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Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Cavs' Gibson out four to six weeks

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson will miss four to six weeks with a left high ankle sprain, the team announced Thursday.

Gibson sprained the ankle midway through the third quarter of Wednesday's 106-97 win over the Pacers.

Indianapolis' Travis Diener and Gibson were both going for a loose ball. Diener dove and collided with Gibson's lower left leg. Gibson had to be helped to the locker room with 4:55 left in the quarter.

X-rays taken at the arena were negative, but an MRI taken Thursday confirmed the injury.

Gibson is averaging 11.5 points in 48 games for the Cavs this season.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Davidson at Winthrop
By Brian Edwards

BracketBuster Weekend starts tonight when Winthrop plays host to Davidson. What a great concept, and what a great matchup we have here.

Winthrop (18-9 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) is a school that has been to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last nine seasons, beating Notre Dame in the first round last year. However, Gregg Williams parlayed the win over the Irish into accepting the head-coaching gig at Wichita State.

Also, tragedy struck the Eagles in the off-season when DeAndre Adams died from injuries suffered in a May car crash. Therefore, with the loss of the head coach, the Adams’ tragedy and the departure of three starters including Torrell Martin and Craig Bradshaw, you would expect Winthrop to be in a transition year.

For certain, the Eagles aren’t as strong as they’ve been in recent seasons, but they still have an excellent shot at going dancing again. They lead the Big South with a 9-3 record.

As for Davidson, loyal readers and listeners of the Power Hours know that this is my team – just like Winthrop was last year and Northwestern St. the season before – that I’ve chosen as my “blind pick” to win outright in the first round of the NCAA Tournament regardless of whom its opponent is.

Davidson (20-6 SU, 15-9 ATS) has won 16 in a row, compiling a 10-6 spread record during that stretch. The Wildcats are unbeaten in Southern Conference action.

"Davidson has an outstanding team this year," Las Vegas Sports Consultants' oddsmaker John "The Coach" Harper told "They had several shots at some big-time wins in non-conference, but didn't take advantage. Still, they should probably get a bid to the NCAA's if they don't win their conference tournament, but they'd feel a lot better if they would've won one of those games." 

The Davison skeptic – or ‘hater’ (if you will) – will point out that the Wildcats had their shot at legitimacy with non-conference matchups against Duke, North Carolina, UCLA and N.C. State.

And those skeptics would be accurate – to some extent. To the knowledgeable college basketball bettor, on the other hand, it’s blatantly obvious that Bob McKillop’s squad is nothing but 100 percent legit.

Consider this: The Wildcats led UNC in their season opener with just more than a minute left to play. They went out West and led UCLA by double digits for most of the first half. They gave Duke all it wanted before losing by just a six-point margin. And, finally, they dropped a one-point heartbreaker in Raleigh to the Wolfpack.

But since then, Davidson has been dealing out nothing but woodshed treatment, albeit against lesser competition. Nevertheless, it says here that McKillop’s crew is more than ready to make its splash on the national scene.

The ‘So-Con’ powerhouse features one of the best backcourts in the nation with senior point guard Jason Richards and sophomore sharpshooter Stephen Curry. Richards likes to dish the rock, even before Dell Curry’s son arrived on the scene.

Richards goes into tonight’s tilt with 580 career assists. He leads the nation this year, dishing dimes at an 8.1 assist per game clip.

As for Curry, the son of the best (ever) perimeter shooter in the now-defunct Metro Conference, he’s third in the nation in scoring, pouring in 25.8 points per game. Curry, who wasn’t recruited by any ACC schools, has got ‘game galore.’

All he lacks is size and muscle, but both of those traits are improving by the day. And with apologies to Tennessee’s Chris Lofton and a few others, Curry is – without question – the country’s best pure shooter.

It says here that Davidson is deserving of a seed in the 8-9 game if it runs the table. If the Wildcats don’t win out, they should at least make the Tournament via an at-large berth, assuming they win in this spot here.

We’ll find out tonight if Davidson can pull that trick. Or then again, we may find out that the Wildcats are not the 2007 version of Winthrop, and that the Eagles are still what they were last year – the most dangerous low-major squad in America.

Whatever the case, BracketBuster weekend starts tonight with plenty at stake. And, by the way, Davidson is listed as a 3½-point favorite at most sports books.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

With 16 straight wins, Davidson may be dangerous for big schools

DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) -An overly ambitious schedule left Davidson with a 4-6 record heading into January. All the preseason talk about the Wildcats becoming the latest mid-major darling had been silenced.

Bob McKillop never panicked. The soft-spoken veteran coach saw improvement in close losses to North Carolina, Duke and UCLA. He remained optimistic even after more damaging losses to Western Michigan, Charlotte and North Carolina State.

Today it appears the painful lessons have paid off.

