Bet of the Day – Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies, Jan. 31, 2011

Orlando Magic (-2) at Memphis Grizzlies (+2), Over/Under 196

Orlando has been up and down lately. They haven’t covered in their last two games. The Magic sit 2.5 games behind Miami in the Southeast division. Memphis has won two straight games and 7 of their last 10. They are now .500 for the season. The Magic beat Memphis in Orlando by 17 in mid-November.

The Magic (31-17) haven’t been a great road team. Their last win over a .500 or better team was January 8th in Dallas (Nowitzki was out). Orlando averages 46.5% shooting with 52 rebounds and 6 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 44.1% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Orlando has won the last two meetings in convincing fashion. They will need a big effort from a banged-up squad to win on the road tonight.

Memphis (24-24) is 3-0 since O.J. Mayo was suspended. They are 14-7 at home. The Grizzlies average 46.2% shooting with 50 rebounds and 9 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 45.7% shooting with 50 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Memphis has played a tougher schedule than Orlando but their recent home competition has been weak. They are 13-7 against the spread at home. Can the Grizzlies keep their positive momentum moving against a top team?

The Sagarin Ratings have Orlando 94.17 and Memphis 90.79. With the 3.61 home advantage, the fair line is Memphis -0.23.

My NBA model has Memphis 97.45 and Orlando 96.02. The teams are similar on offense in shooting and efficiency. Orlando is a better 3-point shooting team. Orlando is a slightly better defensive team. The key variance contributor is the Grizzlies’ shooting percentage. Memphis has to shoot at or above their average to win tonight.

Tonight I am taking the home team plus the points. Here’s why. Memphis is playing better and shoots 1.9% better on average at home. Orlando isn’t a great home team; they also have some lingering injuries. I modeled the game at Memphis -1.43. Bet Memphis Grizzlies +2.

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Bet of the Day – Missouri Tigers at Texas Longhorns, Jan. 29, 2011

Missouri Tigers (+7) at Texas Longhorns (-7), Over/Under 146

Missouri is coming off two convincing home wins. This is their biggest challenge of the season so far. Texas has rolled through the Big 12 conference. They beat Kansas on the road last Saturday. Can they slow down the high scoring Tigers tonight?

Missouri (17-3) is the highest-scoring team in the Big 12. They haven’t been great in their conference road games, but should have no problem getting up for this game. The Tigers average 47.5% shooting with 38 rebounds and 10 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 40.9% shooting with 37 rebounds and 6 steals per game. Missouri is a deep team that can score at all positions. The Tigers have only scored under 70 points once this year. They face their biggest defensive test to date in Austin tonight.

Texas (17-3) won a much hyped game in Lawrence last week. They are undefeated in the conference; winning by an average of 19.6 points in conference games. The Longhorns average 46.1% shooting with 41 rebounds and 6 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 36.7% shooting with 34 rebounds and 5 steals per game. Texas rebounds very well and plays excellent defense. They will need to play a complete game to slow down a dangerous Missouri team.

The Sagarin Ratings have Texas 91.60 and Missouri 86.73. With the 3.92 home advantage, the fair line is Texas -8.79.

My basketball model has Texas 79.07 and Missouri 71.98 for 151.05 total points. Missouri is a better and more efficient offensive team. Texas is a better defensive team. The key variance contributor is Missouri’s defensive shooting percentage allowed. Missouri has to slow Texas’ solid offense to win and cover.

I don’t see enough value in either side of the point spread. So tonight I am taking the Over. Here’s why. Both teams have very good offenses. Texas has a good defense but has given up big points to similar caliber offenses. Missouri has proven they can score on good teams. I modeled the game at 151.05 total points. Bet Missouri/Texas Over 146.

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Bet of the Day – Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls, Jan. 28, 2011

Orlando Magic (-1.5) at Chicago Bulls (+1.5), Over/Under 188

Sorry for the late post. No bet of the day yesterday. The Magic enter the game off a comfortable road win over the Pacers.  They are only 1.5 games behind the head in the Southeast division. The Bulls are comfortably atop the Central division. They have won 3 straight but were embarrassed by the Magic at home in December. Derrick Rose has had stomach ulcers but is probable tonight.

Orlando (30-16) is a decent road team. They have beaten the Bulls three straight times by 20 or more points. The Magic average 46.7% shooting with 52 rebounds and 6 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 44.1% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Orlando has owned the Bulls recently. If Derrick Rose is unable to play, that trend could continue.

