Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

Thursday Night Hoops
By Josh Jacobs

As my colleague Chris David explained on Tuesday, the underdog has been barking up trees loaded with cold hard cash.

Rewinding the clock back to last Saturday, the puppies are a bewildering 20-8 against the spread (not taking into account the results of Wednesday’s action). To go a step further, 11 of these ‘dogs have taken games in straight out fashion. We’re talking big time victories like Sacramento over Dallas, Philadelphia downing Houston and the L.A. Clippers out pointing Phoenix just to name a few.

Can this trend continue to earn major dollars on Thursday night? It’s worth taking a look at, especially with two televised TNT games on tap. A third showdown between Western Conference rivals, Denver and Utah will be the odd man out of national exposure.

**Cleveland at San Antonio**

Buckling down in January, the Cavaliers have slammed teams for a 6-1 SU record and a not so impressive 3-4 ATS stint. But for Cleveland wins are wins and come Thursday at 8:00 p.m. EST, a tussle with the defending champ, San Antonio, should provide a tough challenge.
The Spurs will be protecting the AT&T Center with a tight 19-3 SU and 12-9-1 ATS ledger. When coming off back-to-back wins this season (as this team is doing after downing Minnesota and Philadelphia by a combined score of 194-170), the Spurs have gone 4-2 SU and 4-2 ATS in the next contest.

Stroking the rock for a season high 51 points last night, Cleveland’s LeBron James is on the verge of hitting 30 PPG on the season. The Cavaliers have been very fortunate during 2007-08, racking up a 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS record when James hits 40 or more points.

The biggest disappointment stems from the rock bottom production coming from Cleveland shooting guard Larry Hughes. Not since his rookie year in 1998-99 (9.1 PPG) has Hughes struggled this hard for 9.4 PPG. Of course missing 14 games (bruised left leg) can derail any professional player.

At home, the Spurs have been golden in scoring at least 185 total points (combined with their opponent), hitting a 64% success rate. Working for 190 total points has been a fair 50% occurrence.

The Cavs enter Thursday’s war on the wood with a 4-10 ATS performance in their last 14 following an ATS win, while San Antonio is 43-20-2 ATS in its last 65 games playing on two days rest.

**Phoenix at L.A. Lakers**

With the road team nailing down a 7-3 ATS record in the last 10 head-to-head meetings, Phoenix will be looking to bounce back after a horrid night against the Clippers (losing 97-90).

The Suns have dropped two of their last three games (both loses coming on the road) and are shooting 3.4% lower from the field during these defeats (48.8% in wins versus 45.4% in loses).

In Phoenix’s last trip to L.A. versus the Lakers in December, inadequacy on defense was once again the downfall. Getting outscored 122-115, the Lake Show covered its plus-2 ½ points with ease. In their last three meetings together (including the contest aforementioned) the Lake Show has gone 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS.

On the road this season, the Suns have struggled to wrap up money on the spread, going 3-7 ATS versus teams with a record below .500. However, that trend shifts versus teams with a winning resume. Again, playing away from home, Phoenix is 5-3 ATS against opponents above .500.

The biggest factor playing against L.A.’s favor is the crushing loss to Andrew Bynum on Sunday night. Diagnosed with a dislocated knee cap (will miss up to eight weeks), Bynum’s 13.1 PPG with 10.2 RPG is sure to affect the post presence and the tactic of boxing out.

Scoring 48 points in a close win over Seattle (123-121), the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was a machine gun from the field. Out of 44 shots, Bryant tossed the ball for the hoop 21 times (48% from the field). You might want to look for L.A. to possibly slow the pace down with Bryant’s full fledged effort coupled with Bynum’s absence.

Free Throw

At 9:00 p.m. EST, Utah will make a trip to the Rocky Mountains when it tips-off against the Nuggets.

Currently on a four-game tear, the Jazz have bullied teams to 94.3 PPG allowed, while they have posted a terrorizing 109 PPG. Utah has went on to cover three of those four victories, while the ‘under’ has gone 4-1 in the last five.

Coming off back-to-back loses, Denver has been less then average with a 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS record. Falling to Charlotte and Atlanta by the combined score of 223-209, the Nuggets failed to cover the Bobcats game as 4 ½-point favorites, and the Hawks contest as three-point ‘dogs.

Playing at home versus teams over .500, Denver is 6-5 ATS.

In their last five games together, both teams have been scoring machines.

Utah has registered an average of 105 PPG and the Nuggets have lit the scoreboard for 109.2 PPG. The biggest disparity which should affect the outcome of this contest is on defense. The Jazz have pinned down teams to 96 PPG allowed, while the Nuggets have left the paint and perimeter with gapping holes. Opponents have slugged Denver for 111.8 PPG in the last five.

The ‘over’ has gone 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head games and the favorite is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 meetings.