Behind high-scoring sophomore Stephen Curry, senior assist machine Jason Richards and an improving frontcourt, the Wildcats haven't lost in two months.

Closing in on a second perfect Southern Conference regular season in four years, Davidson's 16-game winning streak is second-longest in the nation to unbeaten and top-ranked Memphis (26-0).

Davidson (20-6, 18-0) is back on the list of dangerous small schools the big boys don't want to face come NCAA tournament time.

``The six losses were not something we had to run and hide from,'' McKillop said Thursday. ``Nor were they losses that we didn't profit from.''

Curry has been the key to Davidson's turnaround.

The son of former NBA 3-point specialist Dell Curry was too small to get scholarship offers from major schools, but the baby-faced Curry has grown four inches since he signed with Davidson. Now 6-foot-3, doctors have told Curry he may have two more inches left in his late growth spurt.

Displaying a keen knowledge of the game groomed from hanging out with his dad at NBA practices while growing up, Curry is averaging 25.8 points, fifth-best in the country. He's scored 30 points or more seven times, including games of 41 and 30 against UNC Greensboro in a span of six days.

``His release is quick and fantastic, but I think the way he reads screens is phenomenal,'' UNC Greensboro coach Mike Dement said after Davidson's 75-66 win Tuesday. ``He's a step ahead of everybody. Seemingly if you just give him that inch, he'll knock it down.''

Curry has hit 111 3-pointers, and his 1,401 points is more than any sophomore in the nation.

``He rains 3s like bolts of lightning,'' McKillop said.

Most of the time it's Richards getting him the ball. The 6-2 senior, Curry's golfing buddy, is averaging a nation-best 8.1.

``To be able to turn decision-making over to one of the players on the court is a very comforting feeling for a coach,'' McKillop said.

The front line, a weakness early, is now making an impact. Junior Andrew Lovedale moved into the starting lineup and has thrived. Junior Max Paulhus-Gosselin is a gritty defender who had seven steals against UNC Greensboro on Tuesday. Thomas Sander and Boris Meno are experienced seniors, and sophomore Will Archambault scored 28 points against Furman last week.

``Anybody on the floor can put up numbers,'' Curry said. ``You can focus on me if you want, but we've got guys that will score and take the pressure off.''

All of that has led to a dominating run in the lower-tier Southern Conference. The Wildcats have won 28 straight league games, second only to the 44 straight won by Jerry West-led West Virginia in the 1950s.

However, the league has never received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Not holding a marquee out-of-conference win, the Wildcats will probably have to win the league tournament to secure a third straight NCAA berth.

``I can't even get distracted by that,'' McKillop said. ``It plays too many games with your mind and it's something I have no control over.''

Perhaps Davidson would be in better shape if it didn't play so many good teams early.

While other mid-major schools are touting wins over mediocre teams from major conferences to boost their NCAA hopes, Davidson only has close defeats to elite teams.

The Wildcats lost by four to then-No. 1 North Carolina, by six to then-No. 7 Duke and led then-No. 7 UCLA by 18 in the first half before losing 75-63.

``I think taking great shots from teams like that have to make you better,'' McKillop said. ``Maybe if we didn't get better from those experiences we wouldn't have pushed as hard as we've pushed the entire season.''

But Davidson will probably face more pressure than any team in the nation at the league tournament in two weeks. In the 2004-05 season, Davidson went unbeaten in league play, lost in the conference tournament, and ended up in the NIT.

``I very much want our players to smell the roses of where they are right now and what they've accomplished rather than looking at it as some scary monster,'' McKillop said. ``Too often we think about what might happen rather than what is happening.

``I dare say I don't think there will be any teams that win 18 conference games this year in the country.''

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Slumping Wizards missing more than stats with Butler, Arenas hurt

WASHINGTON (AP) -Forget for a moment all the points, rebounds, steals and assists that Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler would provide if they were on the floor. The Washington Wizards also need their fire.

Those who are healthy enough to play had the audacity to think they could just show up and beat another struggling team, the New York Knicks, in the first game after the All-Star break. The result was a lifeless overtime loss Tuesday night, Washington's ninth defeat in 10 games and the kind of performance that could knock the team right out of the playoff race.

''I think we have to understand the situation we're in,'' All-Star forward Antawn Jamison said.

''Atlanta's gotten better. Philly's playing well. Chicago's going to make a run,'' he said. We've got to play with a sense of urgency because if we don't, things are going to get out of hand. We've got 29 games left, and they're going fly by. We talked about it before the game, especially during halftime, and still to come out with no energy and kind of go through the motions is kind of disappointing.''

As one of the team captains, Jamison took responsibility for Tuesday's halfhearted effort, but Jamison has always been a softer-spoken, follow-my-example leader. Coach Eddie Jordan can be stern, but he's also not a yeller or screamer. The team's heart-on-the-sleeve veterans - the ones most likely to yell in a huddle or rev up teammates on the court - are Arenas, Butler and Etan Thomas, all of whom are injured.

