- Chicago 113 Toronto 106
With the Raptors getting 14.5 points from their hosts, I won this wager easily; the Bulls never led by more than 13, and the margin drifted between 4 and 9 most of the game.
I’m now 16-1 in my last 17 picks, thanks to a stressless bet by all accounts save one: I made the call just before gametime, only to discover Andrea Bargnani wasn’t playing. Had I known, I wouldn’t have taken the risk. I was only saved by the unexpected: the best game of the season by Bargnani’s replacement (a rookie named Ed Davis, who went for 17 and 11) in a passable impersonation of a dangerous starter. Whew.
Apparently, Day To Day is a meaningless injury designation in the NBA; Bargnani played well the game before, then sat (I suspect) because the Raptors have nothing to play for except next season, so players like Ed Davis are starting to get extended playing time.
Sunday’s slate appears to be loaded with temptations, but Day To Day clouds almost every scenario.
Detroit getting 10.5 at Boston attracts, but far more so if Nenad Kristic doesn’t play. Of course, he’s Day To Day, making the sussing out of a contest between a weary contender and a poor road team next to impossible.
And then there’s New Jersey at home getting 10.5 against Miami. Which sounds great now that Deron Williams is back, except rebounder extraordinaire Kris Humphries is Day To Day. If he doesn’t play, New Jersey will start Johan Petro out of position at power forward, and suddenly all those points don’t look so good.
Which leaves me with two wagers on a Sunday afternoon:
- $220 to win $200 on Sacramento at home giving 6 to Utah
- $440 to win $400 on Houston at home giving 6 to Atlanta
The Kings may be 21-54, but they’re healthy for the first time this season, they sport a huge front line that should match imploding Utah’s lone remaining strength (rhymes with both “Millsap” and “Jefferson”), and no one on the Jazz can guard Sacramento’s recent backcourt revelation, Marcus Thornton. Not to mention the fact that half the Utah roster is Day To Day. I think the Kings are primed to win handily in front of what may be the last weekend crowd to see an NBA in California’s capital. The fans have never abandoned this team, and I’m hoping the Kings respond with a fond farewell.
Meanwhile, the Rockets are peaking, at home, rested and desperate. Because of the talent in Atlanta’s front line and the streak shooting of Joe Johnson, the Hawks are always scary on paper. Largely though, this is a bet on guts versus lack versus lack of motivation, and the prowess of Rick Adelman over the struggles of Larry Drew. The Hawks are destined to finish fifth in the East, while every minute matters for Houston from here on out.
Should I lose these two, both my doubling campaigns end, and I think my NBA wagering for this season is done. Should the Rockets pick go my way, I’ll be one bet short of 5 in a row and the goal of a 32-fold payoff on a small stake. The Sacto wager could bring my lesser doubling campaign to three in a row.
Admittedly, they’re both riskier picks than I’ve made in recent days, and both are for higher stakes. I don’t know, of course. But I believe.
Go Rockets. Go Kings.