In April of 2007 (the last time these two teams settled their differences on the court), the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson combined to throw the Spalding down for 54 points in a 115-106 win on the road. Denver was a 10-point underdog, while the total was surpassed at 209 ½.

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Marbury says surgery is needed on ankle
January 16, 2008

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Stephon Marbury was set for an MRI that could determine if he'll need surgery on his left ankle.

It seemed like a waste of time to Marbury.

The Knicks point guard sounded convinced the procedure would be necessary, even as the team held out hope that may not be the case.

"I'm going to hear from them what I already know, what we've seen," Marbury said Wednesday before the Knicks' game against the New Jersey Nets. "I have a bone spur with a fracture in it. X-Ray shows that. I'm going to get an MRI, it's going to show the same thing. It's not going to show anything different."

Marbury had an X-ray last Friday after scoring 13 points in 38 minutes of a loss to Toronto. He sat out practice Saturday and a victory Sunday over Detroit, then Monday visited specialist Dr. William Hamilton, who found inflammation around a chronically fractured bone spur.

Hamilton recommended Marbury wear a walking boot for three days, then be re-evaluated Thursday with the MRI -- pointless as they may be to Marbury.

Minutes before Marbury spoke in the locker room, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said he had no plans to seek point guard help, adding that, "We don't know if he's out."

Except Marbury, who had the same surgery in the offseason, did seem to know. He seemed frustrated by those who are saying he has some other motivation to sit, besides the injury.

"I have pain when I'm running up and down the court," Marbury said. "I need surgery."

Marbury has missed three straight games and 14 total this season.

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(13) Marquette (13-2, 6-4 ATS) at Louisville (12-4, 6-8 ATS)

The Golden Eagles, off to a solid start in Big East play, look to keep it going when they hit the road to battle Louisville.

Marquette pounded Notre Dame 92-66 on Saturday to move to 3-1 in the Big East, and it easily covered as a 6½-point home favorite to snap an 0-2 ATS slide. The Golden Eagles are 9-1 in their last 10 starts (4-3 ATS in lined games). Marquette averages 80.1 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field, while allowing 61.3 ppg and holding opponents to just 29.8 percent shooting from 3-point range (20th in the nation).

Louisville rolled past Rutgers on Sunday 64-49, cashing as a 12½-point road chalk to move to 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three. The Cardinals (2-1 Big East) are average offensively, putting up 70.9 ppg on 43.7 percent shooting and hitting a paltry 65.9 percent from the line. But they are among the top 20 in field-goal defense (37.4 percent, 11th) and points allowed (58.9 ppg, 20th), and they average 25.0 defensive rebounds per game (22nd).

These schools split last year’s meetings, with the road team pulling off the upset as a three-point underdog in each contest. Marquette won 74-65 on the road in January, and Louisville got revenge with a 61-59 win in February. The underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

The Golden Eagles are 2-7 ATS on the highway dating to last season, 2-6 ATS on the road versus teams with a winning home mark and 1-4 ATS on Thursday. On the positive side, they are 5-2 ATS following a SU win.

The Cardinals are on ATS slides of 2-6 at home and 2-5 ATS following a spread-cover. However, they are on positive ATS runs of 4-1 overall, 6-2 on Thursday and 19-7-1 in the Big East.

For Marquette, the over is 7-2 in its last nine in conference play and 9-3 in its last 12 roadies. For Louisville, conversely, the under is on runs of 6-1 overall, 5-0 at home and 4-1 in the Big East. The under is also 5-2 the last seven head-to-head battles in Louisville.


(16) Vanderbilt (16-1, 8-8 ATS) at (6) Tennessee (14-1, 6-5 ATS)

The Commodores, looking to bounce back from their first loss of the year, travel to Knoxville to take on instate rival Tennessee in an SEC battle involving Top 25 teams.

Vanderbilt fell from the unbeaten ranks in Saturday’s 79-73 overtime loss at Kentucky as a one-point underdog, dropping the Commodores to 2-5 ATS in their last seven starts. Vandy (1-1 SEC) is putting up 86.0 ppg this season (5th in the nation) and leads the nation in 3-point shooting offense (43.9 percent). However, the Commodores also allow 75.6 ppg.

Tennessee thumped South Carolina 80-56 as a 6½-point road chalk Saturday, moving to a torrid 9-0 in its last nine contests (4-3 ATS in lined games). The Volunteers (2-0 SEC) score at an even greater rate than Vandy at 86.7 ppg (3rd nationally), and they hit the offensive glass as well, averaging 13.3 rebounds per game (14th). The Vols yield 68.7 ppg.

Tennessee is 3-1 the last four in this series (2-1-1 ATS), including an 84-57 blowout home victory as a five-point favorite last February. The Vols are 7-2-1 ATS (6-4 SU) in the last 10 meetings, and the underdog is on a 6-2-1 ATS run.

