Archive for April, 2012

Now that we finally know Rajon Rondo won’t be available for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks, a line of -4 can be found across the board. The line opened up Atlanta -3.5 at most places, but has leveled off at -4 at a majority of places.

Rondo, who had 20 points and 11 assists in the series-opening loss to the Hawks, will likely be replaced by Avery Bradley. Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. eastern.

Rondo, who was suspended once during the regular season for his conduct concerning an official, finally spoke to reporters about his ejection from the Celtics’ 83-74 Game 1 loss to the Hawks on Sunday night. He was thrown out of the game for bumping official Mark Davis in the final minute, but has stood by his story that he did not bump him intentionally.

Rondo argued his momentum from tripping over Davis’ foot carried him into the referee’s back, causing the bump. But when reviewing the video, you can see Rondo did in fact trip, but he vividly stuck his chest beyond his explanation of losing momentum.

Thus, due to the NBA rule that states: “Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate,” the Celtics will take the court without their starting point guard.

Boston has done so 13 times this past regular season, and was 8-5 SU and 7-6 ATS in those games. With this one taking place at Philips Arena in Atlanta, the important thing to note is the Celtics were 3-3 both SU and ATS without Rondo and with a suitcase in hand.

One of those games was on April 20, when the Hawks beat the C’s in Atlanta, 97-92. Boston covered the number in that game, catching 10.5 points. The total was 179.5, but soared Over by almost 10 points.

Boston, which is now mired in a 0-5 ATS slide as a playoff pup, was 4-2 ATS when catching points without Rondo this past regular season.

Without Rondo, the Celtics were 6-6-1 with totals. On the road without him, Boston was 4-1-1 Over and in the games it was an underdog, it was 3-2-1 Over.

The following are the games the Celtics played without Rajon Rondo:

DATE, OPPONENT, RESULTS, ATS, TOTAL

1/20 vs. Phoenix, L 71-79 (L -6.5), Under

1/22 at Washington, W 100-94 (W -4.5), Over

1/23 vs. Orlando, W 87-56 (W +7), Under

1/26 at Orlando, W 91-83 (W +10), Push

1/27 vs. Indiana, W 94-87 (W +4), Over

1/29 vs. Cleveland, L 87-88 (L -6.5), Under

1/31 at Cleveland, W 93-90 (L -4), Over

2/1 vs. Toronto, W 100-64 (W -9.5), Under

2/20 at Dallas, L 73-89 (L +9.5), Under

2/22 at Oklahoma City, L 104-119 (L +8.5), Over

4/18 vs. Orlando, W 102-98 (L -4.5), Over

4/20 at Atlanta, L 92-97 (W +10.5), Over

4/24 vs. Miami, W 78-66 (W -7), Under

(ATS source: Covers.com)

One sports book wasn’t afraid to come out with a number on Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls-Philadelphia 76ers series, despite Derrick Rose being ruled out for the rest of the postseason due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Chicago, which laid anywhere from 8.5 to 9 points to the Sixers in Game 1, were installed as 5.5 favorites at Bookmaker.eu, which was the only book offshore or in Las Vegas with a line on the game at roughly 3:45 p.m. pacific.

Bulls fans – not to mention Bulls futures bettors – cringed when Rose melted to the court and clutched his left knee, and was then helped to the locker room by both trainers. Rose tore his ACL as he came to a jump stop with just over a minute remaining in the game, leaving many to wonder why coach Tom Thibodeau had his All-Star still in the game.

Rose left the United Center for Rush University Medical Center, where he had an MRI, and roughly two hours later the team announced the severity of the injury and that its star would be out for the remainder of the season.

The Bulls, who cruised to a 103-91 win over the 76ers with five players in double figures on Saturday, are 18-9 without Derrick Rose this season. He missed 27 games with five separate injuries during the regular season. The Bulls were 14-12-1 against the point spread in those games.

Breaking it down even further, the Bulls were 11-5 SU and 7-8-1 ATS at home without Rose, and 7-4 SU and ATS.

The Bulls, whose defense ranked No. 1 in points allowed (88.2) this season, must now turn to the role players who stepped up in those 27 games.

Seven different Bulls have led the scoring attack in those 27 games: Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng (8 times each), John Lucas III (5), Richard Hamilton (3) and Kyle Korver, Joakim Noah and C.J. Watson (1 apiece).

