Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 01/13/2009
Come with us as we go Around The NBA In 24 Seconds:
24. Monta Ellis is set to return to practice for Golden State and to game action sometime during their seven-game home stand. Don't jump on the Warriors bandwagon right off the bat, as the lines will be a little inflated right after his return. It will take him a while to get back to game shape.
The Kevin Martin situation in Sacramento gives us a nice blueprint. They failed to cover his first game back, but have gone on a nice 4-2 ATS run after that.
23. The Indiana Pacers are 12-2 against the total thus far this season in games outside of their conference. This has been a trend in Pacers games for the last three seasons as well. The bottom line is that this team can put up a ton of points and they allow even more.
22. Over the last week underdogs have covered the lines in roughly 60 percent of the games played. The home dog is even more of a cash cow as they hit in just over 72 percent of all games played during the last seven days.
21. As of this date, 49.54 percent of all games have gone over the total (270 games), and 275 games have fallen under the total for 50.46 percent. That right there just shows you what we are up against when it comes to dealing with the oddsmakers. Once again they are showing their surgical precision when it comes to setting lines and odds.
20. Zach Zarba has lost his stranglehold on the 'over' title for all officials. Zarba is on a bit of an 'under' streak to bring his record to 17-10 versus the total. The veteran Joe Crawford (who knew he was still alive?) is leading the way with a 16-7 record versus the total.
19. Weekly Syracuse Update: The Orange has moved up to No. 8 with wins over DePaul and Rutgers. The season gets extremely difficult from here on out with games versus No. 13 Georgetown, No. 12 Notre Dame, and No. 1 Pittsburgh. They should get at least one and hopefully two of those three.
18. Don't look now but the Orlando Magic is 30-8 SU and 25-12-1 ATS, including 19-5 since Nov. 23. This team is solid inside and out and a real sleeper to take the East. Their one weakness is their bench, but lets be honest, all we care about is if they cover. Cleveland went on a similarly stellar ATS run but then came back down to earth. Oddsmakers catch up with hot teams so be careful when taking the Magic in an out-of-conference game where the opponent is getting a big number.
Staying with the Orlando theme, Jameer Nelson is slowly but surely becoming one of the best point guards in the East. He is averaging career highs in points, shooting percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage. All categories that a point guard needs to excel at. If Nelson keeps playing at this level look for him, and the Magic, to be playing deep into the playoffs.
17. If we revisit the Chauncey Billups-for-Allen Iverson trade I think you'll be surprised to find out that the deal has not been as lopsided as it first appeared. Denver is 24-12 since picking up Billups and he has completely smoothed over the chemistry issues that have been killing this team over the last few years. But Detroit is 20-12 with Iverson and is currently No. 4 in the East.
However, the true value of the deal is the fact that Iverson's $20-million contract comes off the books for the Pistons this July. That will put Joe Dumars in a position to go out and get a big name. Or he can wait, shave another $11 million off after 2009-10 and go after that bumper crop of free agents.
16. The Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers are a combined 61-15 SU but just 36-40 ATS. What's worse, Boston started 3-2 ATS and the Lakers were 8-3 ATS. Take out their relatively hot starts and these clubs are just 25-35 ATS over the last few months. On the other hand The Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats are 20-57 SU but a solid 46-31 ATS. Oh how the NBA brings out value in the dog.
15. Eddie Curry is making it known that he would welcome a trade to either Chicago or Miami. Many are saying that Miami could really use a low-post scorer to improve their playoff chances. I can see it now: Curry moves to Miami, gets on the South Beach diet and loses 50 pounds of fat. Too bad that still leaves him 50 pounds overweight and still very, very out of shape.
14. Gambling note: Throughout this season teams that lose their best player have covered the spread more often than not in the first game without their star. I don't have full empirical data to support this, but my observations are that oddsmakers and bettors are overvaluing injuries to star players.
