May 14th 2013 - Posted 5:15 PM Eastern Time


We are taking it easy with 3 leans (minimum bets) today. These are 3 teams we like for all of the following reasons but aren't terribly confident about either one. Only 3% of the bankroll is being risked in total.



#1: Take Indiana Pacers at -5 spread against New York Knicks risking 1%

The Indiana Pacers took command as we expected and comfortably won Game 3 against the Knicks after being shut down in Game 2. There is no doubt that Indiana is a much more complete team on their home floor than they are on the road and it showed as they completely shut down the Knicks offense. The Pacers defense was relentless and kept the NY off balance all night long. In the first half alone they forced the Knicks to turn the ball over 10 times! This season the Knicks have been one of the better offensive teams in the league. They stormed out the gate to start the season amassing the leagues best record at the time and even though they struggled at the mid point in the season, as a team they finished the season strong with Carmelo Anthony gaining his first scoring title and JR Smith earning the 6th man of the Year honors. There were even talks of the Knicks potentially having a date with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. The reality is however that the Knicks have not really played well at all in these playoffs. They struggled on the offensive end against both the Celtics in the opening round and now the Pacers in the second round but whereas Celtics were not good enough to take advantage of certain weaknesses, the Pacers are. JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony are simply not performing anywhere close to how they did during the regular season. The Knicks have looked lost and confused during some recent games and Carmelo Anthony was the only Knick who scored in double figures last game and he struggled big time himself in the 4th quarter.

NY will no doubt play better tonight as they could not possibly play any poorer than they did last time out, but the Knicks simply can not match the physical nature of this Pacers team. The Pacers are the more complete and well rounded team. Unlike some other teams and much like Memphis, the Pacers have no real go-to superstar, on any given night any member of the Pacers team can step up and carry the load and often times everyone does their part. This is one team who completely personifies the words "team effort". In their last game it was 7 footer Roy Hibbert who shared a bulk of the load for the team, then you have Paul George and George Hill who could light up the scoreboard on a given night. David West and Tyler Hansborough have been huge contributors on both the offensive and defensive end all season long. The Pacers have a number of ways that they can hurt you and they have been one of the more dominant teams on their home court this season.

Indiana has a perfect home playoffs record so far this post-season and has won those 4 games by an average of 16.5 points! It's also worth mentioning that NY are 0-3 in their 3 trips to Indiana this season and were easily beaten by double digits twice and lost by 5 points in the other game.

Given the way that the Knicks have been struggling, I find it hard to find any value backing the Knicks in this contest. Indiana simply has too many weapons and plays too physical a style for the Knicks to contend with. If Indiana is allowed to impose their will on the Knicks tonight like they did in their last game the Pacers should easily go up three games to one over the Knicks. I expect this game to be more competitive and closer but you can expect the Pacers' physicality to wear down the Knicks ultimately allowing Indiana to stretch their lead out late for the win and cover.

Most are able to get this line at -5 spread and that's good. Those who have it available at -5.5 should buy half a point for extra insurance. Lay the 5 points with Pacers as they've learned from last year when up 2-1 against Miami Heat and will do all they can to take a 3-1 lead to NY and put one foot in the conference finals.



#2: Take Baltimore Orioles on the moneyline (-135) against San Diego Padres risking 1%

Baltimore has come a long way in the last couple of seasons. From ranking near the bottom in the AL East for almost as long as I can remember, the Orioles are following up their stellar 2012 season with a great start to the 2013 season and find themselves near the top of the AL East. The things that impress me most about this Orioles team is that there is nothing about them that is exceptional. What I mean is they are not exceptional defense men, they are not in the top of the league in batting average and their pitching is not the best in the league, but they are consistent and they are finding ways to win ball games. While they do not necessarily excel in one area, they are well versed in all areas and that has translated into a bunch of wins. They are simply just an all around well rounded team. They have the ability to put up runs, they have ability to throw lights out from the mound, they just do so in a consistent fashion, which makes them a dangerous team.

San Diego on the other hand looked to be gaining some momentum before losing a 3 game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. At this point in the season it is really unclear where San Diego stands. The Padres have been known to go through their offensive slumps. Even though they were competitive (somewhat) in the series with the Rays, they are consistently finding ways to lose ball games. Even when they manage to get a lead in a game, they simply do not have the tools necessary to hang onto it. While Baltimore is a team that finds ways to win, San Diego almost seems like a team that finds ways to lose.

Tillman has had 4 quality starts in a row and has won the last 3. The fact is that Baltimore is the better team and especially at home they should have no problem handling the struggling Padres. At this price it is worth backing Baltimore.



#3: Take San Francisco Giants as +129 underdogs against Toronto Blue Jays risking 1% (Zito and Dickey must start)

Looking at the statistics and past trends on these teams it is hard not to look twice at the underdogs in this contest, especially how they have been playing as of late. Toronto is 3-8 in their last 11 games against a left-handed starter (Zito), 1-4 in their last five home games and 1-5 in Dickey's last six starts as a favorite. San Francisco on the other hand is 4-1 in their last 5 inter-league games, 23-10 in their last 3 games as an underdog and 7-2 in Barry Zito's last 9 road starts. San Francisco is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings of these two teams.

I understand that the line is where it is for this game based on the fact that Barry Zito has not been terrific on the road. At home, Zito has been amazing, but in his 2 games on the road so far this season he has struggled. Just like all good pitchers however, his struggles can't last forever and 2 road starts is hardly a sample size to put Zito on the automatic fade list.

RA Dickey, who had a career season last year has struggled mightily this season. The once un-hittable Dickey has seemingly lost his magic this season. Not saying that Dickey is not still a good pitcher; when he is on his game, he can completely shut down a lineup, however he just has not been able to do that recently. Toronto also hasn't been a team that has fared well in the role of the favorites this season. This team has yet to put together any kind of consistent winning streak and with them already haven won 2 straight games, I feel it is only a matter of time before another loss happens. Toronto is just 2-6 as a home favorite this season of -125 to -150 this season.

San Francisco has been the far more consistent team this season and getting them at plus money in this contest is simply too good to pass up. Take the Giants as the underdogs.



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