Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

Re: Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

Hate, payback make Crosstown Shootout worth betting
Covers.com

Taking advantage of college rivalries is one of betting’s most lucrative strategies.

Gamblers can expect a little something extra from teams when they clash with hated foes. Whether the battle is in-state like Duke versus UNC, or in-town like this Wednesday’s Crosstown Shootout between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Xavier Musketeers, both books and bettors have to approach rivalry games a little differently.

Michael Pierce, a linesmaker for Belmont.com, says that in a rivalry both teams come very prepared so it is hard to give an edge to one team or the other.

“The overall effect is minimal, because both teams should be ready for any intrastate opponent,” says Pierce. “One aspect you have to look at is what players are still around from last year’s game.”

Last season, the Bearcats shocked sportsbooks with a 67-57 victory over the Musketeers as 4 ½-point home underdogs. Cincinnati returns six players from that game, with four in the starting lineup. Sophomore Deonta Vaughn scored 24 points and senior John Williamson added 18 in last season’s win.

The Bearcats have stumbled out of the blocks in 2007. Cincinnati is 4-4 straight up with a 1-5 record against the spread. Unlike last year, the Bearcats won’t have a sold-out Fifth Third Arena backing them.

This classic rivalry swings to the Cintas Center, where the Xavier student body has been camping out all week for tickets.

"It will be the direct opposite so it's a big challenge for a young team," UC head coach Mick Cronin told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "One thing we have this year is we have some guys who played in it last year. The problem is we have nobody on our team that's ever played at the Cintas Center and I don't know if we have anybody on our team that's ever been to the Cintas Center."

Facing the Musketeers on their homecourt will be Cincy’s toughest test to date. Xavier is ranked 17th in the country after starting the season 7-1 (4-1-0 ATS) with notable wins over Miami-Ohio, Indiana and Creighton. The Musketeers return six players from last season’s loss. Among those returning is forward Josh Duncan, who scored 14 points in that game.

According to professional handicapper Robert Ferringo of Doc’s Sports, revenge could play a big factor in this Wednesday’s outcome. Last year’s upset gave the Bearcats a 47-27 edge over the Musketeers in 74 previous Crosstown Shootout games.

“I could see Xavier not calling off the dogs if it gets up,” says Ferringo. “Teams that fall behind big at this time of the season don’t play hard in the second half like they do later in the year. I could see Xavier pouring it on early and the Bearcats calling it quits.”

Oddsmakers agree that the Musketeers could have some added motivation heading into Wednesday’s showdown. Not only does last year’s loss serve as fuel, but retaining its spot in the Top 25 could have Xavier even more motivated to beat its rivals.

“If anything, (the spread) should be shaded a bit towards Xavier,” says Pierce. “I expect (the Musketeers) to be more focused than normal for this game.”

Books say the line will reflect this and should open somewhere around 12 points in favor of the home team.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Basketball bettors can watch live on ESPN2.

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Re: Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

Raptors' Ford released from hospital

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Toronto Raptors guard T.J. Ford left an Atlanta-area hospital on Wednesday and returned to Toronto, less than 24 hours after suffering what appeared to be a serious neck injury.

With Toronto holding on to a comfortable 92-84 lead in the waning minutes of regulation, Ford drove in all alone for an easy layup. Hawks forward Al Horford, who was trailing Ford, jumped and wound up to block the ball, but followed through and grabbed the top of Ford's head instead, smacking the top of his face.

Ford fell violently to the floor under the basket, and his head bounced off the hardwood. The 24-year-old, who has a history of neck and spinal injuries, grimaced in pain and cried immediately after landing, but did not move to get up.

As Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell ran to scream at the officials, medical personnel tended to Ford, who lay on the floor for several minutes. Horford was assessed a flagrant 2 foul, which draws an immediate ejection, and left the court.

"I tried to hit the ball, but instead I hit his head. He just made a good move and kind of fooled me," said Horford, who said that he did not intentionally go after Ford's head.

"Oh definitely not; I'm not a dirty player ... I hope that he's alright, that he's able to come back and be back with his team," said Horford.

Ford, who had movement in his extremities, was strapped into a stretcher with his head and neck immobilized, wheeled off the court and taken to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, where he remained overnight for testing and observation.

He has been medically cleared to play in tonight's game at Air Canada Centre against the Dallas Mavericks.

A bruised spinal cord caused Ford to miss the last two months of his rookie season in Milwaukee, and the resulting surgery and rehabilitation kept him out of the entire 2004-05 season.

