Nowitzki & Nash, BFFs: NBA RoundUp for 12/8

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Nowitzki & Nash, BFFs: NBA RoundUp for 12/8

More Winter Meetings work to be done, and a podcast to record, so another blog without a clever introduction. Let's rock.

Sports Wagering

Bobcats/Nuggets - Charlotte getting 3 points at home with a total of 203. Steamtrain Denver pulls into Charlotte, and is laying just 3 points over the Bobcats. This is a very interesting line, and not one I'm sure I want to mess with -- the Nuggets have won (and covered) 4 straight games, including a 10-point win last night in Philadelphia to spoil Iverson's return to the Sixers. They might very well be a tad tired, as last night's game was not of the "pretty" variety, but it's tough to bet against the Nuggets right now, tired or not. Also, Denver's next game is in Detroit on Thursday, so there is zero look-ahead issues. It's a pure fatigue play if you like Charlotte, which I'm not sure that I do. The Bobcats are slumping a bit, but this line wouldn't really seem to indicate as such. Charlotte has failed to cover in all 3 of their games in the month of December, which includes a home loss to the Celtics, a road loss to the Nets (yikes!), and then a 1-point victory over the 76ers in Charlotte. You could certainly see a short losing skid or mini-slump coming when Charlotte rattled off 4 straight wins then got pounded by the Celts, but the question is how long it will last. A one point win can often be enough to get a team back on the good foot, and undoubtedly the public will be on the red-hot Nuggets. This game smells like a no-play on the side. Denver is coming off an extremely low-scoring game and 3 straight Unders, while the Bobcats have played to 3 straight Overs, so the total is a bit sketchy, too. I'd lean Under, given Denver's potential fatigue, but only very slightly.

Raptors/Wolves - Toronto laying 8 at home with a total of 212. The Raptors have started to turn things around after bottoming out against the Hawks last week. Back-to-back nice road wins will often do that for a team, and the books are adjusting quickly, giving the Raptors a rather large spread to cover against the hapless Timberwolves. I hate to sound square, but I have trouble looking at the dog in this one. Toronto is a team on a mission right now, and until their current stretch of solid play ends, I'm not sure I can go against them. That's not to say I want to make a play ON the Raptors, but it does make taking the other side extremely difficult. That being said, the Wolves have covered 4 straight (and won 2 of them outright) to improve to 3-17 SU on the year, and 9-11 ATS. They're not playing great ball, but they're playing well enough to stay in most games, and that's what dog players are hoping for in this one. I'm not a huge fan of the side, if you haven't gathered, and taking a quick peek at the total reveals, in my opinion, reveals an opportunity for an Over. The public seems to be thinking about an Under because they believe Minnesota is terrible and the Raptors just held the Bulls to 78 points in their last game. For this reason I believe there is some value on the Over.

Celtics/Bucks - Boston by 12.5 with a total of 191. At first glance, I look at the Bucks, but let's take a deeper look. Boston has won 7 straight and covered the last 5 in a row to improve to 10-10 ATS on the season. All this winning definitely creates some value, and despite Boston's 7-3 home record SU, they are a sputtering 4-6 ATS at home. We haven't seen many opportunities lately to put against Boston, considering the run they've been on, but giving away almost a baker's dozen at home (where they have consistently played down to their competition) is an awfully rich spot, as the Celtics are in the first home game after 4 road contests, as well. My concern is clearly with the Bucks. I love the value on the dog in this game, but can Milwaukee actually put together a reasonable 48 minutes of basketball? This team is coming off an awful loss to the Cavs, where they appeared to be stuck at 17 points for almost the entire second quarter. They've lost 3 straight and 7 of 8, and have covered just 2 of those 8 spreads. That does make it a little nauseating to back Milwaukee, I will admit. Still, getting that many points against a team that seems to relax at home is a pretty good value, and I lean to Jennings and co. On the total, the Bucks just snapped a stretch of 9 straight Overs in that ugly loss to Cleveland, and I'd be inclined to think we're getting some Under value simply because of all those Bucks poor defensive efforts leading up to the last one.

