Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Chris David

Will Houston (45-20 straight up, 39-25 against the spread) ever lose?

Gamblers backing the Rockets during their recent 21-game winning streak have watched the club not only dominate, but more importantly post a 17-4 record against the spread.

If you played one-unit ($100) on the Rockets during this stretch, you’re bankroll would be sitting at $1,260 ($1,700 - $440).

What’s more impressive about the league-high winning streak is that 13 of the 21 games have come by double digits.

Lately, it’s been the Rockets’ defense that has stepped up. The club has held their last three opponents to 73, 75 and 80 points. The ‘under’ is 3-0 during this stretch.

Houston better bring its defense to the floor on Sunday, when the L.A. Lakers (45-20 SU, 39-25 ATS) visit Toyota Center.

Phil Jackson’s team was humbled Friday in a 108-98 loss to New Orleans as a two-point road favorite. To make things worse, the Lakers lost Pau Gasol (ankle) for the rest of their current four-game trip.

The Lakers have had a defensive lapse in their last three games, giving up 114, 108 and 108 points. The team has gone 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS.

Houston has gone 25-9 SU and 20-13 ATS at home this year, while Los Angeles has posted a 22-12 SU and 22-11 ATS mark on the road.

This will be the third and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams, with the visitor earning victories in the first two battles that were decided by three and two points. The ‘under’ cashed in both games.

Most books have the Rockets listed as 4½-point home favorites, with the total set at 197½.

ABC offers national coverage of this battle at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Other games of interest:

New Orleans at Detroit: The Hornets will be looking to avenge a 91-76 home loss to the Pistons on Dec. 5 and may have to do so without All Stars Chris Paul and David West, both players nursing ankle injuries.

Charlotte at Cleveland: The ‘over’ has hit in the last three meetings between the two teams and two of the previous three have gone to overtime. Both teams enter this contest with two-game losing streaks intact.

Dallas at Miami: The team started slow after acquiring point guard Jason Kidd from New Jersey, but has since become a bully. The Mavericks have won and covered four straight games, winning all four by 19-plus points. Looks like No. 5 today.

Atlanta at New York: The Knicks have gone 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings versus the Hawks, including two straight wins at Madison Square Garden. Atlanta owns a dismal 7-25 SU and 12-19 ATS record on the road.

Seattle at Denver: The Nuggets have gone 3-0 both SU and ATS in the last three meetings against the Sonics. All three wins have come by double digits and the ‘over’ has cashed in all three as well.

Toronto at Sacramento: Possible late-night shootout on tap, with the Kings and Raptors watching their ‘over’ go 4-1 in their last five encounters. Plus, Toronto has seen the ‘over’ go 20-12 on the road and the ‘over’ is 19-11 for the Kings at ARCO Arena.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Big Ten - Championship
By Judd Hall

So we meet again.

Wisconsin (26-4 straight up, 15-12 against the spread) thought it saw the last of the Fighting Illini near the end of last month…Illinois (14-18 SU, 12-19-1 ATS) had other plans in mind. Both schools will take to the hardwood at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis this Sunday for the Big Ten Conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The Badgers should consider themselves lucky to make it to their second consecutive league final and third since the tournament’s inception in 1998. Wisky came into its contest as a 3 ½-point favorite over the Spartans on Saturday. However, you wouldn’t have guessed that considering how they played on the court in spite of the 65-63 victory.

Wisky shot just 37 percent (17 of 46) from the field…In fact, they only led Michigan State in two categories: They out-rebounded them, 34-26, and won the personal foul battle, 30-18. The Badgers theoretically won this game because the Spartans lost four players due to fouling out, three of them hitting the bench in a span of just 56 seconds.

Despite the poor shooting day, the Bo Ryan’s program had three players score in the double-digits. Brian Butch led the charge with 19 points and seven boards, Marcus Landry had 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Joe Krabbenhoft put in 11 points and 10 rebounds as well.

It was Wisconsin’s nine straight win. And the eighth time they covered the spread.

The Illini’s path to the conference final was practically never in doubt. Illinois came into its semifinal tilt with the Golden Gophers as a small, two-point “chalk” and came through by out-muscling them to the tune of a 54-50 win.

Not bad for a 10th place club that nobody gave a chance to make it beyond the quarterfinals.

Bruce Weber’s squad took a 29-23 lead into halftime. Anytime you open up the second half hitting just one of your first 10 shots, however, you give the opposition a chance to make a move. Minnesota did just that, going on a 9-3 run to level the score at 32 all.

