Sports Wagering: NBA
Detroit Pistons @ Atlanta Hawks with a total of N/A;
No surprise this line is off - Detroit has injury issues (already), and both teams are playing on Tuesday night, so the results of those games are going to impact this line quite a bit. Certainly, if you're looking to find a way to back Detroit, you'd love to see the Pistons play a decent game against Boston, maybe cover by a bucket, OR get completely blasted, since both would leave value on the Pistons side. Problem here is that Detroit isn't deep in the frontcourt, and, when healthy, feature 3 starters that are more than getting on in their years. Tayshaun, Rip and Big Ben are always banged up, and big minutes on back-to-back nights is often disastrous for a slow, old team. Atlanta, meanwhile, has a game in Cleveland to worry about beforehand, then comes home for this one, which should feature a relatively beefy line, perhaps right around 10. The Hawks are younger, bigger and stronger, and should fair better on the second night of 2, making a "fair" line on this game actually a small value on the Atlanta side. Sorry Detroit, I know you're the team in my back yard, but you were epically bad in fatigue spots last year, and I don't see how much changes. Lean to ATLANTA and to the OVER since the Hawks are going to run Detroit ragged, if they have their way.
Charlotte Bobcats @ New Jersey Nets (Pk) with a total of 185;
The Nets have been able to squeeze by a few bad teams at home with the help of some wild 4th quarter comebacks, and then got absolutely destroyed by a much better opponent, and now finally have a chance to play a team from the middle of the pack. The Bobcats, historically bad on the road, open at a Pick line with the single worst team in the NBA from a year ago. How many playoff teams can go into Jersey and not get favored by even a point? This is a strong opening number for the Nets, and Charlotte is a very tidy 0-3 to start the year. The more the losses mount, the more pressure starts to build - just ask the guys on the other side of the court. Here's my take - this game is going to be hard-fought. Charlotte knows they can get their first win against a bad team, but really have looked downright bad so far. Can you back a team that hasn't yet played a good game? I cannot, at least not one that has no track record. Lean to JERSEY and the UNDER.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Orlando Magic (-16.5) with a total of 200;
Wowzers! Back-to-back nights for both teams, but we get the deliciously insane opening number regardless. I guess oddsmakers figure there's not much point in waiting to put out a number like this one. Outside of an injury to Dwight Howard, there isn't much that's going to move this opening number more than a half point, so the books are willing to take some early action. This is a total stay-away game. Orlando could very well win by 35, but at that number, the only way I'd ever consider is the underdog. But there's already turmoil in Minnesota a week into the season, with coach Kurt Rambis getting told by the worthless T'Wolves brass that he absolutely, positively has to play Kevin Love in the 4th quarter, no matter what. Point guard Jonny Flynn is getting ready to return, but he'll have minimal impact on a game that no one should bother watching. Just put your 1/10th of a unit play on the Wolves plus the points, do it all year long, and then go back after the season ends and buy yourself a steak dinner on the 1-2 units of winnings. PASS on the side, lean to UNDER.
