, none of those four losses were decided by greater than 13 points and
two of them came by eight or less. Last year, they lost by eight vs. the Lakers here. They were only getting four points for that one. Listed as significantly larger underdogs here, I feel that they're giving us excellent value and I look for them to give their guests a much tougher game than most are expecting. *9 Main Event
|12-12-09||Portland Trail Blazers v. Milwaukee Bucks -4||Top||101-108||Win||100||10 h 24 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with MILWAUKEE. I successfully played on the Bucks in their most recent game, a 117-95 destruction of Toronto back on Wednesday. I believe that this will prove to be another excellent spot for them.
I like the Blazers. However, they're currently dealing with some major injury issues, having dressed only nine players last night. For the most part, they were able to overcome those injuries last night, as they played the Cavaliers tough the entire way. They lost but covered the spread. Off that hard-fought effort and now playing their third game in the past four days, (and fifth game in the past eight) I expect those injuries to catch up with them tonight and look for fatigue to be a factor. Note that the last time that they played the second of back to back games, 11/28 at Utah, the Blazers were crushed by a score of 108-92.
While the Blazers are now .500 on the road, the Bucks have quietly gone 8-3 SU and 7-4 ATS at home. They're 2-1 ATS when playing with two day's rest in between games and they're a perfect 4-0 ATS when coming off a double-digit victory. They're 7-3 ATS (9-1 SU) the last 10 times that they were listed as favorites. I expect them to be the 'fresher' team here and look for them to continue their homecourt success and improve to 6-2 ATS the last eight times that they played a home game with a total in the 185 to 190 range. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-11-09||Golden State Warriors v. Chicago Bulls -4||Top||91-96||Win||100||10 h 52 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with CHICAGO. Currently on a losing streak, the Bulls badly need a victory. That's particularly true with games vs. the Celtics and Lakers on deck. I feel that this will be the perfect spot/opponent for them to get a win, snapping their skid and giving them some momentum for those top tier opponents.
Yes, the Warriors are off an impressive blowout road win. However, that came at New Jersey and the Nets have the worst record (2-20) in the league. That victory notwithstanding, the Warriors are a dismal 3-9 SU on the road, giving up an average of greater than 113 points in those games. Opposing teams are shooting a whopping 49.9% against them in their road games. Its also worth noting that Golden State has gone an ugly 13-26 ATS (14-25 SU) the last 39 times that it was coming off a double-digit victory. Clearly, this hasn't been a team which knows how to build momentum from a big victory.
Like the Warriors, the Bulls struggle on the road. That's been the case for a few years now. However, they've still won five of their eight home games. Note that their eight home games played are the fewest in the Eastern Conference (second fewest in NBA) meaning that their overall record could easily be better, had they played here more often. Opposing teams are scoring 91.5 points here, shooting only 42.1%. Looking back further and we find that the Bulls have gone 51-30 here the past 2+ seasons.
Looking at the series history and we find that the Bulls have dominated the Warriors. Last year, despite the fact that both teams are much better at home, the Bulls won by five at Oakland. Three months later, when the teams met here at Chicago, the Bulls crushed them by 22 points. Including that 110-88 blowout, the Bulls are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS the last eight times that they hosted the Warriors. The seven victories came by an average of greater than 12 points. I expect them to continue their homecourt dominance in the series tonight, covering the small number along the way. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-10-09||Boston Celtics v. Washington Wizards +7.5||Top||104-102||Win||100||20 h 45 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with WASHINGTON. With the Celtics on an eight game winning streak and with the Wizards having lost two in a row, many will hesitate to back the home underdog here. That sentiment has provided us with plenty of line value.
A closer look at Boston's eight game winning streak shows that only three of the victories came by more than nine points. They won the other five games by an average of less than six points. Looking back a little further and we find them at just 7-11 ATS, dating back to the beginning of November.
While the Wizards are off back to back losses, both those defeats came by four points or less. In fact, each of their last four games has been decided by four points or less - they went 2-2 in those games. Looking back further and we find that the Wizards have won four of their last seven games. Of those seven games, only one resulted in a loss of greater than four points. That lone lopsided loss (11/28 at Charlotte) came when the Wizards were playing the second of back to back games. Tonight, however, the Wizards are very well rested - they haven't played since 12/6.
I believe that the fact that the Wizards haven't played since 12/6 is significant. Note that the last time that they played, after having the previous three days off, came vs. Cleveland on 11/18. Listed as +3.5 underdogs, they Wizards won outright. In fact, they crushed the Cavs by a score 108-91. Coincidentally, the Wizards were coming off a 3-point lss vs. Detroit, prior to their break. This time, they're coming off a 4-point loss, vs. those same Pistons.
While the Wizards are well-rested, the same cannot be said for the Celts. Yes, they did have last night off. However, they're also in the midst of playing seven of their last eight games on the road. While he's not one of the "Big 3,' note that the Celts will be without guard Marquis Daniels.
The Wizards do allow just slightly over 100 points per game. However, with Arenas, Jamsion and Butler all averaging more than 16.5 points per game, (Arenas and Jamison average more than 20) they can also trade points with the best of them. Additionally, the Celtics are just 3-8 ATS their last 11 against teams which allow 99 or more points. They're also only 3-6 ATS vs. sub-500 teams. I expect another one which comes down to the wire. *9 Best Bet
|12-09-09||Toronto Raptors v. Milwaukee Bucks -3||Top||95-117||Win||100||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with MILWAUKEE. Both these teams are off a game last night. There are several reasons why I believe that will favor the Bucks.
For starters, the Bucks played a very difficult game (at Boston) and suffered a loss - although they did cover. On the other hand, the Raptors faced a much easier opponent (Minnesota) and earned a victory - although they failed to cover. That should make Milwaukee slightly "hungrier" tonight.
Also, the Bucks' recent schedule hasn't been quite as gruelling. This will be Milwaukee's fifth game in December. The Raptors will already be playing their sixth game, through the first nine days of the month. Making matters worse, the Raptors are dealing with some significant injuries. Bosh and Bargnani are both currently probable but Calderon is expected to be out.
Additionally, the Bucks have been MUCH better when playing the second of back to back games. The Raptors did win, the last time that they were in a b2b situation, at Chicago on Dec. 5th. However, for the season, they're still 1-4 SU/ATS when playing the second of back to back games. Looking back further and we find them at an awful 2-7 ATS the last nine times that they played the second of b2b games and an ugly 3-15 SU their last 18 in that situation. On the other hand, the Bucks are a perfect 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) on the season, when playing the second of back to back games.
The Bucks are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS at home. The Raptors are 4-9 SU and 5-8 ATS on the road. Looking at the series history and we find that the Bucks have won two of the last three meetings, including a double-digit (107-97) win the last time that the teams faced each other here at Milwaukee. Playing on their homecourt, I expect them to earn another win and cover this evening. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-08-09||Phoenix Suns v. Dallas Mavericks -3||Top||101-102||Loss||-110||10 h 13 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with DALLAS. Neither of these teams has gotten off to the start that they would have liked in December. The Suns are 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS already this month. The Mavericks have lost two straight and are now 1-2 SU/ATS for the month. I expect Dallas to be the team which responds with a much-needed victory.