In the end, the Illini defense held the Gophers to just to field goals in the final 6:51 to reach their fifth conference title match.

Senior center Shaun Pruitt used all six-feet, 10-inches of his body to bully Minnesota for a game-high 16 points. Brian Randle wasn’t far behind, scoring 11 points of his own.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the line by making Wisconsin a seven-point favorite, with the total being posted at 115.

Being the favorite in the conference championship game has been a moderately successful position. The “chalk” has gone just 6-4 SU and ATS in the 10-year run of the event. Meanwhile, the ‘under’ has gone 6-4 over the lifetime of the tournament, including a 3-1 run in the last four title contests.

The head-to-head history has gone in favor of the Illini, if only by the slimmest of margins. Illinois is 10-9 SU and 8-11 ATS when facing off with the Badgers the past 19 meetings. The ‘under’ posted a 10-9 mark during that stretch.

The Badgers just had their five-game ‘under’ streak snapped in their win over Michigan State. Meanwhile, Illinois has seen the ‘over’ hit in both of its tourney matches, thus far.

CBS will broadcast this championship game, starting at 3:30 pm EDT.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

ACC Finals preview
By Brian Edwards

There will be no UNC-Duke III in 2008 unless it happens in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson wouldn’t allow it, sending Duke home by virtue of Saturday’s 78-74 win in Charlotte at the ACC Tournament semifinals.

Oliver Purnell’s team captured the outright victory as a 4 ½-point underdog, hooking up money-line backers with a plus 180 payout (paid $180 on a $100 wager). The 152 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 151-point total thanks to a meaningless Taylor King putback with just one tick left, breaking the hearts and bank accounts of ‘under’ backers.

Trevor Booker was the catalyst for the Tigers, scoring 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds. Cliff Hammonds added 17 points, while James Mayes chipped in with 16.

North Carolina (31-2 straight up, 20-10 against the spread) advanced to the finals thanks to junior All-American Tyler Hansbrough, who grabbed a loose ball and drained a 15-foot baseline jumper with 0.8 seconds left, lifting UNC to a 68-66 win over Virginia Tech.

The Hokies took the money as 11-point underdogs, while the 134 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 146-point total.

Hansbrough had 26 points and nine rebounds, while Wayne Ellington added 15 points and eight boards.

Clemson (24-8 SU, 18-11 ATS) gets a chance at some major revenge in this situation. The Tigers led North Carolina for most of both regular-season meetings, only to lose heartbreakers in overtime both times.

UNC beat Clemson for the 53rd consecutive time in Chapel Hill on Feb. 10, but the Tar Heels had to rally from a double-digit deficit just to force the extra session. Hansbrough scored 39 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to not only lead his team to victory, but also allow UNC backers to garner a miracle cover in a 103-93 win as an 8 ½-point ‘chalk.’

Hammonds scored 31 points in the losing effort.

In the previous meeting at Clemson back on Jan. 6, Roy Williams’s squad got a 3-pointer from Wayne Ellington with 0.4 seconds left in OT to give UNC a 90-88 win. The Tigers, who blew an 81-74 lead with 2:37 left in regulation, cashed tickets as 5 ½-point home underdogs.

Ellington finished with 36 points, while Hansbrough added 12 points and 14 rebounds. K.C. Rivers had a team-high 24 points in defeat.

UNC owns a 7-3 spread record as a single-digit ‘chalk’ this season. Meanwhile, Clemson is 3-2 versus the number in five games as an underdog.

The ‘over’ is 18-11 overall for UNC, 15-12-1 for Clemson. However, the ‘under’ is on an 8-4-1 roll in Clemson’s last 13 games.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened UNC as 6½-point favorite with a total of 152.

ESPN will provide television coverage at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--If there was any doubt about Virginia Tech deserving an at-large invite, it was removed not only with Friday’s convincing win over Miami, but also with the way the Hokies took UNC to the wire in the ACC semifinals. The Tar Heels were fortunate to escape with the ‘W,’ as was Clemson it its regular-season finale at home against Seth Greenberg’s team last weekend.

--My All-Time ACC Squad (12 players):
Starting Point Guard: Mark Price (Georgia Tech)
Starting Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan (UNC)
Starting Small Forward: David Thompson (N.C. St.)
Starting Power Forward: Christian Laettner (Duke)
Starting Center: Ralph Sampson (UVA)
Back-up “Big”: Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)
Back-up “Big”: Len Bias (Maryland)
Back-up Forward: James Worthy (UNC)
Back-up PG: Phil Ford (UNC)
Automatic Zone Buster: Dennis Scott (Georgia Tech)
Three-point specialist off the bench: Curtis Staples (Virginia)
Back-up Utility/Versatility: Grant Hill (Duke)

Three Alternates: Point Guard Monte Towe (N.C. St.), Zone Buster J.J. Redick (Duke) and post player Tyler Hansbrough (UNC).

