Well, I largely missed the action yesterday, I admit, while flying across this fine nation (well, first across it, then up it...thank to you all the airlines that make getting to Detroit so time-consuming).
Still, I must say, landing and seeing over 20 posts in the blog while I was in the air, the helpful question-answering that took place with some of the blog veterans helping out those that are getting into NBA for the first time touched the sports betting pockets of my heart.
But enough fuzz. Let's get down to business, and a return to normalcy (Michigan) for me! And yes, I'm going to go back to selling some daily plays for those that dig that sorta thing!
Sports Wagering: NBA
Orlando Magic (-5) @ Indiana Pacers with a total of 200.5;
I feel pretty similarly in this game to how I felt about the Clippers/Mavs game yesterday. You have one team that's overrated (Clippers yesterday, Magic today), and one team that hasn't been playing well at all and isn't in a great situational spot (Mavs yesterday, Pacers today). And what happened? That's right, exactly what we expected, and the game landed right smack dab on the number, and as we also predicted, went over the total. Today, we have the Pacers coming home off a tiring 4-game western swing, losers of 5 straight, taking on the Magic, who themselves are off a loss to the Pistons, at home. Which angle is more significant? I suppose the Pacers' fatigue, maybe, but I'd rather have no part of it. Ubertiny lean to the MAGIC and the OVER.
Philadelphia 76ers (-3) @ Toronto Raptors with a total of 199;
This line seems like a slight overadjustment, but maybe I'm out of sorts from travel. Is Philadelphia really 6 points better on a neutral court, and even moreso if we're working off the current line (it appears to be as high as 4.5 at some outs)? I would definitely consider a play on Philly if they were doing the hosting and laying a small-to-medium number, but laying points on the road means you've turned the corner as a team. The only reason I can see this line being as high as it is would be double revenge, but really, Philly strikes me as another of those teams that's more concerned about improving by the game than trying to exact revenge on some sort of evildoers. Bottom line - Philadelphia is the better team, but they're not quite road favorite material in my book. I lean to TORONTO in their 2nd game back home off a long roadie, and I like the OVER.
Memphis Grizzlies (-3) @ New Jersey Nets with a total of 191;
Memphis, on the other hand, is a team that has done enough to earn some small road favorite lines, though I happen to believe this one is pretty close to where it should be. Jersey is playing better back in their own building, winning 3 of 4 games on the current stand, and the only loss was by a single point to the Dallas Mavericks. The Grizzlies are no slouches, winners of 3 straight, but they're still not, in my estimation, truly battle-tested away from home. They barely beat Toronto on Monday, and another slip in focus like that will land Memphis on the losing end of a very winnable game. I like the Grizzlies - I believe they are a team that is very close to being relevant (significant improvement from Mike Conley or O.J. Mayo might get them there), but right now, I'm still not quite a believer. Lean to JERSEY and the UNDER.
Denver Nuggets (-2.5) @ Detroit Pistons with a total of 204.5;
The Pistons keep surprising people, but let's not forget, it was Dan Bebe that said they might be the biggest surprise of the season in the Season Preview podcast. Just sayin'. I know, a long way to go, and they blew for the first 2 months, but quietly the Pistons have won 5 of 7, and are actually 12-9 in their home building. Of course, we got burned fading the Nuggets last night, and I'm not sure I want to get nailed again. Fool me once, so on and so forth. Still, the Pistons beat Orlando on the road, they beat the Suns in a defensive battle (yeah, what?), they beat Dallas, and nearly took down the Celtics in Boston. Ever since Rip Hamilton got the semi-boot, Detroit is playing with fire, and some of the young guys are showing up. I don't particularly like taking the team with the big talent disadvantage only getting 2.5 points, but with apologies to the Nuggets (who will probably go out and make me look stupid for a second straight day), I lean to DETROIT and the OVER. Temper these leans though, as Detroit is playing this one between games in Orlando and Miami, so the potential for a sandwich is in full effect.