I played against the Mavs in their December 4th loss at Memphis. Laying six points, they lost by 16. They followed that up by losing by five (80-75) vs. Atlanta the following night. They've had the past two days off though and they're typically great at following up a poor offensive performance with a strong overall effort. In fact, they're 12-4 ATS (13-3 SU) the last 16 times that they were coming off a game in which they scored 85 or fewer points.
Note that the Mavs are 3-1 SU/ATS when coming off an upset loss (SU loss as a fav) this season. Looking back further and we find them at a profitable 25-16 ATS (26-15 SU) in that situation the past few seasons.
Its also worth mentioning that the Mavs also a perfect 4-0 SU/ATS this season, when playing with two day's rest in between games. I played on them one of the last times that they had two days off in between games and they responded by crushing Toronto by a score of 129-101. They followed that up by pounding Houston 121-103 the next time that they were in that situation.
The Suns did have last night off. However, they still may be a little "road weary" here. They played on Sunday night (blowout loss at LA) and they also played on Saturday. This will be their eighth consecutive game in which they played in a different city. Note that two of those games came at home but both were followed by a road game, so they still had to travel in between each.
The Suns have been pretty good at beating up on bad teams. They're just 3-6 ATS against teams with a winning record though. Conversely, Dallas sometimes lets down against weaker opposition but is a profitable 6-2 SU/ATS against winning teams.
Looking at the series history and we find that the Mavs are 4-1 SU/ATS the last five times that these teams faced each other. That includes a 2-0 SU/ATS mark here at Dallas. The Mavs won those games by scores of 140-116 and 112-97. Looking back further and we find that the Mavs have won six of the last seven against the Suns here. I expect them to improve on those stats here, covering the small number along the way. *9 Personal Fav
|12-08-09||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Memphis Grizzlies +7.5||Top||109-111||Win||100||9 h 29 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MEMPHIS. While I won on the Grizzlies in their most recent game, I lost by going against the Cavs in their most recent one. Memphis won outright vs. Dallas, crusing the Mavs by 16. Cleveland was equally impressive, dominating Milwaukee. While the Cavs are admittedly playing very well, I feel that this will be an excellent spot to go against them.
Both teams had yesterday off. However, the Cavs played on Sunday while the Grizzlies have been off since Thursday. Perhaps more importantly, the Grizzlies don't play again until Friday. They should be fully focused on the task at hand. The Cavs, on the other hand, play again at Houston tomorrow night. That's noteworthy as they've gone a money-burning 6-13 ATS in 2009, when playing the front end of back to back games. That shows that they have a tendency to get caught looking ahead and with Houston being a "bigger" opponent than Memphis, that could easily happen again this evening.
Even with Sunday's victory, its also worth mentioning that the Cavs are still just 1-5 ATS the last six times that they were coming off three or more consecutive wins.
While I fully respect Lebron and the Cavs, I also believe that the Grizzlies remain undervalued. Since they got rid of the Allen Iverson distraction, they've been a much better team. In fact, they've quietly won seven of their last 11 games. For the season, they're 5-3 SU/ATS at home, going 4-1 SU/ATS their last five games here. The lone loss during that stretch came by just five points. Dating back to last season, they're 9-3-1 ATS their last 13 games here. The big win over Dallas will give them the confidence to know that they're capable of beating any team in the league and I look for them to give the Cavs everything they can handle. *9 Best Bet
|12-07-09||Golden State Warriors v. Oklahoma City Thunder -7||Top||88-104||Win||100||9 h 26 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with OKLAHOMA CITY. I played on both these teams in their last game. Golden State earned me a cover but Oklahoma City did not. I'm willing to give the Thunder another shot tonight though, as I feel that this will prove to be a very good matchup for them.
Despite getting blown out by Boston here on Friday, the Thunder still have a winning record at home. In their previous game here, they knocked off Philadelphia by double-digits. They're 4-3 ATS as favorites this season, including 2-0 ATS as home favorites in the -6.5 to -9 range.
Overall, they're 3-2 their last five games with all three victories coming by 10 or more. Additionally, note that they're a now a profitable 12-5 ATS their last 17 games played in the month of December.
Its also worth noting that the Thunder are also a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times that they were coming off a double-digit loss. The last time that they lost by 10 or more was on 11/22. On that date, they played a road game vs. the Lakers and lost 101-85. In their next game, they responded by traveling to Utah (not an easy venue) and blowing out the Jazz by double-digits. Prior to that, after losing by 14 at Orlando (they beat the Magic 102-74 here at OKC!) they responded by crushing Washington 127-108. Clearly, this has been a team that knows how to "bounce back" from a bad loss.
The Warriors have been respectable at home. However, they're just 2-8 on the road. Each of their last two road losses came by a minimum of 14 points and they came by an average of 21 points.
The Thunder are 17-7 SU the last 24 times that they hosted the Warriors, dating back to their days in Seattle. They won the most recent meeting here by seven points (107-100 last New Year's Eve) and they're a much stronger team this season. I expect them to bounce back with a convincing win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-05-09||Orlando Magic v. Golden State Warriors +8.5||Top||126-118||Win||100||12 h 13 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with GOLDEN STATE. There's no denying that the Magic are a strong team again this year. They've been tough both at home and on the road and bring a 15-4 record into tonight's game. That said, I feel that this spread is much too high.
Even though the Magic are 8-2 on the road, they're still only outscoring opponents by four points (96.1 to 91.9) in those games. Tonight, they'll face a Golden State squad which is much stronger at home, the Warriors are 2-8 on the road but 4-4 (5-3 ATS) at home, and which can score points with the best of them. In their eight games here, the Warriors are outscoring opponents by a 112 to 109.7 margin.
The Warriors lost their most recent game here. However, that loss came by only two points, a 111-109 setback vs. Houston. In their previous game here - and most recent vs. an Eastern Conf. opponent, they blew out the Pacers by a 126-107 margin. The Warriors also crushed Portland here, not too long ago, so they're fully capable of beating quality teams, here at home.
Given their ability to score so many points and the fact that they're much better here in Oakland, its not that surprising that the Warriors are a profitable 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were listed as home underdogs in the +6.5 to +9 range. Conversely, the Magic are just 6-9 ATS the last 15 times that they were listed as road favorites in the -6.5 to -9 range, including 0-2 ATS in that role this season. The last time that they were favored on the road in that range, they won by only two at Milwaukee. Prior to that, laying -8.5 at Detroit, they were beaten outright.
The Warriors have been at their best against teams from the East. Including the previously mentioned blowout of the Pacers, they're a profitable 5-1 ATS in their six non-conference games. Dating back to last season, they're also 12-6 ATS the last 18 times that they were getting points. I look for them to give their guests all they can handle with a real shot at the outright win. *10 GOW
|12-04-09||Boston Celtics v. Oklahoma City Thunder +4||Top||105-87||Loss||-110||10 h 39 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with OKLAHOMA CITY. The Celtics won again last night and enter tonight's game on a 6-game winning streak. They're still just 5-9 ATS their last 14 games though and 2-4 ATS in six games vs. teams from the West, this season. Tonight, they take on a much improved Oklahoma City team, one which is fully capable of scoring the upset.
