We took a week off from promos, and the gambling gods smiled upon our act of humble mercy with a monster week...err, and hard work probably helped, too!
So, this week, back to some mild promo action (just grin and bear it, though I know you guys just gloss over this part).
First, the longer term stuff - the last few months have really illustrated the need to follow a capper for more than 4-5 days. We rocked from August through November, had a 3-week stretch of mostly mediocre results, and now are bouncing back. With that in mind, why not check out the DAN BEBE MONTHLY FLEX PACKAGE
- a tremendous deal that gets an entire month for the price of, roughly, 8 days of plays. Think about it, won't you?
And, second, the daily package - I strongly considered a play on MNF, but decided if I do, it'll be FREE! The daily package is a standard NBA 2* selection to keep the 8-1 run going!
Now, read the darn blog!
Sports Wagering: NBA
Orlando Magic (-6.5) @ New Jersey Nets with a total of 189;
Christmas Day hangover means slightly shorter writeups on most games, but we'll stay organized, and many of you might actually prefer these less flowery paragraphs. The small knock on Jersey is that they can't score, and they haven't played in 5 days, so there may be some rust. Orlando played on Christmas Day, so they're likely settled into a slightly better rhythm, but at the same time, they're coming off a huge playoff revenge win over Boston, and this is prime letdown spot. This spread is relatively low, considering neither team is on a back-to-back spot, but I think the NETS keep it just within the number, and it stays UNDER.
Detroit Pistons @ Charlotte Bobcats (-4.5) with a total of 184.5;
The single biggest news to come out of the last week of NBA is that new head coach Paul Silas plans on implementing an up-tempo offense. Let that sink in. A team that had been a slow, plodding club under Larry Brown is going to try to run, and that total of 184.5 does not reflect those changes. My main concern, though, is how awful Detroit has looked in back-to-back games this year. The Pistons have been playing better since shaking up the starting lineup, but the scoring on back-to-backs has been almost as bad as the defense. I'm interested in seeing how well Charlotte runs with just a few days of practice. It seems like turnovers may be plentiful, but at the same time, if they're really pushing the ball, they should be a lot better. Leans to CHARLOTTE and the OVER.
Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder (Pk) with a total of 204.5;
I have no idea how to avoid backing the Mavs on the road, though certainly the angles in this one make it closer to a pass than a play. For one, the Thunder played on Christmas, so they're less rusty, and the Mavs have been off for most of the week. In addition, the Mavs already beat the Thunder in Oklahoma once this season, so there may be a little extra motivation for the Thunder to play Dallas tough, knowing better what type of effort to expect from the best road team in the NBA. My concerns about backing Dallas are only a tiny bit greater than my concerns about the Thunder, a team that seems to lack defensive intensity at times. This line of a pick is probably pretty close to accurate. Perhaps a tiny lean to the THUNDER, but I'd advise a PASS on the side, and consider the UNDER due to rust.
Atlanta Hawks @ Milwaukee Bucks (-1.5) with a total of 179;
I'm having all kinds of trouble backing Atlanta on the road, and they helped us cash a ticket on the Hornets yesterday. This one is a little more troubling, since Atlanta, while a little fatigued, got back into a rhythm by playing yesterday, while the Bucks had to fly cross-country after a west coast 3-game roadie, enjoy Christmas, and now play their first game since. They might be rusty, and the injury to Brandon Jennings is going to catch up with them, eventually. I think Atlanta's road issues are the biggest factor in this game, so I still lean MILWAUKEE, but very, very weakly, and this total is so low, I think any value on an under is gone, so tiny lean to OVER.
