Sports Wagering: NBA
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls (-7) with a total of 202;
I'll say, if this game wasn't on TNT, I'd say Chicago is in a bit of a look-ahead spot. They travel to Boston for a game on Friday, and we all remember how incredible the Bulls-Celtics games can be. With that "potential" angle on the table, I think that makes this side very, very dangerous. If Chicago isn't fully focused, they might still win, but covering 7 is completely out of the question. If Chicago is focused, they should destroy the Knicks. They play better team defense, and Derrick Rose is absolutely a bona fide superstar. Looking at last year, though clearly the Knicks' roster has changed, the Bulls really did a great job of clamping down on NY, and held them to feeble shooting outputs in 3 of the 4 meetings. I think Chicago just has a nice handle on how NY wants to run their offense. That being said, the Knicks are better this year, as we've noted, but they're flawed. I happen to think this line is pretty accurate, but on the assumption that the Bulls won't shoot 62% two games in a row, lean to the KNICKERBOCKERS on the side. The total of 202 is pretty high, but we also saw Chicago doing a ton of running in their last game. We also saw a ridiculous number of free throws in that game, so when you add all the pieces together, and figure the Knicks probably aren't going to be valuing any sort of half-court possessions, this line is close to accurate yet again, but microscopic lean to the OVER, but only by a bucket or so.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trailblazers (-4.5) with a total of 191.5;
This game, like many others we'll profile this year (since these blogs are written long before games end the night before), will depend largely on how the Thunder-Clippers game goes tonight. So, new for 2010-11, I'll try to work those little "contingencies" into these writeups. First, the situationals -- the Thunder are, as noted, on a back-to-back, but that team is young enough and skilled enough to get it done. Obviously, depth is the true key to back-to-backs, and the Thunder aren't wildly deep, but those guys are horses, and young. Portland, meanwhile, is in its first game home off a relatively sizable road trip to LA, NY, Chicago and Milwaukee. This is a classic sluggish game for the Blazers, or at least the first half. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Thunder get out to the quick start because they're still warm from last night, then the Blazers come roaring back late when they acclimate to being home. Okay, so the situationals probably favor the Thunder by a bit. How about the math logic? If the Thunder beat the living pants off the Clippers on Wednesday, that will eliminate some of the value on them, and I'd be less likely to back them in Portland. If the Clippers play the Thunder tough, and Oklahoma City prevails late, I think relying on the situational angles is the best play. If the Clippers somehow beat the Thunder outright, Oklahoma City is practically a guaranteed play. Overall, lean to the THUNDER and the UNDER. I love typing that, but with Oklahoma coming out and saying they're going to step up their defense, and with Portland potentially getting out slowly, I can't see this one being run-n-gun.