The following are the games the Bulls played without Derrick Rose:

DATE, OPPONENT, RESULTS, ATS, BULLS LEADING SCORER

Jan. 11 vs. Washington, W – 78-64 (W -11.5), John Lucas III 25

Jan. 16 at Memphis, L – 86-102 (L -2), Luol Deng 20

Jan. 17 vs. Phoenix, W – 118-97 (W -9.5), Carlos Boozer 31

Jan. 20 at Cleveland, W – 114-75 (W -5.5), Luol Deng 21

Jan. 21 vs. Charlotte, W – 95-89 (L -12.5), Carlos Boozer 23

Feb. 10 at Charlotte, W – 95-64 (W -13.5), Joakim Noah 17

Feb. 12 at Boston, L – 91-95 (L -1), Carlos Boozer 23

Feb. 14 vs. Sacramento, W – 121-115 (L -11), Luol Deng 23

Feb. 16 vs. Boston, W – 89-80, (W -8) Carlos Boozer 23

Feb. 18 vs. New Jersey, L – 85-97 (L -11.5), Carlos Boozer 16

Mar. 14  vs. Miami, W – 106-102 (W +3), John Lucas III 24 (six in double figs)

Mar. 16 vs. Portland, L – 89-100 (L -8.5), Carlos Boozer 22

Mar. 17 vs. Philadelphia, W- 89-80 (W -4), C.J. Watson

Mar. 19 at Orlando, W – 85-59 (W +2), Carlos Boozer 24

Mar. 21 at Toronto, W – 94-82 (W -7), Luol Deng 17

Mar. 24 vs. Toronto, W – 102-101 OT (L -12.5), Carlos Boozer 24

Mar. 26 vs. Denver, L – 91-108 (L -7.5), Boozer, Lucas III, Kyle Korver 14

Mar. 28 at Atlanta, W – 98-77 (W -4), Luol Deng 22

Mar. 30 vs. Detroit, W – 83-71 (W -11), Luol Deng 20

Apr. 1 at Oklahoma City, L – 78-92 (L +6), John Lucas III 19

Apr. 2 vs. Houston, L – 93-99 (L -7.5), Luol Deng 24

Apr. 5 vs. Boston, W – 93-86 (P -7), Luol Deng 26

Apr 10 vs. NY Knicks, W – 98-86 (W -7), Richard Hamilton 20

Apr. 16 vs. Washington, L – 84-87 (L -13), Richard Hamilton 22

Apr. 18 at Charlotte, W – 100-68 (W -13), Richard Hamilton 22

Apr. 19 at Miami, L – 72-83 (L +6.5), John Lucas III 16

Apr. 26 at Cleveland, W – 107-75 (W -14.5), John Lucas III 25

(ATS source: Covers.com)

No. 1 CHICAGO BULLS (50-16 SU, 38-27-1 ATS) vs. No. 8 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (35-31 SU, 33-32-1 ATS)

Season series: Bulls, 2-1 SU and ATS. Chicago won the last two meetings after the Sixers opened the season-series with a 98-82 win on Feb. 1. Chicago went into Philly and won 96-91 in the second meeting, and ended up winning the final meeting at the United Center, 89-80. The lines in those games were never bigger than Chicago -4, and yet Game 1 has the Bulls laying more than double that.

Bottom line: As much as respect as I have for Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, I know how revved up the Bulls are after falling to Miami last year in the Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago is the East’s No. 1 seed once again and could be motivated for this series after hearing Philadelphia guard Evan Turner say he’d rather face the Bulls instead of the Heat, believing it was a better matchup for the Sixers.

Chicago Betting Trends: The Bulls come in having covered four straight as the favorite, 5-1 at home, 4-1 against winning teams and 12-5 against the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia Betting Trends: The Sixers are on winning betting streaks of 4-1 on the road and against Eastern Conference-foes, 7-3 when catching points in the postseason, but are also on losing slides of 4-9 when visiting teams that win at home and 7-21 against winning teams overall.

Series Trends: The straight-up winner in this series has covered the game in nine straight meetings, with the home team being victorious in nine of those games.

Prediction: Bulls in 5.

 

No. 2 MIAMI HEAT (46-20 SU, 32-34 ATS) vs. No. 7 NEW YORK KNICKS (36-30 SU, 36-30 ATS)

Season series: Heat, 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS. Miami scored a pair of double-digit wins at home earlier this year, and finished up the season set with an eight-point win thanks to a fourth-quarter surge to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 93-85 on April 15. Make note that Carmelo Anthony put in 42 points in that final game. In the regular season series, Dwyane Wade averaged 26 points on 52.5 percent shooting for the Heat, while LeBron James added 26.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

Bottom line: Most of these players were in junior high, if not elementary school, when these two franchises ignited their playoff rivalry in the late 1990s. New York beat Miami three times in four years from 1997-00, and there was the notorious brawl that found then-coach Jeff Van Gundy hugging Miami’s Alonzo Mourning’s leg to keep him away from New York’s Charles Oakley. The Heat are the better team, sure. But the Knicks have the chip on their shoulders.

