That's right, friends - a Mary Poppins reference. It's potential "Broom Day" in the NBA, and what film depicts a chimney sweep in a better light than Poppins?
Not a bad Sunday. Not a bad Sunday, indeed.
Let's hope that NBA winner marks the start of a nice little NBA burst, following up a relatively fetid week of getting beat by big-name marquee teams. But, we stuck with what we know works, dropped a 2* on the Celtics, and Rajon Rondo was absolutely incredible en route to a Boston win, and a 2-2 series tie.
We did, however, drop a unit on our MLB selection, so the day wasn't all good. It was a positive day, winning the bigger play, but I'm not going to be satisfied unless we nail both/all of our plays on any given day.
Short MLB card coming up tonight with a number of teams getting the day off, and two NBA games with teams going for the sweep. Very, very curious card.
Sports Wagering: NBA
Magic @ Hawks - Orlando by 5.5 with a total of 193.5. This series has redefined "ugly," and I almost don't know what to say about the Hawks. They looked horrible, and I'm honestly not surprised to see this line as high as it is. This is hugely inflated on the Magic's side, with books knowing that without giving the Hawks all kinds of insane value (and 5.5 points at home in the 2nd Round of the Playoffs is a ton of points), they just wouldn't get any money on Atlanta. So, the question is, can the Hawks ever really get anything going against the Magic? I mean, this line is absolutely begging someone to get on the Hawks and take those points, but I don't know if there's a tougher wager to make over the past 6 months. Atlanta has lost the 3 games of this series by over 80 points, combined, so they're not even staying close. They made some shots in the first half of game 2, but then went into the same old stagnant offense, terrible body language, and got creamed every moment since. Obviously, off a 30-point home loss, the value is on the Atlanta side, but I can't really get behind that type of selection. If anything, this might be a game where we want to look more at the total. The last one hit just 180 in a relatively slow-paced game, where, once again, the Hawks clanked their way to a 35% shooting night, and the Magic were up over 50%. What we saw in the clincher against the Bobcats was that the Magic's defense wasn't quite as strong, and I wonder if that doesn't mean we're due for one to creep up Over the total. Absolutely no leans on the side yet, slight lean to the Over, but with the Hawks' body language, this game might be called for cab out of town.
Lakers @ Jazz - Utah by 2.5 with a total of 205.5. You've really got to feel for the Jazz after that game three loss. They didn't so much get outplayed by the Lakers, but just ended up on the wrong end of an Artest/Odom/Fisher three-point barrage. Considering Ron-Ron was shooting 10% from beyond the arc, then cracked off a 4-of-5 night going into the final few minutes, the Jazz just had to feel cursed. But it is what it is, and after going up by 4 points in the late stages, the Lakers just splashed through a few more buckets, and suddenly Utah was fouling late. It's really remarkable how all of these road teams have come in and crushed hopes in game three, all across the Playoffs, but as we talked about before, oddsmakers aren't foolish. They set lines in a particular way for a reason, and they knew Utah was going to bring a big-time effort. I think the step-up performances from just about every Lakers guard surprised sharps and oddsmakers alike, and this line, with the Jazz still favored, has that same ring to it. Kobe is clearly awake, and it seems like his injuries are getting better with each passing day. The Jazz don't want to get swept, but no one does. This line is a bit of a coin-flip, I think. It's tough to get up for a game when you know your shot of coming back in a series is about as close to zero as possible, but we saw Wade lead the Heat to an impressive "pride" win. You guys can tell when I'm beating around the bush, though: no lean on the side, lean to the Under on the total - I just can't see this type of outside shooting from both teams. The Lakers are going to want to make sure Bynum gets more involved, and they'll try to make this one a little uglier than the last one.
Sports Wagering: MLB
Reds @ Pirates (-115) with a total of 8.5; B. Arroyo vs. R. Ohlendorf;
Joey Votto is 4-for-5 with a HR off Ohlendorf;
Ryan Church is 4-for-10 with a 4 RBI off Arroyo.
Why does every Reds game seem to have a strange line? Cincinnati is playing solid baseball, but, for what it's worth, the Pirates have been playing alright, as well. Cincy hits the road here off winning 2 of 3 from the Cubs at home, and they're the dog to the Pirates? Arroyo isn't having much of a year, so far, but we know how streaky he can be, and Ross Ohlendorf isn't really the "big name" we would expect to get the Pirates to be a favorite. It seems like there's some value here with the Reds, but this line move could make all the difference. I want to lean Pirates to keep up the home winning, but can I really lay favorite money on Pittsburgh against a team playing well?
Nationals @ Mets (-140) with a total of 8.5; L. Atilano vs. J. Maine;
There's no real data on Atilano, but there's plenty with Maine. Only problem is that the current crop of Nats is just horrible against Maine, who, to his credit, has gotten a little better in his more recent starts (2 ER in 6 innings against LAD, 1 ER in 6 innings against CIN). I happen to think this price is pretty accurate, especially with the way the Mets play at home, using speed and defense to try to win more "old school" types of games. You guys all know we start with the dog and move to the fave, and the Mets recent pitching and home play warrants leaving the dog, but not sure about getting on the favorite.