The Commodores dropped to 4-1 SU and ATS in road/neutral site games with the loss at Kentucky, and they’re 5-1 ATS on the highway against teams with a winning home mark. However, they are 2-8-1 ATS against teams with a winning record and 1-7 ATS in Thursday contests.

The Vols are 3-1 ATS at home in lined contests (4-0 SU). They’re also on ATS runs of 4-1 against teams with a winning mark and 23-10 against teams with a winning road record. But they are on a 1-4 ATS skid in Knoxville.

For Vandy, the over is 18-8 in its last 26 overall and 9-3 after a SU loss. For Tennessee, the over is on streaks of 4-0 at home, 4-1 on Thursday and 36-17-1 coming off a victory. However, the under is 4-1 the last five in this series.


Arizona (11-5, 6-7-1 ATS) at Stanford (13-3, 7-9 ATS)

The Wildcats, after a one-game respite from Pac-10 play, jump back in with a road trip to Northern California to take on Stanford.

Arizona bounced Houston 85-71 on Saturday as a one-point road pup, snapping an 0-4 ATS slide (1-3 SU). The Wildcats won their Pac-10 opener against Oregon State 76-63, failing to cover as a 16-point home favorite, but they followed that up with a 10-point home loss to Oregon as a seven-point favorite and a 64-59 overtime loss at archrival Arizona State catching 2½ points.

Arizona is averaging 74.2 ppg and giving up 66.6 ppg. The Wildcats rank in the Top 25 in field-goal percentage (49.2, 17th) and free-throw percentage (74.6, 25th).

Stanford also came up short to Oregon 71-66 Sunday as a two-point road ‘dog, its fifth ATS setback in the last six games (4-2 SU). The Cardinal (2-2 Pac-10) average 71.9 ppg, and they have the 10th stingiest defense in the country, allowing 57.0 ppg. They have held six of their opponents to less than 50 points.

Arizona has won the last six meetings in this series (4-2 ATS), including an 85-80 overtime road win as a 2½-point underdog last March. The Wildcats are 7-3 in the last 10 against the Cardinal (5-5 ATS), and they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight visits to Maples Pavilion. Finally, the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, and the underdog is a robust 15-2 ATS in the last 17 battles.

The Wildcats are mired in ATS slumps of 1-4 overall, 0-4 against the Pac-10 and 5-16 on Thursdays. On a positive note, they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven against teams with a winning record and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 road games against teams with a winning home mark.

The Cardinal are 1-6 ATS in their last seven at Maples, 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight league games and 0-5-1 ATS in their last six when coming off a loss.

The over is on a 13-3 run in this series, including 4-0 in the last four meetings at Maples. The over is also 7-0 in the Wildcats’ last seven against teams with a winning record and 13-3 in the Cardinal’s last 16 versus teams with a winning mark. The under, however, is on streaks of 11-1 for Stanford overall, 7-1 for Stanford at home and 10-3 for Arizona on the highway.



Utah (22-17, 18-21 ATS) at Denver (22-15, 18-19 ATS)

Two of the three teams in a dogfight in the Northwest Division clash for the first time this year, as the Nuggets host the Jazz.

Denver sits in second place in the division standings, one-half game behind Portland and a game ahead of third-place Utah. The Nuggets return home following an unsuccessful two-game, two-night road trip, as they lost 119-116 in Charlotte as a 4½-point favorite on Monday and 104-93 at Atlanta as a three-point underdog on Tuesday. Prior to the trip, George Karl’s team had been on positive streaks of 7-2 SU and 8-2 ATS.

Utah completed a perfect four-game homestand (3-1 ATS) with Monday’s 98-87 victory over Milwaukee, barely covering as a 10½-point chalk. The Jazz have won six of their last seven (4-3 ATS), but all six victories came at home.

Denver beat Utah 115-106 as a one-point road underdog last April, snapping a six-game SU and ATS losing skid to the Jazz. The favorite is 8-3 ATS in the last nine meetings, though the underdog got the cash in the final two battles last season. Also, the straight-up winner has cashed in each of the past 10 battles.

The Jazz have been miserable on the road this season, going 6-14 SU and ATS, including 1-10 in the last 11 (2-9 ATS). And if you back to last year, Jerry Sloan’s squad is 11-29 ATS on the highway.

The Nuggets are 15-5 at the Pepsi Center (11-9 ATS), including 5-1 in the last six (4-2 ATS).

Utah sports negative ATS tends of 3-8 on Thursdays and 3-8 against Northwest Division rivals. On the flip side, Denver is 7-2 ATS in it last nine Thursday outings and 7-3 ATS in it last 10 within the division.

The Jazz are just 1-5 ATS when playing on two days’ rest.

Denver’s defense has been atrocious of late, giving up at least 103 points in nine of the last 11 games. Over the last five outings, the Nuggets have surrendered an average of 111.8 ppg.