Miami Betting Trends: The Heat are on winning runs of 4-1 at home, 7-2 when laying points in the postseason and 9-1 Over when laying points in the Playoffs.

New York Betting Trends: The Knicks roll into this series have covered four of five against the Southeast Division, 4-1 as a playoff pup and 10-4 against winning teams.

Series Trends: The road team has covered seven of the last nine meetings, while the straight-up winner has covered eight of the last 10 meetings.

Prediction: Heat in 7.

 

No. 3 INDIANA PACERS (42-24 SU, 32-34 ATS) vs. No. 6 ORLANDO MAGIC (37-29 SU, 34-32 ATS)

Season series: Magic, 3-1 SU and ATS. Key thing to note in this series this season is the road team won and covered three of the four meetings. Orlando won twice in Indiana, limiting the Pacers to 82 points per game in those particular games. It’s also important to note, the Magic had Dwight Howard all four games. Now he’s looking for back surgeons and the Pacers are looking to get this series over with quickly.

Bottom line: For as long as it looked like Orlando and Howard would iron out their differences, it also looked like the Magic would be the No. 3 seed in the East. Instead, the Pacers surged late to nab the No. 3 seed ahead of the Boston Celtics, and now appear to be in a favorable matchup against the downtrodden Magic.

Indiana Betting Trends: The Pacers closed out the campaign mired in a 5-12 slide after losing a game and 1-4 after failing to cover. They also are 1-10 against the number when laying points in the postseason.

Orlando Betting Trends: The Magic are on an 11-2 run against teams out of the Central Division, but are also mired in ATS slides of 2-8 after a straight-up loss and 1-5 in the first round of the playoffs.

Series Trends: Orlando has been the bread winner in this series, covering five of six overall and four of its last five in Indiana. Make note the straight-up winner has covered six in a row in this series.

Prediction: Pacers in 4.

 

No. 2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (47-19 SU, 35-31 ATS) vs. No. 7 DALLAS MAVERICKS (36-30 SU, 32-34 ATS)

Season series: Thunder, 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS. This was an intriguing series no doubt, as they split a pair of meetings over the first 10 days of the season before Oklahoma City began taking over and making a statement throughout the league. The Thunder won the last two games, as Kevin Durant averaged 25.5 points and Russell Westbrook added 22.8 for the Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki averaged 22.5 points to lead the Mavericks, but that was 10 points per game fewer than he averaged in last year’s playoff series the Mavs won to get into the NBA Finals.

Bottom line: As hard as it may be at times, I think the Thunder will have an easy time putting away the defending champs in this rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, which was won by Dallas in five games. Does that make sense? The Mavericks are going to be tough during games, but if the Thunder stick to their gameplan this season, and play their game, they’ll run away from the Mavs. I know plenty of people are jaded by the Thunder’s less-than impressive finish to the regular season, but how impressive were the Mavericks this season, if at all?

Oklahoma City Betting Trends: The Thunder arrive in the postseason on winning runs of 9-2 when playing on two days rest – which is a big trend in the postseason – plus, are 18-8 after an ATS setback. Careful though, they’re 2-5 against the West and an abysmal 0-8 against Southwest teams.

Dallas Betting Trends: The Mavs are in on ATS winning streaks of 9-1 as an underdog, 6-2 after a straight-up loss, 6-0 in the first round of the playoffs, but are also mired in a 1-4 slide as the road pup.

Series Trends: The road team in on a 7-1 spread streak, and 26-8 dating back to when the OKC franchise was in Seattle. The home team has won four of five straight-up, while the straight-up winner is on a 7-3 ATS run.

Prediction: Thunder in 5.

So here we go, the official entrance into summer, as the NBA Playoffs tip-off tomorrow with four games, and another quartet taking place on Sunday. Before getting there, let’s get you some helpful information before heading in.

(I will be updating my blog with my First-round series capsules and First-round series predictions, so be sure to check back overnight for both)

1. San Antonio (50-16) – Defying Father Time, the Spurs finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak and tied for the best record in the NBA. Since an 8-1 road trip back in February, the Spurs have won 26 of 32.

2. Chicago (50-16) – I love that everyone is questioning the Bulls and their wherewithal right now. They finished tied for the league’s best record, they posted the fourth-best winning percentage in franchise history at .758 and handled Derrick Rose’s injury just fine.

3. Oklahoma City (47-19) – Make note, the Thunder – at most places – are favored to win it all. Though the two previously mentioned teams are sitting above OKC, and had both records, I don’t blame Vegas for giving the nod to these young boys. The Thunder will be a contender for many seasons to come.