Ford scored 26 points and had eight assists in Toronto's 100-88 win over Atlanta. Horford, a rookie out of Florida, finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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Re: Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

Wednesday's Tip Sheet
VegasInsider.com

Pro Basketball’s version of “Hump Day” offers up an 11-game slate on tap, including a pair of televised tilts on ESPN. Before we breakdown the national double-header, we’re going to dissect one of the key factors in defining a competitive club in the NBA.

Since we just passed the quarter pole of the season, it’s safe to say that you can slowly start to separate the contenders from pretenders.

One key factor in the separation process that I love to look at is road victories. I’ve always believed that good teams win, yet great teams win on the road. By looking at standings from prior seasons, you can easily predict who was going to be playing in June for a championship.

Last year, only 20 percent (6) of the 30 teams in the NBA boasted a winning road record in the NBA. One of them was San Antonio, who swept Cleveland in four games of the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers didn’t have a winning road mark, but it was close at 20-21. Actually, Detroit (27-14) was the only club in the Eastern Conference to notch a ledger above .500 away from home.

As mentioned above, all of the 30 teams in the league have completed at least 25 percent of their 82 scheduled games, which gives us a pretty good sample size to analyze.

Currently, only one-third or 10 teams have a winning road record in the NBA. That leaves 20 teams in the league that can’t seem to get it done outside of their own arena, which in turn leads to serious fade plays.

Listed below are tonight’s Good, Bad and of course The Ugly clubs to follow on the road.

The Good

Orlando (16-6 straight up, 17-5 against the spread) has dominated teams on the road, posting an 11-2 SU and 12-1 ATS mark this year. The two losses are nothing to be ashamed of, especially for a young club. The defeats came against Phoenix (106-110) and San Antonio (110-128) in late November. The Magic are probably happy to be traveling to Milwaukee (8-12 SU, 8-11 ATS) on Wednesday considering the team has dropped back-to-back home games to inferior teams in Indiana and Atlanta. The Bucks are no slouch at home, going 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS this year. Orlando did rout Milwaukee 102-83 on opening night in front of its home fans.

Another club that has performed better on the road (8-2) than at home (6-5) this year is New Orleans (14-7 SU, 11-10 ATS). The Hornets have been outclassing teams with their stout defense on the road, clamping opponents to 91 points per game. That’s six points (97) less than they allow in the Big Easy. Similar to the Magic, New Orleans gets a tough test tonight with a road trip to Denver (13-8 SU, 10-11 ATS). The Nuggets have lit up the scoreboard at Pepsi Center for 110 PPG this year en route to a 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS record. The Hornets should be confident entering Colorado, with two wins in their last three visits. And that includes this year’s 93-88 win on Nov. 4 as a 5 ½-point underdog.

With the Good, comes The Bad

Chicago went 18-23 on the road last year, compared to a 30-11 record at United Center. This season, the Bulls (7-12 SU, 7-12 ATS) have come out slow and own an inconsistent 3-7 ledger both SU and ATS outside of the Windy City. That number was 1-6 before back-to-back road wins against Charlotte (91-82) and Detroit (98-91) last week. Can they win three in a row? It will have to come against fellow Central Division foe Indiana (10-11 SU, 10-11 ATS). The Bulls took three of four against the Pacers last season. One thing gamblers should know about Chicago this year is that when they win, they cover. And when they lose, they lose big. The opening line has Scott Skiles’ team catching points, so a money-line play should be in order if you fancy Chicago.

The L.A. Clippers (8-12 SU, 7-13 ATS) could fit in this mix, since they’re 4-5 both SU and ATS away from Staples Center. Similar to Chicago, the Clips have captured two in a row on the road including a 91-82 victory against New Jersey last night. Extending the winning streak to three doesn’t seem impossible against a Charlotte (7-12 SU, 7-12 ATS) team that has been up and down all year. Keep in mind that the Bobcats have been more up at home, notching a 6-5 record both SU and ATS. L.A. has won four in a row against Charlotte, including two straight on the road by exactly nine points each time.

Unless you’re playing the “Due Factor” (which is good way to lose you’re a$$), you’re probably better off passing on The Ugly clubs.

Minnesota (3-16 SU, 8-11 ATS) owns just one win (1-8 SU, 5-4 ATS) on the road, but its only been defeated by an average of eight PPG in the losses. The Wolves face a confident Philly (8-13 SU, 10-9 ATS) team that has won three in a row albeit two came against the woeful Knicks.