Grizzlies/Cavaliers - Grizzlies getting 7.5 points at home with a total of 193. I got burned betting against the Cavs in their last game against Milwaukee (with a pretty similar spread, mind you), and I must say, I'm reticent to go against them again. Still, we have to explore the value pick, and that is almost always going to be the home dog when we're dealing with a marquee team like the Cavs. The public, no doubt, will be on Cleveland like white on rice, as the Cavs are 15-5 on the season, 11-9 ATS, and a solid 7-3 away from home (SU and ATS). The Cavs have also won and covered 4 straight games, they've scored over 100 in all 4, and have held all 4 opponents under 100, a pretty good indication that Cleveland is rolling. Of course, this isn't a simple spot for them, with a game in Houston tomorrow, so Cleveland might be thinking about saving some strength, though admittedly the Rockets aren't the look-ahead they used to be with Yao. Memphis, on the other hand, doesn't play again until the 11th, when they host the Thunder, so this game is a huge one for them, as they try to upset a top tier team. The Grizz are deceptively good at home, at 5-3, and they're coming off a 16-point beatdown of the Mavs, so confidence is high. I can't help but feel a slight attraction to Memphis in this one, and a slight lean to the Under thanks to the Grizzlies uncharacteristically solid home defense.

Bulls/Nets - Chicago laying 7 with a total of 192. The Bulls don't really have business laying 7 points to anyone, but coming off the stomping they received at the hands (or feet, rather, to keep the metaphor intact) of the Raptors, this is a monster bounceback spot for Chicago, and the Nets may have to feel the brunt of the impact. Both of these teams are complete and utter messes. It really seems like an exercise in futility to try to pick a winner between two clubs that are just tumbling, sinking, crashing, whatever you want to call it. The Bulls are a supremely disappointing 7-11 on the season, 5-12 ATS, have lost 7 of 8 SU, and thanks to an anemic offfense, they've gone Under the total in 3 straight. The Nets, as everyone knows, are 1-19, 6-14 ATS, and are coming off a late-game meltdown in New York where they led by as many as 9 points in the second half, and lost by that same number. The value is with the Nets, since Chicago has the players the public has heard of, but this may be one of those games where you just shrug your shoulders, say (out loud if you like), "Why?" and move on to the next one on the card. Even the total is ugly, though I like the Under given the way both teams move the ball (poorly) and score (slowly and infrequently).

Hornets/Kings - The Hornets are laying 7.5 points with a total of 211.5. I'll be straight with you - I really don't want to make a play on a Hornets game right now, while Chris Paul gets adjusted to being back in the lineup, and his teammates adjust to having wide open shots again. Almost anything could happen. I think this line is fair, though I lean slightly to New Orleans, as the Kings have a game tomorrow in San Antonio, and that sort of back-to-back can be quite daunting for anyone, especially a young team headed back out on the road. The Kings are 13-6 ATS, and it feels like that team for them to regress back towards .500 ATS, at least sooner than later. The Hornets won Paul's return by 9 over the Timberwolves, which was actually a failure to cover, but this team is somewhat scary at home, where they simply seem to shoot the lights out from 3-point land. Still, this is a gun-to-my-head type game where I lean to the home team and to the Under, and I really don't want any part of it.

