Thursday February 21st 2013 - Posted 4:57 PM Eastern Time
#1: Take Uconn (Connecticut) Huskies at -1 spread against Cincinnati Bearcats risking 2 Units
Both Uconn and Cincinnati's season has been what many would call "under achieving". Both teams have talent and both also have some pretty poor performances on their resume. The fact remains however that in my opinion Connecticut has been the more consistent team this season. Yes both teams have a total of 7 losses this season, it just turns out that Cincinnati's seven have come over the last 14 games. The Bearcats are in the midst of a slump having gone 1-3 SU in their last 4 games.
Meanwhile Connecticut most recently lost to Villanova (which we could have seen coming after their big win over Syracuse earlier in the week) and they lost to then #1 Louisville on their home floor back on Jan 14th. Those are the only 2 teams to beat Uconn at home this season. In the Villanova game, the Huskies had a 3 point halftime lead only to see their perimeter defense get sloppy in the second half and allow Nova to shoot almost uncontested from behind the arc. The Huskies will have to do a better job of protecting the perimeter in this game as 3 point shooting has been a strong suit of the Bearcats, although not as of late. Cincinnati, in their 3 losses, have shot an average of just 18% from 3, which is a major reason for their recent struggles. Cincinnati can not afford to have a poor shooting night again tonight, with how well the Huskies have played at home. If Cincinnati's shooting goes cold, it could be a long night for them. I also can't see Connecticut dropping 2 straight games at home. They were in a "let down" situation last time out against Villanova and I would expect them to come out completely focused in this game. In a game like this I have to go with the home team who is playing better basketball at the moment.
Some are even lucky to find this game at pk or +1 in some places like 5dimes.
#2: Take Chicago Bulls at +3.5 spread against Miami Heat risking 3 Units
The Heat are, without question, one of the most talented teams in the league. This is a team that has 3 players that are legitimately capable of going for 40 points on any given night. On any given night Dwayne Wade could go off. We've seen Chris Bosh recently carry the load and score over 30 points in a game and well, LeBron James is LeBron James. James is having the best season of his career, leading his team in the top three statistical categories, averaging 27 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, and 7 assists per game. This team is extremely well- rounded and its only consistent weakness is that the Heat doesn't match up against size very well, which could pose a problem tonight with the Bulls whose main focus has been defense and rebounding.
What's amazing about the Chicago Bulls is that they have found a way to win games despite being without their best player (Derrick Rose) for the majority of the season to this point (and for part of last season). That says a lot about a team when they can find ways to win in-spite of that. Chicago has built their game around an aggressive defense, rebounding and an offense that understands the importance of every possession. They are a scrappy team who is not afraid to be aggressive on the boards. The Bulls are only averaging 93 points per game, which may not seem like that much but their defense has only been allowing 91 points per game.
The Bulls are a team that just matches up well with the Heat and they were even able to secure a victory against this same Heat team in Miami earlier this season. With the Heat playing on back to back nights, I like the Bulls chances tonight to at least keep this game close, if not get the outright win. Take the points
Some Trends to consider:
The Bulls are 5-2 SU (4-2 ATS) against the Heat when playing in Chicago over the last 3 seasons
The Heat are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games as 3 point or less favorites
Miami is 1-7 ATS against Central Division opponents
Miami is 6-14-2 in their last 22 visits to Chicago and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings
#3: Take San Antonio Spurs at +3.5 spread against LA Clippers risking 3 Units
This is about as even as a match up as one can expect when handicapping a basketball game. Both teams have talent, both teams are incredibly deep and both teams are poised to make a run in the playoffs. Everyone is talking about Chris Paul and his potential "MVP" nomination, which I think he deserves given the way the Clippers play with him in the lineup and how they fall when he is not, but lets not overlook Tony Parker either. Parker has completely stepped up his game in recent weeks and has pretty much carried the Spurs on his back while Ginoblli and Duncan sat out for a number of games. Both teams are healthy and all the play-makers should be playing tonight which should make this an interesting game to watch.
The Spurs are a team that are just as dangerous on the road as they are at home. With or without Duncan, Ginoblli and Parker this team is still capable of putting up over 100 points in a game on the road. That is some scary, scary depth, when the starters can sit out and the bench players step up like that. The Spurs are not a team that gets blown out often and are more than likely to keep games close if not win them outright. You don't see the Spurs getting points too often and when you do it is hard to pass up. The one thing that worries me about the Spurs is that Coach Greg Popovich has shown that he doesn't care about regular season games and has sat his starters for games in the past. If he does that in this game prior to tip-off I would recommend "buying" out of your bet in order to re-coup your money and make it a "No Play". If all of the starters are listed as playing then I believe the Spurs win this game outright. Take the points.
Some trends to consider:
Spurs are 5-2 ATS in the game following an ATS loss
Spurs are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 meetings with the Clippers
Clippers are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games
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