With a 10-8 overall record, the Thunder have quietly become a good team. They're 11-7 ATS, including 6-3 ATS here at home. They enter tonight's game tied with Houston an San Antonio, just 4.5 games behind the Conference leading Lakers. A big part of the reason for their overall success is that they've dominated teams from the Eastern Conference. In fact, the Thunder are 6-1 SU/ATS against teams from the East, including a 4-0 mark here at home. The only loss vs. an Eastern Conference opponent came at Orlando - and the Thunder beat the Magic when the teams played here at Oklahoma City. Note that star Kevin Durant is averaging greater than 33 points in his last four games against teams from the East.
Speaking of 6-1, note that the Thunder are 6-1 ATS the last seven times that they were coming off three or more consecutive home games - tonight marks the fourth game of a 5-game homestand. With a double-digit win over Philadelphia on Wednesday, it's also worth noting that the Thunder are now 12-4 ATS in December the past couple of seasons.
The Thunder are 7-4 ATS as underdogs, winning six of those games outright. They're also 7-3 ATS against teams with a winning record.
Prior to their game on Wednesday, the Thunder hadn't played since Sunday. This will be just their fifth game since 11/23. On the other hand, the Celtics are playing their sixth game since 11/25. Note that the Celts were 0-3 ATS in November, when playing the second of back to back games. They failed to cover vs. winless New Jersey and won by only two at Minnesota. Most recently, they lost 113-104 vs. Indiana.
Catching the Celts off a fairly hard-fought win on National TV, I expect the Thunder to have the fresher legs and look for them to improve to a perfect 5-0 ATS when playing a home game with a total in the 190-194.5 range. *9 Non-Conf. Best Bet
|12-04-09||Dallas Mavericks v. Memphis Grizzlies +6||Top||82-98||Win||100||9 h 26 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MEMPHIS. The Mavericks are off a very impressive offensive performance, one which saw them achieve the best shooting percentage in a half since the spring of 2006. That outing has the majority of the betting public thinking that they're unstoppable right now and has created excellent line value with the home underdog.
Yes, the Mavs are a strong team and yes, Wednesday's win was impressive. However, before getting too carried away, let's keep in mind that Wednesday's victory came against the winless Nets. With Jason Kidd going up against his former team, the Mavs had plenty of motivation to deliver a blowout victory. When considering that the Nets are 0-18 and that they've lost five straight by double-digits, beating them 117-101 needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Note that they'd gone 0-2 ATS in their previous two games, a blowout loss and a 2-point win. Tonight, they'll be taking on a team which is playing much better basketball, than the one they just faced.
The Grizzlies are coming off a tough 5-game road trip. After beginning the trip with a loss at Phoenix (no shame in that) they responded by winning outright at Portland. Given that the Blazers are typically very tough at home, that was an impressive performance. They closed November by getting blown out at Utah, their fourth game of their 5-game trip. Salt Lake City is also a very tough place to play though and the Grizzlies were without both Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. They got both those players back last game (both scored 20 points) and went on to post a victory at Minnesota. All things considered, going 2-3 SU on that trip wasn't bad at all. Now they return home where they've got a winning record on the season and where they've won three of their last four games by double-digits. Note that the Grizzlies have played the second fewest number of home games in the entire Western Conference. In other words, their overall record would likely be better, if they hadn't played 63% of their games on the road, thus far.
While the Grizzlies haven't had much overall success against the Mavs over the years, they did beat them in both games here last season. Despite being significant underdogs in each, they won those two games by an average of 12.5 points per game.
Dating back to last season, the Grizzlies are now a profitable 8-3-1 ATS their last dozen games here. Note that they're already 2-0 ATS on the season, when playing a home game with a total in the 205 to 209.5 range. Catching the Mavs patting themselves on the back after Wednesday's win and potentially looking ahead to tomorrow's home game vs. Atlanta, (and Phoenix after that) I expect the Grizzlies to give their guests all they can handle with a solid shot at another outright upset. *#1 December Southwest play
|12-02-09||Milwaukee Bucks +3 v. Washington Wizards||Top||102-104||Win||100||8 h 20 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MILWAUKEE. I successfully played against the Bucks in their last game. That was more a play "on" Chicago than a play "against" Milwaukee though. Also, they were laying points rather than getting them. Additionally, I'll admit that it was somewhat of a fortunate victory. The Bucks were up by double-digits at one point but ended up winning by only two points, failing to cover as 3-point favorites. Either way, they did get the SU victory, which will be more than enough to get the cash tonight.
On Monday, the Bucks were facing a well-rested Chicago team which I felt would be "desperate,' as they'd been blown out by several straight Western Conf. heavyweights and were hungry to close out their "circus trip" with a better effort. Tonight, however, the Bucks will face a Washington team which is coming off an upset win in Canada last night. That's significant.
For starters, the Wizards are 0-3 SU/ATS the last three times that they were coming off a SU win as an underdog. Looking back further and we find them at an awful 7-31 SU and 13-25 ATS their last 38 in that situation.
Additionally, the Wizards are a terrible 3-17 SU the last 20 times that they played the second of back to back games, going a money-burning 3-12-1 ATS the last 16 of those games. That includes a 0-3 SU/ATS mark their last three in that situation. They scored just 89, 84 and 76 points in those games with two of those losses coming here at Washington.
While they will be without a couple players, including Redd, the Bucks, who are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS against teams with a losing record, got Andrew Bogut back last game. That's also significant. The big 7-Foot Aussie is averaging a career-high 16.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in 10 games this season. He shattered those numbers against the Bulls, too. In that game, he had 22 points and 15 rebounds. He also came up with an impressive four blocks, the majority of them coming at critical times down the stretch. As rookie guard Brandon Jennings pointed out: "It felt good to have Bogut out there. He's a big help, as you can see, with the inside presence, it just opens up the game for everybody else." Note that Bogut is averaging 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds in his last five games against Washington.
Milwaukee swept the three-game series with the Wizards last season and has won two in a row here at Washington. Overall, the Bucks are 4-0 ATS the last four in the series. Catching the Wizards off last night's big win, I look for them to improve on those stats this evening. *9 Best Bet
|11-27-09||Phoenix Suns v. Minnesota Timberwolves +10||Top||120-95||Loss||-110||10 h 23 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with MINNESOTA. Its true that the Suns have been very good so far this season. Its also true that the T-Wolves have been very bad. Everyone else knows that too though and that's created a very generous line with the home underdog. I feel that big number is providing us with excellent value.
Yes, the Suns are off back to back blowout wins. Those were both at home though. I played against them in their most recent road game and they lost outright vs. a Hornets team which was playing without it's star, Chris Paul. Looking at their last four road games and we find the Suns at just 2-2 SU with both victories coming by six points or less.
Note that this is the most points that the Suns have been laying on the road all season. Additionally, note that they haven't fared well as large road favorites in recent seasons. In fact, they're just 2-5-1 ATS the last eight times that they were favored in the -9.5 to -12 range. Looking back further and we find them at a money-burning 6-14-1 ATS (30%) the last 21 times that they were in that role.
Admittedly, its hard to find too much good to say about the T-Wolves. Their coach (Kurt Rambis) read them the riot act after Wednesday's 13-point loss to the Nuggets though. He was quoted as saying: "I told them I was very disappointed with them at halftime and I was disappointed with them at the end of the ball game...I will always take them playing poorly if I see them playing hard...But the effort, the energy, the passion, just that competitiveness, it just wasn't there tonight." After having their coach "challenge their heart," I expect them to respond with a much better effort. Note that they had covered the spread in their previous game.
