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Now on to the game. I am not a fan of either team so it is very easy for me to stay neutral in this game. I am a big fan of the Cardinals mainly because they are an underdog and in this game it is very easy to root for the Cinderella story! The problem is this clock has struck midnight. The Cardinals had a great run and I am impressed with Warner and love the fact that everyone now knows who Larry Fitzgerald is, but sorry Cardinals fans the Steelers have the edge here.
Let’s start with experience which almost every Steeler player has and teams playing in their first Super Bowl versus an experienced opponent are 5-11 ATS.That’s not all.
The hardest one for me to ignore is that highly rated defense. Objectors would state that Philly had the #3 defense, but it does not match to this defense and the plan that Dick LeBeau can come up with to counter whatever the Cardinals throw at them. The guy is a defensive genius! He has a game plan that will take some time for Warner and his gifted wideouts to get used to. In the meantime the Cardinals offense will have their hands full because the running game is solid for the Steelers and if that is not enough the passing game behind Big Ben is not too shabby either. He has the reliable Hines Ward and deep threats with Holmes and Co. The Cardinals have to be flawless or they are looking at a hole that they will have to play out of.
It won’t happen and the pressure will cause Warner to go back to his turnover ways and abandon the run. The Steelers are 6-1 ATS off home win and 32-16 ATS off game w/ TO margin of +3 or better. Steelers roll!
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Memphis @ Charlotte–Really wanted to back Memphis as they played hard against the Pistons but The Grizzlies are 3-7 ATS versus Southeast foes, 2-9 ATS on the road and 0-6 ATS overall and those are numbers I can’t back and I am not ready trust Charlotte as 6 point favorites against anyone.
Boston @ Miami–this line is low enough to attract Boston bettors and they seem to have rebounded very well after the losing streak. The thing is I am on the Heat. I love to back home teams coming off a road trip of 3 games or more as a small number either way. The Celtics just beat the Suns and will have one eye on the meeting with the Magic tomorrow and look right past the heat. Boston has faltered in seven of its last 10 on the road ATS and the Celtics are 0-6 ATS of late when facing teams with a winning record.
Raptors @ Detroit–passing on this game but I suggest that if you take the Raptors you look at the injury reports because they have been playing about nine deep in the last two to three games and that has to be catching up with them. The Raptors have failed in five of their last seven visits ATS and in six of seven against the Pistons overall. If I was going to play it would be Detroit, but I am passing as mentioned.
Phoenix @ New York–The Suns are on the end of a road trip and you have to imagine the K nicks may have this one circled on the calendar. Mike D’Antoni had a shot at his former club and blew it but now they are in a much better position. Phoenix has been one of the worst bets on the board since the end of November (5-17-1 ATS). The Suns have stumbled in six of their last eight against New York ATS. They are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 11 outings on the road and 0-4-1 ATS outside their conference. The Knicks have covered at an 8-3-1 rate when facing winning teams and four straight versus Pacific Division opposition.Knicks keep it close to the wire tonight.
Dallas @ Milwaukee–The Mavericks haven’t had much luck at the Bradley Center, dropping eight straight ATS. The Bucks look to rebound after losing two straight but they will have to take on a healthy Dallas squad to do it. Dallas is is 6-20-1 ATS when facing Central Division denizens. The Bucks have cashed eight straight versus Southwest Division opponents. Dallas is 7-19 ATS off road win That is enough for me to take my third home dog tonight.
Taking over the total in this game too. The Mavericks started slow in Philly but will be heated up and ready to score and Milwaukee will keep pace.Eleven of the past 14 series scuffles have tipped over. Milwaukee has gone over in eight of its last 10 tries. Take the over in a this high scoring affair.
Utah @ Houston–I simply love Utah in this game as they match up well against the Rockets and always play them tough. The Jazz lost in their initial visit to the Toyota Center as nine-point dogs, 120-115, but cashed for the sixth time in seven road meetings. They are 11-4 ATS in the past 15 clashes with the Rockets. Utah has also covered 20 of 27 versus Southwest Division opponents. Houston has sputtered in 10 of 14 ATS overall and dropped six of eight spread decisions at home. The Jazz are worth a look on the moneyline here.
OKC @ Golden St.–passing but if I were to like anything in this game it would be the over but what else do you expect in a Golden St game?
Lakers @ Clippers–With or without Kobe the Lakers can’t be taking the Clippers seriously and I can’t bet on the Clippers, pass.
Wizards @ Kings–I can’t back the Kings as favorites nor can I back the Wizards on the road, another pass for me.