Chicago (31-14) has won 8 of their last 10 games. If Derrick Rose is on the bench, it will be a tall order to win a 4th straight game. The Bulls average 45.9% shooting with 54 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 42.3% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  The Bulls are still without Joakim Noah, but Carlos Boozer is back in the lineup. The Bulls have been embarrassed in recent games by the Magic; expect a big effort tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Orlando 94.35 and Chicago 94.31. With the 3.51 home advantage, the fair line is Chicago -3.47.

My NBA model has Chicago 94.75 and Orlando 88.59 for 183.34 total points. The Magic are a better, more efficient offense. The Bulls are a better, more efficient defense. The key variance contributor is the Bulls offensive shooting percentage. The Bulls have to shoot at or above their average to win tonight.

Tonight I am taking the Bulls plus the points. Here’s why. Chicago is playing well and is an excellent home team. The Bulls are a home underdog and Rose will likely play. The Magic beat the Bulls in Chicago by 29 in December. I modeled the game at Chicago -6.16. Bet Chicago Bulls +1.5.

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Bet of the Day – Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks, Jan. 25, 2011

Los Angeles Clippers (+6) at Dallas Mavericks (-6), Over/Under 194

Hello. No bet of the day yesterday. Back to the NBA today. The Clippers ave played better in recent weeks. Blake Griffin continues to improve. The Mavericks are coming out of a rough patch. Dirk Nowitzki is back and they are starting a 4-game home stand.

The Clippers (17-26) have won 7 of their last 9 games. Including wins over the Lakers and Heat. They aren’t a very good road team (3-13). Los Angeles averages 45.9% shooting with 54 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 45.4% shooting with 48 rebounds and 8 steals per game. The Clippers are mediocre shooting team. They rebound well but haven’t played very good defense on the road. The Clippers will need a big effort from Griffin and their defense if they want to beat a Dallas team that needs a win.

Dallas (28-15) went on a 6-game slide while Nowitzki was out. They won 2 of their last 3 but haven’t been consistent. The Mavericks average 46.3% shooting with 48 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 44.6% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Dallas is a pretty good home team (15-8). They need a win tonight and will look to jump on the Clippers early.

The Sagarin Ratings have Dallas 93.63 and Los Angeles 87.37. With the 3.57 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -9.83.

My NBA model predicts Dallas 99.7 over Los Angeles 91.4 for 191.1 total points. Dallas is the better shooting and more efficient offensive team. Dallas is a slightly better defensive team. The key variance contributor is Dallas’ offensive shooting percentage. Dallas has to shoot at or above their average to win and cover tonight. Dallas hasn’t been consistent lately but the Clippers aren’t very good defensively in road games.

Tonight I am taking the Mavericks minus the points. Here’s why. Dallas is coming out of a bad streak and needs a win tonight.  The Clippers are at the end of a hot streak. Dallas shoots the ball better and plays decent defense at home. I modeled the game at Dallas -8.3.  Bet Dallas Mavericks -6.

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NFL Conference Championship Round

Yesterday’s bet, Marquette at Notre Dame, was a winner. Taking a bit of a different approach today. I am going to preview both NFL games.

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Chicago Bears (+4), Over/Under 42.5

This is the 3rd meeting between the Packers and Bears this season. They split the first two games. It will be cold (20 degrees) with a chance of snow (as it should be). Green Bay had an injury-plagued season but now enter this game full of momentum. They have an excellent QB and defense.  Chicago found a running game mid-season winning 8 of their last 10 games. Like the Packers, they have a good QB and defense (of course, at this point of the playoffs most teams have those two qualities).

Green Bay (12-6) clinched a playoff spot in the last week of the season. They can thank Chicago for that. The Packers average 6.0 yards per play (YPP) and 14.2 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense. On defense, they allow 5.4 YPP and 19.8 YPPT. They are efficient. QB Aaron Rodgers averages 8.26 yards per attempt (YPA) with 28 TDs and 11 INTs for a 101.2 QB rating. Rodgers played excellent in both playoff games.  The Packers will need another big game from Rodgers and their run defense to win today.

Chicago (12-5) is likely regretting that final game against the Packers. They won relatively handily last week (more than the score shows) holding the Seahawks to 34 rushing yards. The Bears average 5.3 YPP and 13.7 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.2 YPP and 17.1 YPPT. They are efficient on both sides of the ball. QB Jay Cutler averages 7.58 YPA with 23 TDs and 16 INTs for a 86.3 QB rating. Cutler will need a big game and help for his running game to win today. The Bears are a good home team and shouldn’t be overlooked as home-underdog.

