Are You Betting Heat vs. Bulls Game 1?

I am not. While the Heat seem to be living up to the hype. I am not convinced yet. The Heat have relied on their big 3 (Wade, James, and Bosh) all season. That reliance has increased in the playoffs. In the regular season, the big 3 accounted for 69.4% of the Heat points shooting 50.3%. In the playoffs, they account for 73.6% of the Heat points, shooting 47.0%. Please note, defense is better in the playoffs and that may account for the shooting % difference. The bigger concern might be the rest of the team. The rest of the Heat team shot 44.1% in the regular season but have only shot 37.0% in the playoffs. [Note: The Bulls top 3 scorers average 60.8% of the teams regular season points and shot 47.0%. In the playoffs they average 60.4% of team points and shoot 42.6%. In the playoffs, the Bulls remaining players are shooting within 0.2% of their regular season average].

Related to the Heat reliance on the big 3, their assist ratio is even (assist ratio is offensive assist/defensive assist allowed), while the Bulls have a 1.21 assist ratio. This ratio difference accounts for 1.5 points per game in my simulations. [Another note: using the assist ratio in my model increases accuracy by 2%]. The Heat have played a mediocre Sixers team and a broken down Celtics team. They now face a young, athletic team that can play defense (they allow 42.1% shooting at home and out rebound teams 53 to 47).

As you can see in today’s simulations, my model favors the Bulls in game 1. There are no angles that make this a momentum or starred play (my model is 3.0% more accurate for momentum plays and 7.5% to 11.5% for starred plays depending if the adj sim or sim covers the point spread). Generally, I only play momentum and starred plays unless I can eliminate some specific uncertainty in the game. In this game, I am uncertain about the Bulls playoff experience and the step up in class (the Heat). The Bulls haven’t played great teams in the playoffs this year and have relied on huge games from Derrick Rose.

In summary, the concern about the Heat backup players and the Bulls playoff experience and step up in class leave me watching today’s game. I am also just watching the early game (Grizzlies at Thunder) as I have no momentum or angles to support a position and anything can happen in game 7. Sorry, I am not taking a position on a team, but they play the national anthem every day and there are always opportunities to find a good bet (I did like the Heat/Bulls Under before the line dropped from 182.5 to 180). If you are betting either game, good luck on whatever side you are on. I will post full NBA season model results once the season is complete.

Good Luck! Follow me on Twitter for all my model results and picks.

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San Antonio Spurs (+1.5) at Chicago Bulls (-1.5), Over/Under 189

Haven’t posted a bet in the last few days due to travel. San Antonio enters tonight’s 7 games ahead in their division. They have won 9 of their last 11 games. In their last meeting with Chicago, the Spurs won by 9 at home. Chicago has a comfortable 13.5-game lead in their division. Chicago has won 3 straight games and enters tonight looking for revenge.

San Antonio (46-9) has rolled through the season. They are fairly healthy for this time of the season. The Spurs average 47.3% shooting with 51 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 46.1% shooting with 53 rebounds and 7 steals per game. The Spurs are one of the best teams in the league but 7 of their 9 losses came on the road. They face a motivated top-tier team on the road. This is their last game before the All-Star break. Will the Spurs be motivated tonight?

Chicago (37-16) is an excellent home team. They are 24-4 and haven’t lost at home since January 18th. The Bulls average 46.1% shooting with 53 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 42.8% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game. The Bulls are a good shooting and excellent defensive team. They lost last time against San Antonio but won both meetings last year. Expecting a good effort from Chicago.

The Sagarin Ratings have San Antonio 97.79 and Chicago 94.92. With the 3.29 home advantage, the fair line is Chicago -0.42.

My NBA model has Chicago 96.13 and San Antonio 93.08 for 189.21 total points. San Antonio is a slightly better and more efficient offensive team. Chicago is a better defensive and rebounding team. The key variance contributor is the Spurs defensive shooting percentage allowed. San Antonio must keep the Bulls below their shooting average to win and cover.