Cleveland @ Portland–I know it may not seem like it, but I think the Blazers are better than the Cavs and with a home court they should cruise tonight. Portland has cashed six of eight versus Cleveland at the Rose Garden and the home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six confrontations. The Cavaliers have faded in five of six on the road ATS while the Blazers have cashed 15 of 22 at home.
MLK day is full of great hoops so my goal is to cover every game and give out my thoughts and angles that I can dig up on the games. Even though I am going to go over every game does not mean I am going to play it. If I put (Lean: ) then the play that means I am not going to play it but if I did I would play it that way. If I put (Play: ) by the play then I am plaing it and it will count towards the record.
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Okay now that is all cleared up let’s get started.
Dallas @ Philly
Chicago @ New York
In this first game I will have a play for sure. It’s tough to back the Knicks considering the funk they have been in, but I like them in this spot. They are at home for an early start against the Bulls. Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks top pick is finally starting to get some playing time and he is good offensively he will not get a ton of minutes but he is a fan favoirte and can score. This boost of energy will only help the Knicks in this game. Chicago has lost nine of its last 11 on the road and failed to cash seven of 10. The Bulls are 8-19 ATS versus Atlantic Division competition.Chicago has played relatively error basketball lately, which has been problematic in the past being 6-17ATS after three straight games committing 14 or less turnovers.Finally the Knickerbockers are 14-5 ATS after playing two consecutive games as an underdog this season.
Play: Knicks -2.5 Lean: Under 210
San Antonio @ Charlotte
The Spurs take to the road to take on the Bobcats and this will end a modest three game road trip as they return home after this game. The Bobcats are quietly winning and have won three straight as they come into this game. The Spurs have owned the Bobcats in the past and may come into this one not expecting much from a suprising Bobcats team. The Bobcats pulled off a under the radar trade for DeSagana Diop and he looks like he will be in uniform and that gives the Bobcats help with size and defense a Larry Brown philosphy. The Bobcats have also covered five of their last seven while the Spurs have dropped six of seven ATS versus non-conference rivals.With Diop there it will free up Okafor to play forward and give Brown flexibility. The home teams hold serve.
Play: Bobcats +4 Lean: Over 178
Toronto @ Atlanta
The Raptors are injured and playing badly and are off yet another close loss yesterday to the Suns. The Hawks have injuries and are playing badly and are just 2-6 since the New Year started. Because of that this game is a complete pass for me. I watched the Raptors and they have some solid young talent that scored and looked great yesterday but they look to have just ten bodies if O’neal plays and in back to back games that is not a good thing. The Hawks are playing badly and could have Horford and Williams out for today and that could hurt rebounding and scoring. I just can’t back a favorite with those kinds of problems. Trend wise both teams are in trouble. Toronto has lost four straight overall and five of six on the road. Atlanta has five of its last six while failing to cash six of eight. This is a pass for me.
Lean: Raptors +5.5 and over 198
Denver @ Houston
The Rockets are somehow winning without two of the best players as Artest and T-Mac are both sidelined. Yao Ming is picking up the slack and came up with a career type game in te last time out. Today the face Denver coming in off the longest home stand of the season. This game has all the makings of a shootout with Denver always pushing the tempo and Houston getting points from some lesser known players that can easily get caught up in the running game. That is bad news for the Rockets because in a home game where where the total is between 195 and 199.5 points they are just 2-8 ATS. The Nuggets have won three of their last four on the highway.Houston has failed in nine of its last 13 overall ATS, including five of seven at home. This leads to a play on Denver and that looks good for the over too. Denver has flown over in nine of its last dozen duels and the Rockets have followed suit in six of seven versus Northwest Division teams and in 10 of 14 against conference competition.
Plays: Denver +3 and Over 194
Indiana @ New Orleans
The Hornets return home after beating the Pistons to salvage a road trip and erase a painful performance against the Cavs. The Pacers hit the road after doing well to include winning three straight. This game is a buzz saw waiting to happen in my eyes. I will pass on the total because I believe if you like the Hornets in this game the under is a more attractive play and if you like the Pacers the over is a more attractive game but it could be a toss up either way. With this in mind I am going to pass on the total and work on the side. The Hornets are relieved to get home and play some of theri best basketball there as they are 12-5 this year. Hornets are 41-20-1 ATS in their last 62 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Central. The Pacers are a much different team on the road and it will show today in the Big easy.
