Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 02/16/2009
The all-star break has finally come and gone and now we're heading into Winning Time in the NBA. Every team in the league this year has gone on some manner of streak - wins, losses, overs, unders, etc. - to pad people's wallets over the first several months of the season. But now teams are going to be tightening up the reigns and getting down to business. In this issue of 24 seconds we will discuss the different streaks that will or won't continue in the second half and trades that should happen and their effects on both teams.
Without further ado, I give you Around the NBA in 24 Seconds:
24. What in the world is going on with Dwyane Wade's band-aid? He is quickly becoming the stepchild of Steve Urkel, Nelly, and Michael Jordan.
23. The Boston Celtics are 31-24 ATS at the break. That makes them 83-52-2 ATS over the last season and a half. It took the Cs a little while to get going (ATS-wise) but they are quickly regaining their true form. Look for the Celtics to have one of the better ATS records in the second half, but be careful taking them out of the box as Garnett, Pierce, and Allen didn't have much time to rest over the break and each was a bit nicked up right before.
22. The 76ers are going to be a better team in the second half of the season now that the Elton Brand saga is done for the year. The Sixers finished off the first half on a four-game winning streak and a 3-1 ATS streak. Look for Philly to continue their sound play out of the break and keep an eye on the totals as their last four games have gone 'under'. That is kind of a counter move; because when they lost Brand they went back to playing up-tempo, put up some high point totals, and the books overadjusted.
21. As I type this out Shaq, or should I say The Big Ball Handler, just threw a pass under Dwight Howard's legs and got it back on a give-and-go for a dunk. I will admit to all of you right now, I have a man crush on the Shaq Daddy. He is my favorite professional athlete! However, not even he can pull the Suns out of the mess they are in this year.
20. Shawn Marion has finally found a new home in Toronto. He has been shipped across the border for Jermaine O'Neal. Marion should fit in well with Calderon and Bosh in Toronto and their ATS record should become vastly improved. If the Raptors can win a few games out of the box they will put themselves squarely back on the playoff bubble. As for the Heat, they just made it possible for them to sign LeBron James and resign Dwayne Wade. It's a long shot, but definitely possible.
19. The Milwaukee Bucks have been playing without Luke Ridenour and Andrew Bogut, and Michael Redd is out for the season, yet they are one of the best ATS teams of the first half. This is clearly because the books are undervaluing this squad due to the injuries. Look for the second half ATS record to be at least 5-7 games less than their superb 31-22-2 ATS first half as the oddsmakers will catch up to this overachieving team.
Note: The Bucks are 14-7-1 ATS without Redd on the season.
18. Weekly Syracuse basketball update: The Orange did everything they could to piss away their game with Georgetown on Sunday, but they secured a crucial victory that puts them squarely in the NCAA Tournament field. For now. Of course, they blew a 16-point second half lead and didn't cover the 4.5-point opening line (they won by four), so it was a bittersweet win.
17. The Orlando Magic are having an outstanding season both SU and ATS. The Magic are in the top four in the NBA in both categories as they are 38-13 SU and an NBA-best 33-17 ATS. That includes a 6-3 ATS mark since Jameer Nelson went out with an injury. Keep an eye on this team after the break, as they will start to struggle without a floor leader. That ATS record will not be as gaudy in the second half and I think the Magic could be a decent fade.
16. When Greg Oden is out of the lineup for the Portland Trailblazers they are a much more up-tempo team. On the season the Blazers are 5-1 versus the total in games that Oden sits. This trend should continue in the second half as reserve Joel Przybilla is a viable backup that is extremely comfortable in a faster pace.
15. It boggles my mind at just how good NBA oddsmakers are. The total that was set for the NBA All Star Game was 264. YES, 264! As LeBron James just alley-ooped himself the scoreboard now reads 146-119 Final. For all you math guru's out there that is 265 points. To steal a quote from the PGA Tour, "these guys are good."
14. Staying with the All-Star Game, I have to voice my complete displeasure with the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. It now seems as though it is completely set up from the beginning and the judges are told ahead of time who needs to make the finals. Rudy Fernandez definitely deserved to make the finals, as his two dunks were outstanding. When Nate Robinson made people aware that he wanted to wear green and be the Krypto-Nate to Dwight Howard's Superman, the NBA jumped on board.
