Archive for April, 2013

The following should provide you with a little insight for the upcoming postseason, as we approach the two-month stretch to determine your NBA champion.
Hope you enjoy the write-ups!!!
No. 1 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (60-22 SU, 48-32-2 ATS) vs.
No. 8 HOUSTON ROCKETS (45-37 SU, 41-40-1 ATS)
Season series: Thunder 2-1 SU and ATS. Oklahoma City smoked the Rockets in the teams’ first two meetings, winning by 22 and 30 points before the turn of the calendar year. Houston responded at home in February with a three-point, 122-119 marathon win. The straight-up winner is on a five-game win streak at the window, while the Rockets have won and covered three of the last five meetings dating back to last season.
Oklahoma City Backstory: An intriguing first-round clash for the Thunder, as they end up with Houston, rather than the Los Angeles Lakers. That means they’ll face a key member of last year’s Western Conference championship team, James Harden, who was dealt to the Rockets during the offseason. Oklahoma City will obviously be driven to make its second straight trip to the NBA Finals.
Houston Backstory: I think it comes down to how well Harden and Jeremy Lin play. The Rockets will be trying to catch Oklahoma City with its guard down, while proving they’re much better than an 8-seed. Harden went from being the sixth man with the Thunder to a leader on the Rockets. Lin, meanwhile, has played a key role in his first full season as a starter. His play against point guard Russell Westbrook will be fun to watch.
ATS Notes: Houston comes into the postseason on a 6-15 slide against the Northwest division, 3-8 with a suitcase in hand and 1-5 in its last six games – all versus Western Conference teams. Meanwhile, the defending Western Conference champs are in on ATS streaks of 16-6 at home, 19-7 against the Southwest Division, 46-19 versus Western Conference teams, 5-1 against winning teams and 5-1 when hosting the Rockets.
Over/Under: The Rockets were dead even with their totals, going 41-41 this season. On the road they were 21-20, while they were 20-21 in H-town. Oklahoma City was 36-46 with its totals, going 20-21 at home and 16-25 while ordering room service.
Prediction: I don’t care how scrappy the Rockets are, and what they do with Harden and Lin, the Thunder have one goal in mind, and that’s to avenge last year’s loss to the Miami Heat. I like OKC to win this series in 5.
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No. 2 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (58-24 SU, 39-41-2 ATS) vs.
No. 7 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (45-37 SU, 34-47-1 ATS)
Season series: Spurs 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS. While the Spurs won two of the three regular season meetings, the Lakers snatched the cash in the last two meetings of the season, including last week’s 91-86 victory. That was the first game for the Lakers after losing Kobe Bryant to a season-ending injury. In the Spurs’ two wins, make note they won by a total of five points. The road team is on winning runs of 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS when these two get together. The straight-up winner has covered 9 of the last 10 meetings.
San Antonio Storyline: I’m not so sure how excited the Spurs are to play hungry Los Angeles team that just won the regular-season series finale last week. San Antonio comes in battling injuries and after losing three straight games and seven of its last 10. With Tony Parker nursing nagging injuries, I have to wonder how effective he will be. This is a team that does not look like a No. 2 seed, despite coming in with the Western Conference’s second-best mark.
Los Angeles Storyline: Amazingly, the Lakers not only made the playoffs, but they arrive on a five-game win streak that includes two straight wins without Bryant, who tore his Achilles’ tendon last week. And the Lakers not only managed to make the postseason, but by winning out, and topping Houston in the season finale, they nabbed the No. 7 seed and avoided having to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in this round.
ATS Notes: The Lakers check into the postseason on ATS streaks of 5-1 against the Southwest, 2-5 on the highway and 7-3 when playing in the Alamo. The Spurs, meanwhile, are mired in ATS slides of 3-13 against Western Conference foes, 1-7 at home, 0-4 versus Pacific Division teams and 5-16 overall.