Indiana Pacers @ Philadelphia 76ers (-1.5) with a total of 202;
Outside of a stretch at the beginning of the 4th quarter in San Antonio, I've really liked how Indiana's offense has looked this year. The defense still needs a ton of work, but as Darren Collison gets more comfortable with this team, and as Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough work themselves into the mix, and as Mike Dunleavy's minutes increase, the Pacers are a team that should actually get better as the year goes on. Philadelphia played last night in Washington, so this line is actually about 2 points lower than it would have been otherwise, and it's a darn shame because the Pacers +3.5 against a team, in my opinion, that's not as good as them would have been a nice play. Instead, the line is basically negligible, and the Sixers find themselves in one of the few situations where they actually excelled last year, on back-to-backs. They covered a ton of spreads in "fatigue" spots. They did not, however, at home. This game also features the added "REVENGE" angle, since Indiana beat Philadelphia by 13 at home as a 5.5-point favorite. So, wait a minute, you're saying...or at least I hope that's what you're saying. Indiana was a 5.5-point home favorite (or roughly 2.5 on a neutral court) when both teams were on a back-to-back, and now they're a 1.5-point road underdog when only Philly is playing a b2b? Well, my friends, this is our first 2010 exposure to the revenge adjustment. Oddsmakers are tipping the line in Philadelphia's direction, to the tune of about 3 full points (since Indy as a 2.5-point neutral court favorite, should be a 1.5-point road FAVE with Philly on b2b). Our job here is to decide if Philly is going to play a better game, and the adjustment is worthwhile, or if it's creating bonus value on Indy's side. Personally, tiny lean to PHILADELPHIA and OVER.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics (-6.5) with a total of 186;
This line is a hair inflated, but at the same time, I can sort of see why. Milwaukee has played like total turds on the road so far, and Boston has made it clear that winning more home games is a top priority for 2010-2011 so they can get that sweet, sweet home court edge in Playoff series with the Magic and revamped Heat. So no, I'm not really surprised by this line. I am, however, a little intrigued in how Milwaukee follows up last year's unbelievable back-to-back game ATS success this year. The Bucks are already 1-0 on the second night of a b2b, so, despite the tiny sample size, they're off on the right foot. Boston, meanwhile, played miserably in their only b2b spot so far this year, losing in Cleveland to the LeBron and Mo-less Cavs. Boston is an older team, and I know I'll get blasted for saying it, but they're just not on the right aged legs to cover big numbers in these spots. Barring a monster blowout in Detriot where the starters play only 24 minutes, this is a spot where I actually like the Bucks to keep it close. Obviously, I wish we could get 7, and maybe we will later in the day, but as for now, lean to MILWAUKEE and the OVER.
New Orleans Hornets @ Houston Rockets (-5.5) with a total of 201.5;
This line surprised the hell out of me. Neither team played yesterday, so there aren't any particularly strong scheduling elements at work, but yet, Houston is getting a ton of respect from the oddsmakers laying this kind of number to the Hornets. Mind you, New Orleans is a perfect 3-0 on the season, and the Rockets remain winless. So, the question then exists, is this line high because Houston is finally going to wake up? That's where line analysis and money analysis will help us a great deal, since I have to believe most people's initial reaction to this line is, "Hot damn, an undefeated team catching 5.5 against a winless team??" Then again, maybe people just really like the Rockets despite their poor start. Houston is a team that I made very public my opinion that they are not nearly as good as people think, and that the return of Yao wasn't going to change much. Long way to go, but Houston looks like a team without any defensive identity. Early lean to NEW ORLEANS (with money/line analysis pending) and the OVER.
Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets (-3.5) with a total of 206;
The Nuggets are off to a decent start, despite all the negative press surrounding Carmelo Anthony. They clubbed the Jazz at home, lost in New Orleans to a quality Hornets team, and then won in Houston, shaking off some early-season road jitters. Now, back home, it's time for the regular season to really settle in, and to me, this is an interesting chance to try to exert a little home dominance. The reticence to back Denver comes from the fact that the Mavericks were the best road team in basketball last season, and they picked right up where they left off with an easy road win over the hapless Clippers. Dallas isn't afraid to play in altitude, either, and this game is actually the start of a home-and-home series between these two teams, finishing in Texas in a couple days. I usually like the team that loses the first matchup in these, though I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see either team win both. For that reason, it might be best to sit and watch this one, see how the teams play each other, and try to find a reason that a stat might even out in the second game. First pass, though, I lean slightly to the NUGGETS and the OVER.
Toronto Raptors @ Utah Jazz (-11) with a total of 208;
This is a pretty bulky line for a Jazz team that only finally picked up a win in their third game, and considering Toronto has actually shown some signs of life, you might be looking to try to find a way to back that underdog. I'm here to request that you look into passing on this game. Toronto had whatever small amount of wind that was in their sails taken out by that Sacramento comeback, and considering Utah has some strong bodies around the rim, Reggie Evans isn't going to be getting Toronto all the extra looks they were getting in Sactown. I'm very curious to see how Utah plays Andrea Bargnani, since Al Jefferson most likely doesn't want to move out to the perimeter. He might just not have any choice. Fact is, Utah is too strong, and too balanced for Toronto, and this line is right where it should be. I would advocate passing, most likely, since this isn't any sort of letdown or look-ahead for the Jazz, and Jerry Sloan is going to want to make sure his team does everything right. I suppose if I had to suggest anything, it'd be a tiny, tiny lean to UTAH, and also to the OVER, but that, of course, assumes Toronto might score a little?