Marlins @ Cubs (-165) with a total of N/A; N. Robertson vs. T. Lilly;
Ronny Paulino is 7-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lilly since '05;
Dan Uggla is 2-for-5 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Lilly since '05;
Marlon Byrd is 3-for-5 off Robertson since '05.
Too high a price for Ted Lilly, too much risk to take the Marlins, who can't seem to get an out late in the game on the road. Especially here, Robertson could get absolutely shellacked, and Lilly is getting a little better with each pitch he throws. He's still not at full strength, so I think you have to at least give a peek at the Marlins, but with both teams struggling, this is a spot where you can either pick the lesser evil, or find value elsewhere. Elsewhere, it is.
Braves (-150) @ Brewers with a total of 8.5; T. Hanson vs. D. Davis;
Omar Infante is 2-for-5 off Davis with 2 RBI;
Chipper Jones is 3-for-8 off Davis with a HR since '05;
Brian McCann is 4-for-11 off Davis since '05;
Martin Prado is 3-for-5 off Davis;
Ryan Braun is 3-for-7 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Hanson.
Fear the Braun. It seems if Hanson can pitch around Braun, he should be in okay shape, and considering how downright awful Doug Davis has been, there's just no reason to back him. This is a trademark "Pass" game for me. Zero value on the struggling road team with the good starter, and zero value on the hot-and-cold home team with the terrible starter and aging bullpen.
Phillies @ Rockies (-111) with a total of 11; K. Kendrick vs. G. Smith;
Chase Utley is a perfect 3-for-3 off Smith;
Todd Helton is 4-for-9 off Kendrick;
Seth Smith is 3-for-4 off Kendrick.
This game is a pick, and that almost feels like a nice price for the Rockies. The Phillies can demolish teams when they're clicking, but they're not altogether flowing right now, and they're absolutely stronger when they're at home. The concern here is definitely Greg Smith, and also the health of Troy Tulowitzki, who left yesterday's game with a leg injury. Tulo is too important to take a chance.
Dodgers (-115) @ D'backs with a total of 10.5; C. Billingsley vs. R. Lopez;
Ronnie Belliard was 4-for-11 off Lopez before 2010;
Reed Johnson wa 3-for-10 off Lopez before 2010;
Stephen Drew crushes Billingsley, batting almost .400 off him since '05 on over 40 AB;
Chris Young is batting .308 off Billingsley with a HR before 2010.
Billingsley isn't right. He still hasn't gone over 6 innings in any start this year, and while his ERA is "settling" near 5, which is better than it was 3 weeks ago, he's still just not right. Chad already had a 5.2 inning, 6 run effort against these D'backs in mid-April, so his solid career numbers can almost be thrown out the window, and the Dodgers road struggles make this a very difficult time to back them. I expect LA to play better within the Division, and they hit Lopez well when they faced him before, but I don't think you can back LA on the road right now. D'backs or nothing.
Yankees (-125) @ Tigers with a total of 10; S. Mitre vs. D. Willis;
Another game without much in the way of background. Randy Winn is about the only Yankee with more than a couple AB off Willis, and Adam Everett is just about the only Tiger that has even seen Mitre. Andy Pettitte would have started this one, but some very mild inflammation has led to his spot being skipped, and now we get to see if the D-Train can tackle a prolific lineup like New York's. The Yanks beat up on Detroit last year, so I'm hesitant to make a play on this one, with New York winning a series in Boston (losing the finale late last night), they're playing good baseball. I hate to back a team in a bullpen-game, but this is a heck of a price on New York.
Blue Jays @ Red Sox (-171) with a total of 9; B. Morrow vs. J. Lackey;
Alex Gonzalez is 4-for-11 off Lackey;
Adam Lind is 4-for-6 off Lackey;
Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-7 with a HR off Morrow;
Victor Martinez is 2-for-2 off Morrow before this year.
There is definitely going to be a game this series where we can jump on the Jays, but this is just not the one. The Sox are feeling good after a breakout offensive bopping of A.J. Burnett and the Yanks last night, and Brandon Morrow is the next victim. Lackey has a nice career ERA against the Jays, and I think Boston beats the hell out of Toronto in this one. We'll pounce on the Blue Jays, maybe against Beckett later this series?
Rays (-155) @ Angels with a total of 8.5; M. Garza vs. J. Pineiro;
Pat Burrell is 2-for-2 off Pineiro since '05;
Carl Crawford is 3-for-6 off Pineiro since '05 with 2 RBI;
Kendry Morales is 2-for-2 off Garza with a HR and 2 RBI;
Torii Hunter is 2-for-4 and Erick Aybar is 2-for-5 with 3 RBI off Garza.
Pineiro is 2-4, 5.70 ERA against the Rays, and red hot Matt Garza is 0-1, 6.46 ERA against Anaheim. I'd say the over is the sneaky play, but the Rays are coming off getting perfecto'd by Dallas Braden, so they're not hitting at all, and the Angels are somewhat hit-or-miss lately. I would err towards the home dog with the way the Rays are stinking it up, but Garza (and his 5-1, 2.09 numbers) are tough to fade right now.