Sports Wagering: NBA
Portland Trailblazers @ Chicago Bulls (-1.5) with a total of 190;
Maybe I'm alone in this, but despite covering their last one, I'm not that impressed with Chicago so far. Joakim Noah has looked like a solid hustle player, and we know Derrick Rose is a baller, but overall, Chicago could very easily be 0-2 if not for a complete meltdown by the Detroit Pistons in what's becoming the norm for Detroit. Now, Chicago plays host to the Blazers, who have had Chicago's number of late, and are already 2-0 on this road trip. Here's what I'm really seeing in this game. The Blazers are on the penultimate road trip game, with the concluding contest tomorrow night in Milwaukee. That makes me think they'll give something of a 75% effort in at least one of these 2 games, most likely tomorrow. If Portland plays as well as Detroit did for 40 minutes, they'll beat a Chicago team that looks a little out of sorts, for no clear reason. On the other hand, Chicago's momentum from the conclusion of that last game could carry over, but can they bring it for 4 full quarters? It figures to reason that Chicago is a 1.5-point favorite in a game that should be pretty close. Slight lean to PORTLAND and UNDER.
Toronto Raptors @ Sacramento Kings (-2.5) with a total of 209;
This game has a pair of competing angles. Toronto is starting a 4-game road trip, so they're traveling cross-country and playing their first road game. What will we get? The Toronto that got roughed up a bit by the Knicks, or the Toronto that bounced back strong against a Cavs team in a little letdown spot? And then, what of Sacramento? The Kings have played 3 straight on the road to open the 2010 season, winning in Minnesota and in Cleveland, but dropping one late to the Nets in between. This is bordering on the "first game home" theory we discussed at length last year, but because it's Sacramento's home opener, I have to think that washes out any sluggishness that might normally set in when a team comes back after being in hotels for a week or two. That, to me, would explain a line shift towards Sacramento, which we're already witnessing even before the books' computers are warm. I've been wrong before, and will be again, but I believe that, a week into the season, most people won't realize that the Kings haven't played at Arco yet, where they're generally pretty darn tough. Lean to SACRAMENTO and the OVER.
San Antonio Spurs (-6.5) @ Los Angeles Clippers with a total of 195;
Has any team underachieved as much as the Clippers in the first week of the season? I realize it's very, very early, but the return of Blake Griffin had Clippers fans everywhere (namely, Frankie Muniz and the rest of the Malcolm in the Middle crew) excited about a potential season of progress. Well, so far, this team looks like they need to figure out how to play together. Is it because Baron Davis came to camp fat? Is it because Blake Griffin is the "man" and the rest of the guys don't know how to play through him? It's tough to say, because, from a pure roster standpoint, I like the Clips. I like Kaman enough, Eric Gordon is solid, Craig Smith is a nice bulldozer off the bench, Rasual Butler is a sniper. But, put the pieces together, and they're disjointed and confused. I'm pretty sure I only watched about 14 minutes of the Clippers-Mavericks game yesterday, and I think I saw Baron Davis hit backboard on 2 threeballs. Mix that with about 4 turnovers in 6 possessions, and the Mavs ran away. But this is why there are spreads. The Spurs are laying 6.5 or 7 on the road against a team not from Jersey. If we do the math, add in the back-to-back, and this line is claiming the Spurs are roughly 7.5 or 8 points better than the Clips on a neutral court. That's at least a point, perhaps even 1.5 points more than the Spurs were laying (on a neutral site) to the Pacers to open the year, and that was the home opener. This line is inflated, and even though the Clippers look terrible, it's a lean to LA or nothing...and the UNDER...thanks to the Spurs slow starts and especially slow road starts.