When Stars Align

Tomorrow’s early lines are out, and I’m jumping in with a wager:

  • $110 to win $100 on the Los Angeles Lakers at home giving 6 to the Dallas Mavericks

Because the Lakers will exert themselves to stave off the Mavs’ attempt to steal home court advantage in the second round of the playoffs.

Because Los Angeles (and more to the point, Kobe) will have three days rest after a walkover against hobbled New Orleans, while aging Dallas plays a second game in two nights.

Because Nowitzki isn’t all the way back, and Bynum destroyed Chandler two weeks ago.

And most of all, because this is the kind of showcase the bored defending champions break a sweat for. I think it’s a 15-point beatdown along the lines of L.A.’s road demolition of a healthy San Antonio a few weeks back.

With a loss, I’ll be down to my last campaign for five consecutive successful wagers. With a win, I’ll have two 2-0 drives still in play.

Go Lakers.

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Let’s Go the Other Way

Two bets tonight:

  • $165 to win $150 on the L.A. Clippers getting 9.5 in Boston Garden
  • $165 to win $150 on Detroit getting 11.5 in San Antonio

If neither pays off, I will have lost all but a few dollars of a mythical $1000 stake in a mere 13 egregiously bad bets.

Tonight, at least, I’m going the other way on my own initial approach. Boston and San Antonio are vastly better teams, and they’re at home. They’re also old, and since they won’t be threatened, I’m wagering they’ll coast in an effort to conserve energy.

If I’m wrong on both counts tonight, well, I’m either misreading patterns, or I’ve just got horrid timing. Here’s hoping I’m learning…

…in the past three weeks, San Antonio beat Miami by 30 after rolling up a shocking 36-12 first quarter on Lebron and Company, just a few days removed from dawdling their way past abysmal Cleveland and rebuilding New Jersey by only 10 apiece.

And the Celtics eviscerated the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, then barely held them off in the Boston Garden a few days later.

And Charlotte–a team in free fall–lost to Denver by 40, then covered a 12-point spread at the Staples Center against the Lakers, then flew to Portland to get bludgeoned by 24. Meanwhile, those same Lakers yawned through an 8-point win against Charlotte at home, then hit the road against a Spurs squad on a 22-game win streak in their own building, opened with a 34-13 run, and demolished San Antonio as a 3-point underdog.

So it looks to me like the top teams are so much better than the worst teams that they barely bother to show. And I’ve been waiting a few days for spreads this large to take advantage.

Let’s see if I do.

Never thought I’d say this, but go Pistons and Clips.

Glamorama

Three bets tonight, all on NBA showcase teams:

  • $100 to win $115 on Miami knocking off the Spurs in San Antonio
  • $105 to win $100 on Boston giving 9.5 at home against Golden State
  • $105 to win $100 on the L.A. Lakers giving 12 at home against Charlotte

Because the Spurs are without their point guard and Miami needs a win, a road-weary Golden State can’t match the Celts’ front line, and Charlotte isn’t Charlotte anymore, not without Gerald Wallace, not against a coalescing ┬áLaker squad it embarrassed three weeks ago.

Temptations passed include New York giving 12 at home against Cleveland (it may be a rout, but the spread is high without Billups), Dallas giving 8.5 at home against Indianapolis (it ought to be a blowout, but the Mavs have a penchant for letting bad teams hang around), and Minnesota getting 9 in Philadelphia (very, very tempting, but Philly defends well, and it’s a Friday night showcase for a rising team).

Had this been the NFL, I would have winnowed down to one choice I felt I was almost certain to win, and then bet more aggressively. That’s not possible at the moment in the NBA, not for me. I’m still learning/thrashing about. There are eight possible outcomes across three bets: a 12.5% chance I win $315, a matching chance I lose $310, and a 75% chance I finish the night up or down $100, give or take a few dollars. I’m expecting what the odds suggest: a 2-1 or 1-2 night. Not so thrilling, but until I find a way into NBA wagering, it will have to do.

I’m still looking at the schedules of the poorer teams in the league (Washington and Cleveland, the nouveau sinking ships in Charlotte and Utah, volatile-but-bad Minnesota and Toronto, and the Sacramento’s fathomless mess. No new wagering theories yet, but hints of patterns. We’ll see.