The Atlanta Hawks proved their worth an evening ago down in South Beach knocking off the Miami Heat 100-92 as double-digit underdogs. I'm extremely high on the Hawks this season, but this is a tough spot on back-2-back nights. I think the Hawks offense struggles a bit tonight, and we know what the Bulls can do on defense. The last time out Chicago shut down the Grizzlies in a big way allowing just 64 points. The Bulls had a day off on Monday, and that's something you should look into when playing Bulls totals. This is a defense-first team, and that requires effort, energy, and passion to play on that end of the floor -- so the extra day off is pertinent to their makeup. The last 56 games the Chicago Bulls have played on 1 day of rest, the total has gone under the posted total 69.6% of the time. I think it will be a challenge for Atlanta to crack the 80-point mark tonight, which will put a ton of pressure on a team in Chicago to do the scoring, something they aren't completely comfortable doing.
Steam came in on the under at the opener of 212, sending it as low as 207 at some shops. With the public betting this game as if they've seen tomorrow's newspaper and the score reads 173-168, the total has now come back up to the 209.5/210 range. Mark Jackson has implemented a new offense, just a tick slower than what we're used to seeing from Golden State. He's surely discussed new defensive tactics and embedded into his players heads that energy and effort on that end of the court is a must to play for me. We've discussed what the lockout will do to these teams numerous times the last few weeks, and that should help us here as well.
Bowl games are all about a "WANT" to play, and while Temple has been treating this like a vacation taking in all sights the Mountains have to offer, Wyoming is focused on winning this game. Elevation will be a factor late in this ball game, and Wyoming will benefit from this being a team that plays in high altitudes. They're also familiar with the stadium setting making the travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico every-other-year to face a conference opponent. My true line on this game is Temple -6, before factoring in some motivation, so I think this presents some value as a free pick.
We talk about battles between sharps fighting for the best number all the time, this was one of those instances. I personally missed out on the early move, and although it still comes extremely close to yielding the value of a premium play, there's just no reason to force anything tonight. There's a card loaded with value Saturday, and we're off to a 19-9 college basketball start this season, simply no reason to force. This was in fact a true position from my guys out west, confirmed earlier in the day, was hoping for a readjustment, but it's not coming as the public will also come in on the favorite here. The equation is simply tonight, can Idaho continue shooting 44% from 3? The Beavers defense has been relentless lately, great interior defense allows their guards to get out and defend, as oppose to collapsing in. If they can play Idaho straight, they should be able to contain the 3 and run away with this one. Oregon State is 6-0-1 against the spread their last 7 lined games, and I think that streak improves on Friday night at the Gill Coliseum.
This game got away from us early in the week, and that's why it missed our premium play cut. At 6.5 where it opened with the ability to buy it to 7 for .20 cents would've put it in our real house, but that doesn't change the reality that this is a good situation. Arizona welcomes back Kevin Kolb this week, so that should be a boost to the passing game. Big targets like Fitzgerald give Dallas huge fits with the secondary being the weak chink in the armor. Regardless of the situation, Dallas plays to their competition whether high or low. They have a huge division game on deck next week with the Giants coming to town, which will likely decide the NFC East division. We'll go back to Dallas playing to the level of their competition, because for nearly a decade we've been cashing tickets on them as a dog, and fading them as a favorite -- and that hasn't changed in recent future. The Cowboys are 3-12-1 against the spread their last 16 games as a favorite, and 2-5-1 in that same situation this season. This feels like a field goal type game, so I'll roll with the home dog to keep up with Americas team.
Washington struggles mightily on the highway, specially in the beginning stages of the season as they have a real issue defending in a half court setting. Nevada comes in looking to avenge last years 30-point drubbing at the hands of the Huskies -- and this is as good a time as any to do just that! Take the late night home dog!
Depending on where you do your shopping (hopefully you have multiple outs) this line sits at 197.5-198. It opened at most places in the 198.5-199.5 range. I can tell you first hand this was a game circled by the sharps, and as soon as this line opened they were ready to bet it UNDER. Typically, if you're going to bet unders in the later playoff rounds, Game 2 and further into the series are the best times. We try to avoid Game 1 unders for the simple fact that greater value lies later in the series. Refs swallow the whistle the later the series goes on, this means not as many attempts at the free throw line, allowing teams not to score with the clock stopped. We also see teams become more familiar with their opponent, and after 85-90 games teams don't change that much. So the familiarity leads to lessor surprises, which equal less scoring. Game 2 intensity is also at an all-time high. It's weird that we should expect anything less from athletes in the playoffs, but the fact of the matter is teams tend to give EXTREME EFFORT when their backs are against the wall. Effort = Defense! When the home teams drop Game 1, all out effort becomes pertinent in Game 2. The series is in the books if the road team takes the first two games on the road, plain and simple. We also find ourselves getting a few points of added value in this game. These teams haven't changed, they are the same, but public perception is they just scored 215 points in game 1. So Vegas has to further paint that picture to the public who love to bet over -- and in doing so they abstract more value from the over, giving the under greater, enhanced value.
This maybe the biggest game for the Royals as they battle for first place in the Central in the last decade. The Indians are ready to get out of dodge as they have 1st place still in tact and the series edge 2-1. Their bags are packed for a series starting in Minnesota tomorrow against the Twins. We also have some weather brewing, and that is the death for road teams, specially those ready to get out of town. The sitting and waiting is just an absolute leak in the boat for a road team. This game didn't make the cut to be a premium selection, but there is value here -- and it's definitely worth taking a look at.