The total has alternated in Denver’s last seven outings, with the last four in a row at home staying low. Also, the under is 4-1 in Utah’s last five. However, the over is 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head clashes, including 3-0 in the last three overall and 3-1 in the last four in Denver.


Phoenix (26-12, 15-22-1 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (26-11, 22-15 ATS)

First place in the Pacific Division is up for grabs tonight at the Staples Center, where the Lakers put a seven-game winning streak on the line against the slumping Suns.

Playing without injured center Andrew Bynum for the first time, the Lakers needed 48 points from superstar Kobe Bryant to put away the SuperSonics 123-121 in overtime on Monday to extend their winning streak. However, L.A. failed to cash as a five-point road chalk, its third straight non-cover, which comes on the heels a 13-4 ATS run.

Phoenix dropped a half-game behind the Lakers in the division standings with Tuesday’s 97-90 loss at the Clippers as an 8½-point road favorite. The Suns have split their last six games, and they’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven, including 0-2 ATS on the road.

Los Angeles has already dropped the Suns twice this year, winning 119-98 as an eight-point road underdog back on Nov. 2 and 122-115 as a 2½-point home pup on Christmas Day. The Lakers are 12-6-1 ATS in the last 19 series meetings, including 6-2 ATS in the last eight. Also, the visitor is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 battles.

The Lakers are 15-5 at home (12-8 ATS), including 9-1 in the last 10 (6-4 ATS). Meanwhile, the Suns are 13-8 on the road, but just 9-11-1 ATS. Going back to Dec. 8, they’ve lost six of their last nine on the highway (3-5-1 ATS).

L.A. is on ATS streaks of 6-0 within the division, 9-3 against the Western Conference and 4-0 when playing on two days’ rest. L.A. is also 7-0 ATS as an underdog of less than seven points, while Phoenix is just 4-7 ATS when favored by seven or fewer.

Both teams have struggled on Thursdays lately, with the Suns going 2-6 ATS in their last eight and the Lakers going 2-8 ATS in their last 10.

The under is 7-2 in Phoenix’s last nine games. However, the over is 6-2 in L.A.’s last eight at the Staples Center and 17-7 in its last 24 games on Thursday. Also, the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings and 5-1 in the last six series clashes in Los Angeles.


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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs

- The fans at AT&T Center will be treated to a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs when they take their seats on Thursday.

LeBron James tossed in a game-high 51 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 132-124 overtime victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday. The Cavaliers covered the 2-point spread on the road, and the combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 197.

James shot 18-for-28 from the field with eight rebounds and nine assists, while Daniel Gibson had 18 in the win.

The Spurs outplayed the 76ers in the fourth quarter and pulled out an 89-82 victory last time out. The Spurs failed to cover the 11-point spread in the win at home, while the 162 points fell UNDER the posted total of 187.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 18 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double. Manu Ginobili scored a team-high 20 points in the win.

Current streak:
Cleveland has won 2 straight games.
San Antonio has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Cleveland: 20-18 SU, 16-22 ATS
San Antonio: 25-11 SU, 18-18 ATS

Cleveland most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
Before playing Miami are 6-4
After playing Memphis are 4-6
After a win are 5-5

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Houston are 8-2
After playing Philadelphia are 9-1
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Cleveland is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Cleveland's last 6 games when playing San Antonio
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cleveland's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Cleveland's last 12 games
San Antonio is 14-1 SU in its last 15 games when playing at home against Cleveland
San Antonio is 22-3 SU in its last 25 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Antonio's last 6 games when playing Cleveland
San Antonio is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland

Next up:
Cleveland at Miami, Monday, January 21
San Antonio at Houston, Saturday, January 19

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Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

- The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets will meet on the court at Pepsi Center on Thursday in a battle of division rivals.

The Jazz limited the Bucks offense in the fourth quarter and earned a 98-87 victory. The Jazz managed to cover the 10.5-point spread at home, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 210.

Deron Williams shot 8-for-14 from the field with 33 points and 10 assists to lead the Jazz. Carlos Boozer tossed in 21 points in the win.

The Nuggets lost 104-93 to the Hawks last time out as a 2.5-point underdog on the road. The 197 points were UNDER the posted total of 209.

Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 36 points with 11 rebounds for a double-double in the loss.

Current streak:
Utah has won 4 straight games.
Denver has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Utah: 22-17 SU, 18-21 ATS
Denver: 22-15 SU, 18-19 ATS

Utah most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing LA Clippers are 6-4
After playing Milwaukee are 6-4
After a win are 5-5

Denver most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Minnesota are 5-5
After playing Atlanta are 4-6
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Utah is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
Utah is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Denver
Utah is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Denver
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Utah's last 5 games
Denver is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
Denver is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Denver's last 9 games when playing Utah
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 6 games when playing at home against Utah

Next up:
Utah home to LA Clippers, Friday, January 18
Denver home to Minnesota, Saturday, January 19

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Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

- The Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at STAPLES Center.

