A true clunker of a betting weekend - if we could perhaps channel Gob Bluth of Arrested Development and steal a few "Forget-Me-Nows" I don't think any of us would complain.
With the All Star Break approaching, this is most certainly not a week to go nuts on the card - some teams will pack it in a little early, and the red-hot teams will generally keep that strong play going right up to the Break. It's one of those weeks where we can weigh the situational angles about the same as usual, but we need to add in the factors related to potential time off. It's complicated, at times, and because of that, we'll play conservatively.
I also fear that my lovely fiancée has bestowed a moderate bronchitis upon my breathin' tubes, so you'll all pardon some measure of brevity in the writeups here in the blog, and in the plays in the next day or two, while I dose the hell out of myself and try to get better quickly.
Sports Wagering: NBA
San Antonio Spurs (-8.5) @ New Jersey Nets with a total of 191;
We'll keep this one simple -- this line is definitely inflated, but if any team can handle the b.s., it's San Antonio. The Spurs are simply a team on a mission, and every time I think it's too late to back them, or the right time to fade away, I get a swift kick to the groin-style reminder than there might not be a time that it's too late. This is game 8 of the Spurs monster Rodeo Road Trip, and after showing some signs of fatigue in Philadelphia, they came storming back with a beatdown in Washington. I guess they're not tired. PASS on the side, and the total posted total makes me think we'll get a Jersey tempo - lean UNDER.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Charlotte Bobcats with a total of N/A;
Interestingly, some outlets are showing this game with the Lakers as a 5-point road favorite, but I think it's officially "down" right now. Regardless, the Lakers play their 4th in 5 nights against a Bobcats team that usually gives LA a pretty good fight. I realize the history isn't much, but Charlotte has covered 5 of the 6 meetings between these teams over the last handful of years, including a clubbing of LA last season in Charlotte. Can the Lakers get their energy back up after apparently running out of gas in the second half down in Orlando? Maybe. They have appeared to be on a mission, but heading into the All Star Break, this wouldn't be all that uncommon a spot for some of LA's veterans to put it in cruise control. Lean to the BOBCATS and the UNDER.
Atlanta Hawks (-3.5) @ Detroit Pistons with a total of 184.5;
Detroit beat the piss out of the Hawks the last time they visited Motown, which begs the question of why Atlanta is sitting at exactly the same line this time around. The Hawks aren't exactly playing good basketball, blowing a big early lead to the Bobcats in their last game, and losing 2 straight. On top of that, they play 2 road games before the Break, and then recommence with 5 more road games, so the Hawks aren't coming home for a while. Will the road trip galvanize them like it has seemed to do for the Lakers? Something tells me Atlanta would still prefer to be at home. I admit, I don't much like that Detroit is playing a back-to-back, a spot where I'd rather not back them, but I could certainly see Atlanta roll into town and get spanked again. Add it all up, very small lean to DETROIT, and the UNDER.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Milwaukee Bucks (-5) with a total of 190;
The Clippers are spiraling on this road trip, and after getting out to a half-decent start (at least ATS-wise), the Clippers have lost to Cleveland and Toronto, and the need for Eric Gordon, a proven scorer, is being exposed. Now, onto Milwaukee to face the defense-first Bucks, and on the second half of a back-to-back. This line is probably about where it should be - I can see Milwaukee taking care of business, because, simply put, they need it more. The Clippers have been on the road for quite some time already, and they're not but half-way through the 11-game marathon trip, looking forward to the All Star Break. The Bucks are still struggling to score, but the Clippers play next to no defense on the road, and right now, they're a 1-man gang away from home. Slight lean to BUCKS and the UNDER.
Portland Trailblazers (-3) @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of 201.5;
Portland has won all 3 games in this series to this point, and all 3 games have gone Over the total. Something's gotta give, doesn't it? Between those 2 plays, though, I'd have far more faith in the Under. Portland is a post-entry team, for the most part, and while Aldridge has been shooting the lights out, if he even settles back near 50%, it's a tempo that isn't conducive to running and gunning. Yes, Portland has been playing some higher scoring games, but looking at yesterday's contest with Detroit, the teams combined for a ridiculous 61 points in the 4th quarter. That game should have stayed under 200. But that's neither here nor there. More importantly, the 3 games between Portland and Minnesota this year have hit 209, 206 and 215, going Over the posted totals each time, despite each posted mark hovering right near 200, just like this one. And in each of those games, an anomaly presented itself. The teams combined for at least 30 offensive rebounds in all 3 games, and in the most recent tilt, the teams combined to shoot 70 free throws. Both of those numbers come down in this slightly fatigued spot for Portland, and revenge spot for Minny. Lean to WOLVES and more strongly to the UNDER.
Denver Nuggets @ Houston Rockets (-2.5) with a total of 222;
This game strikes me as a potential revenge spot for Denver, a team that just lost to Houston at the very difficult-to-win Pepsi Center. It might not be, though, given Denver won the first 2 meetings this year, one at each venue. Maybe more interesting than the revenge angle is that these teams have met 3 times already, and the totals have reached 201, 219 and 211, and yet this total comes out higher than any of those 3 games. Maybe that's because, despite the 200+ points scored in the previous games, neither team has really played all that well, offensively. Neither club has eclipsed 47% shooting in any game, and we've had a 20-turnover effort from Denver mixed in. Yes, there have been quite a few free throws in this series, but that would seem to be the norm. Clearing 222 isn't going to be easy, but something tells me this one gets there. Lean to DENVER in a shootout that goes OVER.