''I'm trying to stay in everybody's ear as much as possible, but it's still a little different coming from the sideline,'' said Butler, who has missed six straight games and nine of 11 with a strained left hip flexor. ''That's why the coaches always emphasized the point that they need a voice on the court. And, right now, I'm crippled of that voice. I can't do it.''

Jordan called his team's effort against the Knicks ''unacceptable.'' The Wizards already are going to struggle to beat good teams because of their injuries, so a home loss to a bad team really hurt.

''We should have played harder,'' Jordan said. ''But that's a sign of where we are with our health and with our youth.''

The Wizards have operated on the theory that all will be well once everyone's healthy, but the medical report is a daily mixture of good news and setbacks. Jordan could field a relatively competitive lineup with the five players who weren't at full strength for Wednesday's practice - Arenas, Butler, Thomas, Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson.

''We're doing the best we can,'' said Jordan, who had eight healthy players for the workout. ''Some guys can't practice. It's pretty difficult, but we're trying to find ways to get some reps in for our younger guys. We walked through a lot of defensive situations at the end of practice, so we got something accomplished. It's just tough to do any scrimmaging.''

Arenas, who has missed most of the season because of a knee injury, hopes to return sometime next month. All-Star forward Butler had hoped to play Tuesday before his hip stiffened during the morning shootaround - the Wizards are 2-8 this season when he doesn't play - and his status is uncertain for Friday's game at Cleveland.

''I'm trying to remain optimistic about getting out there, but at the same time I've got to see how I feel,'' Butler said. ''I need to feel good in practice. Pain free.''

Thomas' return from open heart surgery is a long-term process because his sternum, which had to be broken during the operation, has been slow to heal. Daniels is gimpy with a bad ankle that will bother him the rest of the season. Stevenson has a sore right knee and didn't practice Wednesday.

Help from outside probably isn't on the way. The Wizards, just under the NBA's luxury tax threshold, aren't expected to make any significant moves before Thursday's trade deadline.

Two weeks ago, the Wizards were poised to challenge Orlando for the Southeast Division lead. Now Washington has fallen to sixth place overall in the Eastern Conference, in need of its emotional leaders in order to make the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

''This game's about men fighting and competing,'' Jordan said. ''And we just didn't have enough, in a sense, men - proven veterans who understand that. We're playing with a lot of young guys. We're playing with a lot of hurt guys. That's no excuse; it's just reality. ... You've got to have those personalities to be out there to do it.''

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Cavs sign minor-leaguers

The Cavaliers have signed forward Kaniel Dickens and guard Billy Thomas from the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

The signings of Dickens and Thomas add some depth to a depleted lineup due to the blockbuster trade Thursday.

The Cavs added in the Thursday trade — Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and Joe Smith — are not expected to play tonight against the Washington Wizards. They all need to pass their physicals before they are eligible to play.

The Cavs had only six healthy players on the roster to play against the Wizards before the minor-league additions today.

In 29 games (28 starts), Dickens has averaged 20.4 points in 31.3 minutes per game. Thomas is averaging 15.7 points in 27 games (all starts).

The Cavaliers have signed forward Kaniel Dickens and guard Billy Thomas from the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

The signings of Dickens and Thomas add some depth to a depleted lineup due to the blockbuster trade Thursday.

The Cavs added in the Thursday trade — Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and Joe Smith — are not expected to play tonight against the Washington Wizards. They all need to pass their physicals before they are eligible to play.

The Cavs had only six healthy players on the roster to play against the Wizards before the minor-league additions today.

In 29 games (28 starts), Dickens has averaged 20.4 points in 31.3 minutes per game. Thomas is averaging 15.7 points in 27 games (all starts).

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Feb 22

Houston (34-20, 29-24-1 ATS) at New Orleans (37-15, 32-19-1 ATS)

Two of the hottest teams in the league square off in the Big Easy, as the Rockets bring their 10-game winning streak into the New Orleans Arena to meet the Hornets, who have won five in a row.

Houston opened the second half of the season with Tuesday’s impressive 93-85 win in Cleveland as one-point road favorites, then followed it up with last night’s 112-100 home win over the Heat, barely covering as a 10½-point chalk. The Rockets are 7-1 ATS in their last eight.

Houston has won nine straight on the highway (7-2 ATS), and for the season they give up just 94.1 points per game on the opponents’ home floor on just 43.8 percent shooting.

Byron Scott’s Hornets came out of the All-Star break and blasted the Mavericks 104-93, covering as 3½-point home favorites. New Orleans is shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and putting up 111.8 points per game during its five-game streak, but the squad is just 3-5 ATS in its last eight. The straight-up winner has covered the spread in 28 of the Hornets’ last 30 contests.

