April 8th 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
There are two bets risking a total of 4% tonight.
#1: Take the UNDER 210.5 Total in Detroit Pistons vs. Atlanta Hawks risking 2%
We have been on fire with our total predictions recently and we believe we have found yet another spot tonight. The Hawks are still in the thick of the playoff hunt as they are holding onto the 8th and final seed in the Eastern conference. The still have the New York Knicks breathing down their neck with just a handful of game to go. They can't afford any slip ups at this point and we expect them to come out and play solid defense tonight.
The Detroit Pistons season is all but over. All season long they have been labeled as a team that has talent but is inconsistent. The Pistons really don't have much to play for and with the regular season dying down we expect to see them simply 'go through the motions'. The Pistons have been a team that has shown their proficiency on the offensive end but the Hawks know that heading into this contest. The will need to contain the Piston offense to ensure this game doesn't turn into a shootout and have done that in the past. The Hawks have won the last 10 meetings against the Pistons in Atlanta limiting them to just 91 points on average!
We have seen the Hawks play up and play down to their level of competition quite a bit this season. Since the Knicks gott beat by the Heat on Sunday, the Hawks have opened up a 2 game lead on New York and can actually breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief. Over their last couple of games we have seen the Hawks give a max effort on the court beating both Cleveland and Indiana, but we expect them to take their foot off the gas just a bit tonight and perhaps take it easier against an opponent they have beaten soundly in Atlanta.
The recent trends of both teams point highly to the Over. The Pistons have gone Over the total in 5 straight games while the Hawks have played the number high 3 straight. But that's actually bad news for 'Over' bettors. This goes back to Vegas making huge adjustments to compensate for recent trends. Balance has to be restored and lines get inflated in order to make that happen. We feel that is what happened here. The last 3 meetings in Atlanta have seen the total go from 187 to 194 to 202. And now this number is a full 8 points higher than the highest recent total! When these two met in Atlanta back in November the final score was 93-85! That's 178 combined points, and now when the Pistons have absolutely nothing to play for they are expected to score at least 100? That seems like quite a stretch.
The Hawks are the team that has the most to gain from this game so it's not unrealistic to see them scoring 100+ but we don't feel the Pistons will hold up their end of the bargain. A 105-98 score seems more realistic and even that number sit comfortably below the total. Detroit games have gone 'Under' 14 straight times since May 18, 2003 as an underdog following a win in which they trailed at the end of each of the first three quarters and this one should too. If this game doesn't go to overtime which it most likely won't, we feel the total is just a couple of baskets too high.
#2: Take Sacramento Kings at +9 spread against OKC Thunder risking 2%
Oklahoma City is one of the elite teams in the league, so it is always tough going against them but this is a situation in which we feel there is value taking the other side. The Thunder are in control of the #2 seed of the Western conference. They currently sit 4.5 games behind the Spurs and are unlikely to catch up to them but they also have the LA Clippers breathing down their necks at just 1 game behind. OKC will meet the Clippers tomorrow night to conclude their 4-game road trip. There's no question that Oklahoma City will be more interested in tomorrow's game against the Clippers than they will be in beating the Sacramento Kings for the 4th time this season. Even though we expect the Thunder to snap their 2-game losing streak and beat the Kings, how emphatically they do it, is very much up for debate.
These two teams recently met back on March 28th in Oklahoma City. In that game Oklahoma City came away with a lackluster 94-81 victory. Even though they beat the Kings by 13 points, scoring only 94 themselves on offense was a telling tale of motivation. They had beaten the Kings twice previously and in their minds, the players already knew that they are the better overall team. Just from watching the game you could tell towards the end that the players were almost disinterested in "pouring it on". We feel that this will be the case tonight. The Thunder have lost 3 straight road games, so they will be hungry for a win on the road but with a big game on deck tomorrow night in LA, will Oklahoma City continue to play hard for the full 4 quarters? We don't think so. If anything we expect that the Kings to be fully up for this game and to try to get some revenge. Despite their season being all but over, the Kings should be motivated to play one of the elite teams in the league. They'll want to restore some pride and with this being the final meeting of the season between the two teams, the Kings will be playing to avoid the dreaded sweep. Even if they fall short of the outright win, 9 points is a lot to receive at home and should come into play.
Thabo Sefolosha will be missing again tonight and the Thunder will likely be without Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins as well! The Kings are a team that is talented but has failed to live up to their potential. Both Rudy Gay and DaMarcus Cousins are capable of taking a game over and carrying the team on their shoulders, but they routinely fail to do that. Against a quality opponent like the Thunder and with Oklahoma City missing 3 of their starting players, there is no better time for the Kings to put in a quality performance. Cousins is big and imposing, and while he may not have been able to handle Kendrick Perkins in the past, he should have a much easier time with rookie Steven Adams. Rudy Gay should also have some success and could well score 20+ points.
When all is said and done, we feel that 9 points is just a bit much. The Thunder have been struggling on the road, dropping their last 3 games and with a big game on deck tomorrow night, Scott Brooks may well be looking to come away with a narrow win and no further injuries from this game. We may see OKC dominate but then start to rest players the deeper it gets in the game. This leaves the opportunity for a backdoor cover wide open. The last time these two teams played in Sacramento, the Kings nearly pulled off the upset and suffered a 2 point defeat. We would be surprised to see a similar result tonight but do think they should cover this huge spread. Kevin Durant will get his points as he always does, but we are expecting a closer final score that this line suggests.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Kings are 3-1 ATS (Against-The-Spread) as a home underdog of 6.5 to 9 points this season.
- Thunder are just 2-10 ATS in road games in the second half of this season!
- Kings are 7-3 ATS after 3 or more consecutive Unders this season.
- Thunder are 1-3 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 to 9 points this season.
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