Just a small 1* play, but a loss regardless, as Sacramento just got completely outclassed, and the signs of life they showed at home the previous few games were nowhere to be found. Again, the weak Tuesday card was precisely why we only put 1-unit on the line, and despite going 1-1 so far this week, we're UP because of smart money management! Big, Big Wednesday upcoming!
Promo Weekly Section:
Last week we featured the Monthly Flex Package, and a few people took advantage of that great deal -- a smart call, since you get every play I release for the price of about 8 days' worth of picks.
This week, we'll rotate the feature spotlight to a Pregame SPECIAL -- the brass have brought back the DAN BEBE NBA SEASON PASS
... it was $495 for the season back in November, and if you missed the first third, you can STILL get a ridiculously tasty deal now, the rest of the season for $349, you're still looking at only about $3 per play!!!
And, as always, the daily stuff -- Really, really, really excited about this Wednesday card! For only the second time all season, I actually spotted FIVE games I liked right off the bat, and now we wait for some numbers, some monetary breakdowns, and some injury news before locking in some plays! We have a TWO-for-ONE deal going for sale, and I'll likely ALSO have a free play or two on one of our biggest cards of the year!ADD NBA 2-for-1 MEGAPACK WEDNESDAY to CART!
And for the love of Pete, keep telling friends about the podcast, and read the entire blog, not just the leans!
Sports Wagering: NBA
Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers (-7) with a total of 188;
Right off the bat, I want to find a way to back the Wizards. There, that was pretty straightforward, right? Philadelphia is coming home off an 8-game road trip, and unless the opponent is in a similarly awful scheduling spot, this game has fade-city splashed all over the Sixers hides. We saw it in the final game on their road trip, and we'll likely see more of it, here. The Sixers defense is improving, though the Hornets missed an absolute ton of open looks, and without Iguodala, Philadelphia needs big-time production from Jrue Holliday to counteract opposing big men locking down on Elton Brand. And, let's face it, this is a pretty even match for Jrue against the likes of John Wall. Wall has been rather turnover prone lately, but games against defensive-minded opponents like Darren Collison and Chris Paul haven't helped his cause. He'll get some looks in this one, and I'd be blown away if the Sixers shoot any better than 44% from the field. Lean to the WIZARDS and the UNDER.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic (-11.5) with a total of 187;
There has really only been 1 team that hasn't been completely blasted by the Florida two-step, and that was the Utah Jazz, but they only made it through because of a ridiculous adrenaline high from waging monster comebacks at every step along the journey. Most teams, or rather, most normal teams, get a little tired playing the Heat, and then Orlando gets to pick over the carcasses. Just happened with Golden State. Of course, Milwaukee has shown a certain resilience on back-to-backs. They might very well sneak under that rather hefty spread, but with the way the Magic are smashing teams to the turf, just overwhelming foes with offense and relying on Dwight to protect the rim, I can't fade them. There will be a time, but this isn't it. Tiny lean to MAGIC (very small), and the UNDER.
Chicago Bulls (-4) @ New Jersey Nets with a total of 185;
There's something funky about this line, and we need to determine if it's off because it should be, or because it's a value spot. Thus, it's time for... LINE ARITHMETIC! I know you all love it. Anyway, Chicago hosted New Jersey just a few short days ago in a New Year's Eve afternoon contest. Now, only 5 days later, the rematch on the Eastern front, with the Bulls as just a 4-point favorite. But is that right on the money? Well, given that neither team was playing a back-to-back in Chicago, and the Bulls were 10-point home favorites, one might assume this line should absolutely be no higher than 4, most likely lower, given the back-to-back. But, for whatever reason, there hasn't been a back-to-back adjustment, even though neither team had any large personnel changes between games. So, is this line 2 points off because the Bulls are going to clobber the Nets this time around instead of squeaking by with a 9-point win, or is it off because it's a value play on the Nets? The initial move should tell us a fair amount - WAIT ON THE SIDE, total lean to the OVER.
Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers with a total of N/A;
Cleveland just cannot figure it out. They're now 8-26 on the season SU, and just 12-21 ATS. Tough to find many teams that have been a worse bet than the Cavs. And for all of Toronto's losing, they're just 15-16 ATS, so oddsmakers have this team pretty well pegged, for the most part. That's just the thing - when healthy, Toronto does have just enough firepower to win some games against poor competition. Bargnani, Calderon, DeRozan and Kleiza can all score at a high level, and Reggie Evans, when healthy (again, that "h" word), provided a toughness. But, of course, over the last month, everyone on that roster has seemingly missed time. Bargnani is supposed to play this week, and now Calderon is banged up, but I happen to believe they can still find ways to score on the pathetic Cavs defense even without the point guard. Cleveland, meanwhile, couldn't beat a top-10 college team. Lean to TORONTO and the OVER.
San Antonio Spurs @ Boston Celtics (-2) with a total of 191;
I really want to get music in these blogs so we can blast ELO's Showdown for this one. Two of the best records in the NBA, older teams finding ways to win on a nightly basis - the Celtics with lockdown defense and good shot selection, the Spurs with a youth infusion and outstanding team shooting from the perimeter. Certainly from an energy standpoint, you have to give the nod to Boston - the Spurs played last night in New York, a team that will tire you out, if given enough opportunities to do so, but at the same time, the Spurs have looked pretty decent on back-to-backs so far this year. Their defense definitely suffers a hair, which makes me think that this might end up being higher scoring than most expect. Boston has Rondo back, which means far more easy looks, and if the Spurs are trying to score to keep up, we just might see this one creep its way to 194 or so. Slight lean to BOSTON and the OVER.
Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Hornets with a total of N/A;
Scheduling spot alarm goes off, Dan marks calendar to watch line and probably place bet...yes, the Warriors finish up a 5-game road trip with a quick stop in the Big Easy on their way home. Does anyone think these guys are going to be concerned with trying to get a win against one of the better defensive teams in the NBA? I'm not convinced. Golden State opened with a loss in Atlanta, grabbed a win in Charlotte, and even though they covered in Miami, lost both games in Florida. They head back to the West Coast for some winnable games after this one, and you can bet the Warriors have one foot on the plane home. The Hornets have quietly won 3 games, though the potential look-ahead to the Lakers is definitely looming. I still think that we get another solid defensive performance from the Hornets, and if that joker Trevor Ariza could re-learn how to drive to the hoop, the spread on this one should be pretty cover-able. Lean to N'AWLINS and the UNDER.
Charlotte Bobcats @ Minnesota Timberwolves with a total of N/A;
I feel like I have fairly strong opinions on quite a few games today - we'll find out if that's a good thing soon enough. On this one, I can't help but think that the Bobcats, a team trying to learn how to play faster, is really up a creek. Stephen Jackson is playing through significant pain, Gerald Wallace is missing time, and Tyrus Thomas has been trying to come back from a bruised wrist. Minnesota, on the flip side, has been playing its best ball of the year, led by tremendous offensive work from Michael Beasley, and nearly unbelievable rebounding from Kevin Love. I just don't see anyone on that Charlotte roster that can slow down either of Minnesota's top guns. Oh, and Charlotte is a disaster on the road (except games immediately after being called out by Jordan). Lean to the WOLVES and the OVER.
Portland Trailblazers @ Houston Rockets (-5.5) with a total of 197;
If somewhere in your mind, you're thinking, "Didn't these teams just play?"... then you would be correct. This is something of a rematch, though each team had a game in between. Houston traveled to Portland and got spanked on January 2, then fought hard to earn a push on a loss in Denver. Fortunately, Houston has had a day to rest up for the rematch, which you can best believe they want to win. Portland, meanwhile, is heading into Houston off a tough game in Dallas, and while I know the Blazers have been one of the stronger back-to-back teams in the NBA, I think this is a spot where the Blazers are beatable. They are a team that seems to be getting older almost by the day, and without the explosion of Brandon Roy, this is just the type of game where Portland can get into a bad habit of slogging up and down the floor, and just getting outhustled by a team that wants it more. Lean to HOUSTON and the OVER.
Atlanta Hawks @ Utah Jazz with a total of N/A;
Utah has been struggling a tad with their team offense, but this scheduling spot is just horrid for Atlanta, and I can't overlook that fact. The Hawks played late last night in Sacramento, are traveling into altitude, AND are finishing up a 4-game road trip. This is a true letdown spot for Atlanta, especially if they grab a win in Sacramento and can head home with a middling 2-2 road trip. My one concern would be that Atlanta gets crushed in Sacramento - unlikely, but possible, given the Kings recent improved play at home. In that case, the line might jump to a spot where the value goes away. Otherwise, this is a game Utah should win through sheer attrition, and since we know the Hawks are not terribly strong, mentally, this is a fade spot for them, no question. Lean to UTAH and the OVER.
Denver Nuggets (-3.5) @ Los Angeles Clippers with a total of 211;
I don't like this game, at all. The Clippers haven't played particularly strong defense on this homestand, so far, and the only way to beat Denver is to try to get under their skin. That is doable, when the Nuggets are on the road, but the Clippers don't have the right personnel to pull it off for an entire game. Plus, Denver is getting its edge back. I know 'Melo is on his way out of town, but as long as he's still suiting up for the Nuggets, he's going to play hard, and with The Birdman and Kenyon Martin both finally logging minutes, the Nuggets finally have their "heart" back. Call me crazy, but the swagger is way, way more prevalent when those two guys are on the floor, even if Martin's knee looks like a cantaloupe after 20 minutes of burn. This line is right about where it should be. PASS on the side, slight lean to the UNDER.
Los Angeles Lakers (-4) @ Phoenix Suns with a total of 209;
The Lakers have really been playing awful basketball, and a lot of that is just a disinterest in the game. For the second time in a week, ESPN actually did something worthwhile by airing some footage of the Lakers recent losses, and focusing on what happens after the Lakers get a defensive rebound. The outcome of almost every video was...nothing. The Lakers got a rebound, and generally get into their offense about 8 seconds later. This team is looking old and like a team that seems content with playing only when the playoffs arrive. The problem? Phoenix has struggled mightily to fit newcomers Mikael Pietrus, Vince Carter, and Marcin Gortat into the offense. They haven't been shooting well at all, and even though Phoenix at last has a couple competent 7-footers, they just can't seem to score reliably. The Lakers are on back-to-back, which might favor Phoenix, but both teams are scuffling right now, and I'd be more inclined to look at the total. A Lakers team that isn't running, and a Phoenix team that can't get out of its own way? NO LEAN on the side, totals lean to the UNDER.