The T-Wolves already played the Suns tough at Phoenix earlier this season. They lost by eight points as 13 point underdogs. That result should give them the confidence to know that they can compete tonight. Looking back a bit further and we find that three of the last four meetings were decided by eight points or less, including a SU Minnesota victory in January. (The other was decided by 13 points.) I look for this one to also prove much closer than most are expecting with the Suns falling to 1-4 ATS the last five times that they faced a team which averages less than 91 points per game. *9 Best Bet
|11-19-09||Phoenix Suns v. New Orleans Hornets +7||Top||103-110||Win||100||10 h 57 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with NEW ORLEANS. The Suns come in on a roll while the Hornets will be playing without Chris Paul. That has the majority of the betting public believing that the Suns will win this one easily. That, in turn, has led to a very generous line on the home underdog - one, which I believe, provides us with excellent value.
Yes, the Hornets are playing without Paul. However, they played without him last game, too and they won that one by a score of 110-102. They never trailed after the first quarter and scored more points while shooting at a higher percentage than they had in any of their previous three games. Granted, that was against the Clippers, who aren't nearly as strong as the Suns. Still, the win gave the Hornets and their new coach some much needed confidence.
Coming together for a victory without the "star" in the lineup is also generally good for a team's chemistry. David West stepped up with 24 points while adding 10 rebounds. He was one of six players that had double-digits in points, showing it was a strong team effort. Rookie Darren Collison, filling in for Paul, had a dozen points as did Bobby Brown. The two point guards combined for 11 assists. The Hornets also held a 51-36 edge on the boards.
Paul and the rest of the players gave new coach Bower the "game ball" in the locker-room afterwards. I believe that the Hornets enter tonight's game feeling better about themselves than they have for quite some time. Bower said of the gesture: "It made me feel good. They gave great effort and it was a pretty good night for us."
While the Suns have admittedly been playing well on the road, I feel that they could be starting to get a bit "road weary" here. This is their 11th game in November and it marks the 11th straight time that they played in a different city than they had for their previous game. (They did play two home games during that stretch, but both were followed by road games.) They finally return to the desert for consecutive home games after this - something they may already be looking forward to. It should also be noted that the Suns last two victories have come by just seven combined points.
The Hornets come in with 'payback' on their minds, as they were recently blown out at Phoenix. While the decision was probably made earlier, that was the loss that ultimately sent Byron Scott packing. That should make getting some immediate 'revenge' that much more important for at least some of the players. Bower should also be very anxious for a big effort, as it would help show that his team is now better prepared than it was before the coaching change. I expect him to have his team fully "fired up."
Last week's loss was at Phoenix. Now, because of the Paul injury, we're getting just as many (or more) points to work with on the Hornets, here at New Orleans. Naturally, the Hornets have been much better here over the years. With Tuesday's victory, they're now 68-28 SU their last 96 games here. They've won three of their last four home meetings with the Suns and the lone loss came by only five. I expect them to build off Tuesday's win with another big effort here. *10 TNT GOM
|11-17-09||Phoenix Suns v. Houston Rockets -2.5||Top||111-105||Loss||-104||10 h 45 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with HOUSTON. The Suns come in with the better record, the primary reason why this line is so low. However, the Rockets have a better winning percentage at home than do the Suns on the road. While the Suns are 5-2 on the road, the Rockets are 3-1 at home. Their only loss here was vs. the Lakers, by a single point. The Rockets have outscored opponents by more than 10 points a game here at Houston. The Suns, despite the winning road record, have actually been outscored when playing outside of the desert.
Speaking of that loss to the Lakers, the Rockets went out to LA and avenged that loss in their most recent game, knocking off the champs by double-digits in their own building. They out-rebounded the Lakers by a 60-38 margin while holding them to just 38% shooting from the field. While that was at LA, they've held opposing teams to 95.7 points and 45.2 % shooting here at Houston. While the Lakers found out that they're still capable of turning up the defensive intensity, the Rockets have also reached triple-digits in scoring in nine straight games.
The Suns won their last game. However, they were fortunate to so. That home win came by just one point vs. the Raptors. In their previous game, they lost by 19 at LA.
With a total currently in the low 220s, note that the Rockets are a perfect 7-0 SU the last seven times that they played a home game with an o/u line of 210 or greater. The Rockets have won three of the last four in the series, including each of the last two here in Houston. They won those games by four and 11 points. They were favored by -5.5 the last time that they hosted the Suns and I feel that tonight's lower line provides us with excellent value. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-11-09||Chicago Bulls v. Toronto Raptors -5||Top||89-99||Win||100||9 h 32 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with TORONTO. I've successfully played against the Raptors in each of their last two games. They got blown out in each case, giving up 131 and 129 points. However, those games were against tough Western Conf. opponents and they came on the road. The Raptors are back home now and they're facing an Eastern Conf. opponent which is coming off a hard fought and emotionally-draining loss last night.
Yes, the Bulls gave a great effort last night. However, it was for nothing in the end, thanks to a lengthy review at the end of the game, which didn't go their way. That type of loss can be difficult to recover from and would have made for somewhat of a depressing trip to Canada. Note that this will be just the second time that the Bulls played the second of back to back games so far this season. They lost by 28 points the first time.
Its also worth noting that the Bulls were 13-28 on the road each of the last two seasons. They're already 1-2 on the road this season.
The Raptors, which have scored triple-digits in every game this season, have gone 2-1 at home. Both victories came by double-digits, including one vs. Lebron James and the Cavs. The lone loss came vs. Orlando, the defending conference champs. They're 7-4 their last 11 here with every victory also resulting in a cover. The Raptors have also won 12 of their last 20 home games vs. the Bulls, including going 3-1 SU/ATS the last four meetings here. Having just played three tough road games and knowing that they head out on the road for four more after this, the Raptors know they need to make the most of tonight's home game. I expect them to score well into the triple-digits and for the Bulls to be unable to keep up. *9 Annihilator
|11-09-09||Toronto Raptors v. San Antonio Spurs -5.5||Top||124-131||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with SAN ANTONIO. I successfully played against the Raptors on Saturday in their blowout loss at Dallas. While I respect Toronto, I feel that this will be another very difficult matchup.
I successfully played against the Spurs in each of their last two games, double-digit losses at Utah and Portland. This is still a talented and well-coached team, one with a lot of pride, experience and savvy. In the always improving and ultra competitive Western Conference, the Spurs know that the importance of getting off to a good start to the season. Already 0-3 on the road, they can't afford to take home games, against beatable Eastern Conference opponents, for granted. Note that the Spurs are 2-0 at home with both victories coming by double-digits.
While the Spurs certainly would prefer to have Tony Parker on the floor, his injury to has helped to keep this line a lot lower than it usually is when the Raptors play here. I believe the rest of the Spurs have the talent to elevate their game without Parker, particularly if Duncan dominates Bosh the way that he has done in recent meetings.
Friday's loss at Portland notwithstanding, the Spurs are still a solid 21-9 SU and 16-12-2 ATS the last 30 times that they were off a double-digit loss. Looking back further and we find them at 95-70 SU their last 165 in that situation, going a profitable 91-64-10 ATS at the betting window.
