Charlotte at Washington -3.5 O/U 212.5 Recommendation: Washington
There’s a lot to like about the Washington Wizards right now. The markets devalued the Wizards immediately after star point guard John Wall got hurt. Since Wall’s injury, Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier have gotten the job done at the point in his absence; a duo that combined for 19 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists without a single turnover in the Wizards outright upset victory at Cleveland last night.
Wins and covers have been the norm, not the exception for Scott Brooks squad of late. They’ve gone 8-2 SU, 8-2 ATS since Wall’s injury. And both losses deserve an asterisk – they lost in OT against the top notch Celtics and on the second night of back-2-backs at surging Philly. Last night’s win at Cleveland was just one outright upset during this span. They also beat Toronto and OKC as home dogs during this recent span of excellence.
The advanced metric numbers show that Washington’s current surge is no accident. Both their offensive and defensive stats have improved since Wall’s injury; most notably with the Wizards offense averaging more than four points per 100 possessions MORE than they did with Wall in the lineup. The markets have devalued Washington just as they’ve surged!
All Star Bradley Beal, prior to last night’s win at Cleveland: "We take advantage of (the All-Star break) because we got a lot of guys banged up. We still got John out. ….I think (the break) came at a good time, although we were definitely on a nice, little run. We finished off well, going into All-Star (weekend), and we've got to pick it up right where we left off."
Charlotte has struggled on the second night of back-2-backs all year: 3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS. Their last win in this role came before Christmas, and they’ve lost by double digits on the second of back-2-backs three times in their last four tries. Coming off a game against Brooklyn last night where shots were falling – the Hornets hit 52% from three point range on their way to hanging 111 on the Nets – it’s easy to picture a scenario tonight in which the Hornets don’t hit so many contested shots. Undervalued commodity in Washington right now.
It's going to be fun tracking this year's NBA Tank-a-thon. There are currently eight teams that in theory have incentive to tank. The Nets and Lakers technically don't qualify due to other teams owning their respective first round picks. We know these teams will being trying to craft ways to lose but what we're interested in is how they fare against the spread. We'll be keeping tabs on it throughout the remainder of the regular season in the Sportsmemo Posting Forum.
For years, the concept of "bad beats" has been bludgeoned to death by the betting community. Check out Twitter every night and you'd think the pointspread and total for every single game was decided in the waning seconds. However, if you bet Delaware on the moneyline last night, you've been given a Bad Beat Hall Pass for the next 48 hours. Enjoy.
Alabama +8 at Auburn O/U 152 Recommendation: Alabama
Big loss for Auburn with rim protector Anfernee McLemore out for the season with an ankle injury. Already ultra-small, McLemore's (4th nationally in block pct.) allowed the Tigers' perimeter defenders to extend their pressure and take chances which is why the rank first in the SEC in forced turnover rate. "Resilience" has been a common theme of Auburn's remarkable season but this is a devastating loss.
"We lost arguably the guy who plays as big as anybody on the roster because he was such a great shot blocker," Pearl said. "So, we continue to have to play small ball, we continue to spread the floor, try to extend a little bit defensively."
Note that McLemore didn't have much of an impact in the first meeting. He played only 15 minutes, grabbed two rebounds, and failed to block a shot. Alabama shot 54% from 2-point range and won 76-71 despite Collin Sexton not playing. The Crimson Tide are square on the "bubble" and close to regular season with four tough games (at Auburn, vs. Arkansas, vs. Florida, at Texas A&M). Despite ranking first in the SEC in defensive efficiency, Alabama is only 8-6 in league play. Taking care of the basketball has been this team's biggest issue (19 turnovers in first meeting) and will likely determine the outcome of this evening's contest. Lot of angles to consider: rivalry, revenge, rally the troops after key injury. But in the end, the loss of such an impactful player should aid in Alabama sticking around in this one.
Colorado +100 at Vancouver O/U 6 Recommendation: Colorado
The Vancouver Canucks trounced a red hot Boston Bruins team by a score of 6-1 in their most recent game on Saturday night but the final score was misleading. Vancouver got out to an early lead but Boston fired away 45 shots on goal compared to just 23 shots for Vancouver but the Canucks were able to bury the majority of their quality scoring chances in the victory. They will be up against a Colorado Avalanche team that looked quite a bit disjointed in their 4-2 loss at home to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. That game featured a return to the lineup for the Avs leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon from a shoulder injury but it didn’t result in a win nor did it result in a sharp performance from the Avalanche. Colorado head coach Jared Bednar called out his team to play with more urgency after the loss to Edmonton as the Avalanche try to make a push for the playoffs: “We've got to dial our game up just like everybody else is this time of year, and we haven't done that yet recently. We should be getting more and more urgency out of our group now because we are starting to fall in the standings. If we want to stay in it, we are going to have to dial it up.” I look for Colorado to increase their level of intensity and urgency in this game tonight and would expect to be much better in all three zones tonight and MacKinnon getting a game under his belt should make him feel a lot more comfortable on the ice in this game. Colorado also recently got Semyon Varlamov back in the crease after he had been out due to injury and he’s played extremely well of late for the Avalanche turning aside 80 of the 83 shots he has faced in two starts since returning. Vancouver even after defeating Boston is still just 2-6 in their last 8 games and they are only 2-5 in their last 7 games following a victory. Colorado is still the better team here and in a ‘step up’ spot for the road team, I’ll back the Avalanche here at a near even money price.
