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Sports Wagering: NBA
Memphis Grizzlies @ Philadelphia 76ers (-3.5) with a total of 192;
The Sixers have covered 5 in a row and have won 3 in a row, straight up. The Grizzlies are coming off a loss to the Nets, are playing the final game of a 4-game road trip, and just lost O.J. Mayo for 10 games for "accidentally" taking an "over-the-counter" medication directly into his ass-cheek. Lean to the SIXERS until they give us reason to do otherwise, and the UNDER.
Milwaukee Bucks (-2.5) @ Toronto Raptors with a total of 192;
Toronto is a disaster, losing 9 straight games overall. The rebounding butt-kicking they took at the hands of Philadelphia make me wonder just how brutalized they will get by a physical, defensive team like Milwaukee. The Bucks can't score, but this short number, as evidenced by Toronto's miserable effort in their last game, is coverable for the road team. I don't like either side a ton, but I can't back the Raptors right now. Tiny lean to MILWAUKEE and the OVER, because, frankly, this total just looks "eerily" high.
New Jersey Nets @ Indiana Pacers (-5.5) with a total of 193;
Oddsmakers really like those totals in the low 190's so far. Jersey is quietly playing better, winning, and covering 4 of 5 games, but those all came at home. Indiana has lost 6 in a row, and is coming off getting spanked by Orlando. I desperately want to back Jersey just because of which team is hot, but Indiana in a second game back home is a better situational spot, and Jersey can't score away from home. Even tinier lean to PACERS, and small lean to the UNDER.
Detroit Pistons @ Miami Heat (-10.5) with a total of 190.5;
Miami could have been on a letdown if they had won in New York last night; instead, they're going to be playing angry, if a little tired from the travel. The Pistons are on revenge from getting blasted in Miami earlier this year when in a fatigue spot themselves. Detroit has been keeping most games competitive, but I would almost prefer Miami not be on back-to-back and lay 12.5 or 13. This line is close to correct, but I think Detroit can just barely squirm under double digits with 3-point shooting. Small lean to the PISTONS and the OVER.
New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks (-6.5) with a total of 207;
I'm torn between thinking the Knicks suffer a monster letdown off the huge win over Miami, and thinking the Knicks ride a tidal wave of momentum into this game and just blow a slumping Hawks team right out of the water. The Knicks are on revenge in this one, so it's possible they get fired back up, and looking back at what the Knicks have done this year, it seems like they take tough losses a lot harder than average, and feed off emotional wins. I know it goes against most of what I typically preach, but I don't actually think New York lets down for one more game, then maybe they collapse against Detroit. Lean to the KNICKS and the OVER.
Denver Nuggets (-10) @ Cleveland Cavaliers with a total of 216;
The Cavaliers are turning into a decent value, but I want no part of this game. We're hearing now that Denver has put a special emphasis in getting wins on this road trip and shaking the tag of a "bad road team." So far, so good in that regard, beating two less-than-stellar clubs, but ones that could have posed a problem to a less focused Nuggets club. This one just screams the word, so I'll make it my lean: PASS on the side! Very slight totals lean to the OVER, if indeed Denver continues to impose its tempo.
Orlando Magic @ Chicago Bulls (-1) with a total of 188;
There is no angle any stronger than revenge in this game. Chicago had just come home from an epic Circus Road trip earlier this year, and Orlando took full advantage of a tired, sluggish Bulls club, and whipped Chicago by 30 here in the Windy City. Chicago will not take kindly to that, and I expect a colossal effort, especially on the defensive end. Nothing more need be said - lean to the BULLS and the UNDER.
Washington Wizards @ Oklahoma City Thunder (-10) with a total of 206.5;
The Wizards begin a 4-game in 5 night road trip through some of the West's tougher destinations. Do they finally get a road win in this set? I have to think that, yes, they do. And I mostly just say that because this might be the Wizards' toughest 4-game road trip of the year, so it makes zero sense that they'd get a win here. And because nothing makes sense, they'll win one. Will it be this one? I doubt it, but Oklahoma City is hosting Miami on Sunday, so they might look a little past the pathetic Wiz, and you know darn well that Washington's effort on the road gets more and more intense with every loss. WASHINGTON keeps it under double digits, and the Thunder suffer a sandwich letdown off the crazy OT game with Minny before the showdown with the Heat, keeping it UNDER.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Utah Jazz (-9) with a total of 215;
Utah has lost 6 in a row, Minnesota has lost 5 in a row. Do we really want to put a bet on a team that can't win? Either way, we're screwed. Minnesota is on a little revenge, but that team isn't good enough to care about those types of angles, at least not as much as they might against a team near their own skill level. Minnesota might sense Utah is struggling and try to take advantage, and with Deron Williams hyperextending a wrist (and likely playing through it), the line won't reflect his injury. There may be a hair of value on MINNESOTA (lord knows I wouldn't touch Utah), and Utah's recent sloppy play rubs off and keeps it UNDER.
Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers (-13) with a total of 199.5;
A rivalry game that you know the kid brother takes more seriously, and one where said kid brother has had 2 days off to prepare. Meanwhile, the Lakers (you didn't think LA was the kid brother, did you?) is coming off a merciless beating of the Jazz, and has Boston on the horizon. This is a big-time game for the young Kings who lost by 12 and 33 to the Lakers, so far this year, and this is a meaningless distraction game for the Lakers, who likely feel they have bigger fish to fry. Lean to the KINGS and the UNDER.
Boston Celtics (-4.5) @ Phoenix Suns with a total of 202;
The results of Boston's game in Portland do weigh a bit on how we break this one down, but Boston's failures in back-to-back spots are fairly well-documented this year, and the flight from Portland to Phoenix (while losing an hour) is no cheapie. This is a horrible spot for the Celts, who play the Lakers after the Suns, and this is a game that Phoenix needs to get back on track. Side note - these teams haven't played since late 2009. Thought that was kind of interesting. Lean to the SUNS and the OVER.
Charlotte Bobcats @ Golden State Warriors (-4) with a total of 203.5;
More revenge at hand, I do declare. The Warriors beat the Bobcats by a single tally right after Paul Silas took over, and something tells me the new-tempo Bobcats haven't forgotten. Plus, they're rolling, winning in Sacramento and Phoenix back-to-back, and now taking aim at a Warriors team that is having all kinds of trouble defending anybody. I would love to see Charlotte keep this one close to the finish, since they play a 4th in 5 nights tomorrow against the Clippers, and we can set up to fade them then. For now, though, I prefer to ride the hot hand, especially when it's on revenge. Lean to the BOBCATS and the OVER.