Getting this blog out early, but I will say that one of the big things I'm going to be assessing at the end of the Wednesday slate will be how the inordinately large number of road favorites performed. You guys know I generally am not a fan, but there were a few intriguing ones, maybe more than usual because the road lines were in the 2-to-4 range. I definitely want to chat about how those games play out when they reach their conclusion, so feel free to bring up any topics you like, especially related to the lopsided card.
Sports Wagering: NBA
Miami Heat (-3) @ New York Knicks with a total of 208;
Double in-season revenge, but here's the problem - the Knicks run an offense almost exclusively through pick-and-roll (with a smattering of "give it to Amar'e" mixed in there), and the Heat might very well be the best pick-and-roll defensive team in the NBA. There's a good reason they beat up on the Knicks in both games so far this season, not the least of which is the aforementioned match-up edge. Chris Bosh is out, so that's keeping this line just a shade lower than usual, but the other two Heatles are expected to go, and I'm not all that convinced that the Heat need Bosh to win this game. And I admit, I hate when I want to play a road favorite, especially one as public as the Heat, but most of the angles do indeed point to Miami. Both teams are coming out of mini-slumps, though Miami's was largely due to injury, both teams can score, but only one of the two teams can defend. In addition, the Heat haven't played in 5 days, the perfect recipe for a team that needed to rest some aching bones. Will they be rusty? I don't think so, not with two guys that can get to the rim and finish. It's amazing how quickly the rust can shake off when you get knocked to the deck in the first 3 minutes, bang through a couple free throws, and then start raining in buckets. Lean to MIAMI and the OVER, as I believe the Knicks will shoot a little better (courtesy of the double revenge), and really, I might even like the total lean more than the side.
Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks (-5.5) with a total of 204;
Dallas is slowly getting its groove back, and Houston is, well, a zero-defense shoot-first monster. At this point, I'm a little ticked at myself for missing the chance to play some Overs on Houston games in the last week. I watched a few of those contests, and they might be the most up-tempo team in the NBA right now, largely because they're content just letting the other team score most trips down the court. And thus, I can't help but wonder how Houston plans on winning competitive games. Maybe they won't, and that's okay, because all that tells us is that betting Houston to cover any large spreads is a death wish. As an underdog, though, they could shoot themselves into a cover. Dallas is starting to get things back together on the offensive side, but they're not quite themselves yet, and this short line is indicative of that. We know Dallas is going to try, at least at first, to slow it down, but if Houston gets out to a quick start, that might force the Mavs to score right along with them. Dallas could still sneak out a cover, and for that reason, only the tiniest of side leans to the MAVS, but with both clubs scoring, it might be worth a peek at the OVER.
Boston Celtics (-4) @ Portland Trailblazers with a total of 187;
This line is about what I expected, so that makes finding a monster value a little tough. Portland is, however, quite accustomed to grabbing some late TNT spotlights, and they haven't shied away from those big games. This is also a revenge spot from a 99-95 loss in Boston back at the beginning of December. My biggest concern with the Blazers, though, is that they just don't have enough firepower to compete with Boston when the Celtics are really giving max effort. And, I do expect a good effort from Boston here. Boston enjoys the bigger stages, this is the start of a road trip out West where veteran teams have a tendency to pull together, and we all remember how much Boston enjoys dealing butt-kickings out to the mid-tier teams in their buildings. Here's the thing - Boston shot 57% in that last game with Portland, at home, and still only won by 4 points. Portland just shot 46%, but took extremely cautious care of the basketball, utilized those extra possessions and nearly stole one on the road. Portland is coming off a terrible show against Sacramento, so they'll be focused on this one, Boston could potentially be a tiny bit jet-lagged from the flight from Ohio, and they have the Suns and Lakers on the horizon. Small lean to PORTLAND to take this one down to a final 30 second-decision (though we know my luck on those this month), and the UNDER, because neither team is shooting 57% this time around.