With a two-game lead with four games remaining, it looks likely that Auburn will earn the SEC's top seed for the conference tournament as well as a no. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But bettors should perhaps look to fade the Tigers the remainder of the regular season. Already playing one of the smallest lineups in college basketball, it was announced forward Anfernee McLemore will miss the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury. McLemore was one of the team's most important defenders as a rim protector (73 blocks) and rebounder (5.3 rpg). Down to eight scholarship players, Bruce Pearl made it clear that keeping everyone healthy for the postseason is paramount. The Tigers own one of the best ATS records in the country at 18-7. A key ingredient in that success has often been nothing more than out-hustling the competition. With McLemore out and a postseason berth a lock, we recommend looking to bet against this squad over the next two weeks.
“It’s a tough loss,” Pearl said. “Anfernee has had a wonderful season. The discipline with which he trained to be able to offensively step out onto the floor and shoot the ball from the perimeter … For his size, he’s the best shot blocker in college basketball.”
We all know a handful of NBA teams have already or will so-to-be in full-on tank mode. And spotting them typically isn't all that difficult (we see you, Phoenix Suns). The Dallas Mavericks are one such team. Last season, once they were officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Mavs tanked hard (2-9 to close the year). Mark Cuban didn't mince words when he said that's the plan again this year. And at 18-40 and 13.5 games out of the playoff race, bettors likely won't have to wait until March.
Here we are, not competing for the playoffs and I said, ‘Look, losing is our best option.’ They hated hearing that, but at least I sat down and I explained it to them. I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This is like a year and a half of tanking and that was too brutal for me.
Being transparent, that’s the key to being a quote-unquote players’ owner. We want the players to understand. As a player, even though you might not agree, at least if you respect the fact that someone took the time to talk to you and you understood their perspective, you’re going to give me your feedback but you’re part of the process.
Last night's NBA All-Star game was actually pretty entertaining and surprisingly competitive. Team LeBron defeated Team Stephen, 148-145, as both teams combined to shoot 48% from the floor. It was a far cry from 2017's event which produced 374 combined points and 57% shooting. But the real story was the beating sportsbooks took on the under. The total opened 366 and closed 333. There was some two-way action once it go into the 340 range but oddsmakers continued to drop their numbers.
BYU at San Diego +3 O/U 133 Recommendation: San Diego
Nothing has come easy for BYU in recent weeks, and a road trip to the Slim Gym isn’t likely to help matters on Saturday. BYU needed overtime to dispense with lowly Pepperdine on Thursday, on the heels of needing OT to knock off almost as lowly San Francisco last weekend in Provo. Now the Cougars must deal with a short turnaround off a pair of OT affairs, while facing a Toreros defense that is physical and extremely tough on the perimeter.
BYU head coach Dave Rose knows what he’s up against today: “They’re one of the most physical teams in the league from what we saw at our place. We’ve gone through and evaluated every team and how we’ve played them. We feel that their size, their athleticism — their guards are really physical — it will be a really tough game, a tough-fought game Saturday. I know our guys will compete. We’ll see how they do.”
It’s surely worth noting that the Jenny Craig Pavilion has not been particularly friendly for the Cougars in recent meetings. BYU has been favored in all six games they’ve played at San Diego since joining the West Coast conference. The Cougs are just 3-3 SU in those six meetings, including a 13 point win over the Cougs last year as 10.5 point underdogs.
The numbers do not lie. San Diego ranks #3 in the country at defending the three point line, allowing opponents to connect on just 29% of their shots from beyond the arc. This is a clear matchup disadvantage for the road favorite, a team that relies heavily on their perimeter shooting. When Elijah Bryant and TJ Haws aren’t raining three’s, the Cougars are struggling to win, let alone win by any sort of margin.
BYU is a sub .500 team on the highway in WCC play this year, including an ugly loss earlier in the month as double digit favorites at Loyola Marymount. They trailed at home to San Diego in the second half of the first meeting before a 31-15 closeout over the final 11 minutes to get the win and cover. The Cougs certainly haven’t been closing out many games on the highway in similar fashion. Take San Diego.