The Raptors are 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS the last seven times that they played a road game with an over/under line ranging from 200 to 204.5. During the same stretch, the Spurs were 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS when playing a home game with a total in the same range. Looking back further and we find them at 13-4 SU and 11-6 ATS the last 17 times that they played a home game with a total in the 200 to 204.5 range.
The Spurs have won seven of their last eight home meetings with the Raptors, including a 10-point win (107-97 on 12/20/08) the last time that the teams faced each other here. I expect them to bounce back with another win and cover here. *9 Non-Conf GOW
|06-11-09||Los Angeles Lakers v. Orlando Magic -2.5||Top||99-91||Loss||-105||22 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on ORLANDO. Practically all the comments that I have read about this game have been the same. The general idea is that the Magic played their very best in Game 3 and that the Lakers did not (Kobe "choked" in 4th) and yet the Magic still barely won the game. They feel that the Lakers will bounce back with a better effort and that the Magic have nowhere to go but down. Practically all the people that I have spoken to have had a similar opinion. I disagree with their logic.
Let me start by saying that I have a lot of respect for the Lakers. They're very talented. They're very well coached. They're very hungry. They've also been very good to me as
I've gone 6-0 ATS with my last six 'sides,' when playing on or against the Lakers, incl. 2-0 in this series. In four of those cases, I played on the Lakers. In two, I played against them. So, it's not that I'm "anti-LA."
Rather, it's just that I feel much the same way about the Magic and am "pro Orlando." The Magic are more talented than people still realize. Stan Gundy has proven to be a much better coach than many gave him credit for. He gets his team ready and he's had them at their best in their biggest games. His play-calling, in my opinion, has been excellent. Keep in mind that the Magic are only a missed layup away from being up 2-1 in this series and that they defeated the Lakers in both regular season meetings. Let's also remember that the Magic just defeated the defending champs, defying the odds by winning Game 7 at Boston, and then more or less had their way with the top-seeded Cavaliers. Those victories were arguably more impressive than LA's series victories over Houston and Denver.
Because the Magic won the last game, everyone figures that the Lakers can't lose two in a row. Therefore, we're getting a much better line to work with than Orlando bettors were for the last game. Although it doesn't guarantee it, the number is now low enough that a SU victory will very likely also result in an ATS victory. Why is the number lower?
While, as mentioned earlier, many think that the Lakers will play better and they still don't believe in the Magic. Surely, Kobe and the mighty Lakers can't lose twice in a row?
Sure, the Lakers will naturally be looking to bounce back with a victory. However, I don't believe that there's any reason why the Magic can't also bring their top A-Game once again. In fact, I feel that the Game 3 victory will give the Magic even more confidence and giving them the true belief that they actually have a chance. Additionally, that victory helped to take some pressure off. Now, they know that at least they're not going to get swept and that they got the Orlando fans a long-awaited playoff victory. With that "monkey off their back" it should allow them to shoot freely and easily - not that they need any help in the shooting department after shooting 62.5% last time out.
|06-07-09||Orlando Magic +7 v. Los Angeles Lakers||Top||96-101||Win||100||17 h 50 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with ORLANDO. LA was certainly impressive in Game 1. That result didn't surprise me, as I had both the Lakers and the 'under.' That result has worked in our favor here. Normally, if the home team won and covered in Game 1, the line actually goes down in Game 2 - as many expect the team down 0-1 to adjust and bounce back with a better effort. However, in this case, the Lakers were so dominant (won by 25) that the line is actually a bit higher than it was for the opener. I feel that provides us with excellent line value.
In my analysis of Game 1, I gave a few reasons why I felt the extra rest between games favored the Lakers. However, with only two day's rest in between games, it's worth noting that the Magic are 15-3 SU and 13-5 ATS this season, when playing with two day's in between games. Note that the Magic are 3-0 SU these playoffs, when trailing in a series.
In addition to the fact that they defeated the Lakers in both meetings (they're now 10-1 ATS their last 11 against Pacific Division teams) during the regular season, it's worth noting that the Magic are 28-16-2 ATS (27-19 SU) the past few seasons, when coming off a double-digit loss. Additionally, they're a highly profitable 21-11 ATS (24-8 SU) the last 32 times that they faced an opponent which defeated them in the previous meeting.
While the Lakers did manage to close out Denver when leading in that series, they're still just 2-7 ATS (4-5 SU) when leading in a playoff series. Look for them to face a much tougher test than they did in Game 1 and a much tougher test than most are expecting. *Main Event
|05-29-09||Los Angeles Lakers +5.5 v. Denver Nuggets||Top||119-92||Win||100||21 h 8 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with LA. The Nuggets have enjoyed a great run in this year's playoffs and I won with them in their last game here at Denver. That said, I expect their season to come to an end this evening.
While the Nuggets are certainly tough, the Lakers earned the #1 seed because they were the "best in the West" over the course of an entire season. That was due in large part to their excellent (29-12) road record, which was the best in the entire NBA. While many will choose to remember their blowout loss here in Game 4, let's not forget that the Lakers won outright here in Game 3. Tonight, as the Nuggets are in "must win" mode, we're getting an even higher line to work with than we were for either of those games.
Including the split in the two earlier games here, the Lakers are still a solid 5-2 SU their last seven visits to Denver. They're also still a profitable 13-5-1 ATS the last 19 times that they were getting points including an impressive 8-2 ATS in the underdog role this season. Seven of those 10 pointspread victories also resulted in outright wins.
The Lakers put it all together in the fourth quarter last game, outscoring the Nuggets by a 27-18 margin. In addition to playing excellent defense in that game, the Lakers got less points from Kobe Bryant (22) than they had in previous games and more from everyone else. In fact, five Lakers reached double-digits in points (Odom had 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds) and a sixth (Bynum) had nine. That type of balanced scoring makes the Lakers a more complete (better) team and I expect them to build off that effort tonight.
As Derek Fisher commented: "...something clicked for us as a group last night against this team. We may have found some things we can do that allows us to attack them from everywhere. We feel we can't be beat when everybody's getting a chance to play."
Much has been made of the Lakers' "fatigue factor." Some will argue that is a reason to back the Nuggets. However, I feel that it's another reason that the Lakers will desperately want to close out this series tonight, in order to get some extra rest, rather than playing another Game 7. The Lakers are 21-9-2 ATS the last 32 times that they played a road game with an over/under line in the 205 to 209.5 range. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *Main Event
|05-28-09||Orlando Magic v. Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5||Top||102-112||Win||100||21 h 58 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with CLEVELAND. I've avoided playing on the Cavaliers in this series, which is a good thing as they've gone 0-4 at the betting window. I did play against the Cavs in the opening game - the Magic won outright as +8.5 point underdogs. They were also -9 point favorites for Game 2 here. This is a completely different situation from either of those games though, as it's their first true "must win" game. Yet, the line is lower than it was for either of those games. I believe that finally, for the first time in this series, the line on the Cavs is now offering us value.