Over/Under: The Lakers were 43-38-1 with their totals this season, going 19-21-1 at home and shading the over on the road with a 24-17 mark with a suitcase in hand. Defensive-minded San Antonio was 36-46 with its over/unders, going 17-24 at home and 19-22 on the highway.
Prediction: While everyone loves the Spurs in this series, but something tells me the future of the Lakers is about to shine through, and we’re going to see a much more cohesive team now that Kobe is on the shelf. In a shocker, Lakers in 7.
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No. 3 DENVER NUGGETS (57-25 SU, 49-33 ATS) vs.
No. 6 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (47-35 SU, 42-39-1 ATS)
Season series: Nuggets 3-1 SU and ATS. The third-seeded Denver Nuggets scored triple figs in each of the four meetings with Golden State this season, which should come as no surprise with as explosive an offense they had. Oddly enough, these two met thrice in November, with Denver winning the first two, and the Warriors stealing the third meeting. Their fourth and final clash came on Jan. 13, and the Nuggets scored their second 11-point win over Golden State of the season. The home team is on a 7-2 SU run, while the straight-up winner in this clash has covered eight in a row.
Denver Storyline: While the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers managed to monopolize the Western Conference headlines for most of the season, the Nuggets quietly did their part to ascend to No. 3 overall, and remain a serious threat as long as they’re hosting games in the Mile High City. The Nuggets have won 23 straight at home, and that’s a big deal as long as they’re hosting a series.
Golden State Storyline: I have to admire coach Mark Jackson and what he’s done with the Oaktown boys. This marks the second trip to the postseason for Golden State in 19 years, and something tells me it’s just the beginning of a something good for the Warriors. I don’t know if this is an all-out breakthrough year, but this will be a team to reckon with behind the talents of Stephen Curry, the new single-season 3-point record-holder.
ATS Notes: While the Warriors have covered four of five against Western Conference foes, they’re mired in ATS slides of 5-11 on the road and 5-14 against winning teams. Meanwhile, the third-seeded Nuggets are in on ATS sprees of 10-1 against Pacific Division teams, 15-5 in Denver, 18-8 overall and 4-1 when hosting the Warriors.
Over/Unders: Golden State was 47-35 with its totals all season, going 22-19 in Oakland and pushing the tempo by going 25-16 when traveling. Denver also favored high numbers, going an identical 47-35 with its totals (20-21 at home and 27-14 on the road).
Prediction: I expect to see some high-scoring, entertaining basketball games with these two, but as much as I like Jackson and what he’s done with the Warriors, I don’t think they’re mature enough to hang. Nuggets win the series of marathon games in 6.
The following should provide you with a little insight for the upcoming postseason, as we approach the two-month stretch to determine your NBA champion. I am giving you predictions in each series of the Eastern Conference today, and will do the same later this evening in the Western Conference, except the ONE SERIES I feel is the BEST BET and will offer as part of a sales package this weekend – the Western Conference series between the Memphis Grizzlies and L.A. Clippers.
Hope you enjoy the write-ups!!!
No. 1 MIAMI HEAT (66-16 SU, 46-36 ATS) vs.
No. 8 MILWAUKEE BUCKS (38-44 SU, 36-45-1 ATS)
Season series: Heat 3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS. The home team won three of the four meetings, with Miami stealing one on the road last month. I make that point because the road team had dominated since mid-season 2011. The visitor in this clash has won 5 of 9, while the Bucks are 6-3 ATS in those games. After taking the Heat to overtime in the first meeting on Nov. 21, and eventually losing 113-106, the Bucks pulled off the upset on Dec. 29, winning by 19 points. Miami dominated the last two meetings, winning by 13 last month in Milwaukee, 107-94, on March 15 and by 11 earlier this month on April 9, 94-83.
Miami Backstory: After winning the NBA Finals last season, the Heat seemingly breezed through their 2012-13 campaign, setting a franchise record with 66 victories that included a 27-game winning streak while finishing with the best record in the NBA. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to average 48 points, and lead a team that was 37-4 at home this season.