13. Ever heard of the reverse Rodney Dangerfield? Just ask the Phoenix Suns. They are getting plenty of respect from the oddsmakers yet they aren't returning the favor. The Suns are 21-13 SU but just 13-20 ATS. They have been a poor wager as a heavy chalk, going just 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite of 8.0 or greater.
12. The Toronto Raptors are in the top 10 in the NBA in shooting percentage, three-point shooting percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-to-turnover ratio yet they are only 16-22-1 ATS thus far this season. Why, you might ask? Because they don't rebound - they sport a -3.45 rebounding margin, good for 27th in the NBA - and they don't play pressure defense, only 6.41 steals per game, good for 29th in the NBA.
11. The L.A. Lakers sport the best record in the NBA and their starting five now boasts the best +/- in the league. The combination of Fisher, Bryant, Gasol, Radmanovic, and Bynum are +23 as a unit.
10. The Miami Heat is the only team in the NBA with a winning record that averages less assists per game than their opponents. I guess you can get away with that when you have Dwyane Wade on your team. Just give him the ball and get your ass out of the way.
9. The Cleveland Cavaliers are a perfect 19-0 SU at home on the season and an astounding 15-4 ATS. The Cavs are also an NBA-best 25-10 ATS. This is above the pace set by last years ATS leading Boston Celtics who finished 52-30 ATS. But the fact that they are doing this despite being one of THE public teams in the NBA.
8. Mark Ayotte is all about hearing the cheer of the home crowd. In games that he officiates the home team is 20-8 ATS. He has to get his money's worth however, as the home team is winning by a slim five point margin.
7. Josh Howard has gotten hurt again for the Dallas Mavericks. Keep an eye on this as last time he was out the Mavs were only 3-9 ATS.
6. The L.A. Clippers are a team that was extremely excited to obtain the services of Baron Davis in the offseason. They knew that his talent would give their offense a boost. Davis has missed the last five games and one would think that their offense would struggle without their floor general. Just to let you know…The Clippers are 5-0 against the total without Davis. Just goes to show you that oddsmakers deflate the lines when a team is without their star.
5. Donnie Walsh has 39 days to change the Knicks roster even more so than he already has. Rumors around the league are that David Lee, Nate Robinson, Quentin Richardson, and Eddie Curry are all on the block. It looks to me like the Knicks are going to have plenty of money to sign LeBron in 2010, as they won't have anyone on their roster. It's though Walsh wants to completely remodel the mess that Isaiah Thomas left in New York, and the growing pains to do so are going to be rough.
4. This is straight from the Chicago Sun Times:
"The Bulls have been testing coach Vinny Del Negro, with three players reportedly reacting poorly when he told them to stop eating in the locker room. It's a tiny team rule, but one that Del Negro is in charge of enforcing. Which he did, by the way. The players were fined. Joakim Noah, still not willing to understand his place on the hierarchy, was getting on Andres Nocioni not long ago. And Larry Hughes? If you told him there is no ''I'' in team, he'd point out that there is an ''m and an e.'' Too many of these guys are there for themselves, and that's partly out of a lack of regard for Del Negro. But that's the NBA. They test. They challenge. And that was part of the chance Paxson took in hiring him."
Any questions about why the Bulls stink?
3. Gambling trend: According to online sources, play 'under' on a road team where the total is greater or equal to 200 after having covered three of their last four against the spread and are playing their fifth game in seven days. Since 2004 this has hit 23 of 28 times. This happened last night in the New Jersey/Oklahoma City game as the 202 points fell under the total.
2. Paul Pierce has tweaked his knee again. Now to make up for the injury he went out and scored 39 on Toronto. But keep an eye on this situation. If it lingers the Celtics could be in for some trouble. Now they have plenty of firepower to make up for Pierce but it will cause their bench to become a little short-handed and that has always been a strong suit for the C's. Also, losing their leader is not the best way to pull them out of the rut they have been in recently.
1. Check back next week for more Around The NBA In 24 Seconds.