The Suns were defeated 97-90 by the Clippers last time out, as 7.5-point favorites. The combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 208.

Amare Stoudemire shot 10-for-20 from the field 27 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Kobe Bryant tossed in a game-high 48 points to lead the Lakers past the SuperSonics 123-121 last time out. The won the game as 5.5-point favorites, while the combined score made it OVER the posted total of 208.5.

Bryant shot 21-for-44 from the field with two boards and two assists for the Lakers.

Current streak:
Los Angeles has won 7 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 26-12 SU, 15-22-1 ATS
Los Angeles: 26-11 SU, 22-15 ATS

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Minnesota are 6-4
After playing LA Clippers are 6-4
After a loss are 8-2

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Denver are 6-4
After playing Seattle are 4-6
After a win are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Phoenix's last 6 games when playing LA Lakers
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Phoenix's last 6 games when playing on the road against LA Lakers
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Phoenix's last 9 games on the road
Phoenix is 10-4 SU in their last 14 games when playing LA Lakers
LA Lakers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games
LA Lakers are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the LA Lakers last 6 games when playing Phoenix
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the LA Lakers last 6 games when playing at home against Phoenix

Next up:
Phoenix home to Minnesota, Friday, January 18
LA Lakers home to Denver, Monday, January 21

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Vandy at Tennessee
By Brian Edwards

The state of Tennessee is a hotbed of hoops right now. These parts haven’t seen days like this since Keith Lee, Baskerville Holmes and Andre Turner wore Tiger uniforms and Dale Ellis laced ‘em up for the Vols.

As for Vandy, we’re dating back to the prime of careers for Will Perdue and Barry Booker and -- lest we forget – Mr. Barry Goheen, who drained seven buzzer beaters in his illustrious career, including a pair of 3-balls in the last six seconds of regulation that sent Pittsburgh’s Charles Smith and Jerome Lane (of tear-down-the-backboard fame) into early collegiate retirement in the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament.

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Forgive yours truly for scouring the archives of Tennessee basketball history in the previous paragraph, but that’s where the state is (or has returned) in this 2007-2008 campaign. We’ve got Memphis, No. 1 in this week’s Sweet 16 Rankings. We’ve got UT, which is in the third season of Bruce Pearl’s tenure that already has the makings of greatness written all over it.

And there’s Vandy, which got robbed of an Elite Eight appearance last year when Georgetown’s Jeff Green was allowed to take a walk, a spin, a shuffle and a travel before scoring a game-winner against the Commodores, who beat Florida – the eventual champion – at home and lost a nail-biter in Gainesville after blowing a double-digit advantage at intermission.

Even after losing SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt (16-1 straight up, 8-8 against the spread) hasn’t missed a beat this year. In fact, the ‘Dores are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, a 79-73 double-overtime setback at Kentucky as one-point underdogs.

Kevin Stallings’ bunch will face a tough task responding, as it travels to Knoxville to face a raucous crowd at Thomson-Boling Arena. Most sports books are listing Tennessee (14-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) as a 10 ½-point ‘chalk.’ Las Vegas Sports Consultants sent out the total at 162.

The Volunteers have won nine in a row since suffering their lone loss against Texas at a neutral site. They are off a dominating 80-56 win at South Carolina as 6 ½-point road favorites. JaJuan Smith paced UT with 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

How far has this UT squad come since it blew a monster lead against Ohio State in last season’s Sweet 16? This far: Chris Lofton, the senior who has led the team in scoring three consecutive seasons, took only five shots and managed just five points, yet the Vols cruised to a 24-point road victory against a team that won outright at Arkansas on Wednesday.

In other words, Tennessee is nasty. In fact, the Vols might have their best team in school history.

And that’s why they are – somewhat surprisingly – double-digit favorites against a Vandy team that also has some big-time players (and potential March moxy).

In particular, the ‘Dores have senior slasher Shan Foster, who leads the SEC in scoring at a 20.6 points per game clip. Foster refused to let Vandy lose at UK – at least in regulation and the first extra session.

With his team trailing 65-62 with 18 seconds left in the second half, Foster pulled up from about 25 feet on the left wing and found nothing but nylon even with a hand in his face. It wasn’t enough to get the ‘W’ at Rupp, but the fact that Vandy wouldn’t go quietly speaks volumes about a squad that nearly stole a victory in Lexington on an off day.

Tennessee owns a 3-1 spread record in four games as a double-digit favorite. Vandy has only been an underdog once -- in Saturday's loss at UK -- and that tells you the non-conference slate was so-so at best.

The 'over' is 11-5 overall for Vandy, but the 'under' has cashed in three of its last four games.