Milwaukee Backstory: The Bucks, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and just the second time in eight years, haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. They closed the season by losing 12 of their last 16 games, including five straight setbacks before a season-ending 95-89 victory over defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City.
ATS Notes: The Bucks are mired in spread skids of 6-20 in Eastern Conference play, 2-8 with a suitcase in hand and 2-11 versus teams out of the Southeast Division. The Heat begin this series on Vegas streaks of 7-1 against Eastern Conference teams, 4-1 in South Beach, 4-1 in the conference quarters and 7-1 overall.
Over/Under: The Bucks were 40-41-1 this season with the totals, with vast differences in Milwaukee and on the road. When hosting games, the Bucks were 23-17-1. On the highway they were 17-24. Miami was 42-39-1 season-long, going 24-16-1 at home and 18-23 with a suitcase in hand.
Prediction: The Heat are going to be pumped to get the postseason started, and are far too experienced to dink around in the conference quarterfinals. Heat win this in 4.
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No. 2 NEW YORK KNICKS (54-28 SU, 47-34-1 ATS) vs.
No. 7 BOSTON CELTICS (41-40 SU, 36-41-4 ATS)
Season series: Knicks 3-1 SU and ATS. While New York won the season series with their arch-rivals for the first time since 2003-04, make note the road team was 3-1, a twist from last season when the home team swept the season series. The straight-up winner was a perfect 4-0 in this year’s games. The first meeting of the campaign became notorious when and Kevin Garnett exchanged words, and continued the argument outside Boston’s team bus after the game. After the teams split the first two in a pair of contentious games, the Knicks won by double digits in the last two contests, by 15 and 19.
New York Backstory: Just before acquiring Kenyon Martin at the end of February, the Knicks were playing mediocre basketball and couldn’t find a groove on the court. But since he joined the team, the Knicks are on a 22-8 run. And during a 13-game win streak New York’s offense produced triple figs in 10 of the games. They come into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NBA after ending the Boston’s five-year reign as Atlantic Division champs while capturing their first division title since 1994.
Boston Backstory: The Celtics, who have never lost in the first round with Garnett and Paul Pierce, lost three of their last four games, including three straight on the road – in Miami, Orlando and Toronto. In fact, dating back to a five-game win streak that highlighted the start of March, the Celtics have lost 13 of their last 20 games.
ATS Notes: Boston comes into the playoffs on spread streaks of 12-5 against winning teams, 3-8 on the highway and 0-4 against intradivision rivals. Meanwhile, the Knicks are in on ATS win streaks of 4-0 against intradivision foes, 14-3 against intraconference opponents, 46-21 at home, 10-1 against winning teams and 20-6 overall.
Over/Under: Boston was 42-38-1 this season with totals, going 21-18-1 in Beantown and 21-20 as the guest. The Knicks were pretty much a .500 team when it came to totals, as they were 40-41-1 overall, going 20-21 with a suitcase and 20-20-1 at Madison Square Garden.
Prediction: The Knicks have emerged as the No. 1 contender to the Heat, and know they can’t afford to get into a brawl in this series. Boston may steal one at home, but the Knicks win in 5.
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No. 3 INDIANA PACERS (49-32 SU, 42-39 ATS) vs.
No. 6 ATLANTA HAWKS (44-38 SU, 37-43-2 ATS)
Season series: Tied 2-2 both SU and ATS. The home teams were undefeated in this series, with the Hawks winning the first two meetings in Atlanta, and the Pacers capturing the final two clashes in Indianapolis. These two were about as even as they come, as the Pacers outscored the Hawks 400-395 in the four regular-season meetings. The home team has always dominated this series going back almost three years, as the host is on a 9-1 SU tear. Atlanta holds the slight edge at the window in those games, with a 6-4 advantage. The straight-up winner is on an 8-2 ATS run, with the two losses coming this season when the Pacers lost the first meeting but covered as a 4-point dog, and the Hawks covered as a 6-1/2-point pup in Indianapolis just last month.
