November 20, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)
An exciting weekend awaits us as 4 college football picks are being released a day in advance!
There are also 2 NBA selections tonight. Please scroll down to view them.
1) Take Utah Jazz at +2 spread (buy half a point) against Dallas Mavericks for 3% of the bankroll.
The Mavs are 8-4 on the season which is superior to Utah's record, have won 5 straight games, beaten the Jazz in 7 of the previous 8 matchups and are also playing at home! Compelling, right? No. This is a classic 'trap' game for the casual sports-bettor. The Average Joe often looks at those surface statistics and places a big bet, only to regret it at the end of the night. If the Mavericks have such obvious superiority over their opponents tonight, then WHY is it that they are barely installed as 'favorites'!? There are good reasons.
This is a false favorite situation here. The Jazz have a better chance of winning this game than Dallas does and yet the oddsmakers couldn't possibly set them as home underdogs against a team with an inferior record, so they opened it low at just -2.5! Sharps have since placed large wagers on Quin Snyder's side, moving the line down a full point, to just 1.5! The fact that Utah is only a marginal underdog in Texas says a lot. Their stifling defense is one of the best in the NBA and will largely limit the Mavs tonight. Zaza Pachulia has done well so far in his first season in Dallas but he'll go up against the towering Frenchman, Rudy Gobert tonight! Gobert and Favors are a dominant bigs-combo and will trouble the Mavs' front-court. Their presence should give Utah a big edge in rebounding and points in the paint and that should help them get revenge on a squad that has been using them as doormats for a long time! No team likes to be dominated by another and yet the Mavs have won 8 straight against the Jazz when Dirk Nowitzki has played. The big German is no doubt a legendary player but he's also past his prime and actually slows the offense down to a snail-pace at times. Against a stout Jazz defense that has kept much better offenses at bay, we foresee them having a few issues.
As if the short opening spread and line movement wasn't a big enough indicator of which team is likely to edge this contest, the low opening total (192 points) is another strong hint! That's because it is right up Utah's alley but quite abnormal for a Dallas game. Mark Cuban's franchise often plays in matchups with totals set at 200+ points. In fact, of their opening 12 games of the season, the lowest previous total was 201 points! They've often played in games with totals at 210 or more points. To suddenly see a Mavs home game with a low number like that, shows that Vegas expects Utah to dictate the tempo and play their brand of basketball which are typically grind it out defensive battles! The opening total has since moved up quite a few points but the spread has not. And that's because the Jazz offense is likely to have more success than they have had in most other games.
After a gut-wrenching win against the Raptors where they imposed their will on their tired opponents and rallied to win in the 4th quarter, this young team has found its confidence. They have a chance to pull a full game back against a direct rival in the competitive Western Conference and we believe they will do that tonight. This is a tough scheduling spot for the Mavericks given that they are returning from a 3-game road trip and are set to travel again after this contest with a trip to Oklahoma City before stopping at division opponents, in Memphis and San Antonio! This particular game is sandwitched in between all those road tests and does not bode well for the home side. The Mavs have one eye on their tough upcoming road games and may look past a team that they've had little trouble beating in the past much like they did with the Pelicans, when we backed New Orleans for their only win of the season! Times have changed and the Jazz are a lot more formidable than they have been in recent years and they'll have a chance to prove that again tonight.
2) Take Phoenix Suns at -2 spread against Denver Nuggets for 3% of the bankroll.
The Suns nearly had the perfect homestand winning 3 of 3 before losing to the Bulls on their final home game prior to an upcoming road-heavy schedule. They start this 3-game road trip in Denver before stops in New Orleans and San Antonio on Sunday and Monday respectively. Those two games will be back-to-back contests which always present a difficult challenge. It is important then for Phoenix to start their travels well by winning this game. Coming off a defeat, they are in bounce back mode and no longer complacent. They are in a confident mood knowing they blew out this same Nuggets team just 6 days ago. Phoenix dominated Denver on Nov 14th winning by a 105-81 final score! And while we don't expect tonight's victory to come as easily, we do believe they'll find a way to win and cover again since there's only one number (a 1-point win) that does not work for us! This line (-2) is more than affordable and provides great value on backing the superior team.
It is common knowledge that first game back at home after a road trip is often the toughest for teams. That's because players have to adjust to time zone shifts and being back with their families after a week or so away means they 'relax' and unwind in ways that are not always optimal to winning games. This is Denver's first game back at Pepsi Arena after a road trip and we don't believe they'll be at their best tonight. They also have a date with defending undefeated champions on deck with Golden State visiting next! They won't look past the Suns as they are seeking revenge for that recent ugly loss but that doesn't mean they'll get it. That's because this squad is just 2-5 this season and 35-57 over the last 3 years when playing with revenge!
The off-season acquisition of defensive stopper, Tyson Chandler was a massive coup by the Phoenix front office! That's because the veteran leader always gives 100% and has brought a winning mentality to a talented roster that often lacked concentration and max effort. Chandler's attitude has already rubbed off on his new teammates and it is evident that Jeff Hornacek is having an easier time motivating his players than he did last year. The size and physicality of Alex Len, Markieff Morris and Tyson Chandler will be difficult for Nuggets to deal with given that they are still missing their starting and backup Center, Jusuf Nurkic and Joffrey Lauvergne! It will be JJ Hickson that'll likely get the nod again but he is undersized and is also a poor free-throw shooter. In addition, it should be noted that the Suns are 9-3 as road favorites of 3 points or less over the last 3 years!
The 'Center' position isn't the only matchup that gives Phoenix the edge. The back-court duo of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight is one of the best in the league and will be going up against the inxperienced tandem of rookie, Emmanuel Mudiay and sophomore Garry Harris! The Phoenix guards are not only more athletic and arguably in their physical prime but they have been starting NBA games for quite a few years now and have much better decision-making. They know when to penetrate the lane, when to take a deep 3 and when to fake that shot and kick it out to a teammate. They should outplay Denver guards and that'll go a long way toward pulling away on the scoreboard.
The Nuggets are a team in transition and with Wilson Chandler out for the season, their hopes lie primarily with Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried. If the Suns can do a good job of containing those two, they have far more weapons at their disposal and should win and cover this game given that they are laying only two points. TJ Warren is a much improved player and was missed in the loss to Bulls. He'll be back tonight and it's also worth remembering that Denver is just 16-41 over the last 3 seasons after a double-digit loss and that is exactly what they're coming off of, having been outclassed by the San Antonio Spurs in their last game! Look for Phoenix to bounce back from its defeat to Chicago and get an important W before a series of trickier road games. The Suns led by as many as 37 points just six days ago against this squad and have won 7 of the last 8 matchups! Tonight's win won't come as easily but they are still the better team and will pull away once again.
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