The Hornets took the first meeting between these two this season, winning 87-82 on Jan. 13 as a one-point road ‘dog. New Orleans is 8-2 SU and ATS in the last 10 series clashes with the Rockets, including 4-1 (5-0 ATS) in the last five. However, the road team is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head battles and the underdog is 16-5 ATS in the last 21.

The Rockets are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 Friday tip-offs.

The Hornets come into this one 9-1 in their last 10 at home (8-2 ATS), and they’re 42-20-1 ATS in their last 63 overall and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 following a SU victory.

The under is 6-2 in Houston’s last eight overall and 39-18-1 in its last 58 against Southwest Division rivals. Meanwhile, the over is 7-2 in New Orleans’ last nine overall and 11-5-1 in its last 17 against Southwest Division opponents.


Washington (25-28, 30-23 ATS) at Cleveland (30-24, 25-29 ATS)

The freefalling Wizards stagger into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland today for a matchup with the new-look Cavaliers.

Washington has lost nine of its last 10 (3-7 ATS) including Tuesday’s 113-100 overtime home setback to the Knicks. The Wizards had lost eight straight before edging the Clippers 91-89 as 3½-point road underdogs on Feb. 13, their last game before the All-Star break.

The Cavaliers came out of the break and lost to the red-hot Rockets 93-85 on Tuesday as one-point home ‘dogs. They were able to rebound Wednesday with a 106-97 road win in Indiana as two-point favorites as LeBron James turned in a triple-double with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. Then the Cavs were involved in Thursday’s blockbuster 11-player, three-team trade that will send Delonte West, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak and Ben Wallace to Cleveland.

These squads have split their first two meetings this season, but Cleveland has won eight of the last 10 series clashes (5-4-1 ATS) dating back to 2006 (playoffs included). Washington got a 105-86 home win back on Dec. 5 as 10-point favorites, then the Cavs returned the favor on Jan. 23 with a 121-85 drubbing as a 4½-point home chalk.

The Wizards are on ATS runs of 43-21 on the highway against teams with a winning record, 5-0 when playing on two days’ rest and 8-3 following a SU loss of more than 10 points. On the opposite side, Washington is just 1-5 ATS in its last six against the Eastern Conference and 1-5 ATS in its last six against Central Division foes.

Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its last six against the Eastern Conference but 0-4 ATS in its last four at home and 3-8 ATS in its last 11 at home against teams with a losing road record.

The over is 8-1 in Washington’s last nine road games, 8-0 against the Eastern Conference and 7-3 against teams with a winning SU record. The over is also 22-8-1 in the Cavs’ last 31 against the Eastern Conference and 5-0 against the Southeast Division.


Boston (41-11, 31-19-2 ATS) at Phoenix (37-17, 24-28-2 ATS)

The Celtics try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they visit US Airways Center in Phoenix to take on the high-scoring Suns.

Boston has dropped the first two games on its current five-game West Coast road swing, falling in Denver 124-118 as a one-point underdog on Tuesday and then dropping a 119-117 decision to the Warriors in Oakland as a three-point favorite on Wednesday. Prior to those two defeats, the Celtics had been 16-0 (10-6 ATS) against the Western Conference.

Phoenix opened the Shaquille O’Neal-era with Wednesday’s 130-124 loss to the Lakers as a 3½-point home chalk. Los Angeles shot 56.5 percent from the floor, and the 130 points allowed was the most the Suns have given up in regulation this season. O’Neal, appearing in the game for the first time in almost a month, played 29 minutes and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Mike D’Antoni’s squad leads the NBA in scoring at 110.1 points per game, but the Suns give up 104.5 per contest, including a whopping 114.2 ppg allowed in the last six contests, with Phoenix going 3-3 (2-4 ATS) during this stretch.

This is the first meeting of the season between these squads. Phoenix has won four straight (2-2 ATS) in this series and eight of the last 10 (6-4 ATS), and the straight-up winner is 8-2 ATS in those 10 clashes. One positive for Boston, though, is that the road team has dominated this rivalry, going 8-3 SU in the last 11 (10-1 ATS).

The Suns have followed up a 7-1 ATS streak by going 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight, including 1-5-1 ATS at home. For the season, Phoenix is 10-16-1 ATS inside its US Airways Center.

Despite the results in Denver and Golden State, the Celtics still have the second-best road record in the NBA at 18-7 (15-9-1 ATS). Going back to last year, the C’s are 48-21-1 ATS on the highway. Also, Doc Rivers’ club has enjoyed success on Fridays, going 7-3 ATS in its last 10.

The over is 7-2-1 in the last 10 series clashes, 7-3 in Boston’s last 10 overall and 7-3 in the Suns’ last 10 overall. Finally, Phoenix has topped the total in 17 of its last 21 against Eastern Conference foes.


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