Still fighting whatever this cursed bug is...and honestly, I can't remember the last time I got sick this many times in a one year span. I blame Michigan...at least the Paid Play came through for a couple units, yesterday. Short card today, but I actually really like 3 games early in the process!
Sports Wagering: NBA
Miami Heat (-5.5) @ Indiana Pacers with a total of 205;
Rematch time, but I'm not sure this one is going to work like a typical revenge spot. The Pacers did EVERYTHING in their power to beat the Heat, and still came up just a hair short. This game reminds me an awful lot of the Heat's recent trip to Detroit, with a few small differences. One, the Pacers are still playing pretty well. I'm not willing to crown Coach Vogel the hero of Indianapolis, but the team is hot, and that can't be argued. Two, the Heat are coming off a loss in Boston that snapped the team's 8-game win streak. You all know how I like to fade teams off a long win streak, though the Heat have shown some solid resiliency off a loss this season, aside from when 2/3 of the Heatles got hurt. And three, the Heat just fell out of the top spot in the East, and something tells me LeBron doesn't take kindly to that. I know this line is inflated, and I also realize that the 5.5 is a dubious number, but I think Indy fired their bullets in Miami - lean to the HEAT and the UNDER.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Memphis Grizzlies (-4) with a total of 190.5;
I find it unfair that oddsmakers would force two of the hotter teams in the NBA to play one another. Throughout most of the season, these two teams have been some of the best ATS wagers in the League, so picking between the two seems almost sacrilegious. Hoowwweevverr, the Grizzlies beat the Sixers on a ridiculous comeback effort on the road just about 3 weeks ago, and something tells me Philly hasn't forgotten that game, even if a lot of us have. I love the way Memphis is dominating the painted area (quoth the Hubie Brown), but with this being the Grizzlies' final game before the All Star Break, and Philly on revenge with another game to go before their own hiatus, I can't help but like the SIXERS and the OVER.
Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder with a total of N/A;
It would appear Durant's day-to-day status is keeping this line off the board, and I suppose he's high profile enough to warrant it. Between his injury and the potential revenge angle, I'm not 100% sure what to make of this game. The Thunder beat Sacramento by just 2 points in Northern California only a couple days ago, but Sacramento destroyed Oklahoma on the glass, and it almost seems like, from looking at the box score, the Kings should have won that game. So, do we see an extra-motivated Thunder team coming home, trying to show that Sacramento "hanging tough" was an aberration, or do we see the Kings come out with confidence, feeling like if they make a few shots, they can beat the vaunted Thunder? Tough to say, and without knowing Durant's status, and given the locker room mess coming from the Kings side, they would be a tough team to back. PASS on the side, most likely, small totals lean to the OVER, line depending.
Charlotte Bobcats @ Chicago Bulls (-9.5) with a total of 182.5;
Fatigue versus sluggishness in the ultimate battle of who can be more off their game. In general, I'd probably err towards backing the team that could be considered fatigued, but this matchup is striking in that the better of the two teams is actually 0-2 against the lesser. Is that a sign that Charlotte just matches up well with Chicago? Maybe. Did Charlotte catch Chicago at a couple of bad times? That's tough to argue, really. I would certainly argue that Chicago coming home off a 5-game road trip isn't a particularly good spot for the Bulls, but Charlotte traveling to Illinois off a game with the Lakers. This total is probably pretty close to where it should be, but given how poorly the teams have shot in both previous meetings, I could see this squeaking by. Slight leans to CHARLOTTE and the OVER.
Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns with a total of N/A;
We'll keep this one relatively simple - the Jazz got beat by Phoenix like a schoolyard bully takes down the first kid to get glasses, and the post-Sloan era kicked off with a whimper. Luckily, Utah gets to travel to Phoenix on a ton of rest and try to atone for that loss very, very quickly. It's rare when a team can make up for an ugly effort so quickly, but Utah has this opportunity, and I expect them to shoot a whole heck of a lot better than they did at home. Utah forced only 6 turnovers by the Suns (committing 14, themselves), got beat on the offensive glass, and shot only 12 free throws. That is some weak, weak aggression. Utah turns it up in this one, there's zero question in my mind. Is that enough to overcome the lack of true leadership? Only time will tell, but I have to like UTAH on revenge, and some significantly less hideous offense from both sides leans me OVER.
New Orleans Hornets @ Golden State Warriors (-1.5) with a total of 201;
So far, the road team has won each game in this series, this year. And, if it wasn't completely evident by the short paragraph that follows, this is not one of the games on the card that I find particularly compelling. The Hornets have been wholly unimpressive since losing Emeka Okafor to injury, and while they did pick up a somewhat unexpected road win in Orlando, they came right back home and got spanked by Chicago. The Warriors can't beat Phoenix, but they're playing alright against everyone else. I happen to think this game is, in fact, decided by a bucket or two, and while I think Golden State has the better offensive firepower to get it done (certainly without Okafor defending the paint), it's not among my list of games I want to bet. Tiny, and I mean tiny side lean to the WARRIORS, and with both previous meetings going well over the total, I think this one is a little more plodding, lean UNDER.