The Sagarin Ratings have Green Bay 30.5 and Chicago 25.4. With the 1.9 home advantage, the fair line is Green Bay -3.2. According to pregame.com, 66% of spread bets are on Green Bay and 58% of total bets are on the Under. The point spread moved from Green Bay -3 to -3.5 early in the week; it is now sitting at -3.5 and -4 depending on where you look.

My NFL model has Green Bay 22.6 and Chicago 20.3 for 42.9 total points. Green Bay has a more effective passing game. The teams are similar in offensive efficiency. The teams are also similar in defensive yards allowed. Packers are better against the pass; Chicago is better against the run. The Packers are more efficient. The key variance contributor is Chicago’s passing yards allowed.  Chicago has to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packer receivers to win.

New York Jets (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4), Over/Under 38

The Jets beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh earlier this season. The Steelers out gained the Jets in that game but the Jets won the special teams battle. QB Mark Sanchez had a mediocre game against a Steeler defense missing Troy Polamalu.  Polamalu is playing today. The Jets beat the number 1 seed Patriots last week.  Can they win their 3rd straight road playoff game today? The Steelers faced a physical Ravens team last week. They were down by 14 at the half. Will that physical, emotional win cause a letdown today?

The Jets (13-5) said all preseason its Super Bowl or bust.  Should we be surprised they are one game away? They have been quiet all week following their upset win in Foxboro. New York averages 5.3 YPP and 15.2 YPPT on offense. On defense, they allow 5.0 YPP and 15.7 YPPT. They aren’t the most efficient team. QB Mark Sanchez averages 6.49 YPA with 17 TDs and 13 INTs for a 75.3 QB rating. Sanchez is turnover prone but took a big step forward in the 2nd half last week. The Jets have more offensive weapons but must protect Sanchez (this isn’t the Colts or Patriots defense).  The Jets will need to limit turnovers, have excellent special teams play, and control Roethlisberger and the Steeler passing game to win today.

Pittsburgh (13-4) didn’t look like a playoff team in the 1st half last week. They scored 24 points and held the Ravens to 3 in the 2nd half. They don’t have the momentum that the Jets do, but they have proven all year they can put it together when they need to. The Steelers average 5.7 YPP and 14.3 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 4.7 YPP and 17.8 YPPT. They are efficient. QB Ben Roethlisberger averages 8.23 YPA with 17 TDs and 5 INTs for a 97 QB rating. Roethlisberger is the better QB and has the playoff experience advantage. The Steelers have to get pressure on Sanchez and limit the special teams big plays.  Pittsburgh will be tough to beat at home twice.

The Sagarin Ratings have Pittsburgh 30.74 and New York 28.76. With the 1.9 home advantage, the fair line is Pittsburgh -3.9. According to pregame.com, 56% of the spread bets are on Pittsburgh and 59% of total bets are on the Over.  The point spread opened at Pittsburgh -3 and has slowly moved to -4.

My NFL model has Pittsburgh 22.5 and New York 17.4 for 39.9 total points.  The teams have similar offensive yardage production; Steelers pass more, Jets run more.  The Steelers are more efficient on offense.  The Steelers have a better, more efficient defense.  The key variance contributor is both teams pass defense.  Whichever team can better pressure the QB and limit passing yards will win the game.

Summary

The Packers have momentum entering today. The Bears have steadily improved this season. Green Bay is the better overall team; but the Bears have dangerous weapons and are a home underdog. I think the Packers edge out a close win today but the Bears cover the spread. I modeled the game at Packers -2.3. I think there is value with the Bears. Bet the Chicago Bears +4.

The Jets beat the bet two QBs in the league over the last two weeks. They are living up to their own hype. Pittsburgh comes off a physical, come-from-behind win over a divisional rivalry.  Both teams have a case for deflation. The Jets have better offensive weapons but winning 3 road playoff games is a tall task.  I modeled the game at Pittsburgh -5.1. Pittsburgh will be tough to beat twice at home and has the playoff experience in key positions. Bet the Pittsburgh Steelers -4.

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Bet of the Day – Marquette Golden Eagles at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Jan. 22, 2011

Marquette Golden Eagles (+3.5) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-3.5), Over/Under 149

Haven’t had a bet of the day in a few days (was traveling all week).  Today’s game is an interesting match up between two very good teams.  Marquette beat Notre Dame by 22 at home just 12 days ago.  Marquette shot a ridiculous 70.6% from 3-point range in that game.  Expect a better effort from Notre Dame tonight; they are a very good home team and will have senior Carleton Scott back on the floor.