Mavs/Suns - Dallas laying 4 at home with a total of 214.5. This should be a great game. Nowitzki and Nash always play amazing contests against one another, as the good buddies generally bring their A-games for these hotly contested (but generally well-intentioned) showdowns. The Mavericks are coming off back-to-back ugly losses, one in Memphis and the other at home hosting the Hawks, so they'll be looking to get on track. At 14-7, they're still doing just fine in the grand scheme of things, but nobody wants to lose 3 straight. The Suns come to Dallas after getting manhandled by the Lakers, in LA, for the second time in as many tries. It seems the Suns simply can't compete with the Lakers superior size and strength, and unless they play the perfect game (which most teams don't, especially on the road), the Lakers are just going to have the Suns' number. That being said, this game doesn't feature quite the imposing big men that their last did. Sure, Dirk is an outstanding basketball player, but he's not a back-to-the-basket, hammer-blocking type like Andrew Bynum, or an all-around star like Gasol. The Mavs' interior defense is mostly Erick Dampier with a dash of Shawn Marion, though both have lost a few steps over the last half-decade. I think Phoenix should be able to play with Dallas, basket for basket, and this one could go down to the wire. Thus, I feel the Suns getting points are the slight value play. The total is a confusing point for me, since the Mavs are coming off two insanely low-scoring games, and the Suns have actually played 5 straight Unders, so I suppose I would have to lean just to the Under.

Clippers/Magic - Clippers getting 7, total of 193.5. This one might not be watchable. The Clippers are, admittedly, playing better of late, having won (and covered) 3 of their last 4 games, but now they have to face off against one of the better road teams in the NBA. Orlando is 9-2 away from home, 7-4 ATS, so they don't miss many opportunities to embarrass their competition in front of the road fans. The Magic are giving 7 points for a reason, and it's because they have a dominant big man, and pieces around him finally getting healthy and into a rhythm. I have no lean on the side in this game. The total intrigues me, since Orlando is coming off 2 games against the Knicks and 1 against Golden State. Hence, the public has seen a ton of ultra-high scoring games out of this marquee team. The Clippers, meanwhile, have played to 3 straight Unders, each uglier than the last. I lean to the Under, as well.
  • hey everyone,just bet sac. and utah on the moneyline in a two team parley,5 for 250.earlier this year bet utah,+1500 and won,still kicking myself for not betting more that night.anyways thought i'd post it in case  miracles happen but would'nt really be a miracle.sac. might snesk up on s.a. and utah tired of getting beat in la.          

  • hey dan and mike,there is one other game where the totals line moved up,gs&n.j from 218 to 218.5,I had 219 wrote down on my card,what do you think about that.i've allready pulled the trigger on g.s.+1

  • hey tony,admire your knowledge and loved your last post on your football picks,won big time on the giants as i liked dallas up to that point.atlanta would seem to be a good play based on your observations but 11 points is a lot of points in the nba these days and the opening line dropped 1/2 point to 10.5.the bulls though are terrible so i just dont know.but i too like the hawks,would like to wait and see the line movement but should be a blowout.need to see if this is the bulls last before going home as it seems a lot of teams go all out to win that last before going home,especially when they have lost most or all their games

  • A link to Wednesday's podcast discussion thread, since I didn't have a new NBA blog (I know, my first missed day since the season started!)

  • Hey John,

    Will be away from the computer most of the day today, then back tomorrow for my usual all-day sports-a-thon.

    When tracking reverse line movement, it's extremely important to do 1 of 2 things.  Either (a) be like VegasRunner and know exactly which outfits are hitting which games, and why, or (b) be like cappers without his connections and contacts.

    Since most of us are in the (b) category, we need to watch the public betting percentages, as well as the line moves.  Sometimes the outfits will buy a line back late in the day, and sometimes we'll get caught by surprise, but a lot of the time, we can kind of see it coming.

    For instance, last week, we saw a series of NBA games going Over the posted total.  As a result, the lines opened higher, and the sharps immediately bought the Under, sensing added value from the recent string of Overs.  Over the course of the day, though, those same sharps did their full handicapping of the game, and often bought back the original play, if they felt the Under was not a value pick.  As handicappers ourselves, when we saw EVERY line move down off the opening line, we were able to determine that the sharps were buying the lines down NOT because they handicapped it that way, but because they felt the lines were inflated to begin with.  Thus, when we do our OWN handicapping, if we liked an Over, we would not hesitate to take it DESPITE the reverse line move, because the sharps hadn't yet taken their true position on a game.