ESPN will provide television coverage at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Surging Cardinals wary of speedy Golden Eagles
January 17, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -Louisville forward Terrence Williams was sitting in the locker room following a decisive win over West Virginia last week when somebody asked him what the deal was with his ear-to-ear grin.

Williams' line on the night - three points, five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals - wasn't exactly overwhelming. Yet, the junior got over the whole numbers thing long ago.

Call it a byproduct of experience. If there's anything he's learned during his two-plus years with the Cardinals, the only number that matters is the one on the scoreboard at the end of the game.

So while some of his younger teammates - namely guard Edgar Sosa and center Derrick Caracter - let their production determine their effort during an injury-ravaged and inconsistent first six weeks of the season, Williams kept reminding them what was important.

``Everybody has to have one heartbeat, and our heartbeat is to win,'' Williams said Wednesday. ``If it is not a big win, a blowout, if it is by one point at the buzzer from halfcourt, we'll take it. We just want wins.''

Williams then paused ever so briefly, fiddled with the drawstring on his hooded sweatshirt and let out a slightly exaggerated sigh.

``Wins keep everybody happy around here, trust me,'' he said as reporters laughed.

None happier, of course, than coach Rick Pitino. Though he knows his team has plenty of work to do if it wants to deliver on its potential, there's a certain ruggedness he sees in the Cardinals (12-4, 2-1 Big East) as they prepare to host No. 13 Marquette (13-2, 3-1) on Thursday night that he didn't see a month ago.

``I think we're a tough team,'' Pitino said. ``But the jury is still out on how good we'll be because we just got healthy two weeks ago.''

With seniors David Padgett and Juan Palacios back from knee injury, Louisville has played with the kind of defensive intensity that gives Pitino room for optimism. Save for a slip-up against much-improved Cincinnati on New Year's Day, the Cardinals have been gritty if not glamorous in winning seven of eight.

``You're not always going to get a good game every single night,'' Pitino said. ``The important thing is to play good enough defense to come away with a victory.''

It won't be easy against the Golden Eagles in a rivalry that blossomed earlier this decade when both teams were in Conference USA and has only grown more heated now that both have moved into the Big East.

Pitino and Marquette coach Tom Crean downplay the rivalry on a personal level - Pitino says simply the two are ``cordial'' to each other when they cross paths - and instead say the intensity comes from playing traditionally close games.

Fourteen of the last 22 meetings have been decided by five points or less or in overtime. Marquette handled Louisville 74-65 at Freedom Hall last year while the Cardinals stunned the Golden Eaqles 61-59 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Jerry Smith.

It was a confidence-building win that helped propel the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament. Louisville likely needs another one on Thursday to bolster a solid if unremarkable resume.

``You want to keep winning in this league,'' Williams said. ``You don't want to fall with losses in the L column and fall to the bottom. You want to just keep getting wins.''

To do it the Cardinals will have to find a way to deal with Marquette's guard-heavy rotation that includes all-everything junior Dominic James. As difficult as the Golden Eagles are to defend - four players are averaging at least 10.5 points per game - they present an even bigger challenge at the other end of the floor. Marquette leads the Big East with 10.47 steals per game and both James and Jerel McNeal are in the top five in the conference in steals.

``If you put the basketball on the floor, they go after it,'' Pitino said. ``The thing about steals is they lead to easy baskets. ... They're fundamental at a lot of different things and they do a lot of good things that pose problems for teams.''

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

Thursday’s Pregame Buzz


Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs

* This is the 1st meeting between the teams since the 2007 NBA Finals, won by the Spurs in 4 games. San Antonio went 3-1 ATS in the series after failing to cover the previous 3 games. The UNDER is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings. EDGE: SPURS & UNDER
* Cavs star LeBron James averaged just 22 points in last year's NBA Finals, shooting only 35.6 percent from the field. James also turned the ball over 23 times in the series, including 6 in the series clinching Game 4. He is averaging 40.3 points in his last 3 road games. EDGE: SPURS
* The Spurs are an NBA-best 19-3 at home, limiting opponents to just 89.4 points per game. EDGE: SPURS & UNDER
* Spurs are 21-10-1 ATS in their last 32 home games.
* Home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
* The UNDER is 8-3-1 in Cleveland's last 12 games overall.
* The UNDER is 11-5 in San Antonio's last 16 games overall.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

* Utah is coming off a perfect 4-0 homestand, limiting opponents to less than 90 points 3 times while outscoring them by nearly 15 points. "Our D creates our offense," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "If we play D like that, we're mostly successful and we usually win games." However, the team is just 6-14 on the road, winning just once in its last 11 games away from home. SLIGHT EDGE: NUGGETS
* Denver has not lost 3 in a row all season and hopes to have Kenyon Martin back in the lineup. Martin missed Tuesday's loss at Atlanta due to a staph infection in his butt, and his replacement Eduardo Najera has gone 0-for-5 from the field in the last 2 games. EDGE: NUGGETS IF MARTIN PLAYS
* Allen Iverson is averaging 33.6 points and 7.5 assists in his last 8 games against Utah. EDGE: NUGGETS
* Jazz are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games.
* Jazz are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. Northwest Division.
* Nuggets are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Thursday games.
* Nuggets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 vs. Northwest Division.
* Favorite is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
* The OVER is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.
* The UNDER is 7-2 in Utah's last 9 games vs. Western Conference.