--Apologies to Duke’s Bobby Hurley and Johnny Dawkins, UNC’s Sam Perkins and Kenny Smith, N.C. State’s Derrick Whittenberg and Rodney Monroe, Maryland’s Tom McMillan and John Lucas, FSU’s Sam Cassell and Wake’s Randolph Childress.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Big East - Championship
By Chris David

It’s been déjà vu at Madison Square Garden this week, with rematches galore in the Big East Tournament and Saturday’s final is no different as Georgetown (27-4 SU, 13-15 ATS) and Pittsburgh (25-9 SU, 16-13 ATS) meet in a nationally televised showdown at 9:00 p.m. EDT.

The Hoyas humbled the Panthers with a 65-42 victory in last year’s conference finals, easily covering as two-point favorites. G-Town led 32-17 at the break in the wire-to-wire victory and received a strong 18 points and 11 rebounds from Roy Hibbert. Pittsburgh didn’t help its cause in the setback, shooting a dreadful 26 percent from the field, including a 3-of-17 (17%) from downtown.

The all-Big East center, Hibbert, helped the Hoyas advance to this year’s finals after dropping a season-high 25 points and 13 rebounds in Friday’s 72-55 win against West Virginia. The effort from Hibbert was needed after the big man was held scoreless in the team’s quarterfinal win over Villanova.

“Playing favorites on a regular basis is usually the kiss of death when it comes to betting on sports, but when I do lay the wood it’s usually on a team that plays great defense and that’s what Georgetown does,” explained handicapper Matt Moore.

The Hoyas held West Virginia to 40 percent shooting from the field and frustrated the Mountaineers’ Joe Alexander, holding the junior to just 12 points.

Moore added, “If the Hoyas’ offense remains hot, which it’s been in their first two games, then I would continue to press because nobody has been able to score on them all year. Again, laying wood with a defensive-minded team is much better than wagering on an offensive juggernaut that puts defense second.”

Georgetown shot 53 percent from the field against West Virginia and has posted an eye opening 24 bombs from 3-point land in the Big East tournament.

Even though the Panthers were embarrassed by the Hoyas last year in the conference finals, they seemed to regain their confidence this year. Pittsburgh avenged the 23-point loss during the regular season on Jan. 14 with a solid 69-60 win as a one-point home ‘dog. Ronald Ramon led Pitt with 18 points and four assists, while Keith Benjamin added 18 points as well.

The Panthers will be playing in the title game for the seventh time in eight years after stifling Marquette 68-61 in the semifinals. The Golden Eagles were held to 31 percent shooting and forced into 16 turnovers. Sam Young paced Pitt with an efficient 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor. The Panthers covered as 2 ½-point underdogs, while the combined 129 points slipped ‘under’ the closing total of 135.

Pitt will be playing its fourth straight game on Saturday and fatigue could definitely be a factor. In yesterday’s win over Marquette, the school connected on just 57 percent (16-of-28) of its shots from the free throw line.

Oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com opened the Hoyas as four-point favorite, but the number has jumped to five. According to the betting trends, the public is all over Georgetown. The total is hovering at 125.

Big East Betting Notes

#   The Hoyas have gone 14-0 SU when listed as the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament.
# Pittsburgh has gone 1-5 in its previous Big East finals, only winning in 2003.
# The ‘over’ is on an 8-1 run for the Panthers.
# All three of the previous head-to-head battles between these teams have gone ‘under’ the total.
# The ‘over’ has gone 6-4 in the 10 Big East tournament games.
# Underdogs have notched a 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS mark in the conference tourney.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Championship Predictions
By Chris David

Championship Week doesn’t receive as much attention as the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, but it’s apparent that the major conference tournaments will have a very large impact on the field of 65.

Since the six BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 10) are expected to garner close to half of the 65-team field, we asked eight of our best and hottest handicappers to select winners for each league.

A lot of bettors don’t like to tie up their money in future wagers for long periods of time, but a three or four-day hold is not only smart but safe, too. Sportsbook.com has all the ODDS posted on the six major tournaments.

