February 3rd 2014 - Posted 5:00 PM Eastern Time
There are two bets risking 3% tonight. The bet on Milwaukee is a 1% lean.
#1: Take Washington Wizards at -1 spread against Portland Trailblazers risking 2%
This is an interesting matchup as we have the Portland Trailblazers, one of the best teams at 34-13 traveling to Washington DC, to take on the Wizards and their 23-23 record this season. At first glance, this line seems ridiculously low for the highest scoring team in the league against a Wizards team that currently has a mediocre .500 record on the season and at home.
Looking deeper into the game however, the short line starts to make a lot more sense. Portland has actually been struggling quite a bit recently losing 4 of their last 7 games and three straight on the road. The Blazers have also been in quite an ATS slump covering in just one of their last 7 games! Washington on the other hand has been playing solid basketball recently and is continuously improving. At the Verizon Center, they have knocked off the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City in just the last couple of weeks alone. On Saturday, the Wizards managed to derail what was the hottest team in the league. They neutralized Kevin Durant and held the Thunder to just 81 points! Tonight, they will be keen to get another win as it would take them over .500 for the first time in 4 years!
While LaMarcus Aldridge is not Kevin Durant and the Portland Trailblazers are not the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's not unlikely to see the Wizards play spoiler once again to one of the top teams in the league. The Blazers have struggled on the offensive end against good "defensive" teams like Memphis and have also had some lackluster performances against good offensive teams like Golden State. We wouldn't be surprised if they had another one of those nights since the Wizards can do a bit of both when playing with confidence and they certainly are at the moment.
Although the public doesn't think highly of the Wizards and is instead siding with the Trailblazers, it would be foolish to dismiss the balanced combination of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Nene and Gortat tonight. The back-court is freakishly athletic and energetic while guys like Nene and Gortat give this team some much needed strength and size up front. Over 75% of the public is backing the Blazers and yet the line which was already suspiciously low at just -1 has shifted to +1 and now lists Portland as slight underdogs! This is yet another indicator of how sharps believe this game is likely to play out. Washington has made a living off pulling upsets at the Verizon Center over the last couple of seasons and we believe they'll do it again tonight.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Blazers are 3-8 ATS (Against-The-Spread) in their last 11 road games.
- Blazers are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
- Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last six visits to Washington.
- Wizards are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
#2: Take Milwaukee Bucks at +8 spread against New York Knicks risking 1%
There is always a risk backing a team that has struggled as much as the Bucks have this season, but as the mantra states, without risks, there are no rewards. Milwaukee is a very poor team this season but the difference is; everyone knows it. The Knicks on the other hand are also a fairly poor team and yet many still have unrealistic and lofty expectations for them. That type of public perception creates value in this matchup and means the spread is a bit too high.
The Knicks have shown their ability to completely meltdown and throw up an absolute stinker here and there and we wouldn't be surprised to see that happen again tonight. NY is coming off a high profile clash against the defending champions Miami Heat in which they lost 106-91. And after this game, next on deck is a date with the high-flying Portland Blazers at Madison Square Garden! Sandwiched in between those two big games is this one against the lowly Bucks, a team that the Knicks have already beaten twice this season. Tonight's game is the type that teams with complacent players such as Knicks typically overlook and get caught peeking ahead. This doesn't always translate into losses but does mean they fail to cover the spread more often than not.
The Knicks have already beaten the Bucks twice this season by 6 & 7 points, both less than the spread tonight. They've also beaten them 7 straight times! What motivation would the Knicks have to absolutely demolish this team tonight? This is the type of situation where the Knicks will likely somewhat "take the night off" and rest before their game against Portland. The Bucks on the other hand will be motivated for revenge and will be a lot more interested in this game than NY.
We expect this to be fairly close but even if the Knicks do grab a double-digit lead, there is always a chance for a backdoor cover when they take their foot off the gas pedal and rest starters in the 4th quarter.
A lot of people are expecting the Knicks to completely
run away with this game but while that is possible, it isn't all that
likely. This is an inconsistent team with numerous different issues
and is currently being given too much respect by the betting public
due thanks to being a popular franchise. The Bucks on the other hand
are terrible this season but the public is so scared of backing them
that they go the other way even when they present value on a night such
as this at such a high-spread.
After such a poor first half to the season, the linemakers are now inflating Milwaukee spreads on purpose giving them a few extra points to find some backers and that has created value. This is our first bet of the season on the Bucks and will be one of the very few. We're not delusional and don't think this is a good team by any means but there are times when a bet on a 'bad' team can be worthwhile and this is one of them. Eight points is too much to spot an inconsistent Knicks team in this matchup. Larry Drew's side should put up a fight and keep this game close burying over 80% of the public in the process! Take the generous points.
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