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers

* LA is riding its longest winning streak in nearly 4 years, winning 7 straight games. The Lakers are in sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific Division and will be trying to beat the Suns for the 3rd time in a row. EDGE: LAKERS
* Phoenix had won 10 of the previous 12 regular-season meetings before this season and knocked out the Lakers in the playoffs each of the past 2 seasons. The Suns have dropped 6 of their last 9 road games though and are just 1-5 against teams with at least 25 wins. EDGE: LAKERS
* The Lakers admitted they miss center Andrew Bynum defensively after he suffered a knee injury in a win over Memphis on Sunday. "We're obviously going to have to put in a lot more work and practice, and refocus on defense now that we don't have Andrew down there," LA forward Luke Walton said. "We missed him a lot." EDGE: SUNS
* Lakers are 13-6 ATS in their last 18 games overall.
* Lakers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games.
* Suns are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
* Road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
* The UNDER is 7-2 in Phoenix's last 9 road games.
* The OVER is 17-7 in LA's last 24 Thursday games.

#14 Vanderbilt at #7 Tennessee

* Vanderbilt is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 Thursday games.
* Underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
* The OVER is 18-8 in Vanderbilt's last 26 games overall.

#13 Marquette at Louisville
* Marquette is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 road games.
* Louisville is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 Thursday games.
* Louisville is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 home games.
* Underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
* The OVER is 7-2 in Marquette's last 9 games vs. Big East.
* The OVER is 9-3 in Marquette's last 12 road games.
* The OVER is 6-2 in Louisville's last 8 Thursday games.

#10 Indiana at Minnesota

* Indiana is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 Thursday games.
* Indiana is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 Big Ten games.
* Underdog is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
* The OVER is 11-5-2 in Indiana's last 18 vs. Big Ten.
* The OVER is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.

Arizona at Stanford

* Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 Thursday games.
* Underdog is 15-2 ATS in the last 17 meetings.
* The UNDER is 10-3 in Arizona's last 13 road games.
* The UNDER is 11-1 in Stanford's last 12 games overall.
* The UNDER is 7-1 in Stanford's last 8 home games.
* The OVER is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD Thursday, Jan. 17

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST). The Lakers have won seven straight, their longest winning streak since March 2004.

STARS Wednesday

- Gerald Wallace, Bobcats, had 36 points and 14 rebounds in Charlotte's 99-93 victory over Orlando.

- Ray Allen, Celtics, scored a season-high 35 points in a 100-90 win over Portland.

- Jamal Crawford, Knicks, scored a season-high 35 points and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer, leading New York to a 111-105 victory at New Jersey.


Ben Gordon scored 24 points, Joe Smith added 23 and the Chicago Bulls handed Miami its 11th straight loss, beating the Heat 126-96 on Wednesday night. Shaquille O'Neal had 24 points and 10 rebounds in his return to Miami's lineup.


Ray Allen scored a season-high 35 points, Kevin Garnett had 26 and the Boston Celtics rebounded from their first consecutive losses of the season with a 100-90 win over Portland on Wednesday night. The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics, who had lost three of their last four games and two straight at home, also got 12 points from Paul Pierce and 10 from Eddie House. Boston had lost its last two games, both to Washington.


Gerald Wallace had 36 points and 14 rebounds, Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer and four free throws in the final minute, and the Charlotte Bobcats rallied to beat the Orlando Magic 99-93 on Wednesday night. The Bobcats, who trailed by 19 points early in the third quarter, avoided a season sweep against the Magic with a remarkable comeback to continue a wild stretch of close finishes and big wins. ... Danny Granger scored 29 points, and the Indiana Pacers overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half to beat the Golden State Warriors 125-117. Indiana's Mike Dunleavy had 24 points and nine rebounds against his former team, and Kareem Rush scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for the Pacers.


Dwight Howard had 24 points and 21 rebounds in Orlando's 99-93 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday night. ... Golden State's Baron Davis had 24 points, seven assists, seven steals and six rebounds in a 125-117 loss to Indiana.


''That was as complete a loss as you can have. The team didn't quit, it's just bad. ... When you give up 126 points defensively at home and you've already lost 10 in a row, it's bad. I have now, tonight, at this moment, no answers for it.'' - Heat coach Pat Riley said after Miami's 126-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. It was Miami's 11th loss in a row.


