Tuesday February 12th 2013 - Posted 5:20 PM Eastern Time
#1: Take Virginia at -14 spread against Virginia Tech risking 2 Units
Virginia Tech is just not a very good all-around team this season. They have dropped 6 straight games and are coming off an embarrassing 64-54 loss to Georgia Tech on their home court on Saturday. The opening of that game saw VA Tech miss 12 out of their first 13 shots and 20 of their first 23! This was due more to their poor decision making taking low percentage shots than it can be attributed to the Georgia Tech defense. Over their last 6 games Tech is shooting just over 37% from the field and just over 30% from behind the arc while their defense has allowed their opponents to shoot just over 43% from the field. Tonight the Hokies have to face the number 2 defense in the country who currently only allows opponents just over 52 points per game. Virginia is coming off of two big wins over Clemson and Maryland in games which they have averaged 77 points. These two teams met just a couple of weeks ago in Blacksburg with Virginia completely blowing the doors off of Tech 74-58 on the road. Nothing has changed over the last couple of weeks between these two teams that would make me think that VA Tech would play any better in hostile territory on the road.
The public is all over the Hokies in this one as they must feel that Tech will have a much better showing tonight. I simply don't see it. Virginia plays incredibly tough at home and should be able to not only control the pace of the game but also handle Tech on the defensive end. If Virginia forces Tech into settling for low percentage jump-shots then this game could get out of control early. Virginia is also 10-2 ATS at home this season. Virginia cruises in this game.
#2: Take Portland Trailblazers at +11.5 spread against Miami Heat risking 3 Units
Laying double-digits in the NBA is often a double-edge sword. The line is calling for a blowout by the Heat and that is what is expected, if you were laying the points; however what happens when a blowout doesn't happen? How can a team possibly cover a number like this if it is a closely contested game? The answer is simply: They can't.
Double digit spreads leave a lot of room for mistakes, especially in a league where there is a lot of parity and on any given night any team can be defeated. The Miami Heat is arguably one of the best teams in the league. They won the championship last season and are expected to come out each and every night and destroy the competition. The public expects that of them. However that is not always the case. Miami is a team that is "marked". They have a bulls-eye on their back, much like the LA Lakers, or the Boston Celtics where lesser teams always get motivated and give a concentrated effort on beating a team like the ones mentioned above, whereas it's not always expected that a team like Miami "get up" to play a team like Portland. On paper, yes, Miami has an advantage talent-wise, however games are not always played on paper. Motivation plays a lot into it.
Miami is 31-14 on the season. No doubt they are among the "elite" teams in the league. However looking deeper into the stats Miami is just 3-7 ATS when laying 10 points or more this season which goes to show that they have a tendency to "play down" to their level of competition. Most recently, Miami needed a late surge from Dwayne Wade to cover the 9 point spread against the Lakers on Sunday. Had it not been for a miracle fall away jumper (and 1), Miami doesn't cover that number. Portland may only be 9-11 over their last 20 games, however they have remained competitive seemingly finding their own way to lose games. Over the last 20, Portland has only lost twice by more than 10 points. Those two games were to the Clippers and Rockets which are two of the best offensive teams in the league.
Miami will more than likely win this game, but I don't see them doing it very flashy. Portland will not simply lay down and let Miami roll over them, they will fight til the end. Take the generous points.
#3: Take Houston Rockets at +4.5 spread against Golden State Warriors risking 4 Units
Tonight is the rematch from last weeks record breaking game between these two teams in which the Houston Rockets scored 140 points and made a record tying 23 three pointers. Clients will remember we had bet on Houston that night. I wouldn't expect the same kind of record breaking scoring on the Rockets end this time around since they are now playing on the road, however that doesn't mean that points are not going to pile up in this game as well. Normally this would be a good "revenge" type situation for the Warriors however given the way that they have been playing recently, I don't think that qualifies. Tonight's game is also the first home game back for the Warriors after a 4 game road trip which began in Houston exactly a week ago. Historically, teams coming off the road typically struggle in their first game back at home. Golden State will have a nice 7 day layoff after tonight game before they travel to Utah to play the Jazz on the 19th.
Rockets have been on a roll winning 6 of last 9 games straight up while going 7-2 ATS during that span. The Warriors on the other hand are struggling and really have not been playing well. Golden State has gone 0-4 straight up and ATS in last 4 games. What is more concerning to me is that during their 4 game losing streak, Golden State is giving up a whopping 119 points per game, which isn't good when you are facing the #2 ranked offensive team in the league.
These teams match up pretty evenly across the board. Both teams feature more than capable shooters and players that can take a game over in a moments notice. Both teams employ the mantra "The best offense is a good defense" since neither team is known for their defensive prowess. This is the exact type of match-up that favors the Rockets and the reason that we selected them in last weeks meeting. There are not many teams that can keep pace with the Rockets offensively. Houston has struggled against defensive teams who like to control the pace and limit possessions; that is not what Golden State does. The lack of depth of this Warriors team may also come into play tonight as Houston will likely try to control the pace and "get out and run". Running up and down the court all night could mean more substitutions for Golden State which will test the depth of their bench.
I would have to give the Rockets the advantage tonight in a game that should be "defense optional". If Golden State wants to have a chance in outscoring the Rockets in this game they are going to have to turn up the defensive pressure from the get go. The team who creates the key stops at the end will be the one to win this game. Given the recent play of both teams I would have to give the edge to the Rockets tonight, I believe they can win this game outright. Take the points.
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