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Betting News and Notes - Jan 2

Betting News and Notes - Jan 2

Wizards waive Wilks; Antonio Daniels to return to lineup

WASHINGTON -- With Antonio Daniels set to return to their starting lineup, the Washington Wizards waived guard Mike Wilks on Monday.

Wilks played in four games and averaged 1.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 11 minutes. Washington was his eighth NBA club since he started with the Atlanta Hawks during the 2002-03 season.

The Wizards signed Wilks after Daniels sprained his right knee in a game Dec. 13. Daniels is ready to start in Washington's next game, at home against Detroit on Wednesday night.

The Pistons are 2-5 against the spread in the last 7 meetings with Washington.

''It is going to mean a lot to us,'' Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said after practice Monday. ''He directs us, and he is our quarterback on the court.''

Daniels became a starter when All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas was sidelined after having left knee surgery Nov. 21.

The Wizards (15-14) have gone 9-5 this season with Daniels in the starting lineup.

''I did more drills today in practice. I did a lot of 5-on-5, which I haven't had the opportunity to do recently,'' Daniels said. ''My knee felt good today. At different times I feel it. I don't know if it is mental or physical, but I just have to get through it.''

While he was out, Roger Mason Jr. and rookie Nick Young both filled in as a starter, and Washington went 3-4.

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NBA Today - Wednesday, January 2


Detroit at Washington (7 p.m. EST). The Pistons have won nine straight.


Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom was suspended for one game without pay Tuesday for committing a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter of his team's 110-91 loss to Boston on Sunday night. Odom threw himself into Ray Allen and knocked the Boston guard to the floor with 2:56 remaining and the outcome already decided.


Phoenix has played 19 of its first 31 games on the road, including Sunday's 117-102 victory at Sacramento, but will begin a stretch of five of six at US Airways Center Thursday night against Seattle. The Suns lead the Pacific Division with a 22-9 record, including a 9-3 mark at home.


''I've never had any bad history with Lamar. After the play happened, a couple of his teammates came back on the floor and just wanted to make sure I was all right. ... It was just uncalled for.'' - Boston's Ray Allen on the one-game suspension given to Lakers forward Lamar Odom on Tuesday. Odom was assessed a flagrant foul, penalty two, after throwing himself into Allen late in Sunday night's game.

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Wednesday's NBA matchup notes

Detroit at Washington

Antawn Jamison averaged 21.7 points and 8.0 boards in three full games against the Pistons last season, but played only five minutes in his last game against them, leaving with a knee injury midway through the first quarter of Washington's 104-99 victory on Jan. 30.

That win earned the Wizards a split of these teams' four-game seasons series in 2006-07.

Chicago at Charlotte

The Bulls now will try for their fourth straight win over Charlotte (11-18) and third this season. The Bulls won 91-82 in Charlotte on Dec. 5 in the last meeting behind a season-high 30 points from Luol Deng.

New Jersey at Orlando

Orlando, the league-leader with 15 road victories, is just 7-6 at Amway Arena, but has won its last two contests there by an average of 11.5 points.

Atlanta at Cleveland

Cleveland has won 12 of its last 14 over Atlanta, but the Hawks are in the midst of an impressive turnaround.

Memphis at Indiana

Including a 121-111 victory in Memphis on Nov. 3, Indiana has won six of its last seven meetings with the Grizzlies to take a 20-4 advantage in the all-time series.

Houston at Boston

Houston has won four of its last five at Boston, including a 111-80 win last March, but the Rockets are just 8-10 on the road.

Sacramento at New York

The injury-riddled Kings look to sweep their season series with the Knicks. Sacramento beat New York 123-118 in double-overtime on Nov. 16.

Milwaukee at Miami

The Heat have won 10 of their last 12 games over the Bucks - including two of three last season - and won those two games by a combined 49 points.

Portland at Minnesota

The Blazers' winning streak, which included a 109-98 victory over Minnesota (4-26) on Friday night, has put them in contention in the Western Conference after starting 5-12.

Golden State at Dallas

The Warriors head to Dallas for the first time since they stunned the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Dallas won 120-115 at Golden State on Nov. 8. That defeat ended Golden State's five-game regular season win streak over Dallas.

Philadelphia at Utah

The Jazz have also won four of five overall against the 76ers, including a 106-95 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 28. Jazz point guard Deron Williams had 15 points and 15 assists in that game, and has averaged 15.0 assists in his last three against the Sixers.