Tonight I am taking the Bulls minus the points. Here’s why. The Bulls lost by 9 last time out against the Spurs and now are coming off a win and cover. The Spurs aren’t as effective on the road and this is the last game before the All-Star break. I modeled the game at Chicago -3.05; the betting value is with the Bulls. Bet Chicago Bulls -1.5.

Follow me on Twitter for all my picks. Good Luck!

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 Lakers at Chicago Bulls, Dec 10, 2010

LA Lakers (-2) at Chicago Bulls (+2), Over/Under 197

Just missed yesterday’s bet on a last-second TD.  Mostly NBA games tonight; Lakers at Bulls is the most interesting game.  Both teams are atop their divisions and have won 3 straight games.

The Lakers (16-6) are in the 2nd game of a long road-trip.  They have only covered the spread once in their last 8 games.  They average 46.5% shooting with 53 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.7% shooting with 51 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  The Lakers are still without Andrew Bynum (he may be returning on Dec 14th).  The Lakers have won 3 straight against the Bulls.  They play good defense and don’t make many mistakes but face a good, motivated home team.

The Bulls (12-8) are a young, improving team but face a big challenge tonight.  The Lakers have proven  a big hurdle the new Bulls can’t get over.  The Bulls average 46.1% shooting with 54 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.8% shooting with 50 rebounds and 8 steals per game.  The Bulls have played a tough schedule.  They have proven they can beat good teams at home.  To beat the champs, they will need to make free throws and limit turnovers under the Laker defensive pressure.

The Sagarin Ratings have the Lakers 94.10 and the Bulls 93.04.  With the 3.09 home advantage, the fair line is Chicago -2.03.  According to pregame.com, 84% of spread bets are on the Lakers and 76% of the total bets are on the Over.

My NBA model predicts Chicago 105.49 over Los Angeles 101.12 for 206.61 total points.  The Lakers are a better shooting team; the Bulls seem to have a slight advantage in rebounding.  Both teams play good defense.  The Bulls have to shoot at or above to their average to win tonight (something that haven’t been able to do in the last two meetings).

Tonight, I can make a case on either side of the point spread.  I am taking the Over.  Here’s why.  Both teams are efficient scorers.  The Bulls have put in big defensive efforts in their last two games; expecting a defensive let down against a better team tonight.  The Lakers are also coming off a strong defensive outing.  I modeled the game at 206.61 total points.  Bet on the Lakers/Bulls Over 197.

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Bet of the Day – Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks, Nov. 19, 2010

Chicago Bulls (+5) at Dallas Mavericks (-5), Over/Under 195

Yesterday’s bet, Bears at Dolphins, was a loser.  Back to the NBA tonight for what should be a fun game.  Will release a pick on the Boise St. game on Twitter.

The Bulls (6-4) are in their 3rd game of a long road trip.  They have won 4 of their last 5 games.  They are coming off 2 days rest for tonight’s game.  The Bulls average 47.7% shooting with 53 rebounds and 8 steals.  They allow 44.6% shooting with 49 rebounds and 9 steals.  The Bulls are a solid team.  They played a tough early schedule but have bounced back nicely without Carlos Boozer.  In their last game, they played a bit flat but are poised for a solid effort tonight.

Like the Bulls, the Mavericks (7-3) are coming off a flat loss after 4 straight wins.  Dallas doesn’t foul very much or turn the ball over; they will need similar clean play to win tonight.  The Mavs average 48.8% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  They allow 42.9% shooting with 48 rebounds and 9 steals per game.  Dallas was out rebounded in 3 of their last 5 games.  Tonight they faced a good rebounding team.  Expecting a good effort from Dallas but a tough game.