By now, everyone is saying that the Magic "have Cleveland's number." While it's true that the Magic have played very well, let's not count out the Cavs quite yet. As you know, they were the best team in the regular season this year and up until a week ago, they'd also been the best in the playoffs. Lebron is still the best player in the series, if not the entire league. I expect him to bring his 'A' Game. With their season on the line, I also expect the rest of the Cavs to elevate their level of play
While one could easily find plenty of stats to support either side, here are a few that stand out in favor of Cleveland. The Cavs have still only lost one home game in the playoffs and they're still 44-3 here on the season, one of those losses coming when they rested starters. As they closed as favorites in the Game 4, note that the Cavs are 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS when coming off an 'upset' loss. They're also 20-10 ATS (25-5 SU) the last 30 times that they scored 105 or more points in their previous game. Additionally, even with the Game 4 loss, they're still a profitable 12-5 ATS the last 17 times that they were trailing in a playoff series. I expect them to improve on those stats with their best effort of the series and a double-digit victory. *Eastern Conf. Finals GOY
|05-27-09||Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Lakers -6||Top||94-103||Win||100||21 h 50 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with LA. I respect the Nuggets and played on them in Game 4. That was in the high altitude of Denver though, in a game which the Nuggets needed a lot more than the Lakers. With the series shifting back to LA, I expect the Lakers to bounce back with a pivotal victory.
If you've followed my writeups, you'll have seen that I've pointed out that this series has mirrored the Lakers/Rockets series from the previous round. That series saw the Lakers split their first two home games. As they did in this series, the Lakers won on the road in Game 3. Likewise, as they did in Game 4 in this series, they were blown out in Game 4 of that series. So, how did the Lakers respond in Game 5 of that series? With a 40 point (118-78) victory!
Including the blowout Game 5 win vs Houston and their outright win at Denver in Game 3, the Lakers are now a highly profitable 16-5-1 ATS (4-0 SU/ATS this year) the last 22 times that they were tied in a playoff series. During the same stretch, the Nuggets were 0-3 SU/ATS when tied in a playoff series.
The Lakers are 30-4 SU the last 34 times that they were coming off a game in which they allowed 105 or more points. I expect them to improve on those stats, picking up the cover along the way. *Main Event
|05-25-09||Los Angeles Lakers v. Denver Nuggets -4.5||Top||101-120||Win||100||10 h 28 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with DENVER. I played on the Lakers in Game 3, so their victory did not come as shock to me. Having already reclaimed homecourt advantage, I expect a slight emotional letdown. On the other hand, the Nuggets' intensity should only increase. While they've had a superb run through the playoffs, the Nuggets know that it will all be wasted if they don't win tonight. That's because a loss would put them in a 3-1 hole and with two of the final three games scheduled for LA, their chances of winning would be extremely slim. In other words, this is essentially a "must win" game. Yet, the line isn't much higher than it was for Game 3.
This series has some similarities to the Lakers' last series, vs. Houston. In that series, like this one, the Lakers split the two games at LA and then came out with a big win and cover on the road in Game 3. So, what happened in Game 4? Having already regained homecourt advantage, the Lakers lost a bit of their emotional edge. In much the same situation that the Nuggets are in tonight, the Rockets were the "hungrier" team - they won by double-digits.
Speaking of this series and the Lakers' last one against Houston, they've both been extremely physical. While he's still putting up big numbers, the physical play is starting to take a toll on Kobe Bryant. After last game, Kobe was quoted as saying that is was the most exhausted he'd been after a playoff game. He needed an IV. He was quoted as saying: "For two, three years now I've been playing nonstop. Then, the physical series we had against Houston and these guys grabbing and holding more than the Houston series. It's been a really physical series. They're making me work for everything, so it's a combination of all that." Note that the Nuggets previous series was much easier and so they should be the fresher team overall, particularly as they're used to playing at high elevation.
Even with the Game 3 loss, the Nuggets are still an extremely profitable 12-1 ATS their last 13 games. They're also 22-10-1 ATS the last 33 times that they were playing with "revenge." They've proven that they're more than capable of holding their own (could very easily be winning) with the Lakers and I look for them to bounce back with a convincing win and cover. *Main Event
|05-23-09||Los Angeles Lakers +4 v. Denver Nuggets||Top||103-97||Win||100||10 h 55 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with the LA LAKERS. The Nuggets have been impressive in the playoffs and they played a pair of great games at LA. They've shown that they're "for real" and now, of course, they've stolen away home-court advantage. Despite all that, it's the Lakers who are still favored to win the series. While it's not going to be "easy," I still feel that they will, too.
The Lakers now know that they have no choice. In order to win this series, they are going to have to win at least one game here at Denver. Armed with that knowledge and having fully received their "wake-up call" at home, I expect the Lakers to be at their very best today.
It's true that the Nuggets have been extremely good at home - (note that they're dealing with several "bumps and bruises" to key players) it's also true that the Lakers are more than capable of winning at any venue in the league. In addition to having won four of their last five here at Denver, the Lakers won at places like Boston and Cleveland this season. Until the Magic did so in Game 1, they were the only team to beat the Cavs at Cleveland, when they were playing with a full lineup.
The Lakers are in a similar spot to what they were in for Game 3 in the last series. In that round, they won Game 1 but then lost Game 2. For Game 3, they responded with a convincing (108-94) victory - the only road win that they would end up needing to take the series. Including that Game 3 blowout, note that the Lakers are an outstanding 15-5-1 ATS the last 21 times that they were tied in a playoff series.
Naturally, everyone saw Lebron's last second heroics last night - that includes Kobe Bryant. Kobe is extremely competitive and quietly views Lebron as his "archrival." He may not get a last second shot for the win (although that wouldn't surprise) but I do expect him to have a huge performance.
Kobe and co. have been terrific as underdogs, as it seemingly brings out the best of them. Including the previously mentioned victory at Cleveland, the Lakers are 7-1 ATS the last eight times that they were getting points. They won six of those games outright. Looking back further and we find them at a highly profitable 14-5-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were underdogs, winning 13 of those games outright. Additionally, note that the Lakers are 15-3 SU the last 18 times that they were coming off an upset loss.
While I expect the Lakers to win outright, I'll grab the points, as the first two games have both been decided by three points or less. *Western Conf. Finals GOY
|05-21-09||Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Lakers -5.5||Top||106-103||Loss||-110||10 h 23 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with LA. The Nuggets let Game 1 get away. They played well and had the lead for much of the game. Yet, in the end, their effort was wasted as the Lakers came away with the victory. That result will have many bettors backing the Nuggets in this game and the line has come down from what it was in Game 1. However, I've enjoyed success many times over the years playing against the road team which came up just short of an upset in Game 1.
While there are plenty of examples of it working both ways, it's been my experience that the road team which "let one get away" has a tough time bringing the same type of intensity in Game 2. Conversely, the home team that "got away with one" knows that it has to play better and the close call in Game 1 often serves as a "wake-up call."
Last year's Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Lakers offers a prime example. Game 1 was played on this day exactly one year ago. The Lakers were laying -7.5 points. Yet, it was the Spurs who had the lead almost the entire way. In fact, a 14-2 run to start the third quarter had the Spurs up by a score of 65-45. However, the Lakers battled all the way back to "steal the win," although they didn't cover. What happened in Game 2? The pointspread was lower - yet, the Lakers crushed them by 30 points!