PS…Now the NBA has made "lovers" Shaq and Kobe co-MVP's in the All-Star Game. Oh my how this game has gotten cute! Shaq needed to bitch slap Kobe and take the MVP trophy out of his hands.
13. The Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cleveland Cavaliers are all within 17 games of 50 ATS wins on the season. Since the 2000-2001 season only last year's Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and New Orleans Hornets have won 50 ATS games.
That right there tells me that the oddsmakers are going to be all over those three teams in the second half of the season and I would not be surprised if all three had a cumulative losing ATS mark the rest of the way.
12. The L.A. Lakers are 32-20 versus the total over the first half of the season. This high scoring trend should continue as they are now without their starting center for the rest of the year. Without Bynum's presence both offensively and defensively the Lakers will be even more of a slot machine than they were. However, beware if their regular numbers start creeping in the 210s.
11. At the halfway point of the season if you are a gambler that likes to focus on the officials calling the games you are going to want to scope out situations that Scott Wall and Phil Robinson work. Wall is 26-11 versus the total while Robinson has seen the home team cover the line in 25 of 35 games.
10. An odd player in the trade market is Sacramento. Rumors have it that they are looking to move John Salmons and Brad Miller in return for some draft picks. But don't rule out them making a move trying to bring someone else in. The Maloof's know that their product is fading and I wouldn't put anything past them trying to shake up the roster.
9. The Bulls are monitoring the Clippers' situation to see if Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby can be obtained. I do agree that Chicago needs to make a move if they want to be a serious player in the East. But from a gambler's perspective I'm not in a hurry to see them break up a team that went 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games prior to the break.
8. Interesting to see how the Nets are shopping Vince Carter. Sources with the team have said that New Jersey took a lot of inquiries over the All-Star weekend. There were reports and rumors of deals, near deals and possible deals, with teams including (surprisingly) the Spurs. However, nothing was realistic and one proposed 4-for-1 swap couldn't legally work because the Nets didn't have the roster spots necessary.
7. The Phoenix Suns are just 17-33 ATS on the season and they boast the worst ATS mark in the NBA. No team has lost more than 47 games ATS since the 2005-06 season so look for the Suns to play just over .500 ATS ball the rest of the way out.
I also think that ditching Terry Porter was the right move. This guy was clearly in over his head. However, I put the blame on management as well. They tried to completely revamp this team's makeup without properly shaking up the personnel. And the Shaq trade is clearly an anchor around this franchise right now.
6. The Suns have been the worst bet in the NBA so far this year. But not far behind are Washington (19-33-1 ATS), Detroit (20-31 ATS) and Memphis (20-31-1 ATS). Those three teams, and Phoenix, have combined to go 77-127-3 against the number this season. That's a combined 37.7 percent success rate and dime bettors fading them all the way would be up $42,000 on the year. Yowza.
5. There are only two teams - Orlando and Cleveland - that have covered the spread in more than 60 percent of their games. However, there are three teams - Indiana, the Lakers, and the Clippers - that have gone 'over' the total in over 60 percent of their outings.
What is interesting is that ATS there is a steady decline in percentage from the top down. However, after the Clippers at 60.4 percent 'over' there is a steep drop down to the No. 4 team against the total, Phoenix, at 56.9 percent.
4. According to online sources, there is a very real possibility that New Orleans will be ditching Tyson Chandler. The Hornets definitely need to trim payroll - despite their spot as one of the Western Conference favorites entering the season - and the top suitor for Chandler appears to be Oklahoma City. The Thunder are reportedly offering Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, two proven big men with expiring contracts. Stay tuned.
3. Charlotte has been one of the biggest surprises at the NBA betting window this season. They have been the third most profitable wager in the league this year with a solid 31-21 ATS mark. However, Gerald Wallace is out indefinitely and the Cats are just 3-4 ATS without the veteran guard. That said, I kind of like the way this team is coming together. Especially now that D.J. Augustin is back from an ab injury. He averaged 23 points in his three games prior to the All-Star break. And while the Cats may dip a bit ATS, I don't expect them to fall off the map.
2. The Lakers and Pacers are both on pace to beat the total more than 50 times this season. In the last five years only the 2007-08 New York Knicks and the 2006-07 Minnesota Timberwolves accomplished that feat.
1. Check back next week for more Around the NBA in 24 Seconds.