Monday February 11th 2013 - Posted 4:44 PM Eastern Time
#1: Take Boston Celtics at -3.5 spread against Charlotte Bobcats risking 3 Units
The Boston Celtics are coming off a triple overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets last night at the Garden and tonight they have to turnaround and play the Charlotte Bobcats. It's no secret that the Celtics, given their age, have struggled in the second half of a back to back situation. Given the length of the game last night and the fact that a majority of the Celtics starters played over 40 minutes last night many will simply be looking to "fade the tired team on the second half of a back to back", but I believe in this case it is the wrong move. The last time out playing on zero days rest, Boston looked pretty fresh in their 116-95 blowout of the visiting Lakers. This is not the same aging Celtics team as they were previously. This is a team that is re-built and still rebuilding who have a number of talented players that will step up when given the chance. Even though Charlotte will be the "fresher" team, Boston still has the better talent. It is of course the Bobcats that the Celtics are playing tonight and not necessarily the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. Had the Celtics not played last night this line would be closer to the 6 or 7 point mark and getting them lower than that presents value.
I have been saying something for a few years now; that as good as Rajon Rondo's numbers may be on the court that the Celtics are a better team without him. My point has somewhat been proven given the fact that the Celtics are now 6-0 both SU and ATS without Rondo in the game. Boston is a team that has no real need for a true point guard; there are play-makers all over the floor that can make plays, its all just a matter of finding the open man and the Celtics have seemed to have figured that out. If the starting lineup is a little tired from last night then Jeff Green or Courtney Lee will have to take the lead role tonight. Boston doesn't need Paul Peirce or Kevin Garnett to beat the Bobcats. I believe the Boston bench could do that on their own. The last time the Celtics visited Charlotte they walked away with a 94-82 victory. I expect a similar score tonight.
Some Trends to consider:
Bobcats are 7-17 ATS at home this season
Bobcats are just 1-6 against Atlantic division opponents
Celtics are 7-0 both SU and ATS in their last 7 games
Celtics are 11-2 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record in the second half of a season over the last 2 years
#2: Take Washington Wizards at +4.5 spread against Milwaukee Bucks risking 4 Units
Looking at a side by side comparison of these two teams tells an interesting story. The Wizards come into this game on a 3-game win streak. What's impressive is not necessarily the win streak itself, (even though 3 wins straight for the Wizards is impressive) but it's against who the wins have come over.
Over their last 3 games, Washington has downed the Clippers, the Knicks and the Nets. That says a lot about a team that started off the season 0-13. A lot of their recent success has to be attributed to the re-insertion of John Wall into the Wizards line-up. Since Wall has returned the Wizards are playing above .500 basketball and their offense has been sparked but it has been the emergence of their defense over the last 3 games which is the big story here. Over their last 3 games the Wizards have only allowed 88 points per game; which is nearly 10 points better than Washington's average points allowed on the season.
Those who simply go by the overall record of the Wizards aren't seeing the full potential of this team. This team has shown that they can step up when they have to and have the potential to hang tough with any team in the league. Just this season the Wizards have beaten the Thunder, Hawks, Nets, Bulls, Clippers and Knicks at home and have even taken down Portland and Denver, two of the leagues toughest teams to beat on the road.
While it's hard to ignore Washington's 14-35 overall record, the overall record means almost nothing from a sports-betting point of view. What matters to sports bettors is not whether a team wins or loses; it's who covers the spread. The Wizards may not win a lot of games straight up but they are the absolute best team when it comes to covering spreads. They have an overall ATS record of 30-17, which means they have handsomely rewarded those who have had the "guts" to back them this season, which we have multiple times and have profited each time.
The Milwaukee Bucks on the other hand are headed in the exact opposite direction. The Bucks are struggling right now dropping 3 straight games to the Nuggets, Pistons and Jazz and 5 of their last 6 overall. The Bucks had seemingly turned their season around a few weeks ago and had many people talking about possibly making the playoffs. The real Achilles heel to this Bucks team has been their defense, or lack there of. Over their last 6 games the Bucks have allowed over 96 points in each one of them including giving up 105 to a mediocre Pistons team. The Bucks have the offense to put points on the board, but their defense has a problem stopping anyone. The Bucks jumped out to a double-digit lead over the Jazz and somehow ended up losing the game by 14 points! Even when they're winning they look like they're losing so I do not trust them with any size lead.
The Bucks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 against the East, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 against teams with records below .400, and incredibly, 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall. Granted, they've lost 5 of those 6 straight up with their lone win coming in a 9 point victory over the lowly Orlando Magic which still was not enough to cover the spread.
These two teams have met once this season already with the Bucks pulling out a 101-91 win and cover. In a revenge situation such as this I have to side with the Wizards in this one. Not only because they are playing much better basketball than the Bucks right now but given their 13-0 ATS mark when revenging a home loss against an opponent.
Other notable trends:
- The Wizards are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the East
- 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 games against teams with winning records
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 on the road and a very impressive 36-17-2 ATS in their last 55 games overall.
#3: Take Dallas Mavericks at -5 spread against Atlanta Hawks risking 3 Units
The Mavericks have won three of their last four and are coming off a dominant 116-91 win over the Warriors. Dallas is now 22-28 on the season and 14-9 at home where they've won six of their last eight games. The Maverick players had to step up while Dirk Nowitski was out with a injury and now that he is back in the rotation guys like OJ Mayo and Shaun Marion are not letting up and still continue to play at a high level ..that makes this Mavericks team an extremely dangerous team, especially at home.
While the Mavs are on the rise, the Hawks seem to be on the decline as they're coming off their third loss in four games. Plain and simple, Atlanta has a lot of controversy surrounding them as of late with big name trade rumors on the rise and that can cause distractions with the players themselves. Rumor is that Atlanta is looking to clean house and that may mean trading arguably their best player in Josh Smith. Whether the decision is the owners or Smith himself wants out of the organization, it all boils down to is someone is not happy. You have to look at basketball as "a job" to some of these guys. Just like you and I both have jobs. Ours may not be as glamorous as playing basketball but a job is a job. Think of it like this, if your boss told you that they were going to probably going to lay you off in the next week or so, would you work as hard as you can and bust your ass or would you still do your job but maybe not try so hard? See what I'm saying. Until this controversy is done, I wouldn't expect any career games from Josh Smith.
The Mavericks are just playing "lights out" basketball at home recently going 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall. They are a team on a mission to get back to the .500 mark and in my experience it's best not to go against a team that is playing as well as the Mavericks are right now. Lay the points tonight as the Mavericks get another big win and cover.
Some trends to consider:
Hawks are 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 2 days rest
Mavericks are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games playing on 1 days rest.
Mavericks are 32-17 ATS after a win by 10 points or more over the last 3 seasons
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