Sacramento (8-12 SU, 11-9 ATS) is still searching for its first road win of the season, remaining the only team in the NBA not to do so. The Kings (0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS) have been blasted away from ARCO Arena by an average of 13 PPG (108-95). The Boston Massacre happened many, many years ago but there is a reason why the Celtics (17-2 SU, 13-5 ATS) are laying 15 1/2-points at home on Wednesday. Especially when you’ve outscored foes 102-81 en route to a 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS record at home.

Seattle (5-17 SU, 10-12 ATS) watched its road record submerge to 2-9 SU and 4-7 ATS on Tuesday after getting destroyed by Chicago 123-96 as 8 ½-point underdogs. The Sonics are catching points (4.5) on Wednesday against New York (6-14 SU, 8-12 ATS). The Knicks have been bad on the road and at home too but the line says something here. N.Y. has won and covered three of four against the Sonics, including an 18-point victory at Madison Square Garden last season. The ‘over’ has gone 4-0 during this stretch.

TV Tilts - ESPN

Detroit (15-6 SU, 12-9 ATS) meets Houston (11-11 SU, 9-13 ATS) at Toyota Center after dropping Memphis 113-103 as a six-point road favorite on Tuesday. The Pistons will be playing their second game in two nights and third in the last four days. The Rockets could be without Tracy McGrady (ankle), who left early in Monday’s 100-88 loss to Philadelphia. The Pistons have won three of the last four against the Rockets.

Cold meets colder in the late-night battle, as Utah (13-9 SU, 10-11 ATS) and Phoenix (16-6 SU, 10-12 ATS) square off in the desert. The Jazz have suffered four consecutive losses and the Suns are losers of their last two. Utah has given up 106 PPG on the road this year, which has resulted in a mediocre 5-7 SU and 4-8 ATS record. The ‘over’ has gone 9-3. Phoenix has only played nine home games (6-3 SU, 4-5 ATS) but it hasn’t looked sharp, evidenced by a 117-113 setback to Miami on Monday. From a head-to-head standpoint, the Jazz have won and covered four of the previous six meetings against the Suns.

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Re: Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

New Jersey Nets waive guard Eddie Gill
December 12, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The New Jersey Nets waived guard Eddie Gill on Wednesday.

The sixth-year pro from Weber State signed with the Nets in November and appeared in 13 games, averaging 2.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

His spot on the roster will be filled by backup point guard Marcus Williams, who is expected at practice for the first time this season after being sidelined with a foot injury.

Gill appeared in eight games for New Jersey in 2000-2001 and also played for Memphis, Portland and Indiana.

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Re: Betting News and Notes -Dec 12th

Penny Hardaway waived by Heat, making room for Luke Jackson
December 12, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -Penny Hardaway's comeback attempt with the Miami Heat is over.

The 36-year-old forward was waived Wednesday, a move that cleared the roster spot Miami needed to sign another former first-round draft pick - guard Luke Jackson.

Hardaway signed a non-guaranteed contract with Miami this summer after recovering from an array of injuries that kept him off the court for nearly three full seasons. He started eight times this season for the Heat, but averaged only 3.8 points on 37 percent shooting, and didn't play in any of Miami's past four games.

Hardaway has a 15.2 point-per-game average in 704 career regular-season games. He was told of Miami's decision Wednesday morning before practice. He could be claimed off waivers by another team within a 48-hour window, although it's unclear if any other clubs will have interest.

Hardaway showed flashes of production with Miami: His 6-for-6, 16-point night in New Jersey on Nov. 17 keyed a 91-87 Heat victory.

In the four weeks that have followed, he managed a total of 19 points.

The once-electric guard was a fast-rising star when he entered the NBA for the 1993-94 season. One year later, he and Shaquille O'Neal brought an Eastern Conference championship to Orlando.

But knee problems kept Hardaway to 59 games in 1996-97, then surgery limited him to 19 games the following year. In the years that followed, he's battled plantar fasciitis, more knee surgery, thumb surgery and even more knee surgery.

He worked through all that and earned a shot with Miami. But when the Heat decided it wanted Jackson - who essentially plays the same position - it deemed Hardaway expendable.

So now, Miami will see what kind of offensive boost the 26-year-old Jackson can provide.

Jackson was the 10th overall pick by Cleveland in the 2004 draft, then played only 10 games that year for the Cavaliers. The former Oregon star also has played with the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors, plus done stints in the NBDL.

Jackson signed with the Idaho Stampeders last week, scored 30 points in his first game with that club, then left the team for his workout with the Heat.

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