New Orleans at L.A. Clippers

The Hornets got 24 points from their bench versus the Clippers, but their reserves combined for just six points on 3-of-19 shooting on Dec. 24. The Hornets won the game 98-89 in New Orleans.

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Wednesday's NCAAB Top 25 matchup notes

Texas Christian at No. 14 Texas

The Longhorns are meeting TCU (8-3) for the first time since 1995-96 - the final season of the Southwest Conference. Texas has won the last nine home meetings with TCU and seven of the last eight overall.

Akron at No. 23 Dayton

Dayton has won eight straight against Akron - all at home - including a 77-66 victory on Dec. 23, 2004 in the last meeting.

Lafayette at No. 13 Pittsburgh

Pitt hopes to regroup as it faces Lafayette (8-4) for the first time since beating the Leopards 67-66 at home on Dec. 22, 1997. The Panthers lead 15-6 in the all-time series.

No. 24 Wisconsin at Michigan

The Wisconsin Badgers have won five of their last seven against the Wolverines - including a 71-58 home victory in their lone meeting last season - but are just 1-2 on the road in that stretch.

Fairleigh Dickinson at No. 22 Rhode Island

Rhode Island has won all three meetings with Fairleigh Dickinson, including a 115-66 win on Nov. 30, 1996 in the last matchup.

Kent State at No. 1 North Carolina

The Tar Heels, who are playing their fifth straight at the Dean Smith Center, have won 20 straight non-conference home games. They have won both of their previous matchups against Kent State (10-2), but have not faced the Golden Flashes since 1978.

Alabama A&M at No. 18 Mississippi

Dwayne Curtis, a senior who averages a team-leading 15.6 points, matched a career-high with 25 points and posted 13 rebounds in the Rebels' 81-57 win over Alabama A&M on Dec. 22, 2006 in the teams' most recent meeting.

No. 12 Indiana at Iowa

This will be the Iowa Hawkeyes' first game against a ranked opponent this season after losing all four of their games against Top 25 teams in 2006-07.

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No. 13 Pitt without two key starters as Big East play approaches

PITTSBURGH -- Levance Fields arguably is the one player No. 13 Pittsburgh could least afford to lose.

Sam Young is developing into the Panthers' most reliable scorer and 6-foot-7 DeJuan Blair is developing into the most polished freshman post player they've had in years. But until Fields broke his left foot during an 80-55 loss Saturday at No. 29 Dayton, everything Pitt did revolved around its junior point guard.

Fields isn't an exceptional scorer or a skilled 3-point shooter, yet often was the player who took the key shots late in a game. His 3-pointer to beat then-No. 6 Duke 65-64 on Dec. 20 is one of Pitt's biggest clutch shots since it joined the Big East 25 years ago.

Now, Pitt may play the rest of the regular season without Fields and small forward Mike Cook, who tore up a knee against Duke in what will be his final college game. Losing either player would have been difficult for Pitt, but losing both could be devastating.

In only 10 days, Pitt has gone from being a Top 10 team with Big East championship-type talent - it jumped to No. 6 after beating Duke - to likely being a middle-of-the-pack team that isn't a lock for the NCAA tournament.

The Panthers may not learn Wednesday night against Lafayette (8-4) how much they miss Fields, who leads the team in assists (5.4), is second in scoring (11.9) and has nearly three times as many assists (65) as he does turnovers (23).

But as they regroup from the school's worst loss since a 76-50 defeat to Tennessee in 1999, the Panthers may get a much better idea of how their conference season will go when they open Big East play Sunday at No. 17 Villanova.

''We've got confidence in the guys we're putting out there,'' coach Jamie Dixon said.

Only the Panthers don't have nearly as many players as they originally projected.

They were down two players even before Cook and Fields were hurt. Reserve forward Austin Wallace injured a knee Dec. 7 and was lost for the season and freshman swingman Darnell Dodson transferred to Miami Dade College when the NCAA didn't clear him academically.

Pitt is down to nine scholarship players and three scholarship guards, with only freshman Brad Wanamaker (3.1 points per game) and walk-on Tim Frye to back up starting guards Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin.

Wanamaker didn't score in 15 minutes against Dayton. Gilbert Brown, a redshirt freshman who is starting earlier in his career than projected because of Cook's injury, had only three points on 1-for-8 shooting in 26 minutes.

''I have a lot of confidence in Gilbert and Bradley,'' Dixon said. ''I know they are going to play better than they did (against Dayton). They are going to bring different things to the table. They can bring some rebounding. ... We'll get good stuff out of them as it goes. We're going to be fine there.''