    On the flip side, if one game out of 10 on a particular hypothetical card moves 4 or 5 points off the opening total, you can be pretty sure the sharps are taking their true position.  That takes a lot of money to move a line that far.

  • hey dan,decided to keep my mouth shut,listen and learn as the nba has been kicking my ass lately.reverse line movement,does that mean the difference between the opening line and the opening line posted by the sportsbook? example dallas opened yesterday at -4.5 and bookmaker opened at to know the sharps did'nt drive thst opening line down so they coulb buy back later i guess the hardest part of it as you would have to figure the public would be on dallas as i was

  • Hi Tony,

    Sorry about the delay!  While I'm at the Winter Meetings (just one more day...Wednesday), I'm pretty much away from the computer all day!

    I actually think stuff like that, if UNREPORTED, can be a great handicapping tool.  As soon as the public gets their hands on it, the value goes out the window, but if you're a quick, clever sort, you can use key info like plane departure issues as a little bit of a helper.  I'm going to try to check out those lines first thing in the a.m., and I'll try to get a blog out right around the same time as the podcast.

    Looking at today's leans...

    The Under in CHA/DEN was a winner

    Over in TOR/MIN was a loser

    Leans on MIL and the Under were both winners

    Leans on Grizz and Under were 1-1

    Leans on NJ and Under were 1-1

    Leans to PHX and Under were both winners

    Under in LAC/ORL was a winner.

    If I had bet every lean today, I would have gone 8-3.  Damn!

  • Hey Dan, great stuff again.  Indiana came through for the podcast play of the day.  

    Question about Wednesdays Bulls/Hawks game.  Line looks like it's opening around 11.  Is there any value there.  I know ATL has been inconsistent in recent games, but I have a slight lean towards them.  The Bulls lost a close heart breaker at home, to the worst team in the NBA on Tuesday, then have to travel to another city to play a team on 3 days rest.  Will the bulls be motivated and energized enough to stay in the game? or will the Hawks blow out this tired and defeated team?  Is the line too high?

    Additionally, I drive past the United Center every day home from work, and can tell you that Tuesday night into Wednesday the weather in Chicago is horrible.  I can only assume it will take the Bulls much longer than expected to get to the airport and their is no guarantee their flight will leave on time.  This will put them in Atlanta very late and very tired.  Does this sort of thing make a difference?  If so, how much stock do you put into information like this, as a handicapper?

    Thanks again for the great posts and show.  Keep it up


  • Right on man...I love the NBA bc you can fade a team for 3-4 games then bet with them the next 3-4. Never a dull moment!

    Anyway, leaning towards the Bobcats +4 (now)

    Chicago -6.5

    Really liking Dallas -3.5 (even though my initial lean was Phoenix) but after checking into some things Dallas seems like a smart bet

    Memphis +8

    Let's put some together and make some winners buddy!

  • Today's podcast, straight to the audio part!

  • Today's podcast discussion thread:

  • Hey Rolll!

    Good morning to you!  Glad to see you had a nice winner with Knicks yesterday!  That would have definitely been a play of mine if I had more time on the internet yesterday to get my final confirmation.

    Today and tomorrow will likely be similar to yesterday, where I'll post my "strongest leans" right before gametime, since I will be at the Baseball Winter Meetings most of the day.

    The Nuggets/Charlotte game does smell like a trap, but I'm just not sure I can bet against Denver right now, even if it feels like a trap.

    I'll be spending some time this afternoon trying to get my strongest leans up, and I'll post 'em then!

  • Sup Dan?

    Nuggets really looking like a trap game! For the oddsmakers to come out with Nugs -2.5 what do you think they are saying? Charlotte outright?

    This is like deja vu bc I know we've touched up on this subject before and got a winner so interested to see where this line goes.

    Also like Memphis +7, Chicago -6.5

    Interested to see your plays (if any)!