4. Miami (46-20) – What would you like to me say about the team everyone already knows about? Strengths: having LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Weaknesses: having LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

5. Indiana (42-24) – I think the Pacers could very well be the most dangerous team in the NBA Playoffs. Dare I say it, they could be this year’s version of the Dallas Mavericks. Do not sleep on this team, which went 12-3 in April, while covering nine of their last 15.

6. L.A. Lakers (41-25) – Arguably the most confusing and frustrating team in the postseason right now. I mean seriously, was this not the most erratic team of the regular season? The Purple and Gold are always dangerous, as long as the Black Mamba is suiting up.

7. Boston (39-27) – I think the Celtics can be just as dangerous as the Pacers in the postseason, quite honestly. They may be old, but they can still ball. Question is, how well will they do as long as Ray Allen is watching, and not playing?

8. L.A. Clippers (40-26) – Not too shabby with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin this season, but this is where the big boys come to play, and we’ve seen far too often this season, how the Clippers faltered against playoff-caliber competition.

9. Memphis (41-25) – Last year this was my first-round sleeper, as I loved the Grizzlies in their series against the San Antonio Spurs. This year they’re no longer a secret, and though I think they’ll give the Clippers a run for their money, I don’t know if they can move on.

10. Denver (38-28) – Is this the upset special of the first round? You can never tell what is going down when the Nuggets meet the Lakers. Fact is, the Nuggets can, and have, defeat any team in this league. Look out if they make it past L.A.

11. Atlanta (40-26) – The Hawks were written off by so many critics before the strike ended, when the season started and even before Al Horford was lost for the duration of the season just 11 games into the campaign. The overachieving Hawks deserve Kudos for their run into the postseason.

12. Dallas (36-30) – Who needs Lamar Odom anyway? The Mavericks apparently don’t. We’re going to learn a lot more about this team when the Playoffs begin, whether or not they still have the same determination and grit it had last season during its title run.

13. New York (36-30) – Anyone else take notice the Knicks finished second in the Atlantic Division, just three games back of the Celtics? Anyone else – low-key, as they say – hoping the Knicks oust the Heat from the Playoffs. Start spreadin’ the news…

14. Philadelphia (35-31) – What makes this team great is coach Doug Collins. Too bad he cannot instill his thoughts and knowledge onto the court and immediately into his players as he sees things. Fact is, they’ve been a sub-.500 team (15-17) since the All-Star break.

15. Utah (36-30) – Well, everyone picked the Spurs to eliminate the Grizzlies in the first round, so that’s one thing the Jazz can take to heart this postseason. Personally, I see Utah giving the aging vets from The Alamo at least one good game in Salt Lake.

16. Orlando (37-29) – Yes, the Magic have better records than the Mavs, Knicks, Jazz and Sixers, but I think they’ve become the worst of all 16 playoff teams. Forget the fact Dwight Howard is gone for the season – some say that makes this team better – things just seem all-around bad for the Magic.

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEEDS

with odds to win West, from Sportsbook.com

1. San Antonio (+200)

2. Oklahoma City (even)

3. L.A. Lakers (+500)

4. Memphis (+900)

5. LA Clippers (+800)

6. Denver (+3000)

7. Dallas (+1500)

8. Utah (+5000)

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEEDS

with odds to win West, from BetOnline.com

1. Chicago (+160)

2. Miami (-130)

3. Indiana (+1600)

4. Boston (+1050)

5. Atlanta (+3500)

6. Orlando (+6000)

7. New York (+1850)

8. Philadelphia (+5000)

NBA PLAYOFF TEAMS

ATS RANKINGS

San Antonio (42-20-4)

Chicago (38-27-1)

Atlanta (36-28-1)

Denver (36-30)

New York (36-30)

Oklahoma City (35-31)

Boston (34-30-2)

Utah (34-31-1)

Orlando (34-32)

Philadelphia (33-32-1)

L.A. Clippers (33-33)

Dallas (32-34)

Miami (32-34)

Indiana (32-34)

Memphis (29-37)

L.A. Lakers (28-38)

NBA PLAYOFF TEAMS

O/U RANKINGS (By Overs)

San Antonio (39-26)

L.A. Lakers (37-28)

Indiana (34-30)

Orlando (33-31)

L.A. Clippers (33-32)

Atlanta (33-32)

Dallas (33-33)

Utah (32-32)

Denver (32-33)

Chicago (31-34)

Oklahoma City (31-35)

Philadelphia (30-36)

Boston (28-35)

New York (27-39)

Memphis (26-40)

Miami (25-39)