Indiana Backstory: The Pacers, once considered the top threat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, closed the season by losing five of their last six contests. As the No. 3 seed, the Pacers return with four starters from last season’s playoff team: Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and David West. The one newcomer to the lineup is Lance Stephenson, who replaced former All-Star Danny Granger, who led the Pacers in scoring five straight seasons coming into this past one.
Atlanta Backstory: Atlanta, which is in the playoffs for the sixth straight season, has gone 11-15 since the start of March, and most recently looked far less than a playoff team, losing five of its last seven games. Though the Hawks were hammered in their last two games of the season, coach Larry Drew knows his players will be well-rested and healthy for what figures to be a physical series. The Hawks held out Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Kyle Korver in Wednesday’s season-finale at New York.
ATS Notes: Though the Hawks have covered 6 of 8 on the highway and are on a 10-4 spread streak in the first round of the playoffs, they’re also mired in ATS slides of 1-8 against the East, 3-7 against winning teams and 2-8 overall. Meanwhile, the Pacers are stuck in ATS ruts of 0-7 versus Eastern Conference foes, 0-5 at home and 0-6 overall.
Over/Under: Indiana was 39-42 with its totals this season, with a 21-20 mark in Indianapolis and 18-22 on the road. The Hawks, meanwhile, were 42-39-1 on the year, going 22-19 at home and 20-20-1 while traveling.
Prediction: This might be the most contentious first-round series, in terms of physicality, as the Pacers had the No. 2 defense while the Hawks were ranked 13th, in terms of scoring defense. Look for Indy to take this in 7.
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No. 4 BROOKLYN NETS (49-33 SU, 39-41-2 ATS) vs.
No. 5 CHICAGO BULLS (45-37 SU, 36-46 ATS)
Season series: Bulls, 3-1 SU and ATS. Other than Chicago’s 11-point win on March 2 at the United Center, these two played very close games, with the underdog covering three of the four meetings. The average margin in the four games was 4.5 points, and if you throw out Chicago’s double-digit win last month, the average margin dwindles to 2.3 points per game. In Brooklyn’s lone win the Bulls were sans Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich. The straight-up winner in the last 10 meetings has covered 7 of those games, while the road team has covered 7 of 9 meetings.
Brooklyn Backstory: The Nets are in the playoffs after concluding their first season in Brooklyn, and did so behind one of the better scoring defenses in the league, allowing just 95.1 points per game, which ranked sixth in the NBA. They closed the season winning six of their last seven games, putting up triple figures in every one of their wins. In fact, in their last 12 wins of the season – spanning 17 games they went 12-5 – they averaged 108.5 points per game
Chicago Backstory: The Bulls won 45 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference playoffs despite being without Derrick Rose the entire season. Chicago had the No. 3 scoring defense in the NBA this season, allowing just 92.87 points per game. The Bulls come into this one as healthy as they’ve been all season, and hold the distinction of halting the two hottest win streaks of the season – Miami’s 27-game spree and New York’s 13-game run. Now the Bulls look to avenge last year’s first-round exit from the postseason.
ATS Notes: Chicago is in on a variety of ATS streaks, including 6-1 against winning teams, 7-2 versus the Atlantic Division, 2-6 against the Eastern Conference, 2-6 overall and 4-0 when visiting the Nets. On the flipside, Brooklyn checks into the postseason on ATS runs of 6-1 on extended rest, 5-2 in the opening round and a disappointing 5-12 at home.
Over/Under: The Bulls were 37-45 this season with the totals, staying under predominately at home with a 16-25 mark, while going 21-20 on the road. Brooklyn was 41-39-2 with the over/unders, going 21-19-1 at home and 20-20-1 with a suitcase in hand.
Prediction: I like the Nets’ attitude and how it takes charge with a little confidence, and something tells me they’re going to feel like the superior team, despite these two being the 4 and 5. I like Brooklyn in 6 games.

