Rumbling into a new week, trying to shake off the stink of all those blown leads. Nothing we can do about those now, and I know a lot of cappers say it, but I think we can all agree that we'd make those same wagers again. I mean, really...how many times can you take a lead into the final minute and lose? In any case, I'm getting myself all riled up just thinking about it.
We did manage to snag a winning Saturday (despite Phoenix blowing a late 14-point lead that kept us from a 3-0 sweep), and we'll just keep taking leads into the final minute in every play, and over the long haul, those will be winners.
Sports Wagering: NBA
Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic (-12) with a total of 193.5;
It's good to know almost nothing has changed over the last few months, despite Orlando trading away half its team and Detroit benching Rip Hamilton for being a clubhouse cancer. After all that, Detroit is a 12-point road underdog to the Magic, just like they were back on November 30, when they covered by a point. And to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same outcome. That being said, Orlando's offense is getting revved back up the last couple games (against terrible defensive teams), and they bring some nice shooting into this one. Detroit has been playing horrendously on the offensive end, but managed to sneak out a win over Phoenix because of a Suns offensive implosion. I'm not particularly hopeful for Detroit, especially if Orlando cracks 100. PASS on the side, slight lean to the UNDER.
Phoenix Suns @ Philadelphia 76ers (-3.5) with a total of 207;
I'm not sure I thought I'd see the day, at least not this year, when the Sixers were considered superior neutral court ballers to the Suns, but here we are. Philadelphia and Phoenix, both rested, go head-to-head, and the Sixers are a half point better than the Suns, and it's probably warranted, given the situation. The Sixers are coming off a strong defensive performance against the slumping Utah Jazz, and they continue to play well enough to win games at home. It seems like the Sixers can't quite get over the hump on the road, but when Lou Williams can drain a few momentum-changing threes at home, the Sixers find ways to win. The Suns, meanwhile, had their 5-game winning streak snapped in Detroit 2 days back and are set to play the final game of a 5-game road trip here, all in 7 days. Phoenix is undoubtedly in a fatigue spot, ready to head home for 5 games, and Philly is rested, playing at home, and showing signs of starting to turn a corner. Phoenix struggled to score in Detroit, and I'm thinking that carries over due to being tired, and Philly is in a bit of an Under-run. Lean to the SIXERS and the UNDER.
Memphis Grizzlies (-4) @ Toronto Raptors with a total of 202.5;
Memphis is a little tough to figure out these days, coming off a dominant defensive performance in Milwaukee, but losing an ugly one just a few games back to Chicago, at home. Yes, they're hot right now, winning the last 2, but things seem to flip so quickly with Memphis, and I'm still not completely sold with their road play. Of course, if we consider Memphis a full question mark, Toronto's notes should be the ones that decide this game for us. Those notes are not good. Toronto has lost 7 games in a row, including all 5 on their recently completed road trip, and the 2 home games prior. Toronto has shot the ball very poorly, and they don't defend much, which makes winning a pipe dream. Toronto can't rebound without Reggie Evans, so that only compounds the issue. I'm not necessarily saying I like Memphis here, but I definitely dislike Toronto (a team also playing its first game back home after almost 2 weeks on the road) to the point where I suppose that pushes my leanometer over to the GRIZZ, and we know Toronto wants to push the tempo, so I think this one sneaks OVER.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ New Jersey Nets (-8.5) with a total of 189;
Good lord, things have gotten out of hand! The Cavs are now catching almost double digits to one of the worst teams in the NBA? I don't think I can even break this game down. Cleveland is a team, right now, that is setting new standards for bad. And while there may be some "line value" with them, they're consistently shooting in the 35% range, and you just can't count on Cleveland to keep any game close. They did finally cover one in Chicago, so maybe the lines are at last catching up, but since the Carmelo "crap" ended in Jersey, the Nets have played better, and I wouldn't put it past them to just wipe Cleveland right out of the building. PASS on the side, tiny, tiny, tiny lean to the UNDER.
Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks (-8.5) with a total of 209;
Is THIS going to be the one? Can the Wizards really go an entire season without a win on the road? They're halfway there, at 0-20, or I guess this game would put them at the halfway mark. Washington is coming off a nice home win over Boston, a team that continues to struggle in fatigue spots, but really, Washington didn't look all that great in that game. They did enough to win, but Washington was stagnant on offense, and needed Boston to tire out before they could come back and grab a narrow win. This is the 3rd meeting this year for these two teams, and New York has won each of the first two games, once by 30+ and once by a handful (and you can probably figure out which venue provided which outcome). As I said a couple days back, I'd love to keep fading the ice cold New York Knicks, but I'm not going to be that guy that plays Washington in every road game until they win one. I'd rather be the guy that's second-smartest, and play them after they get the monkey off their collective back. NO LEAN on the side (though I suppose if Washington wasn't 0-20, it'd be to them), and a totals lean to the UNDER.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls (-7.5) with a total of 178.5;
I think oddsmakers got this one right, so I'm going to keep this writeup a little more brief than the others. The Bucks are still struggling to score, but are more than capable of beating lesser teams because of stifling defense. The Bulls have Boozer back, but seem to have a renewed zest in playing defense. This is a winnable game for Chicago, and this side and total are both telling us that it's going to be one of those games where Milwaukee will have maybe two shots late in the game to sneak out a cover, but if they can't convert, Chicago will win by 10. And in terms of the total, neither team wants to score, which often leads to games where both end up scoring a little more. Microscopic leans to CHICAGO and the OVER.
Houston Rockets (-2.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of 217.5;
I feel like it's been forever since the Wolves played a game...let's check on that. Yeah, it has been forever. Minnesota last played on the 19th, so they've had some time to rest (or rust) up. Not much data to go on for Minnesota in this type of spot, so they're a little bit of a question mark. There might be a tiny tinge of revenge from a 26-point loss in Texas earlier this year, but Minnesota doesn't strike me as the kind of team that's worried about which opponent they're playing, and are more concerned with just trying to put decent minutes together and grow as a team. Houston has lost 2 in a row after winning a few, and they continue to be ultra-streaky. Houston can cover this small line if they shoot 48%. Will they? Tough to say. Tiny square lean to HOUSTON since I think Minny struggles off the long rest, and small lean to the OVER.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ New Orleans Hornets (-3.5) with a total of 191.5;
Somewhat quietly, the Hornets are surging. New Orleans has won 8 straight, including 2 blowouts over pretty good competition (Atlanta, San Antonio), and they're doing it with defense. I might argue that New Orleans has played great defense all season long, but they seem to go through scoring droughts. Lately, David West has been running hot, and that makes life supremely easy for the Hornets - they can slow the game down, run pick-and-roll or post-up plays all day, take care of the ball, and give up very few easy buckets. The Thunder is a unique beast, though, in that there are 2 guys that are basically unstoppable. I believe the Hornets have a nice matchup for each (Ariza and Paul), but that only means that CP3 will need to avoid foul trouble. Still, the Hornets have had a great gameplan for every opponent, of late, and I bet they've got something up their sleeve for this one, too. Oh, and double revenge doesn't hurt our cause: Lean to NEW ORLEANS and the UNDER.
Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trailblazers with a total of N/A;
I've spent the last hour trying to figure out what injury is keeping this sucker from getting posted, and I'm thinking I just missed something obvious in my quest for some sort of sneaky information. Anyway, the Kings continue to improve their play in the first 47 minutes of the basketball game, and still just cannot for the life of them, put a team away. Call me crazy, but I think Paul Westphal needs to go. There's no way a professional team should have as many late leads as the Kings have had in the last 3 weeks, and only have 3 January wins to show for it. Sure, they're 7-5 ATS, but Kings ownership can't be pleased with just covers. In any case, this game is a rematch of another of Sacramento's overtime failures. Does that mean Sacramento hangs in there again, or is this one of those rematches where Portland just rolls Sacramento from the opening tip? Given that the Kings just seem to come back and play good ball for the first 47 after loss after loss, I'm not sure why this one should be any different. Portland still relies far too heavily on jumpshots, and this game should stay relatively close. Lean to the KINGS and the OVER.
San Antonio Spurs (-5) @ Golden State Warriors with a total of 211.5;
The Spurs aren't so much a streaky SU team, but when you look a little more closely, they do seem to be a fairly streaky ATS proposition. The Spurs covered 4 in a row crossing into the new year, lost 3 of 4 ATS, won 4 straight, and have now gone 0-2-1 in their last 3. Now, coming off easily the worst offensive game of the Spurs season, they have to head to the relatively hostile environment in the Bay Area. I'm not sure the Warriors have anyone that can stop DeJuan Blair, and amazingly, that's my biggest concern. Tim Duncan usually has a good game against the smaller Warriors, but with David Lee healthy, he should be able to at least make Duncan work a little, and the Warriors are definitely going to score more effectively than the 2 blowout losses to the Spurs earlier this year. Still, the Spurs are the best team in the NBA this year, and they know how to win. The best thing the Warriors have going for them is that they're getting set for an epic homestand, so they're definitely less "worn." Not a great card, considering its size, but to end the blog, I lean WARRIORS and the OVER.