Discretion is the Better Part of Cash

I begin with a hypothetical stake of $500, and tonight’s slate of NBA games, the first after the league’s All Star weekend, features three candidates for bets: 

  • Boston giving 6 on the road against Golden State,
  • Oklahoma City giving 8.5 at home against the Los Angeles Clippers, and
  • Miami hosting Sacramento and giving 13,

or so it says here at a quarter to one in Berkeley on a brisk, sunny afternoon.

On most days, I would have focused on this trio until I felt I could select one to bet. Not this time. I’m waiting for tomorrow’s games.

Why? Because, for the first time since opening night of the NBA’s 2010-11 season, all the teams are equally rested. Not good if you’re hunting for odds-obliterating blowouts, as I am. The ideal is a good team with a day’s rest at home and healthy, hosting a bad, battered squad that despises its coach and is still reeling from a clobbering the night before. No team is tired tonight, no beatdown clouds anyone’s recent memory, and five days off is enough for all kinds of game-warping developments to emerge. Sudden health. Proper sleep. Carmelo.

So it’s no use pondering Boston’s size advantage and defensive acumen increasing the likelihood of a spread-covering win over thrilling but erratic Golden State, nor fretting over Dwyane Wade’s ankle versus the enduring disarray of Sacramento’s personnel, nor closing one’s eyes and imagining a spry, deep, collegial Oklahoma City squad trampling the Clips, whose lone star far outshines the capabilities of his team.

No, all bets are off until tomorrow night, when Sacto slouches towards Orlando for a second away game in two nights against a rested, superior squad.  And Washington, Earth’s Worst Road Show, careens into Philly. And imploding Utah visits explosive Dallas. And Chicago looks for more in horrid Toronto. I’ll be waiting on the odds and counting the hours.