Here we are just a couple weeks into the season, and many of the age-old MLB betting systems have had several plays, including one of my favorites – the Major League debut. The idea behind playing a Major League pitcher in his debut start is the oddsmakers are throwing a line out on a young hurler who has never been tested in an official big-league game.

There have been five Major League pitching debuts thus far this season, and after the Pittsburgh Pirates won 10-7 yesterday over the Cincinnati Reds, the system is now 2-3 on the year, showing a small loss of .70 cents on the dollar.

  • April 2 – Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers) -110 vs. Giants – LOSS, 0-3
  • April 4 – Brandon Maurer (Mariners) +155 vs. A’s – LOSS, 2-8
  • April 7 – Jose Fernandez (Marlins) +120 vs. Mets – LOSS, 3-4
  • April 9 – Nick Tepesch (Rangers) -125 vs. Rays – WON, 6-1
  • April 14 – Phil Irwin (Pirates) +140 vs. Reds – WON 10-7

Most first-timers won’t get their first start until after May 1, as there’s been an appropriate amount of time for managers to sort out their lineups and rotations, while also getting their minor-league reports and know who is ready to call up in spot situations.

Personally, I like to think the managers know what they’re doing, much more than the oddsmakers, when it comes to relying on a youngster to win his debut. After all, it’s the big-league skipper who is in constant contact with the pitching coaches and knows the right time for promotion.

The oddsmakers are generally making the rookies a small favorite to an underdog of any size on any given day, but what the smart bettor has to take into consideration is the rookie hurler is embarking on the biggest day of his life and I can tell you the first timers generally do very well over the course of the season.

So while the public bettors are driving the price up on the opposing pitcher, I’m looking for the value with the rookie right up until first pitch. What I really enjoy is seeing one of these first-timers go up against a seasoned veteran, as the big-name hurler usually drenches himself with overconfidence, thinking the game is an easy win. You mix that with the youngster having an extra dose of adrenaline to win his debut, and most times it’s the right ingredients for an underdog win.

The hidden intangibles one might not take into consideration come into play with this system, and we’re generally getting some of the best value we’ll ever get in any of the systems generally played year after year.

So the next time you get antsy looking at a game, and think it looks easy playing against a rookie cause it’s his major-league debut, you might want to take advantage of the value you’re getting with that youngster and take the chance with the kid who has no official major-league scouting report against major-league hitters and that nobody knows about.

Why? Cause more times than not he’s going to shock you.

BETTING BASEBALL – Every year, during the first month of the season, my Customer Service Department is inundated with questions about BETTING BASEBALL. I can tell you personally – and have been the past decade – it is one of the best ways to make money, and one of the simplest forms of handicapping.

I am actually shocked there aren’t more baseball bettors out there. For instance, of the $3.17 billion wagered on sports in Nevada in 2011, a mere 18 percent was on baseball, compared to the 42 percent placed on football. And yet in baseball there is so much more value, epecially knowing you’re dealing with day-to-day situations, a pitcher vs. batter scenario, travel schedules, pitching rotations and some of the most valuable momentum you could ask for in any sport.

Perhaps it’s the popularity – or lack thereof – since so many people would rather wager on a fast-paced game, such as football and basketball. But guys, money is money, and just like in the stock market, you’re either investing long-term mutual, or on the aggressive risk play. The same applies here.

Now, with the regular season officially underway, let’s go over some important points you’ll need to consider, or phrases you’ll hear throughout the season, and defined here:

LISTING PITCHERS – I take into account the pitchers in every game in some way shape or form, and generally surround my handicapping around the starters. There are going to be times – not every – I will tell you to list the pitchers in a baseball game, which basically means you’re making a wager on a game and stating specified hurlers in the event.

If Cliff Lee is facing Justin Verlander, I might tell you to list Lee and Verlander, which means both must start in order for you to have action on the game. If one, or both pitchers don’t start, you have no action and your money will be returned. You can also play a team and list its pitcher, or only choose to list the pitcher your team is opposing.

Bottom line, when listing one or both pitchers, whomever is on your ticket must start the game (throw one pitch), in order for you ticket to be valid.

You can also make an ACTION bet, which means regardless of the pitchers who start or play, you’ll have action on the team you’re betting on.