San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns (Pk) with a total of 208;
Demons, anyone? The Suns finally got over that hump last year, and now they have to try to tackle the Spurs without Amar'e. I have to give Phoenix credit, this team of little guys is really playing hard, but there are certain things they just cannot overcome. Portland's rebounding was one, the Lakers gigantic size was another. They handled Utah, and considering the Spurs really aren't the big, scary team they used to be, this isn't an unwinnable game for Phoenix. The Suns definitely need to shoot the ball well to win any of their games, but Robin Lopez has emerged as a half-decent defender and rebounder, which means that the real issues for Phoenix come when they're at a size disadvantage at multiple positions. The Lakers have big players at every spot, and so does Portland. The Spurs don't, really. Duncan is a great low post presence, but the rest of the Spurs are kind of finesse guys nowadays. To me, this game means more to Phoenix, and at a pick line, some motivational edge might make the difference. I still think the Spurs are due for their standard early-season 1-3 or 2-5 stretch, so with that in mind, lean to PHOENIX and to the OVER, as I see no way the Spurs can truly slow down the Suns with this roster.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors with a total of N/A;
The Grizzlies head to the Bay Area off a showdown in Los Angeles, and, once again, the expectations of this game hinge largely on the results of the game with the Lakers. I do believe, though, that the Warriors will come ready to play, and the first team to 110 points is probably going to come away with the win. I'll lay it out with some conditional logic (thank you to Cal's "Philosophy of Logic" course for this little tidbit)...IF the Grizzlies lose big to the Lakers, THEN this game is going to be close. IF the Grizzlies lose a heartbreaker to LA, THEN Golden State has a nice shot to cover. IF the Grizzlies beat the Lakers outright, THEN consider betting Golden State as soon as the line comes out. Got all that?
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Clippers with a total of N/A;
Will the Clippers ever get up off their backs? This team is a complete mess, and with Baron Davis out because he did, indeed, show up to camp fat (as I noted on some podcasts), the turmoil has begun. We'll probably see a line in this one similar to what we've been seeing with LAC...home underdog that has trouble scoring, so on and so forth. The issue is that there's just no offensive continuity for the Clips, and they were down much, much more than the final score might indicate in that game with the Spurs. Some late-game fluff points made it look like a reasonable score, but the Clippers were just wildly overmatched. And I hate to say that I like the so-called square side, but I just can't get behind the Clippers. The Thunder were a very, very good road team last year, and going against the Clippers isn't scaring anyone. Plus, with the Clippers missing shots, open or defended, opponents can get out and run and get those easy buckets. Word also is that Kevin Durant has taken a defensive leadership role now, to go along with his offensive prowess. He took responsibility for poor defense in their home loss to Utah, and I expect the intensity to pick up. Lean to the road THUNDER and to the UNDER, since, really, the Clippers can't score.
Los Angeles Lakers (-6) @ Sacramento Kings with a total of 210;
First thing that jumps out about this game is that this total is just stratospheric. That, right off the bat, tells me that Sacramento is going to get running, and the Lakers, on the second night of a back-to-back, are going to be game for some streetball for at least the first 36 minutes, maybe as many as the first 40. That's a good thing for Sacramento, since the Kings are a team that cannot compete with the Lakers in a half-court, playoff-style game, but CAN compete when Tyreke Evans can get out and run, and guys like Omri Casspi, Beno Udrih, and Carl Landry can get some quicker looks, either in transition, or in the early parts of the shot clock. I like that the Lakers are coming off what should be a solid game with Memphis, and I also like that Sacramento loves their 2 home games with the Lakers. Arco is packed for these showdowns, and the hatred for LA definitely powers the team. The days of the cowbells might be behind us, and the Lakers are still one of the best in the League while Sacramento has dropped off, but make no mistake, the Lakers are not 11 points better than Sacramento on a neutral court, and on top of that, there should be more than 3 points added for Sacramento's home court edge in games with LA. Lean to SACRAMENTO and to the OVER.