Posts Tagged ‘gambling’

By W.G. Ramirez

Reminiscent of Captain Renault in Casablanca, who was “shocked, SHOCKED!” to find there was gambling at Rick’s Café Américain in Casablanca, NBA Summer League founder Warren LeGarie about fell over when I asked him if he knew there were betting lines on the games being played this week at the Cox Pavilion and Thomas and Mack Center.

I don’t know if looks are facetious, but I’m sure LeGarie’s was when he said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Nonetheless, lo and behold, the LVH Superbook is taking action on the summer league games taking place here in Las Vegas, while a scant few offshore joints are also in action.

And here’s the rundown: the underdogs have been the winning choice, as they’re 24-19 since the start of the league, with three games being a pick and a fourth not having a line. As for the totals, the Under has been an overwhelming moneymaker, with a 29-17 mark.

Actually, with the totals, since the Under broke out on a 16-2 run after the first three days, things have leveled off with the Over on a 15-13 streak since Monday.

There’s no telling how much action is coming in on the games, which are played by teams comprised of mostly no-names hoping to make the NBA. There are a few big names in the pack, and as LeGarie pointed out, the league is simply trying to put a good product on the court and a provide a good show for exuberant basketball fans still salivating from the exhilarating seven-game NBA Finals.

“All we do is want to make this more competitive, we want people to play for something meaningful, we think it adds another element, we think the fans get involved especially with our seating,” LeGarie said. “This is good.”

I’m sure there are some people having fun with the point spreads, and they’re showing up at the arenas with betting slips in their pocket. Why not, with an opportunity to wager on games and then watch the games in person?

With the championship bracket in the quarterfinals, I would imagine the LVH Superbook lines will be tighter and the totals could be a little truer to form. I would also have to assume the action will increase for the final weekend.

“I’m not a gambler, I’m not a bettor,” said ESPN NBA analyst Kurt Rambis. “From everything I’ve heard about betting and gambling they’ll bet and gamble on anything, so why not the summer league games?”

Exactly, and even Capt. Renault wouldn’t be shocked!

So the Miami Heat have won 27 in a row after Monday’s win and cover in Orlando. But as the oddsmakers have to be going through a state of New England Patriotism – how big a favorite do they make the Heat each time out – I think we may have found the right times to bet on or against the defending NBA champions.

Here are some analytical looks as to when to invest in the Miami Heat, and when to bet against them…

First of all, during this 27-0 straight-up (SU) win streak, the Heat are 16-11 against the spread (ATS). At home, they’re 6-8 at the window while cashing in 10 of 13 with a suitcase in hand. That’s not to say they’re always unfocused at American Airlines Arena in South Beach, and more focused on shuffling over to Prime Italian for their after-game meals.

Remember, the oddsmakers are more inclined to put a double digit number on the Heat at home, and as it is, the Heat are just 8-11 as a double-digit favorite this season.

What I did notice, no matter what the point spread has been at home, when the Heat return to Miami they’re 0-4 ATS in their first game back. They’re also 1-3 ATS in their second consecutive game back at home. If the homestand extends past two games, the Heat’s numbers improve, as they’re 2-1 in Game 3, 2-0 in Game 4 and 1-0 in the fifth straight game of a homestand.

On the road, the pyramid flips, as Miami appears to be immediately focused when hitting the highway, with a 3-1 ATS mark in Game 1 of a road trip. The number stays healthy, until Games 4 and 5 of an extended road trip.

The Heat are 3-0 in Game 2 of a junket, 2-0 in Game 3, 2-1 in Game 4 and 0-1 in Game 5.

As for how much rest the best team in basketball might need, the breakdown is as follows:

  • On the second of back-to-back nights: 3-4 ATS
  • Playing on one day’s rest: 11-6 ATS
  • Playing on two day’s rest: 1-1
  • And the five-day rest period over the All-Star break: 1-0

Finally, here is a breakdown of actual point spreads that are in your favor when betting on the Heat, and that work against you:

  • Miami is a perfect 6-0 ATS when laying anywhere from 3′ to 5′ points.
  • Miami is 8-4 ATS when laying a number ranging from 6 to 11 points.
  • Miami sinks to a lowly 2-7 ATS when laying 11′ or more points.