Play: Hornets -8
Lean: Under 209 (Under is 17-5-1 in the last 23 meetings)
Minnesota @ Clippers
The big thing in this game is Camby who is listed as day to day and hurt himself in the last game out and is the reason this line jumped from 3 to 5. I don’t expect him to play in this game today and that should be good news for the red hot T-wolves. The truth of the matter is I don’t know if I trust Kevin Mcchale as coach just yet. I have watched a few of these games and have seen some minor rookie mistakes that could cost his team in a close games. The Wolves are on a roll and have revenge in this game. This line is set to just about right and it may be asking a bit much to have the Wolves as a road chalk. Love is a rebounding machine and as a whole the Wolves are scoring in bunces. Minnesota has won six of its last seven and cashed at a 9-2-1 clip since Dec. 23. The Wolves have also covered six straight on the road and seven in a row against conference foes.The Clippers are 9-25 ATS at home and 5-21 ATS when playing on Monday. Taking a road favorite today in this spot.
Play: Wolves -5 (no play at -7)
Lean: Under 194
Washington @ Golden St.
Golden St is 5 point favorites at home? It seems weird for a team this bad to be favorites at home against anyone considering when they do win at home its by an average of .07. Golden St does have revenge in this game but they are just 2-8 ATS as a favorite and 1-6 ATS off an upset win as an underdog. The Wizards have dropped 10 of their last 11 on the road. They have covered six of their last seven against Western outfits. In a game that has the potential to be this ugly its best to pass.
Lean: Wizards +5 and Under 217
Pistons @ Grizzlies
Phoenix @ Boston
Boston has rebounded after an ugly losing stretch of 2-7 to get solid wins over Toronto and New Jersey twice, but today they step it up a notch when they face the Suns in Boston. The Suns played yesterday and are still trying to adjust to the new style of basketball that Porter is putting in. They are burning bankrolls in the meantime and are 8-21-1 ATS in their last 30 games overall. The Celtics have covered 10 of 13 at home and nine of 12 against Pacific Division opponents. To prove they are back to playing the way the should a win against the Suns would go along way. Suns are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning record and 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 road games. The Suns seemed to fade in the last quarters against Toronto which could mean they are showing signs of getting tired on the east coast trip. Celtics are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600 and that shows that they get up for home games against good talent.
Play: Boston -8
Lean: OVER 203
Milwaukee @ Portland
I am going to go straight for the total here and pass on the side. The Blazers are a good club but coming off a road trip where they looked tired and Roy did not look like he was 100%. The Bucks have alternated wins and losses forever and after a loss against the Clippers they may get the win but that is not something I could bet on.Five straight shootouts in Oregon have bounced over, as have nine of 10 series scrapes overall. Milwaukee has zipped over in eight of its last nine contests.Over is 10-3 in Bucks last 13 games as an underdog of 5.0-10.5 and 12-5 in Bucks last 17 vs. NBA Northwest.
Play: Over 193.5
Lean: Milwaukee +6
Cleveland @ Lakers
Its only fitting that the best game of the day is the last one as the Cavs travel to LA to face Kobe and the Lakers. This game lines up as a pick ’em for me so the 5 points seems like a gift to me. Everywhere I look the trends favor the Cavs to yet I feel like the lakers could be the play here. The Cavs are traveling and the Lakers are off a tough loss and Phil jackson had to send out the rally cry to get the troop sready for this game. I think the defense of Delonte West will be missed more than people think and without size down low the Lakers should have the edge in this game. homecooking always helps in big games like this and I will take the lakers. This game should be defensive effort and the laker spull away late!
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This post season has been a post season for the underdogs and its nice to get a home one for this game. The Cardinals are at home and that to me is a huge, because they have played well here all year. Here is a great stat against the Eagles.Since 1982, teams that knock off the Super Bowl champ are 0-10 straight up and 1-9 against the spread the following week! That is amazing and that just shows you how hard it is to rebound from a big win in the playoffs like that!
The Cardinals have been doing it with defense and running and the fact that no one can stop Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals have’covered seven of their last 10 at home and look great with the points this week!The energy and the crowd will help the Cardinals get revenge for a loss to the Eagles earlier this season.
The Steelers have looked poised all year to make a run at the big game as they have played the best defense in the game. This week they face a Ravens team that they have already beaten twice with a unproven rookie at the helm in Joe Flaco.Baltimore has cashed eight of nine against conference foes and six of seven versus division opponents.
The Ravens are 9-0 ATS coming off an extremely close road win by three points or less as well. Even thought they are at home it will be asking for alot to have a team beat another team for the third time in the season.The Steelers have come up short in four of their last five ATS in conference championship games.Pittsburgh has also dropped nine straight spread decisions after scoring 35 points or more in its last game.Baltimore has won 11 of its past 13 games and is 7-3 on the road, including 2-0 in the postseason. This will be a tough game that will go down to the wire with Baltimore having a real shot of pulling off what seems like the impossible upset. Take the Ravens plus the points as meetings between these two teams always end up close!