Friday's Sportsmemo Podcast featured a Q&A with the Sportsmemo Handicappers. Host Andrew Lange discussed some of the questions Sportsmemo followers sent in. Topics included: College basketball futures, college basketball power ratings, Bitcoin, offscreen sportsbooks, and more.
This should make for an interesting handicap. The Arizona Diamondbacks are finally going to install a humidor which some think will suppress home runs and this scoring by a significant amount. Below are the over/under, average total, and average runs scored results at Chase Field over the last five seasons.
2017: 42-34-7 O/U, avg. total 9.4, avg. rpg 9.95 2016: 50-28-3 O/U, avg. total 9.0, avg. rpg 11.16 2015: 39-35-5 O/U, avg. total 8.4, avg. rpg 9.11 2014: 36-41-4 O/U, avg. total 8.3, avg. rpg 8.98 2013: 34-46-1 O/U, avg. total 8.5, avg. rpg 8.40
“I am very comfortable saying that, with the humidor running at 50 percent and 70 degrees, there will a reduction in home run production at Chase by 25 to 50 percent,” Nathan concluded. “While it would be nice to come up with a more precise prediction, we should not lose sight of the principal takeaway that the installation of a humidor will reduce the number of home runs substantially.”
"International expansion may provide room for minor incremental growth, and there’s always a number of customers who weren’t legally able to play real-money DFS last year due to age restrictions that can now, but those sources aren’t anywhere near enough to get the two companies back on the growth track."
Looking at Google Trends search volume for "daily fantasy sports," traffic was significantly lower in 2017 than it was in 2016, which Eilers & Krejcik Gaming says indicates a decline in interest among new customers. It believes that the downward trend will continue into 2018.
Indiana -4 at Brooklyn O/U 212.5 Recommendation: Indiana
Very quietly, waaaaaaay underneath the radar, the Indiana Pacers are playing their best basketball of the season heading into the All-Star break. Indiana has won its last two, including an impressive road win at Boston. They’ve won seven of their last ten overall; 13-6 in their last 19 contests; a stretch that includes SU road wins at Utah, San Antonio and Phoenix as well as that win against the Celtics.
There were some initial concerns about the chemistry between players and management after Indiana stood pat at the trading deadline, unable to give the team a boost in their push towards the playoffs. Quotes like this one from Thaddeus Young make it VERY clear that any chemistry concerns are vastly overblown:
"We were just excited they decided to keep this thing together and let us keep getting better. Right after the game (vs. the Knicks on Sunday), (GM Chad Buchanon) texted us and said, 'Great win. But it's not over. We still have one game before the All-Star break,' and we all responded right then and there. It's like I said, this is one of the most unified teams I've ever been a part of."
The Nets have had a hard time from the get-go of late, routinely falling into early deficits. They’ve lost ten of their last eleven, including four consecutive defeats by double digits at home in Brooklyn. The Nets lost by a dozen when they faced Indiana at home earlier in the season. A similar margin tonight would be no surprise for this bettor! Take the Pacers.
The Saint Louis Billikens announced that starting guard Jordan Goodwin will miss the remainder of the season due to a violation of school policy. One of SLU's better recruits in recent history, Goodwin averaged will cover 30 minutes per game and scored 28 points in last Saturday's win over LaSalle. After an 8-10, 1-4 A-10 start, SLU has won and covered six of its last eight. They'll finish the rest of the season with only seven scholarship players.
Good article on the NBA's strength of schedule the remainder of the season. Despite playing in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors have the easiest remaining slate. The Washington Wizards, who according to ESPN's SOS have played the easiest schedule of any team in the league, will now face one of the toughest.
Chicago at Vegas O/U 6 Recommendation: Vegas -1.5 puck line
Vegas is off a very rare home loss (19-6 YTD) on Sunday to the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-1 but the Golden Knights have been a resilient group all season and have consistently responded well after a poor performance as evidenced by their 14-5 record off of a single loss. The Golden Knights outshot the Flyers despite coming up short on the scoreboard but the team felt they were not creating enough quality scoring chances nor were they making life uncomfortable enough for the opposing goaltender something the team has vowed to try and correct for this home game tonight against the Blackhawks. Chicago is in freefall mode currently a shell of the team they have been for most of the last decade in which they have been a perennial Stanley Cup contender. The Blackhawks have lost six straight games entering this contest tonight and now face the arduous task of playing their third road game in four nights against a much better and highly motivated hockey team. Chicago has been outscored by Minnesota and Arizona in the first two games of this road swing by a combined score of 9-1 and now will be up against not only the tough schedule they have been dealt but also an even better opponent on the ice tonight. It’s worth noting that Chicago already lost in Vegas earlier this season at T-Mobile Arena by a score of 4-2 and they are primed for a similar result.