To no surprise, none of our handicappers believe top-ranked North Carolina will fall in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which begins Thursday. The Tar Heels are the defending ACC champions, knocking off N.C. State 89-80 in last year’s championship.
   
“It's hard to imagine anyone besides North Carolina winning this tournament. With point guard Ty Lawson back in the lineup, the Tar Heels are well deserving of their No. 1 seed. If going to Cameron Indoor Stadium last Saturday and coming home victorious is any indication, this team is in for big things this postseason,” said Jason Johnson.

Of the six conferences, UNC was the only school that was picked by all eight handicappers. Some gamblers looking to tie their money up until Sunday can purchase a ticket on the ‘Heels at 5/6 odds (Bet $60 to win $50). Considering UNC will be a favorite in every game from Charlotte, laying a $1.20 seems like a belated Christmas gift – at least to our ‘cappers.

After UNC, Kansas has received the most attention by our stable of ‘cappers.

“I’m a huge fan of the Jayhawks,” added handicapper Pat Hawkins. “They are 9-1 SU in their last 10 and you can expect to lay big numbers with this team, especially as they play in their backyard. Arthur and Rush lead the team in scoring but this Jayhawks squad is balanced. This team is very efficient offensively, ranked third in shooting percentage and are tough on defense too, allowing their opponents to muster just 38 percent shooting from the field and 61 points per game.”

The lone capper that didn’t believe in the KU hype was Jason Johnson. He stated, “In my opinion, Kansas has the easier road to the finals but once it gets there, they'll still have to beat Texas. Augustine, Abrams and James give the Longhorns a potent offense and they've already beaten Kansas once this season. I like Texas because of its unselfish play.”

The SEC Tournament has been owned by Florida (3) and Kentucky (2) the past five years, but neither the Gators nor Wildcats were picked by our ‘cappers. Not surprisingly, Tennessee was the consensus from the field.

“Head coach Bruce Pearl has this team playing very good defense and they can score with anyone in the country. As long as the shots fall, I can’t see the Volunteers falling to anybody in this tournament,” explained Tom Freese.

Even though the Vols are expected to cut down the nets in Atlanta, two of our hottest handicappers – James Manos and Marc Lawrence -- are both putting their stock into Mississippi State.

“The Bulldogs are a team with a tenacious defense and have stepped things up after starting the season 5-5. Despite ranking second nationally in defensive field goal percentage and 13th in rebounding margin, the school remains under the radar, which is right where we like them,” said Lawrence.

James Manos also likes to back tough teams come tournament time. He said, “Surprise, surprise here comes the physical team from the sissified 2008 SEC. If you want to win at tournament time, then you need to be physical and the Bulldogs are the only SEC team that can deliver this factor.”

The Bulldogs are listed at a 3/1 choice (Bet $100 to win $300) to capture the SEC at Sportsbook.com, which is the second best price behind the Volunteers (1/1).

UCLA and Louisville are also the consensus choices to capture the Pac 10 and Big East, respectively, even though a few believe Stanford and Georgetown will provide a threat.

The lone conference that had more than two schools selected was the Big Ten. Since the conference started the tournament in 1998, six different schools have cut down the nets in Chicago or this year’s venue, Indianapolis.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

North Carolina vs. Clemson: ACC tournament final preview.
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North Carolina vs.Clemson

All I have to say is that Roy Williams better be burning sacrifices to the recruiting gods for bringing him Tyler Hansbrough. The sophomore forward isn’t much to look at, but in two straight games, Hansbrough has single-handed hoisted the Tar Heels on his back and carried them to victory.

Against Virginia Tech, they really had no business winning the game after trailing for almost the entire 40 minutes in the face of Tech’s in-your-face defense, but UNC was just good enough to hang close until the end when Hansbrough made three consecutive plays that gave his team the win.

There was about one minute left when UNC was trailing by two points and Virginia Tech’s Delaney stole the ball from a North Carolina guard. Delaney was sprinting toward the basket when Hansbrough chased him down from behind and knocked the ball away. Then on the next play, Virginia Tech missed a three-pointer and it was Hansbrough who chased down the long rebound. On the final play of the game, Williams elected to let Ty Lawson take the shot, he missed it, but Hansbrough was there to get another long rebound and make the 12-foot jumper to give North Carolina the win.

The kid is amazing. But when you’re done marveling at Hansbrough’s tenacity, then you start to wonder why the No. 1 team in the country needed to be bailed out like that.