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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

NBA Thursday Gameday

Thursday night’s NBA schedule is a light one with only three games on tap, but all three contests are top-notch matchups including Cleveland and San Antonio, Utah versus Denver, and Phoenix at the Lakers.

Cleveland at San Antonio

The Cavaliers are coming off a 132-124 overtime win against Memphis in which they were 1.5-point favorites. LeBron James exploded for 51 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the win, with 25 of his points coming in the fourth quarter. Daniel Gibson added 18 points for the Cavs, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Spurs last took to the court on Monday night when they knocked off Philadelphia 89-82 as an 11-point favorite. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 20 points off the bench, while Tim Duncan posted his usual double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds.

This will be the first time the Cavaliers and Spurs will meet up since San Antonio swept Cleveland in four games in last year’s NBA Finals. The Spurs went 3-1 ATS in the series.

Utah at Denver

The Jazz appear to be finally getting back on track after winning their last four games. Utah defeated Milwaukee 98-87 as a 10.5-point favorite on Monday night thanks to some tight defense in the fourth quarter. Most of Utah’s scoring came from their big two with Deron Williams leading the way with 33 points and 10 assists, while Carlos Boozer poured in 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

The Nuggets lost to Atlanta 104-93 as a 3-point underdog last time out. In the loss Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith combined to score 84 of the Nuggets’ 93 points. Anthony led Denver with 36 points and 11 rebounds, while Iverson had 27 points. Smith netted 21 points, while only two other players (Marcus Camby with four points and Linas Kleiza with five) scored in the game.

This is the first matchup of the season between Utah and Denver after the two clubs clashed four times last year. Utah took three of four from Denver last year, while posting a 3-1 ATS record.

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers

The Suns were upset by the Clippers in a 97-90 loss on Tuesday night in which they were an 8-point favorite. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns, who shot only 40 percent in the loss, with 29 points and eight rebounds. Steve Nash and Shawn Marion recorded their regular double-doubles with Nash posting 14 points and 13 assists, while Marion had 14 points and 17 rebounds. The Suns received very little offensive support from their bench in the loss, as the starting five was responsible for 79 of the Suns’ 90 points.

The Lakers shrugged off the recent injury to center Andrew Bynum to win their seventh in a row on Monday after taking down Seattle 123-121 in overtime as a 5-point favorite. Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers with 48 points in the win. Ronny Turiaf added 14 points, while Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar each delivered 12 points. Kwame Brown cracked the starting lineup for the first time since November in place of the injured Bynum, and had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers have owned the Suns in two previous meetings this season. Los Angeles upset Phoenix 122-115 as a 2.5-point underdog on Christmas Day and rolled over the Suns 119-98 as a 9-point road underdog back in early November.


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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

Walberg resigns as Pepperdine men's basketball coach
January 17, 2008

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -Vance Walberg resigned as head coach of the Pepperdine men's basketball team Thursday.

Walberg, in his second season with the Waves, cited personal and family reasons for his decision. Assistant Eric Bridgeland takes over as interim coach.

The 56-year-old Walberg's resignation follows Pepperdine's 92-57 loss on Monday to West Coast Conference opponent Gonzaga. The defeat, the Waves' sixth in seven games, dropped them to 6-12 overall and 0-2 in conference.

A success as coach at Fresno City College, Walberg leaves Pepperdine with a 14-35 record.

He went 133-11 at Fresno from 2003-2006 and won the 2005 state JC championship. Earlier, he had a 481-159 record in 22 seasons as a high school coach.

``It just comes down to what I need to do personally and what's best for my family. I'd like to thank the entire Pepperdine community for their support,'' Walberg said. ``We have a lot of good people here. We've got some really good kids on this team and I wish them well.''

The 36-year-old Bridgeland was a head coach for seven seasons at the Division II and Division III levels and had a 115-65 record. He was the Northwest Conference's coach of the year for the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 seasons while he was a Puget Sound.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 17

Spurs G Tony Parker is expected to play on Thursday night, but is still slightly limited by his heel injury

Tennessee F Cameron Tatum (5 ppg; foot) was wearing a protective boot at practice, and is listed as questionable for Thursday.

Spurs G Brent Barry (8 ppg; calf) has missed the last two weeks, but is probable for Thursday.

Nuggets F Kenyon Martin (10 ppg) will miss his second straight game on Thursday due to a staph infection.

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun plans to be back on the sideline when the Huskies host Big East rival Providence on Thursday night.

Denver F David Kummer (11 ppg; ankle) has been downgraded to out for season

San Jose State G Justin Graham (12 ppg; elbow) has been added to the injury report as out indefinitely.

Eastern Illinois leading scorer G Romain Martin (16 ppg; foot) is NOT expected to play tonight.

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