Between them, Fields and Cook (10.4) were combining for nearly one-third of Pitt's offense. More of the offensive burden shifts now to Young (17.5 points) and Blair (11.8 points), and Benjamin (6.0 points) also needs to score more.

Fields hopes to return this season but, even if he misses only the minimum eight weeks Pitt is projecting, he wouldn't return until late in the Big East season. If it's the maximum 12 weeks, he couldn't return until the NCAA tournament was under way.

The schedule won't help, either; four of the Panthers' first six Big East games are on the road. They play at No. 17 Villanova, South Florida, Cincinnati and St. John's around home games against Seton Hall and No. 7 Georgetown.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 2

South Carolina's Raley-Ross could miss two weeks with knee injury

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross sprained his left knee while practicing this weekend and could miss up to two weeks.

Raley-Ross was shooting Saturday at the Gamecocks practice facility with another player on a day off for the team when he went to slam dunk the ball and landed awkwardly, coach Dave Odom said.

An MRI exam showed no tear in the sophomore's knee.

Raley-Ross leads the nation in 3-point shooting at 65.2 percent (30-of-46), and is tied for third for the Gamecocks in scoring at 10.6 points a game. He has started nine of 12 games.

South Carolina plays Radford on Wednesday and North Carolina-Asheville on Saturday before opening Southeastern Conference play at No. 15 Vanderbilt on Jan. 9.

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Texas freshman's heart OK; he'll start against TCU

AUSTIN, Texas -- Gary Johnson worried his heart might keep him off the basketball court forever. Still, something told him he would one day be pulling down rebounds again.

For six months and 13 games, the Texas Longhorns' top recruit has been on the bench with an unspecified cardiac condition while doctors considered whether he should play.

Word finally came last weekend he's good to go. Johnson will suit up and start for the first time Wednesday when No. 14 Texas (11-2) plays TCU (8-4).

''I feel it's a gift being able to play again,'' Johnson said Monday as he talked with reporters for the first time. ''Right now I'm taking it as that, trying to take every minute as a gift on the court.''

Johnson's health has been a seasonlong subplot for the Longhorns, who started 11-0 before losing their last two games, to Michigan State and Wisconsin. Texas is counting on his muscle for rebounds and points near the basket.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward did not know of any heart problems in high school. They were detected last summer at Texas' standard physical for new players.

Even though he's now cleared to play, the school and Johnson won't say exactly what they found. It was initially considered serious enough that Johnson worried it might force him off the court forever.

''I was told that once - there was a possibility I might never play again,'' he said. ''That was hard to take.''

Johnson said his family told him basketball wasn't worth risking his life.

''Even my family told me I don't really need that if it's a death situation,'' he said. ''But I've always told them this is what I do, and I don't feel like I was brought this far just to turn back around. I've always kept faith.''

Johnson was put under the watchful eye of Dr. James Willerson, president-elect of the Texas Heart Institute and president of the UT Health Science Center in Houston. It was Willerson who gave him hope he might play again.

''I went through a lot of testing and things like that. For a while I wasn't able to practice or anything. I had to sit back awhile and let everything unfold,'' Johnson said.

He was cleared to practice in early September and wore a monitor every day that tracked his heart rate and how it quickly it recovered from stress. Athletic director DeLoss Dodds and university president William Powers Jr. were kept apprised of his progress.

It took a long time for doctors to gather the information they needed. Johnson said he cried several times out of frustration and the fear of not knowing what doctors would decide. He was allowed to participate in a preseason exhibition but not the regular season.

Coach Rick Barnes said he put Johnson through the regular paces in practice. Barnes is a demanding coach who stresses the Longhorns must be in top condition if they expect to play.

''He's done everything we've asked him to. He's practiced hard,'' Barnes said. ''He's had the best medical care in the world.''

Johnson was relieved when finally told he could play.

''I kind of smiled,'' he said.

Johnson will wear the heart monitor in practice and games. The team began using the monitors as standard practice about two years ago and several players will wear them on a given day, Barnes said.

Johnson said he's ready to take the pounding and intensity of a real game.

''I've made it through all the practice,'' he said. ''If you make it through one of coaches' practices, you can make it through anything.''

The Longhorns are counting on their muscular forward. In their two losses, the Longhorns were beaten up under the basket, especially in the final minutes. Johnson is ready to bang the boards.

''I feel like I have everything to live for and shouldn't be scared of anything,'' he said. ''I feel like I was faced with death at one point, nothing gets worse than that.''