There is the possibility that this team is tired. They missed a lot of long jumpers and three-pointers, which is usually a sure sign of tired legs. Their 40 percent shooting from the field and 5-for-14 rate from three-point range isn’t really all that surprising considering the slugfest they had with Florida State on Friday.

That is definitely something to consider going into this final. Sure, they have good depth and Hansbrough’s motor will never run out of gas, but as improbable as it seems, UNC looks like a team that is fading. They may be asking themselves how bad they really need this conference championship. They’ll have to fight for a win in the final and I don’t know how much fight is left in the Tar Heels.

It probably would have worked in UNC’s favor if Duke had made it through because the rivalry and hype surrounding the matchup might have energized them. But instead they get Clemson, a team they’ve already beaten twice this year and no history between them.

Clemson, on the other hand, has a whole bunch of reasons to be motivated for this game. Their two losses to Carolina were particularly bitter because on both occasions they had the game in hand, but gave up leads before losing in overtime. You know this team is dying to make amends for those near misses and what better venue to make it right than in the ACC tournament final with an automatic bid to the Big Dance on the line?

In their win over Duke, the Tigers were relentless. They showed no signs of fatigue and they attacked from wire-to-wire on both ends of the floor. The amazing thing about this team is how many weapons they have with five players averaging more than 10 points per game. I would hate to be a Roy Williams trying to come up with a plan to stop this offense that has averaged 80 points in two ACC tournament games.

With good size and strength up front, combined with guards who can shoot from everywhere, Clemson seems to match up with North Carolina better than the undersized Blue Devils.

You take a fired up team with a chip on its shoulder and put them up against a battle-weary defending champion that has little to play for, you tell me who you like. Add to that equation that UNC’s point guard Ty Lawson’s health is in question and a dropoff in production from the bench and it looks like a great spot to take the underdog.

As Clemson coach Oliver Pernell said after the game: “right now we’re riding a lot of momentum and we’re playing as well as we’ve played all year.”

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Lakers will be without Gasol for first-place showdown in Houston
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Even the Houston Rockets acknowledge they've had some good luck during their 21-game winning streak. They are getting more heading into their biggest regular-season game in years.

Pau Gasol will sit out with a sprained left ankle when the Rockets play the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday for first place in the Western Conference. Gasol was injured in Friday's loss to New Orleans and left the arena on crutches.

X-rays were negative, but the Lakers said the 7-foot Gasol will miss at least the next three games. Gasol has averaged 19 points and eight rebounds since coming to Los Angeles from Memphis.

''Obviously, we can't run as many low-post opportunities as we had when Pau was here,'' Kobe Bryant said after practice on Saturday. ''We've got to change it up.''

Earlier in the Rockets' streak, now the second-longest in NBA history, they got to play New Orleans without David West (sprained ankle) and Dallas without Dirk Nowitzki (one-game suspension). They've also beaten 12 opponents with losing records.

The Rockets aren't apologizing for anything.

''I take solace in the fact that we are the luckiest team in, maybe, the history of NBA basketball,'' Rockets forward Shane Battier said. ''If that's our distinction, that's fine by us.''

Of course, Houston has been playing without Yao Ming, sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot on Feb. 26. That hasn't mattered yet - the Rockets have won nine straight games without him. Houston has also won its last four games without rookie forward Carl Landry, who provided valuable scoring and rebounding when Yao first got hurt. Landry has a bruised right knee and won't play Sunday, either.

The Rockets still have won 30 of their last 33 games, vaulting from the No. 10 spot in the West to a tie for first in just over two months.

''It's really unexplainable,'' said Tracy McGrady, who's averaged 26 points since Yao went out. ''This is an inspirational season for this team. If we can keep it going, it would be one of the finer accomplishments of my career.''

Houston beat Charlotte 89-80 on Friday to break a tie with the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks for the second-longest victory streak in league history. Only the 1971-72 Lakers, who won 33 in a row, are ahead of the Rockets.

Television analysts and columnists keep saying Houston still has little chance of advancing deep in the playoffs without Yao.

Bryant's 1999-2000 Lakers squad won 19 straight games on its way to the NBA championship. He dismisses skeptics who say the Rockets' streak is counterfeit.

''People who say that are the same people who said me scoring 81 was nothing because we played against the Toronto Raptors,'' Bryant said. ''It has to have meaning. Every team in the NBA is a tough team. Any time you beat an NBA team or you go on a 21-game winning streak, that's absolutely amazing.''

Lakers coach Phil Jackson guided the Chicago Bulls through an 18-game win streak in 1995-96, the season the Bulls finished 72-10. He also admires the Rockets' feat.

