Sports Wagering: NBA
Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers with a total of N/A;
Oddsmakers are being quite stodgy with Tuesday's lines, putting out lines on less than half the games on the board. This is one that got left out, but I believe has a decent reason. That reason: Mo Williams. He's been day-to-day since, basically, the season began, and his presence changes the Cavaliers by quite a bit, since this will basically be his team to run when he gets back on the court. With that in mind, oddsmakers are waiting a tad to make sure folks "in the know" can't take advantage of a soft line. The Cavs haven't played since Saturday, so they'll be more than adequately rested, and you have to think they'll be looking to make a small statement against another of the good teams in the League. The Hawks, meanwhile, are off to a 3-0 start, but haven't really been decisive in more than 1 of those games. They've been sneaking by, and I can't help but feel like that continues against a team that will probably be playing harder than Atlanta. Does Cleveland have the horses to keep up? Probably not, but I believe we'll be seeing Atlanta laying a small/medium number on the road, and that means lean to CLEVELAND and the UNDER.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards with a total of N/A;
The Sixers might quietly be the worst team in the NBA. Of course, there's a long way to go, but based on games one through three, they're in the bottom 3, at best. The have almost zero continuity on offense, the outside shooting is atrocious, and while Evan Turner might turn out to be a nice piece, he has some growing to do. Spencer Hawes and Mareese Speights are splitting time, and Jrue Holiday is still a project, too. Washington, as everyone knows, has John Wall, and while they haven't yet won a game, they competed with Atlanta for the full 48 minutes, and this is the home opener for the team with the #1 pick. D.C. is going to be rocking. The nerves might lead to a slow start, but I fail to see how Philadelphia wins this game. So, let's get a nice look at the line, which should be Washington by a short number, and with just a week of games to work with, both teams seem to be operating at a relatievly slow pace. Leans to the WIZARDS and the UNDER.
Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons with a total of N/A;
I have no idea how the Pistons are 0-3 SU so far. Well, I guess I do. This team has absolutely nothing going for it in the 4th quarter. The Pistons have been in great position to win all 3 games, but found ways to tank in the final 12 minutes, and are a nice 2-1 ATS despite that winless record. The Pistons generally play some good games with the Celtics, and I can't help but feel like Detroit is going to be one of those teams that can hang around in a lot of games, but lacks the star power to get some calls or make a big play. I love Rodney Stuckey's growth, but the interior is feeble at best. This line is off because of injury concerns. Rip Hamilton, Charlie Villanueva and Shaq are all questionable, so we'll have to wait on the line. In terms of expectations, Boston was a 4-point road favorite in Cleveland on the second half of a back-to-back, so we can expect this line to be pretty close to that, perhaps a shade higher. That's a lot of points for a Detroit team that has shown an ability to play at exactly the level of its competition. When can they clear the hump, though, because that's when an underdog is easier to back - when you know they can win. Still, given the way Boston has let teams come back, they are always a candidate for a back door. Lean to DETROIT and the OVER.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Miami Heat (-17) with a total of 193.5;
I don't even want to spend time breaking this game down. When you see a number like 17, you take the underdog. Don't even stop to think about it. The Heat beat down on the Magic and Nets, and they're going to have a tremendous year, but there are so, so many ways to backdoor a number like this that you can't even consider any other side play. It's going to be a long, long year for the Wolves yet again, but it's not like we can truly make an argument either way on a line like this. In fact, Miami backers would be best served with a game that stays close until midway through the 3rd quarter, so the starters play most of a game. If Miami gets too far ahead, reserves could let the lead slip to 14-15. Lean to MINNESOTA and the OVER, as the propensity for junk time means far, far less defense.
Orlando Magic (-6) @ New York Knicks with a total of 199;
I would love to come in here and write 45 good things about the Knicks, and how they're the truly sharp side, but in all honesty, I think this line isn't even close to as much value as we might have had on the Magic if they were coming off a blowout win. Instead, Orlando is off that humiliating performance in Miami, where they just got undressed by the Heat, and couldn't make a shot to save their lives. Lord knows Orlando is going to play some close games, and this could very well be one of them, but if I'm fading the Magic with a mediocre team, I want that team to be getting at least 7, maybe even 8. I think the Knicks have the offensive firepower to stay with most teams, but Dwight Howard makes getting easy buckets very difficult for anyone not named LeBron. I do think Amare Stoudemire can take advantage of Rashard Lewis, but the Magic play very good team defense, and if they make shots, which they usually do, it's going to be tough for the Knicks to get running. PASS on the side, and slight baby lean to OVER.
Portland Trailblazers @ Milwaukee Bucks (-2) with a total of 188;
My feelings on this game are largely dependent on how Portland's game in Chicago ends up. I'll quickly detail why. The Blazers opened their season at home, but promptly embarked on a 4 game road trip from LA to NY to Chicago to Milwaukee, and that finishes up today. Teams can often lack that killer instinct in the final game of a trip, and even though it's early in the season, this would be one of those look-ahead spots. That is, of course, contingent on Portland coming into this game overconfident. If they roll into town on the tail end of a back-to-back off a loss, you have to think the focus will jump up, and then the sluggish letdown game would instead be the first game home off the relatively lengthy trip. The Bucks, meanwhile, finally got themselves a win in their home opener, taking care of the Bobcats by 10. Milwaukee looked pretty bad on the road in their first 2 games, and have always been a much better home team...until last year, when they were good everywhere. Something tells me this team takes a small step back on the road, now that other teams know to bring their A-game when Milwaukee comes to town. Here, though, I think the line tells part of the story. Lean to MILWAUKEE and the UNDER.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Los Angeles Lakers with a total of N/A;
Zach Randolph is questionable with back pain, and that's the reason for a lack of line...it's also the reason I can't back Memphis, here. Randolph and his frontcourt buddy, Marc "Wolfbeast" Gasol can keep the Grizzlies in this game with their tenacity under the basket. The Lakers have incredible length and size, but "tougher" big men can move bodies around and outrebound even the taller Lakers. But without Randolph, Marc Gasol is going to be left to his devices, trying to fight with his brother and Lamar Odom to get boards. On the perimeter, Mike Conley is actually, in my opinion, the Grizzlies best option, since Kobe, Artest, and newly acquired Matt Barnes should be able to keep O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay relatively in check. Memphis played the Lakers tough in Memphis last year, but not in LA, and I have to give the Lakers credit - after opening the season with about 15 minutes of good basketball in a comeback win over the Rockets, the Lakers have looked downright pissed off in their last two games, and I can't help but think some of the new guys, combined with all the Heat coverage, are giving the Lakeshow a reason to beat teams into submission. I'm a little scared of this game, since the line won't be any lower than 7-8. Tiny lean to LAKERS, amazingly, and bigger lean to the UNDER, since I believe that because the Grizzlies have played 2 of 3 wildly up-tempo opponents, and all 3 of the Lakers opponents have played fast games, the total should be nicely inflated.