Atlanta Hawks (-2) @ Milwaukee Bucks with a total of 180.5;
Atlanta Hawks lines are all over the place, and I suppose the credit should go to Al Horford. Big Al missed a few games, the Hawks got slammed by the Hornets, then showed up as 3-point underdogs in Charlotte, and wiped the floor with the Bobcats. Now they're back to being road favorites against the offensively challenged Bucks in a series where the road team has won every game this year. We can, for all intents and purposes, wipe the slate clean on this showdown. The Bucks got their playoff revenge in the first meeting, the Hawks got home revenge from that first loss, and now they meet again, with Milwaukee grasping for points, and Atlanta trying to stay focused long enough to get home court in any playoff round. This line is probably pretty accurate, since the first two games haven't been close, and that makes me think I'll take a jetlag PASS on the side, and look at the UNDER on the total.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of 220.5;
That total high enough? Geez! This game is a complete wasteland of angles. Aside from the obvious, which is that Minnesota is on something like sextuple-revenge, or more, there's just not much to go on. The Thunder are coming off a SU loss, so that would be a small reason to consider backing them, but they're also not playing that superbly overall. On top of that, the Thunder are on a run of 4 straight "unders" while the Wolves are in a 3-game "over" romp. Everything about this game screams PASS, so we'll do that on two straight sides, and I believe Durant name-recognition and crazy high-scoring Wolves games have inflated the total just a hair - I lean UNDER.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets with a total of N/A;
I thought about starting this short paragraph by saying that I might consider the Over no matter the line, but then I rethought that remark. Still, you get the point. The Clippers have some of the worst road defense in the League, and right now, Houston has completely abandoned defense in favor of just firing up as many shots as humanly possible. It's the mark of a team that knows it's going to be out-sized almost every night, and such is the case for the Rockets. Chuck Hayes, god bless his soul, is not a full-size center (though I did add him in a fantasy league and have enjoyed his well-rounded work so far). So, the Clippers, a team that certainly doesn't lack athleticism and features the highest first-quarter scoring offense in the NBA, gets to go head-to-head with a team that doesn't feel like playing on half the court. Eric Gordon being out does concern me on the side, so I don't really know where this line is going to open, but I believe Houston wins by a narrow margin in a high-scoring game. Make of that what you will when the line comes out.
Charlotte Bobcats @ Phoenix Suns (-5.5) with a total of 201;
This line is all kinds of crazy-low, considering Charlotte is just now finishing up a game in Sacramento. This is a very tough fatigue spot for the Bobcats, but then, Phoenix isn't in the best of spots, either. The Suns are set to play their first home game off a 5-game road trip, and one that concluded with 2 straight losses to Detroit and Philadelphia. Phoenix looked tired, and as you all know, I love to play on streaks in the NBA, especially for a hot-and-cold team like the Suns. And, maybe most importantly, the Bobcats are actually excellent against the Suns. They match up supremely well with Phoenix for some reason (believe me, I've tried to figure out exactly why, and I'm still not sure), and Charlotte has won the last 3 meetings, including last year's game in Phoenix. All 3 of those games went Over the total, too. Why fight it? Leans to CHARLOTTE and the OVER.
San Antonio Spurs (-2.5) @ Utah Jazz with a total of 198.5;
This is a tough, tough way for the Jazz to come home off a road trip - a back-to-back, in altitude, off a game with the Lakers? Yes, the Jazz lose an hour to time zones, they're going to be sucking wind, and taking on the team with the best record in the NBA, and a team that has already beat them once in Utah this year. Be warned, people. If you like the Spurs, bet them immediately, because this line is only going up, courtesy of the Jazz getting absolutely murdered by the Lakers. Do I like laying chalk on a team in Salt Lake City? No way, but I sure as heck can't play the Jazz right now. They're a total mess. At this current number, lean to SPURS and the UNDER.
New Orleans Hornets @ Golden State Warriors with a total of N/A;
Steph Curry's potential injury is keeping this number off the board, but I actually don't think Curry is going to be a big difference-maker in this game whether he plays or not. Chris Paul can put the clamps on the young guard. The Warriors need another monster game from Monta Ellis if they're going to pull off another upset over New Orleans like they did a couple weeks back. That, of course, puts the Hornets on revenge, and considering New Orleans has won 9 games in a row, getting that little something extra is probably not an enviable spot to be, if you're a Warriors fan. The Hornets are playing some of the best defense that I've seen from any team at any point this year, and I expect Emeka Okafor to continue his dominance of the paint against the small, quick style of play we have come to expect from Golden State. If I'm betting Hornets, I'd prefer not to have to cover a number bigger than 2-3, but let's see what we've got. In my mind, I lean to the HORNETS and the UNDER.