''There are so many different things that go into this,'' Jackson said. ''We had a streak going once and Michael Jordan got thrown out of a ballgame and suspended for the next ballgame. There's all kinds of things that go into making streaks.

''It's really a continuity of energy,'' Jackson said. ''They're doing a really good job of that.''

The Lakers won 16 of 18 games in February and early March, but they've lost two of their last three.

Bryant said Los Angeles should study how the Rockets are winning - by chasing down loose balls, deflecting passes and playing with more energy than every opponent.

''This is a team that plays really hard,'' Bryant said. ''They do a lot of the hustle plays, do a lot of the dirty work. That's something we have to learn how to do in terms of winning the hustle points, taking charges and things that don't show up in the box score.''

McGrady said Sunday's matchup could be the biggest regular-season game in his four seasons with Houston. He believes the Rockets can go into every game thinking not about the streak, but pushing closer to a favorable postseason seed.

''We're playing for first place,'' said the seven-time All-Star. ''We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish as far as standing alone in second place or winning 21 straight games. Now, we can concentrate on trying to seed ourselves in the playoffs faster.''

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Rockets put streak on line against Lakers

Houston has won 21 games in a row but begins a stretch of games against L.A., Boston, New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix.

While the streak continued for Houston two days ago, another came to an end.

The Rockets extended their string of victories to 21 with an 89-80 decision over visiting Charlotte on Friday night, but the second-hottest team in NBA history did not cover the point spread for the first time in more than a month.

According to the website Vegasinsider.com, Houston was a 10-point favorite over the Bobcats, meaning the Rockets failed to cover the number for the first time since they defeated Sacramento, 89-87, in Texas on Feb. 13.

Winners of 20 of 33 against the spread at home, the Rockets will play host this afternoon to the Lakers, who are 22-11 versus the number on the road. Another victory and the Rockets would be two-thirds of the way to equaling the league record of 33 consecutive wins set by L.A. during the 1971-72 season.

After the Lakers, Houston has games in succession with Boston, New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix. If the streak remains intact after that stretch, then the talk will become serious about the Rockets doing what Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and their supporting cast accomplished some 36 years ago.

The website Racebook.com is offering future wagers on potential NBA Finals matchups, and the favorite is one many fans would love to see in June. Boston and the Lakers are the current 2-1 choice, followed by the Celtics and San Antonio at 4-1. A Detroit-Los Angeles final is 9-2.

The possibility of a Finals pitting the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Cleveland's LeBron James is 9-1. A rematch of last year's championship series -- something few want to see given how one-sided it was in 2007 -- featuring defending titlist San Antonio and the Cavaliers is 15-1.

Some more-unlikely scenarios where the Lakers would be the Western Conference representative include Orlando (25-1), Toronto (35-1), Washington (50-1), Atlanta (100-1) and Chicago or New Jersey (125-1).

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

ACC TOURNAMENT
(at Charlotte, N.C.)

Clemson (23-9, 18-11 ATS) vs. (1) North Carolina (31-2, 20-10 ATS)

Top-seeded North Carolina (16-2, 9-9 ATS in conference) barely held off Virginia Tech in the conference semifinals Saturday, winning 68-66 on a Tyler Hansbrough putback in the final second. The Tar Heels, who topped Florida State 82-70 in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup, have now won 10 in a row, but they are just 4-6 ATS in that span, including 1-4 ATS in their last five and 0-2 ATS in this tournament.

Clemson (12-6, 11-7 ATS in conference) ended a 22-game losing skid to Duke at the perfect time, eliminating the Blue Devils 78-74 in Saturday’s other semifinal as a 4½-point underdog to reach the tournament finals for the first time since 1962. The third-seeded Tigers, who were coming off an 82-48 rout of Boston College on Friday as a nine-point chalk, are 7-2 SU in their last nine starts (6-3 ATS), all in ACC action.

The SU winner is now 12-1 ATS in Clemson’s last 13 starts.

North Carolina is on an 8-0 tear in this series (5-3 ATS), all as a favorite. These two played a couple of thrillers in the regular season, with both games going to overtime. The Tar Heels took a 90-88 road win laying 5½ points and a 103-93 win at home giving 8½ points. Hansbrough, the likely national Player of the Year, was the catalyst in both victories, combining for 53 points and 27 rebounds.

With Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels improved to a perfect 17-0 on the highway (10-7 ATS), including a 5-0 neutral-site mark (3-2 ATS). They are on additional positive pointspread runs of 41-21 overall and 18-9 after a SU win. On the downside, UNC has failed to cash in five of its last seven postseason games and is 2-8-1 ATS in its last 11 ACC tournament contests (0-3 ATS in the last three).

The Tigers are 3-1 ATS at neutral venues this year and 5-1 ATS in their last six postseason outings. Also, Saturday’s win and cover broke an eight-game stretch of Clemson alternating ATS wins and losses on the road.

Both regular-season meetings between these teams topped the total, and the over is 20-11 in UNC’s last 31 conference games and 5-1 in Clemson’s last six at neutral venues.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEMSON and OVER


BIG 12 TOURNAMENT
(at Kansas City, Mo.)

(6) Texas (28-5, 15-12 ATS) vs. (5) Kansas (30-3, 17-14 ATS)

Second-seeded Kansas (15-3, 8-10 ATS in conference) was deadlocked with Texas A&M at halftime Saturday but came away with a 77-71 victory in the tourney semifinals, though it failed to cover as a 10½-point chalk. The Jayhawks have won six in a row, but they’ve split the cash in those contests, going 0-2 ATS in the tournament after failing to cover a 14-point spread in Friday’s 10-point win over Nebraska.

Prior to Kansas’ battle with Texas A&M, top-seeded Texas (15-3, 9-8 ATS in conference) put the hammer to Oklahoma in a 77-49 rout laying 5½ points to halt an 0-4 ATS slide. The Longhorns, who outscored the Sooners 41-20 in the second half, have won 12 of their last 13 (8-4 ATS), all within the conference, including an 8-0 ATS run prior to its recent four-game pointspread skid.

These conference rivals are colliding in the Big 12 final for the third straight year, with Kansas having won the previous two clashes. Last year, the Jayhawks held on 88-84 in overtime, but Texas cashed as a six-point pup. In fact, the ‘Horns are on a 3-0 ATS run in this series (1-2 SU), including a 72-69 home victory on Feb. 11 as a 5½-point ‘dog. Texas also covered a 9½-point spread in an 88-84 loss at Lawrence, Kan., in last year’s regular-season finale.

The Jayhawks are now 11-2 SU in their last 13 postseason contests, but they are just 5-8 ATS in that stretch. They also enter the championship game mired in ATS funks of 3-7 overall and 1-8 away from home, all in Big 12 play.

On the flip side, the Longhorns are 6-1 SU and ATS in their last seven outside of Austin, after starting the season 3-4 ATS in road/neutral-site contests. Also, Texas is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 as an underdog (5-1 ATS this season). One negative for the ‘Horns: Despite Saturday’s rout, they’re just 4-8 ATS in their last 12 conference tourney matchups.

Underdogs are 5-1 ATS in the last two rounds of this tournament, after favorites went 3-1 ATS in Thursday’s opening round.

The under is on streaks of 6-2 for Texas overall (3-0 last three), 5-2 for Kansas on the highway and 4-1 for Kansas at neutral sites. On the flip side, the over is on runs of 4-2 for the Jayhawks overall and 5-1-1 for the Jayhawks against winning teams. Finally, the over has been the play in each of the last two title matchups between these schools.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TEXAS and OVER


SEC TOURNAMENT
(at Atlanta)

Arkansas (22-10, 11-15-1 ATS) vs. Georgia (16-16, 15-13 ATS)

Georgia (7-12 in conference) became the first sixth-seed to advance to the SEC tournament final since 1992 in the most unprecedented, improbable fashion on Saturday, winning two games in the span of 10 hours. After Friday’s quarterfinal game against Kentucky was postponed because a tornado damaged the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs had to wake up early to face the Wildcats at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, and they pulled off a 60-56 upset win in overtime as a four-point underdog. Then Georgia came back hours later and outlasted third-seeded Mississippi State 64-60 as a 10-point underdog.

The Bulldogs, who had just three SEC victories in the regular season, have won three games in this tournament by a total of 10 points, also needing overtime on Friday to upset Ole Miss 97-95 as a five-point pup. Georgia came into the SEC tourney on a 2-11 slide (5-8 ATS).

Arkansas (11-7, 7-10-1 ATS in conference) almost certainly clinched an NCAA Tournament berth by stunning top-seeded and fourth-ranked Tennessee 92-91 as a six-point underdog in Saturday’s other semifinal game. The Razorbacks, who knocked off 18th-ranked Vanderbilt 81-75 on Friday in a pick-em contest, made a turnaround jump shot with 5.3 seconds remaining to get the win.

