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.

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Bet of the Day – San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks, Dec. 30, 2010

San Antonio Spurs (-3) at Dallas Mavericks (+3), Over/Under 191.5

Yesterday’s bet, Warriors at Hawks, was a winner.  Both Dallas and San Antonio have rolled through their schedule.  Unfortunately for Dallas, that will be tough to continue while Dirk Nowitzki is out of the lineup.  Nowitzki injured his knee in Monday’s game at Oklahoma City and will not play tonight.

The Spurs (27-4) only lost 2 games in December.  Tim Duncan is playing only 26 minutes a game.  His minutes and his stats are down.  Will this pay dividends in the playoffs?  San Antonio averages 47.2% shooting with 50 rebounds and 9 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 45.8% shooting with 50 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  San Antonio is healthy and playing well.  They lost by 9 at home to Dallas in November.  Expecting a good outing from the Spurs.

Like San Antonio, the Mavericks (24-6) only lost twice in December.  It will be tough to avoid a 3rd loss with Nowitzki out.  But don’t expect Dallas to rollover at home tonight.  The Mavs average 47.7% shooting with 48 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.5% shooting with 48 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  Dallas is 2.5 games behind the Spurs in the Southwest division.  Dallas won the 1st of 4 games this season in San Antonio.  Nowitzki accounted for 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in that game.  Can that production be replaced tonight in Dallas?  Dallas has won 4 straight regular-season games against the Spurs.

The Sagarin Ratings have San Antonio 97.76 Dallas 96.70.  With the 3.21 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -2.15.  This doesn’t take into account Dirk Nowitzki not playing tonight.

My NBA model predicts San Antonio 93.33 over Dallas 88.68 for 182.01 total points.  Nowitzki’s absence is considered in the model results.  San Antonio is the better shooting and more efficient offensive team.  San Antonio is also a better defensive team.  The key variance contributor is San Antonio’s offensive shooting efficiency.  The Spurs must shoot at or above their average to win tonight.

Tonight I am taking the Spurs minus the points.  Here’s why.  Dallas won in San Antonio by 9 in the 1st meeting of the season.  The Spurs are a top team and will want to even the series with a key divisional opponent.  Nowitzki is out; this leaves a big hole to fill for Dallas.  I modeled the game at San Antonio -4.65.  Bet the San Antonio Spurs -3.

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Bet of the Day – Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio Spurs, Dec. 15, 2010

Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5) at San Antonio Spurs (+8.5), Over/Under 190.5

No bet of the day yesterday.  Did go 4-0 on Twitter picks.  Back to the NBA tonight.  The Bucks are improving but have a tough road test against the league-leading Spurs.

The Bucks (10-13) have won 3 straight and are coming of a big win in Dallas.  This is the 2nd game in a brutal 5-game stretch (Dallas, San Antonio, Utah, Portland, Lakers).  The Bucks average 41.0% shooting with 53 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 44.6% shooting with 49 rebounds and 6 steals per game.  The Bucks have played a tough early schedule and are better than their record indicates.  But following a big win in Dallas, should we expect a let down tonight?

The Spurs (20-3) have won 5 straight.  They look to complete a perfect 6-0 homestand tonight.  Not only have they played 5 straight at home, they only played 5 games in the last 13 days.  The Spurs average 46.9% shooting with 50 rebounds and 9 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 45.7% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals.  The Spurs are clearly the better team but they face a confident Bucks team looking to continue their recent success.

The Sagarin Ratings have San Antonio 98.39 and Milwaukee 89.28.  With the 3.33 home advantage, the fair line is San Antonio -12.44.

My NBA model predicts Spurs 98.53 over Bucks 89.63 for 188.16 total points.  The Spurs are clearly a better shooting team.  The Bucks hold the rebounding edge.  The teams allow similar defensive shooting and efficiency.  The key variance contributor is San Antonio’s offensive shooting % vs. defensive shooting %.  San Antonio will need to shoot at or above their average shooting percentage to win and cover tonight.

Tonight I am taking the home team.  Here’s why.  The Bucks are coming off a big, emotional win on the road and could regress tonight.  The Spurs continue to dominate and are rested.  I modeled the game at Spurs -8.9 and the Sagarin Ratings indicate there is value with the Spurs.  Bet on the San Antonio Spurs -8.5.

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