With the Cavaliers losing yesterday, the Lakers should smell blood in the water. Note that the Nuggets are 0-5 SU/ATS the last five times that they played when trailing in a playoff series, going 4-11 ATS and 3-12 SU their last 15 in that situation. I expect the Lakers to be much better than they were in the opener and for that to lead to a solid win and cover. *Western Conf. GOW
|05-17-09||Orlando Magic +3 v. Boston Celtics||Top||101-82||Win||100||18 h 4 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with ORLANDO. I'm well aware of the Celtics' success in Game 7's the last couple of seasons and I successfully played on them in their recent Game 7 win vs. Chicago. That said, this is a very difficult opponent and they'll be doing it without Garnett. I expect his absence to finally catch up with the Celts this evening and look for their run of Game 7 success to come to an end this evening.
After back to back heart-breaking losses, the Magic gave the champs some of their own medicine in Game 6. This time, it was Boston which led much of the way, only to see Orlando come back late for the win and cover. I believe that the Magic showed a lot of character in that victory. Off back to back difficult losses and having fallen behind in that game, with little going right, it would have been easy for the Magic to give up hope. They didn't though and put it all together when it mattered. Celts center Kendrick Perkins had this to say: "We thought we had them beat..."
For most teams, winning on the road isn't easy, particularly here at Boston. However, the Magic aren't a "normal" team, as they've been excellent on the road the past couple of years. This season, they tied for the best road record (27-14) in the East during the season. They're now 30-17 SU And 29-18 ATS on the road, including playoffs. Additionally, they've won two of four meetings here at Boston in 2009 and they know that it could have easily been three out of four.
The Magic are 14-6 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs, including 7-3 the last 10 times that they were road underdogs of three points or less. Note that they won six of those outright. On the other hand, the Celts are just 3-6 SU/ATS the last nine times that they were home favorites of three points or less. I expect the Magic, 13-3 SU the last 16 times that they played with two day's rest in between games, to win outright. However, with each team having played so many games which have come down to the wire, (in both rounds) I'll grab the points, as another game decided at the buzzer wouldn't be a surprise. *Main Event
|05-14-09||Boston Celtics v. Orlando Magic -7||Top||75-83||Win||100||27 h 29 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with ORLANDO. Just because a team is playing a "must win" game, as Orlando is, doesn't mean that they'll cover the spread. In fact, you'll often find me going against the team in a must win spot. However, in this case, I really expect the Magic to respond to the situation by delivering their very best effort.
The Magic know they let one get away last game. A questionable shot-clock violation "non-call" against the Celtics didn't help matters. Either way, they were up big and let the Celtics come back in the fourth quarter. That was also a problem in the Philadelphia series. However, the Magic responded to each loss with a victory and won each of the final two games of that series by double-digits. Of course, the defending World Champs are a whole lot better than Philadelphia - even without Garnett. However, my point is that the Magic have shown an ability to bounce back and also that they were at the very best when their earlier playoff games meant the most.
The fact that they could have easily won either of the last two games (and their longterm success on the road) has given the Magic hope that they can still win this series. While some teams might hang their heads a bit after the last loss, the Magic know that if they can win tonight's game at home, that they'll have a real legit shot at winning Game 7 at Boston. (Although history would certainly be against them doing so.) They've had a great year and I don't
Yes, the Celtics would definitely love to close things out and avoid a Game 7. That's particularly true as they played such a hard-fought series (all the overtimes) vs. Chicago and as they know the Cavaliers are waiting and have barely broken a sweat. That said, this is a very difficult place to win and having always fared well in their recent Game 7s, it's not something that the Celtics fear. My point here is that they might be just slightly less "hungry" than their hosts. Note that the Celtics lost Game 6 at Chicago in the first round and that they also lost Game 6 at Atlanta last year, as nine-point favorites.
Even with the tough Game 5 loss, the Magic are still 21-8 the last 29 times that they faced a team which defeated them in the previous meeting, going a respectable 18-11 (62%) at the betting window in those games.
The Magic have felt disrespected all year. Everyone recognized the Lakers as the best in the West. The Cavaliers got their respect all year due to their remarkable home record, not to mention the Lebron James factory. The Celtics commanded respect as the defending champs. The Magic felt that they belonged to be mentioned in the same category as those other three elite teams but often they were not. They definitely want to avoid another game which comes down to the wire and I expect them to put it all together with a decisive victory. *Eastern Conf. Playoff GOY
|05-08-09||Los Angeles Lakers v. Houston Rockets +1||Top||108-94||Loss||-110||24 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. With the series tied 1-1 and shifting to Houston, naturally, this is a critical game for both teams. The Rockets "accomplished their mission" by earning a split at LA. However, they know that will be meaningless if they can't protect their homecourt. Meanwhile, the Lakers know that they can "undo the damage" which was done at LA and regain homecourt advantage by earning a victory tonight. With so much on the line and considering the physical nature of the two games at LA, this should be a very intense game.
With such a small number, the majority of the betting public will surely be backing the visiting Lakers. However, I believe that the Rockets have an excellent shot at earning the victory. Note that the Lakers are an ugly 6-13 SU and ATS the last 19 times that they were listed as road favorites of three points or less.
I backed the Lakers in Game 2, so I wasn't surprised that they ended up with a double-digit win. However, there was nothing "easy" about the victory, or at least not the cover. Earlier in the same day, the Magic, who had also won on the road in their opener, basically rolled over at Boston. They were seemingly already content to have won one road game. The Rockets had an entirely different mentality, as they played as if they were truly serious about trying to take a 2-0 lead back to Houston. The Lakers jumped out to early double-digit lead but the Rockets responded. By halftime, the teams were tied. It was a physical game filled with ejections, one which saw LA's Derek Fisher get suspended for tonight's game at Houston.
Of course, that followed the Rockets' outright upset in Game 1. The Rockets won or tied all four quarters of that game, proving to the Lakers and themselves that they were for real. I backed the Rockets in that game, so I wasn't surprised to see them give the type of effort that they did. While Kobe and co. are still the steep favorites to win the series, of all the teams in the West, I felt (and feel) that the Rockets were (and are) their toughest matchup.
The Rockets are tough. They're strong. They fight hard every game. They play excellent defense. They're not intimidated. When Yao Ming is on top of his game, as he was in Game 1 (28 pts, 10 rebounds) he presents that Lakers with a challenge that they don't get from other teams. I really get the sense that this is very important to Yao. When he banged his knee, he barely made a fuss about it. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying: "My knee feels fine, thanks for asking. There's no need to worry about it..."
Ron Artest had this to say of his center: "He didn't even make it to the training room. Time was of essence. Every second, it was killing him not to be on the bench or on the floor. He came right out. I was so proud of him. He showed so much courage and knew that we needed him." With elbows flying and players like Ming going down and coming back, not to mention Battier bleeding heavily, the Rockets really seem to have bonded. They know that their teammates are giving it everything they have and that makes them want to do the same.
On the other hand, Kobe and the Lakers almost seem to enjoy the fact that they're being challenged. Obviously, they know how important this game is but I still don't get the feeling that they view it as "urgently" as the Rockets do.