MONEY LINE – Instead of a point spread, we have the Money Line; and this is what you’ll be playing daily – UNLESS IT’S NOTED to play the Run Line. Money Lines are expressed in terms of a dollar. If we’re making a play on the favorite, we’ll be laying more than a dollar in order to win a dollar – the same we lay $1.10 to win a $1 in football and basketball. If we’re playing an underdog, we’re investing one dollar to win a dollar plus the juice. For instance, if a favorite is -1.35, we’ll lay $1.35 to win $1. If we’re betting the underdog in that game, we’d likely be catching +1.25; so we’d lay $1 to win $1.25. Most bettors might not realize over the course of an entire baseball season, the house edge – the vigorish, or juice – is only about 35 percent of what it is betting on sports such as football and basketball.

Why? Because your investment is on which team will win. You’re dealing with that pitcher, you’re dealing with a lineup and you’re counting on a skipper that will do anything to manage his team to a win. And by playing these prices over the course of a season, you have such a bigger advantage. Think about it, you have the opportunity to invest in any number of 2,430 games. In pro football you’re offered just 256 regular-season games.

Now, this is very important, as we must discuss Sports Books. I will never tell you where to play, and don’t offer any recommendations on any, but I will tell you this is the most important time of the season to find a quality one, or use multiple ones to shop the prices effectively, as we’re looking for ones offering “Dime Lines.” Here in Vegas, I can get a nickel line at times, but that’s irrelevant.

Notice my example above – a favorite laying $1.35 and the comeback at $1.25. There are some books that will offer a .20-cent line, and you’d only be getting $1.15 for that underdog. You lose value by not knowing these things, so take in consideration your book when signing up. Understandably, at most books, as the price reaches $1.80 or $2.00 with favorites, the come-back price is now a 20-cent line and that can’t be avoided.

RUN LINE – Now, a run line play will be used throughout the week and here is where a “point spread” comes in. If the Tigers are a big favorite with an ace laying $2.10 to No. 4 guy in the rotation, I would be inclined to laying 1-1/2 runs, and reduce the price to +1.05. Quite a difference, right?

The catch is, my team must win by two or more runs. Rarely would we play an underdog +1-1/2, so we won’t get much into that, but the thought process remains the same, as we’d be getting a run and a half, lose by one and still win our bet. There are have been sharps and handicappers known to do this, thinking a pitching duel will end up in a one-run game, but it is not something I am a fan of.

When making a Run Line wager, it will always be based on the pitchers listed at the time the wager is made. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned.

TOTALS – Baseball totals are the same across the board, just as in any sport, as there is a number listed for the game itself, and it applies to the number of runs both teams score in the game. This includes extra innings, when applicable.

Both pitchers are automatically listed at the time a total-bet is made and both must start for a total wager to have action. If one, or both, of the listed pitchers do not start, there is no action and your money will be returned. I will have action on totals, not a lot, but more often in baseball than in any other sport will I find value in MLB totals.

Many bettors will take into consideration the umpires in handicapping baseball, particularly the totals. I’m not that big on it, though at times I will refer to the home-plate assignment to solidify a big play.

SYSTEMS – No handicapper might like admit it, but when it comes to baseball, there are some age-old betting systems the late-great Mike Lee used to follow religiously. I love three of them in particular, none of which I’m ready to reveal though, as I work them into my daily lineups quite often.

The key to these systems, is they’re profitable from the start of each season, and basically to the end of the campaign. It’s not something you can jump in and out of, as there could be losing streaks with them. Fact is, there’s always losing streaks in sports betting, but you cannot lose focus on the task at hand, and must play accordingly, following the rules of your money management, the sport you’re playing and the system(s) you’re following.

This is the main reason I always insist on playing with me for one of two packages – one that’ll take you through the All-Star Break, or one that’ll get you through the World Series.

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Good luck this season, and remember, it’s a very long campaign that can be grueling at times. The ups, the downs, the highs, the lows … it’s an investment, not a hunt-and-peck kind of sport you want to jump in and out of.

The prices give us an advantage at times, and that’s where we make our mark.

I follow strict money management guidelines in baseball, so if you’re on board long-term, stick by everything I tell you and follow the ratings.

See ya at the ball field, and don’t forget your Peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don’t care if we ever get back!