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 2

Houston (15-16, 13-17-1 ATS) at Boston (26-3, 19-8-2 ATS)

Fresh off a highly successful West Coast road trip, the red-hot Celtics return home to battle the Rockets.

Boston hit the road for an extended period for the first time all season last week and escaped unscathed, winning all four games (3-1 ATS), including Sunday’s 110-91 rout of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as a three-point road underdog. Doc Rivers’ squad has won six in a row SU and is 9-3 ATS in its last 12.

The Rockets are coming off Monday’s 112-95 home loss to the Warriors as a 3½-point favorite. Houston had been on runs of 3-1 SU and 4-1 ATS prior to Monday’s setback.

The Rockets have won nine of the last 13 meetings SU and ATS, including five of six in Boston, with the winner covering the spread in all 13 contests. The visitor is on a 7-2 SU and ATS roll in this series.

The Celtics are 14-1 at home this year, remarkably cashing in 11 of those contests as they’ve outscored their visitors by an average of 19 points per game (101-82). The only blemish was a last-second 87-85 loss to Detroit as a six-point chalk.

Houston is 8-10 SU and ATS on the highway, including 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in the last six. However, the Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last eight against Atlantic Division teams.

Boston is on a 37-18-1 ATS tear overall and is a stunning 24-4 ATS after scoring 100 points in its previous game.

The under is 5-2 in the last seven series meetings, and the under is 9-3-1 in the Celtics’ last 13 home games. However, Boston is on a 5-1 “over” streak overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE:               NONE

Golden State (19-13, 16-16 ATS) at Dallas (20-11, 13-17-1 ATS)

The streaking Warriors hook up with the Mavericks for the second time this season, returning to Dallas for the first time since last spring’s stunning first-round series playoff upset.

Golden State will be looking to cap a perfect three-game road trip tonight, having already taken the first two at Denver on Sunday (105-95 as a 3½-point underdog) and at Houston on Monday (112-95 as a 3½-point pup). Since opening the season with six straight losses (1-5 ATS), the Warriors are 19-7 SU and 10-6 ATS.

Dallas halted a modest two-game slide with Saturday’s 97-84 rout of Atlanta as an 8½-point home chalk. The Mavericks are 8-3 in their last 11, but just 6-4-1 ATS.

The Mavericks, who suffered the biggest upset loss in NBA playoff history to the Warriors last year, exacted a small measure of revenge with a 120-115 win at Golden State on Nov. 8. However, the Warriors cashed as a 7½-point home favorite, improving to 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings, including 5-0 ATS in the last five. They’re also 7-1 ATS in their last eight visits to Dallas.

The Warriors have won three straight road games, all as an underdog, and they’re 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six on the highway and 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight as a pup.

Dallas is 14-3 at home, but a mediocre 8-8-1 ATS. The Mavs are also only 5-10 ATS when favored by less than eight points.

The under is 8-3-1 in Golden State’s last 12 outings overall and 11-4-1 in its last 16 as a visitor. Also, Dallas is on a 9-1 “under” tear, staying low in its last five in a row overall and its last four in a row at home. On the flip side, seven of the last eight Warriors-Mavericks battles in Dallas have flown over the total.



(25) Wisconsin (10-2, 5-4 ATS) at Michigan (4-8, 1-9 ATS)

Wisconsin hits the floor for the first time since Saturday’s stunning upset of Texas when it tips off Big Ten play at lowly Michigan, which plays its first conference game under new coach John Beilein.

The Badgers traveled to Austin, Texas, and shocked the then-No. 9 Longhorns 67-66 on a three-pointer by Michael Flowers with two seconds to play. Wisconsin, which pulled off the upset as a 7½-point road underdog, enters league play on a four-game winning streak (2-2 ATS) that has vaulted the school back into the Top 25.

Michigan has been idle since a 69-54 home loss to UCLA on Dec. 22, its sixth loss in the last seven games. The Wolverines failed to cash as a 13-point underdog, dropping to 0-9 ATS since covering in their first lined outing of the season way back on Nov. 11.

The home team has dominated this rivalry, winning nine of the last 10 meetings while going 8-2 ATS during this stretch. In last year’s lone clash, Wisconsin rolled 71-58, barely cashing as a 12½-point chalk. The favorite is on an 8-3 ATS roll in this matchup.

Wisconsin, which has won four straight Big Ten openers since a one-point loss at Michigan at 2003, went 13-3 in league play last year (8-7-1 ATS), good for a second-place finish. Meanwhile, the Wolverines were 8-8 in the Big Ten last year (7-8-1 ATS), tying for seventh place.