Looking at some stats and we find that the Rockets are 36-8 at home on the season. That includes a perfect 3-0 mark here in the playoffs. They're also a terrific 11-1 SU (10-2 ATS) the last dozen times that they were coming off a double-digit loss. I expect them to bounce back and look for them to grab a 2-1 lead in the series. *2nd Rd GOY
|05-07-09||Atlanta Hawks +13 v. Cleveland Cavaliers||Top||85-105||Loss||-105||17 h 29 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with ATLANTA. It would be pretty easy to make a case for the Cavaliers. After all, they've been on a very impressive playoff run and they've been outstanding at home all season long. I typically see things a little differently than most though. That said, I expect the Cavs to face their toughest test of the playoffs tonight.
While the Cavs are obviously a very strong team, I believe that the Hawks are also better than most believe them to be. Remember, this is a team which took the Celtics to seven games last year. They've got plenty of talent and they know how to play defense. Note that they're an excellent 4-1 SU/ATS the last five times that they were trailing in a playoff series. The only time that they were in that situation this season, they responded with an 81-71 outright victory (Game 4) at Miami.
Even with the Game 1 result, six of the last eight meetings (and three of the last four) between these teams have been decided by single digits. Look for the Hawks to play much better, bouncing back and improving to 8-4-1 ATS the last 13 times that they were coming off a game in which they scored 85 points or less. *Main Event
|05-06-09||Houston Rockets v. Los Angeles Lakers -10||Top||98-111||Win||100||12 h 13 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with the LA LAKERS. I took the points with the Rockets in the opener, so I was not surprised to see them play well. The Rockets have some excellent defenders, have a dynamic center and are playing solid team basketball. They were also catching the Lakers off a relatively long layoff and possibly feeling a little over-confident. Things are different now. Much different.
Having just played on Monday, the Lakers will no longer be "rusty." Nor, will they be "relaxed." As Kobe had to say: "The next game is extremely critical. Everybody is a little edgy, pretty energetic and excited about it." Bryant went on to say: "I feel fantastic. We know we can perform better. I'm anxious to see how we respond."
Houston coach Rick Adelman knows that things are going to be tough. He was quoted as saying: "Tomorrow is going to be probably the most difficult game. They're going to really come after us."
While the line seems high, note that the Lakers' previous six home games had all resulted in double-digit victories. The Lakers also won both regular season meetings here by double-digits. They won those games by 12 (93-81) and 29 (111-82) points.
The Lakers are 21-13-1 ATS the past three seasons when attempting to avenge an earlier home loss. They've been the best team in the West all year and I look for them to bounce back with a double-digit victory. *Personal Favorite
|05-05-09||Atlanta Hawks +12 v. Cleveland Cavaliers||Top||72-99||Loss||-115||18 h 46 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with ATLANTA. The Hawks were good to me in the first round, as I played on them in all four of their victories, while staying off them in all three of their losses. I believe that they offer us excellent value again here.
In addition to cashing a ticket on the Celtics/Magic 'under' the total yesterday, I also played on Houston. As you probably know, the Rockets went into LA and upset the #1 seeded Lakers. This setup has several similarities to that Houston play.
Like the Hawks, the Rockets were coming off a competitive series and playing a road game against a #1 seed which was coming off an "easy" first round series. Like the Hawks, the Rockets had "exorcised some playoff demons" by advancing past the first round. The first round series victory for the Rockets had relieved any pressure that they had been feeling and they were able to play loose, as heavy underdogs. Like the Rockets, nobody is giving the Hawks a chance, meaning that they will be feeling very little pressure.
The Hawks are a well-balanced team. They've got numerous weapons on offense, with three players averaging greater than 15 points. Like Houston, the Hawks are capable of playing excellent defense. They held the Heat to 64, 71 and 78 points in three of their four victories and to an average of only 88 for the series.
The Cavaliers have enjoyed a great year and they were certainly impressive in the first round. However, they were matched up against a Detroit team on the decline. Now, after they've been sitting around since 4/26, they'll face an Atlanta team which is on the upswing and which actually believes it can can compete in this series.
Note that the last three meetings between these teams have all been decided by six points or less. Looking back a bit further and we find that six of the last seven meetings between these teams have been decided by single digits. Look for this one to also prove closer than most are expecting with the Hawks building momentum from their big Game 7 victory and improving to 12-5-1 ATS on the season, after holding their previous opponent to 85 points or less. *Main Event
|05-03-09||Miami Heat v. Atlanta Hawks -5||Top||78-91||Win||100||10 h 9 m||Show|
I'm laying the points with ATLANTA. I've played on the Hawks in all three of their victories in this series while avoiding them in all three of their losses. With everything on the line, I feel that this will prove to be another excellent spot to back them.
It's true that Dwayne Wade is among the best offensive players in the world. However, when playing away from Miami, his supporting cast often leaves a lot to be desired. Wade had 29 points in the last game here at Atlanta and the Heat still lost by 15. Additionally, note that the Heat are an awful 3-15 SU and 6-12 ATS the last 18 times that they were coming off a double-digit victory. Overall, home teams are 4-2 SU/ATS in this series, each team going 2-1 SU/ATS on its homecourt.
The Hawks are loaded with quality talent and have three players (Bibby, Johnson, Smith) all averaging greater than 15 points per game. I believe that they're the more "complete" team. They've been excellent at home the last few seasons and were 31-10 here in the regular season. They defeated the Celtics in all three games here last postseason, before losing in Game 7 at Boston. I expect them to have learned from that experience and for it to pay dividends here.
The Hawks are 27-17-1 ATS the last 45 times that they were coming off a game in which they scored 85 points points or less. They average 98.5 points per game on this floor and allow 92.6. I expect them to bounce back with a much better effort, on both ends of the floor. None of the games in the series have been close with the SU winner covering the spread in each. I expect that trend to continue with Atlanta being the team which emerges victorious. *Opening Rd GOY
|04-27-09||Denver Nuggets v. New Orleans Hornets -2.5||Top||121-63||Loss||-105||10 h 6 m||Show|
I'm laying the small number with NEW ORLEANS. After winning both games at Denver, the Nuggets earned a fortunate cover, while losing Game 3 at New Orleans. I didn't play the side in that game (won with 'under') but say it was a "fortunate" (ATS) victory for Denver backers, as the Nuggets were down 10 with three minutes remaining. That Game 3 result has helped to cause this evening's line to be lower than it was for Game 3. I believe that provides us with excellent value with the Hornets.
New Orleans fell behind by 16 points in the first half last time out and it appeared Denver was on its way to a 3-0 series lead. However, the Hornets battled back, getting it done on the defensive side of the floor. After allowing the Nuggets to make 10 of 17 (58.8%) first quarter shots, the Hornets held them to 35% shooting (20 of 57) the rest of the way. The Hornets outscored the Nuggets 44-30 in the paint. They also had a 22-6 edge in fast-break points.
As they showed last time out, the Hornets are a much better team at home. They're now 29-13 here this season and 89-42 (76-55 ATS) the past three. That includes a 27-7 SU and 24-10 ATS mark when playing a home game with an over/under line in the 190 to 194.5 range.
The Hornets have now beaten the Nuggets three of the last four times that the teams played here at New Orleans. Dating back to their days at Charlotte, the Hornets have now won 13 of 20 home meetings against the Nuggets. Twelve of those 13 victories came by a minimum of three points, Saturday's game being the only exception.
I expect the Hornets to build momentum from Saturday's victory, evening up the series and covering the small number along the way. *Western Conf. GOW
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