Toronto Raptors @ Memphis Grizzlies (-5) with a total of 208.5;
The fatigue angle points to Toronto, but the Raptors' recent play most certainly does not. Toronto lost its last 2 games going into the Christmas break, and lost 8 of 10, as well. Memphis actually lost 3 straight heading into the time off, but came out of the break with a flurry, taking down the up-and-coming Pacers, on the road, where Memphis had struggled a bit. The Grizzlies have been pretty serviceable at home, at 8-6 SU, and better lately than early in the year. Toronto needs to get healthy in a bad way, consistently having rebounding issues without Reggie Evans. They might shoot 60% and win on any given night, since they're largely a jump-shooting team, but on the road with the Christmas rust, I lean to MEMPHIS to cover a short number, and the UNDER, barely.
New Orleans Hornets (-3.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of 200;
This high total makes me think that New Orleans is going to get caught up in a Wolves style of game. That doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to miss the cover, though. Again, the fatigue factor might slow the Hornets a bit, but I must say, I watched last night's game with Atlanta, and the Hornets are really into these games. The home crowd helps, but this team strikes me as fairly focused, and that leaves me with the thought that this one is a bit of a toss-up. We all remember how the Hornets played coming out of the gate, and if that's how they look when rested, almost anything can happen. Tiny lean to the HORNETS, and I mean super-small, and the OVER.
Washington Wizards @ Houston Rockets (-9.5) with a total of 204;
Washington continues to stink on the road, getting beat up pretty good by the Spurs last night. But now, as discussed above, the fact that they've played almost helps them, despite the potential fatigue. Houston is a team that's getting healthier with time, and the increasing minutes of Aaron Brooks is going to make them a better club. This line looks huge because of the back-to-back, so let's not react too crazily to it. I know I'm jumping about a little, so I'll condense my thoughts. Houston was playing extremely well going into the Christmas layoff, so you have to think they didn't really want the time off. Do they come out with the same vigor, or will it take a game or two to get back into the groove? Tiny lean to WASHINGTON and the UNDER.
Portland Trailblazers @ Utah Jazz (-8.5) with a total of 193;
Yikes, who would've thought that the Blazers would be this large of an underdog to any teams not named Lakers, Celtics or Heat? But they have really fallen hard, combining injuries with sluggish play, and now it sounds like parts of Portland's roster are on the trade block as the team tries to get younger while they can get something back for the old goats. This is a bad spot for Utah, though. Utah played a 4-game road trip before the Christmas break, barely beating Minnesota in their final game (failing to cover), and then getting 4 days off before this one. Portland played on Christmas, so they're still in a rhythm, and they have a revenge angle to consider, with Utah beating them at the Rose Garden a month back. Lean to the BLAZERS (shudders) and the UNDER.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Sacramento Kings (-1) with a total of 194;
I'm not changing my writeup on any game involving Sacramento until they show me they can play a second half of a game and not melt down. Here's my question to the readers (and a test to see if anyone's actually looking at the content and not just the leans) -- do we think the public is catching on that the Clippers are actually playing good basketball the last 2 weeks (and this line would then be a little fishy), or do we think that Sacramento is a favorite just because LA played yesterday in the afternoon, and they're the Clippers, so no one is going to bet them regardless of how they're playing in the short term? What do you guys think? I'm inclined to think the Clippers are like the Lions in NFL - they'll cover all year, and no one will give a crap. Sactown is on revenge, but that hasn't stopped them from losing to other teams. Lean to the CLIPS and the OVER.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors (-3) with a total of 204;
A week ago, I'd be all over the Sixers, but I have to admit - in watching the Warriors Christmas night game, David Lee looked as healthy as he has at any point since Wilson Chandler went Nosferatu on his elbow. If David Lee gets healthy, and can go back to shooting 50-52%, knocking down those 15-footers and actually converting the layups, and if Stephen Curry can get that ankle rounded back into shape, these Warriors can really score. Andris Biedrins would be a nice piece to get back at some point for added rebounding, but the offensive side is going to be just fine as soon as Lee is truly healthy. I'm hesitant to bet this game until I get another look at Lee, but with Philly flying west from a win in Denver, and both teams in a rhythm, I guess small lean to the WARRIORS and the OVER.