The Sagarin Ratings have Dallas 95.97 and Chicago 92.86.  With the 1.76 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -4.87.  According to pregame.com, 58% of spread bets are on Dallas and 94% of total bets are on the over.  The spread seems fair but all the money is on the over and it isn’t moving.  Are there sharps on the under?

My NBA model predicts Dallas 96.9 over Chicago 94.1 for 191 total points.  They have very similar offensive statistics.  Dallas shoots slightly better while Chicago is a better rebounding team.  The defenses are similar too.  The key variance contributor is both teams offensive shooting percentage.  Chicago will need to shoot at or above their average to win tonight.

Tonight I am taking the Under.  Here’s why.  I don’t see any value in the spread.  Both teams play good defense (for the NBA that is).  These teams will play cleaner tonight than their last outing and we won’t see too many free throws.  I modeled this game at 191; there appears to be value in the total line.  Bet Chicago/Dallas Under 195.

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Bet of the Day – Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder, Oct. 27, 2010

Chicago Bulls (+6.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (-6.5), Over/Under 192.5

Today’s post is my first NBA game of the season.  Chicago added new coach Tom Thibodeau from the Celtics and several talented signees (e.g. Boozer, Brewer, Korver).  The Bulls seem to have positive momentum coming into the season.  The Oklahoma City Thunder and star Kevin Durant finished last season strong.  The hype and expectations surrounding this team grows with each day.  They didn’t make a lot of roster changes but they are a young team expected to grow this year.

The Bulls made a failed push in Lebronapalooza but ended up with what looks to be a pretty good team and coach.  Last year the Bulls shot 45.1% from the field (32.9% 3-pt and 75.6% FT) for 97.4 points per game.  The Bulls allowed 44.5% shooting (35.1% 3-pt and 74.3% FT) for 99.5 points per game.  They are a good rebounding team that doesn’t commit too many fouls or turnover the ball.  New acquisition Carlos Boozer (broken hand) is out for at least a month, so rookie Taj Gibson will get plenty of on the job training.  With this being Thibodeau’s first game and the Bulls playing a top team, I expect a big effort.  Will the team gel without Boozer and the addition of several new characters?  Also, note Noah has been ill but returned to practice on Monday.

The Thunder may be a marked team.  They are popular in the media and Kevin Durant’s continual growth has been well documented.  Last year the Thunder shot 45.7% (33.7% 3-pt and 80.7% FT) for 101.0 points per game.  They allowed 44.7% shooting (34.0% 3-put and 75.9% FT) for 97.8 points per game.  The Thunder do give up steals and blocks but are a pretty good rebounding team.  The Thunder will be missing several supporting players, including Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich.  Expecting Durant to put up his usual quality numbers but can his supporting cast do the same?  The Thunder will definitely have an active crowd tonight that should play to their favor.

The Sagarin Ratings have the Thunder 90.94 and the Bulls 88.89.  With a 3.4 point home advantage, the fair line is Oklahoma City -5.45.  This is very close to the current betting line and doesn’t indicate real value on either side.  According to Pregame.com’s Sportsbook Spy, the money is split evenly on the point spread.  On the total, 80% of bets are on the Over but it has inched down from 194.

My basketball model predicts Oklahoma City 98.0 over Chicago 95.2 for 193.2 total points.  With only last year’s data to work with, you have to take any model results with a grain of salt.  It will be a few weeks before we have reliable model data.

This game is a pretty popular over play today.  I am going to watch from the sidelines on the total play as I have some questions about Thibodeau’s defense and pace of play.  Tonight, I am taking the Bulls +6.5.  Here’s why.  Derrick Rose knows Durant well and will work to control the pace of the game.  Durant is a rhythm player and Thibodeau (strong defensive coach) will look to disrupt the Thunder’s flow.  Both teams have injuries but Chicago has more depth.  Chicago is a better rebounding team.  Oklahoma City is a trendy team and there may be some line inflation.  The Thunder may win but I think it will be close.  Bet on the Chicago Bulls +6.5.

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