Michigan is mired in a 6-18-1 ATS slump, including four consecutive non-covers at home.

Wisconsin has won and covered back-to-back road games since getting blown out at Duke (82-58) on Nov. 27.

The last six series meetings between these two have hurdled the posted total.


(11) Indiana (11-1, 5-4 ATS) at Iowa (7-6, 2-7 ATS)

The Hoosiers begin their journey toward their first Big Ten championship in five years when they travel to Iowa in the league opener for both squads.

Indiana carries a seven-game winning streak into its conference opener, most recently pounding Chicago State 97-59 in a non-lined home contest on Saturday. The Hoosiers are off to their best start since starting the 1999-2000 campaign 12-1.

Iowa topped Southeastern Louisiana 57-50 in a non-lined home game on Saturday. Despite the win, the Hawkeyes are just 3-6 in their last nine contests, including 1-7 ATS in lined games.

Indiana placed third in the Big Ten last year with a 10-6 conference record, the team’s first season under coach Kelvin Sampson. However, the Hoosiers went just 1-8 ATS in their final nine league games and were just 2-6 SU and ATS in Big Ten road contests.

The Hawkeyes went 9-7 in league play a year ago (9-5-2 ATS), good for fourth place. Iowa has won 15 of its last 16 Big Ten home games over the past two seasons, going 5-2-1 ATS last year.

These rivals split their season series last year, with the home team prevailing in each contest. However, the Hawkeyes got the cash both times and they’re 7-0 ATS in the last seven meetings, including three straight wins and covers at home.

The underdog and road team are both 10-4 ATS in the last 14 series clashes.

Iowa went 0-4 SU against Top 25 teams last year, and this is its first game against a ranked foe this year.

The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings in this rivalry, including 4-0 in the last four.


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McGrady says knee injury needs additional time to heal

Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets were hopeful the team's leading scorer was "day to day" as first thought. It looks, though, as if he needs considerable time out of the lineup to recover from a sore left knee.

McGrady told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday that it's more likely he will need as many as three weeks to recuperate because of a "deep bone bruise." He's missed Houston's last two games, will sit out Monday night against Golden State and doesn't expect to suit up for games against Boston on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday.

"I'm the same," McGrady told the Chronicle. "They told me three weeks. I don't have a timetable. I can't do anything about it. It's not tendinitis. It's a deep bone bruise. I'm just doing therapy every day. I lost the strength in my leg. I'll see how I feel toward the end of the week, but Boston, doubtful, Orlando, doubtful."

As far as timetables go, if McGrady misses the following two weeks, the Rockets are looking at seven more games without him.

"He's making good progress," trainer Keith Jones said, according to the Chronicle. "He's got the pain out. He's gotten stronger. We'll just take it day to day after tomorrow."

An MRI exam performed one week ago revealed swollen tendons in McGrady's knee, but no structural damage.

McGrady is averaging 22.8 points per game and also leads the Rockets with 5.1 assists per game.

Also, the Rockets announced that guard Steve Francis will be out indefinitely with bi-lateral quadricep tendinitis and guard Kirk Snyder was given an excused absence from Monday's game for personal reasons.

Francis has played in only 10 games with the Rockets this season and is averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 2


Tonight's NBA Pick's look at odds and selection:
Orlando Magic -6 -260 -(The Magic topped the Bulls with a buzzer-beater in a 112-110 win in overtime on Monday. The Magic failed to cover the 3-point spread, but the combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 196.5.)
Washington Wizards +6½ +180-(Washington had five players reach double-digit scoring Saturday night, as they toppled Miami 96-74. Washington covered the 8-point spread, but the 170 combined points fell UNDER the night's posted total of 199.)
Cleveland Cavaliers -5 -220-(Cleveland fell 86-76 to New Orleans last time out, as 5-point road underdogs. The combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 186.)
P.s. Good luck if you betting...

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Cavs send Simmons to D-League
January 2nd, 2008

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - The Cleveland Cavaliers assigned forward Cedric Simmons to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League Wednesday.

Simmons has played in just four games for the Cavaliers this season and has grabbed 11 rebounds in 43 minutes. He was acquired by Cleveland on September 29 of last year from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard David Wesley.

"We are happy to have the ability to put Cedric in game situations like this," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said. "This gives Cedric a great opportunity to finish the last step of his rehab from his ankle sprain."

The Vipers are the D-League Affiliate for the Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets.

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