Marquette (13-6) is starting a very tough stretch of games.  They are playing 5 ranked teams in their next 6 games.  3 of those ranked-team games will be on the road.  They are 2-5 on the road this season.  The Golden Eagles average 49.2% shooting with 37 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.6% shooting with 33 rebounds and 6 steals.  Marquette is an excellent shooting team.  They are a mediocre rebounding and defensive team.  Marquette faces a motivated team after being embarrassed last time out.  Can Marquette continue their hot shooting against Notre Dame?

Notre Dame (15-4) has played a tough schedule.  It doesn’t get any easier (they visit Pitt on Monday) so a win tonight is critical.  Notre Dame is 12-0 at home this year; they will be looking for redemption tonight against Marquette.  The Fighting Irish average 44.9% shooting with 38 rebounds and 5 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 40.8% shooting with 32 rebounds and 5 steals.  Notre Dame is a decent offensive team and good defensive team.  They shoot the ball better at home.  Notre Dame will be hard to beat a 2nd time, especially at home.

The Sagarin Ratings have Notre Dame 87.34 and Marquette 84.54.  With the 4.11 home advantage, the fair line is Notre Dame -6.91.

My basketball model predicts Notre Dame 75.71 over Marquette 73.33 for 149.03 total points.  Marquette is a better shooting team.  Notre Dame has a better and more efficient defense.  I also modeled this game with each team’s home/away stats; the game swings several points further to Notre Dame’s favor.  The key variance contributor is Marquette’s offensive and defensive shooting percentage.  To win and cover, Marquette will need to again shoot above their average against a good defense.

Today I am taking Notre Dame minus the points.  Here’s why.  Marquette embarrassed Notre Dame 12 days ago; Marquette shot the ball way above their average and Notre Dame was without a key player.  Notre Dame is an excellent home team and Marquette has struggled defensively on the road.  Notre Dame needs a conference win tonight.  Bet Notre Dame -3.5.

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Bet of the Day – New York Jets at New England Patriots, Jan. 16, 2011

New York Jets (+10) at New England Patriots (-10), Over/Under 45

No bet of the day yesterday.  Never short on commentary, the Jets continued to talk leading up to this game.  They won in Indianapolis last week holding the Colts well below their average yards and points scored.  As we all know, the Patriots embarrassed the Jets when they met in Foxboro earlier this season.  The Patriots had last week off and haven’t said much this week.  They haven’t lost since November 7th and the Jets were their only other loss this season.

New York (12-5) will need a huge defensive performance today in Foxboro.  The Jets average 5.3 yards per play (YPP) and 15.5 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 5 YPP and 15.5 YPPT.  The Jets have an above average offense and an excellent defense.  They are 3rd in yards allowed and 6th in points allowed.  QB Mark Sanchez averages 6.49 yards per attempt (YPA) with 17 TDs and 13 INTs for a 75.3 QB rating.  Sanchez played well in the 2nd half last week.  He has to limit interceptions today.  The Jets can move the ball on offense.  New England is effective at limiting TDs and points converted.  The Jets must score touchdowns and not field goals to cover and win today.

New England (14-2) has the best offense in the NFL.  They average 6.1 YPP and 11.2 YPPT on offense.  On defense, the Patriots allow 5.7 YPP and 18.7 YPPT.  New England’s efficiency numbers read more like a good college team.  They average 5 points more per game than the next closest team.  The Patriots do allow a high number of yards per game on defense.  They force 2.4 turnovers per game while only allowing 0.6.  QB Tom Brady has had a likely MVP season.  He averages 7.93 YPA with 36 TDs and 4 INTs for a 111.0 QB rating.  Brady and the Patriots will move the ball and score points.  They are 8-0 at home and will be ready for today’s game.

The Sagarin Ratings have New England 34.11 and New York 27.08.  With the home advantage of 2.07, the fair line is New England -9.10.  According to pregame.com, 66% of spread bets are on New England and 77% of total bets are on the Over.

My NFL model predicts New England 30.15 over New York 23.47 for 53.62 total points.  New England is clearly the better offense.  They have similar offensive yards, but New England is more efficient.  The Jets allow fewer yards and points on defense.  The key variance contributor is the Jets defensive passing yards allowed.  The Jets have to hold the Patriots below their average passing yards to cover the spread.

Today I am taking the Jets plus the points.  Here’s why.  The Jets were destroyed and embarrassed by the Patriots in November.  The Jets have an excellent defense and their offense has proven they can move the ball against the Patriots.  I modeled the game at New England -6.68.  I expect the Patriots to win, but not cover.  Bet on the New York Jets +10.

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