April 2nd 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
There are two bets risking a total of 4% tonight. One is a rare wager on the 'OVER'.
Some can currently find Golden State at +10 while others will have it at +9.5. The latter group are recommended to buy half a point for extra insurance.
#1: Take the OVER 184 Total in Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks risking 2%
This is another game where we feel that recent trends have affected the opening total and line movement. Looking at the total, the odds makers initially opened this at 188 combined points. That total in itself appeared to be historically low for an Atlanta Hawks game let alone a home game. When the Hawks have played at home this season the totals have fluctuated in the 200-208 range for much of the season. That is mostly due to the fact that the Hawks have averaged over 100 points per game on their home floor so to see a total all of a sudden at 188 definitely raises questions.
The Chicago Bulls are a defensive minded team, there is no question about that. They have one of the best defenses in the entire league and because of that the odds makers have traditionally set them low totals. It's not that uncommon to see a Bulls game in the mid 180 range which goes to show how much respect they give to the Bulls defense. What we do find a bit alarming however is the fact that this total has dropped an additional 4 points from it's 188 release. This will be the lowest total that the Hawks have seen at home this season and there is now definite value in the 'Over'.
While the low total screams defensive battle we feel that the odds-makers and now the public have undershot this number just a bit too much. Seven of the last 9 Bulls games have gone Under the total while the Hawks themselves have played 6 straight games Under the total! As we have stated before, when persistent one-sided trends such as these occur, Vegas is forced to compensate and make adjustments to restore balance and get action on both sides. The average sports-bettor (public) is fickle and has an extremely short memory. They love nothing more than jumping on a bandwagon and regularly do so too late. They automatically side with "trendy" picks and are always looking for what's 'hot'. Currently close to 80% of the public is betting on the Under despite the already unusually low total! This is exactly what the line-makers wanted. The last meeting between these teams saw the 'Over' hit flying well over the total when it reached 200 points in Atlanta!
The Hawks are not a team that is known for its defensive prowess. They are not built to hold teams to 80 points. In fact they are one of the few teams in the league that actually give up more points on defense than they score on offense. They are giving up an average of 98 points on defense at home and while the Bulls have been labeled as an defensive team, on the road they are allowing an average of 94 points per game themselves. Meanwhile, the Bulls on offense have seemingly picked up their production when they have hit the highway recently. In their last 7 games on the road, the Bulls have reached triple digits in 4 of those 7 games and those game were against similar teams.
With a total of just 184 points, it doesn't take brilliant offense to reach this number. Each team really only needs to score an average of 23 points per quarter in order to see the 'Over' hit. If each of these teams has a 30-30 quarter that could be all it would take to reach the 184 mark. With such a low total and a short spread, it is almost expected that this will be a closely contested game which means the possibility of overtime also exists. If this game does go to overtime it's almost certain to go Over the 184 mark. Free-throws late in the game will also help our cause in what should be a close game as the clock stops and players make their foul shots. This is one of those games in which we feel the number was simply pushed too low by the public due to recent trends. We expect balance to be restored and this game go over by a couple of baskets. Take the Over 184.
#2: Take Golden State Warriors at +10 spread against San Antonio Spurs risking 2%
The Spurs are undoubtedly the hottest teams in the league right now. They are currently riding an 18-game winning streak which is a franchise record for them! What has been even more impressive is the fact that during this winning streak, they have also managed to cover the spread 14 times! While it's always hard to go against the hot hand, we feel that this is one instance where the odds-makers have inflated the line just a bit too much.
We have pointed out in the past that line-makers tend to inflate or lower the lines on purpose depending on certain obvious trends. Just last night we saw that both Houston and Brooklyn had been on serious "Over" trends and pointed out the fact that the odds-makers realize this, and often times "inflate" the number to add a little bit extra cushion for the average public who has caught on to that trend and is now blindly jumping the bandwagon with it. Trends that have to do with "spreads" work the same way. When Vegas sees a popular team such as the Spurs covering ATS at such an incredible clip, it's natural that they will want to reverse that and inflate the line a basket or two more than it should be. If they didn't, they would have 90% of the public on one side and would face potentially huge liabilities. That is exactly what we feel has happened here. While the Spurs have covered 14 out of 18, the Warriors have failed to cover in 7 out of 11. We have two opposite trends happening at the same time, a fact which has inflated the spread on the favorites and opened up value on Mark Jackson's team.
The Golden State Warriors received a huge confident boost last night coming away from Dallas with a buzzershot Steph Curry winner! The Warriors had been feeling the late season pressure so last night's victory has come at the perfect time. It should allow them to relax just a bit and loosen up their often free-flowing offensive game.
This is also a big time revenge game for the Warriors! Not only does every team want to be the one to end an opponent's lengthy winning streak but the Warriors should have added motivation after having dropped the first 3 meetings to the Spurs this season. Golden State managed to keep the first two meetings very close, losing 2 point games while last week's meeting resulted in a 9 point loss. It is incredibly hard to beat a team 4 times in a single season but even tougher to blow them out! The Warriors will be out looking for revenge tonight and although they will probably fall short, we expect them to keep it close.
The Warriors are a team that is hard to build a substantial lead against. They have developed quite the disruptive defense, much more so than in the past and they have an offense that can quickly cut into a lead given their proficiency from the 3-point range. This is a team that is never out of a game, even if they fall behind early; there is always a threat of a backdoor cover. They don't often get spotted this many points and we feel that's a mistake tonight. Even if the Spurs do jump out to a double digit lead, a lot can happen when receiving this many points. Even a 104-95 final score would be enough to cash the ticket.
The Spurs have a huge game against their main Western conference rivals in Oklahoma City tomorrow night! It is only natural that their full focus and energy will not be on a team that they have already beaten 3 times this season! On the other hand it is worth noting that Kevin Durant and the Thunder have beaten the Spurs 3 times already this season! It's clear that not only the players but head coach Gregg Popovich will be licking his chops at getting revenge and widening the gap tomorrow night. That slight look ahead may be just what is needed for the Warriors to keep this game competitive and cover the number. As we stated earlier, the Warriors are not a team that gets blown out and as such we don't foresee the Spurs covering a double digit spread against them. This team can shoot the 3-ball extremely well and should manage to slip in the backdoor even if a blowout is in the making. There are many ways for Golden State to cover this number and we don't feel the Spurs will be at their best tonight. They may rest their starters in the 4th quarter. Take the generous points with the capable underdog.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Warriors are 10-2 SU (8-3 ATS) when revenging a home loss to an opponent this season.
- Spurs are just 5-8 ATS after allowing 85 points or less.
- Spurs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games when playing at home against Golden State.
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