Obviously, when the Heat are playing tougher competition and the number is lower, their stars on the floor longer and covering numbers. When they’re playing mid-range teams that would likely seed 5 through 8 in their respective conference playoffs – pure speculation – they could be up big and coach Erik Spoelstra is pulling his stars late and there might be backdoor covers. And when they’re playing the dregs of the NBA, it’s obvious Spoelstra is taking no chances, his stars playing less time and the Heat are doing what they have to nab the straight-up win.

So, when do the Heat next step on the court and where do all these intangible fall into place?

Miami plays the second of a four-game road trip Wednesday night in Chicago, after one day’s rest. The Heat failed to win or cover -7-1/2 the first time these two played – in Miami on Jan. 4 – and then won and covered the -3-1/2 in Chi-town in the second meeting (2/21).

Based on everything I’ve just broken down for you, and with a guess the line will be about 4 or 4-1/2, I’d lay the points with Miami to make a statement.

Speaking of football, in London, this weekend it’ll be the kind we’re used to in America, not the brand the Brits are familiar with.

The St. Louis Rams (3-4) “host” Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (4-3) Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the annual NFL International Series in London.

The Patriots are 7-point favorites over the Rams, while the total is sitting at 47.

First-year coach – but certainly no newbie to the game – Jeff Fisher has seemingly turned this team around, and it’s evident on the defensive side of the ball. St. Louis has the 10th-ranked defense in the league overall, after being 22nd last year.

Prior to last week’s 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Rams had stifled their foes to a mere 14.7 points per game at home in the Edward Jones Dome, with impressive victories over the Redskins, Seahawks and Cardinals.

Of course, there might be a question mark against more-formidable opponents after seeing what the Packers did; this week may tell more against the Patriots and their No. 1 ranked overall offense.

The young Rams figure to have their hands full, as is this their first trip across the pond; the Patriots have been here before, beating Tampa Bay at Wembley in 2009. And let’s be real, though the official boxscore will list St. Louis as the home team, the Patriots are by far the more popular team in Europe.

No doubt in my mind the Patriots will get a majority of the support.

That’s not to say I’m ready to lay the chalk with New England, especially after seeing last Sunday’s second-half collapse and overall scare, relinquishing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to the New York Jets in a three-point, overtime win. And that was one week after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Seattle.

I will be intrigued to see how well these two teams defend one another, since Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels held the same position with the Rams last season. Theory being, the Rams might be able to predict some of his tendencies, albeit with guys like Brady, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. And, the Patriots could benefit by McDaniels’ info about the tendencies of the Rams’ offensive personnel.

The ‘under’ is on a 4-1 run in this ‘London game,’ and the Rams were on a four-game ‘under’ streak til last week, when they went over 45 with the Packers, totaling 50 points. They have to know their best chance in this game is to slow the Patriots down, eat up clock by controlling the tempo with a strong rushing game, protecting the football and keeping Brady off the field. I can buy into that philosophy and still see the Patriots win this game.

Again, I don’t want to lay the points, since I could see New England up by 10 late in this one, and the Rams scoring a backdoor touchdown. The Patriots might just put it on Fisher’s boys, like they did the Buccaneers in 2009, in a 35-7 rout.

For my official free play on this game, head over to Chris Jordan Sports where I have a 4* play (based on a scale of 1* to 5*) ready right now.


Oct. 2 2005 Cardinals (-3, 44) 31–14 over 49ers, at Mexico City

Oct. 28 2007 Giants 13-10 over Dolphins (+10, 47.5), at London

Oct. 26 2008 Saints (+3, 45.5) 37-32 over Chargers, at London

Oct. 25 2009 Patriots (-15.5, 44.5) 35-7 over Buccaneers, at London

Oct. 31 2010 49ers (-2, 41) 24-16 over Broncos, at London

Oct. 23 2011 Bears (-1.5, 44) 24-18 over Buccaneers, at London

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