Arkansas has won three straight games and four of five since a 1-4 slump. However, the Razorbacks are still just 3-6-1 ATS in their last 10.

These teams met once in the regular season, and Georgia ripped the Razorbacks 82-69 as a one-point home favorite. Following that victory, the Bulldogs embarked on their season-ending 2-11 slump. Georgia has won the last two meetings after losing the previous two, and the winner has cashed in all four of those contests.

Georgia is 7-2 ATS in its last eight games as an underdog, and underdogs are 8-1 ATS in non-pick-em games in this year’s SEC tournament. Also, the Dawgs have won and covered four straight road games, and they’re 6-2 ATS in their last eight as a visitor.

Although it has cashed the last two days, Arkansas is still 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven outside Fayetteville (2-5 SU).

For Arkansas, the over is on runs of 7-3 overall, 8-2 in postseason play (2-0 in this event) and 7-2 as an underdog. Georgia stayed under the total in both of its games yesterday, and the under is 4-1 in the Dawgs’ last five. However, the over is still 15-8 in Georgia’s last 21 neutral-site contests, and the over is 7-3 in the 10 SEC tournament games this season.

ATS ADVANTAGE: GEORGIA


BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
(at Indianapolis)

Illinois (16-18, 14-19-1 ATS) vs. (8) Wisconsin (28-4, 16-13 ATS)

Wisconsin (18-2 in conference, 11-9 ATS) ran its winning streak to nine and reached it second consecutive Big Ten tournament championship game with Saturday’s come-from-behind 65-63 victory over Michigan State. The top-seeded Badgers, who shared the league’s regular-season crown with Purdue, erased a 12-point second-half deficit against the Spartans and won the game at the foul line, making 26 free throws in 37 attempts, while Michigan State went 14-for-19 from the charity stripe.

The Badgers, who led the NCAA in scoring defense in the regular season, had held seven consecutive opponents to 57 points or fewer before giving up 63 on Saturday.

Illinois’ improbable run to the Big Ten title game came courtesy of three straight narrow victories in as many days, including Saturday’s 54-50 triumph over Minnesota as a two-point favorite – the team’s 20th consecutive win over the Golden Gophers. In Thursday’s opening-round game, the Illini (8-13, 10-11 ATS in conference) needed a layup with less than three seconds to play to get past Penn State 64-63, then needed overtime to upset Purdue 74-67 as a five-point underdog in Friday’s semifinal.

Illinois, which didn’t win consecutive Big Ten games all season prior to this week, has won four in a row for the first time all season. Also, the Illini have followed up a 1-6 ATS slump by going 4-2 ATS in their last six. The straight-up winner is 13-1 ATS in their last 14 contests.

The Badgers swept the regular-season series, winning 70-60 at home, coming up short as a 10½-point favorite, and 71-57 on the road as a one-point underdog. Also, Wisconsin’s journey to last year’s tournament final included a 53-41 victory over the Illini as a six-point favorite in the semifinals. The Badgers have followed a four-game losing streak to Illinois (1-3 ATS) with four straight victories in this rivalry (3-1 ATS).

Wisconsin is on an 8-0 roll (7-1 ATS) as a visitor (all in conference) and is 12-1 in its last 13 on the highway (10-3 ATS). However, the Badgers are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last four postseason games, including last year’s 66-49 loss to Ohio State as a two-point pup in the Big Ten tourney finale.

The Illini are 6-2 SU in neutral-site games this year (5-3 ATS). However, despite the results the last three days, Illinois is still on ATS slides of 9-24 after a SU win, 2-4 as an underdog and 1-5 following a postseason ATS win.

Wisconsin had a 5-0 “under” streak end when Saturday’s contest against Michigan State flew over the posted price. Also, the under is 42-23-2 in the Illini’s last 67 games when coming off a victory. However, both series meetings between these teams cleared the posted price.

ATS ADVANTAGE: WISCONSIN

NBA

New Orleans (44-20, 39-24-1 ATS) at Detroit (47-18, 35-29-1 ATS)

The Hornets, this season’s biggest surprise in the Western Conference, head east to take on the Pistons inside the Palace at Auburn Hills.

New Orleans is just one-half game behind the Lakers and Rockets in the race for the top record in the Western Conference after beating Los Angeles 108-98 on Friday as a two-point home ‘dog. The Hornets have won five of their last six SU and ATS, with the only loss coming in Houston to the red-hot Rockets.

Detroit comes into this one off an 84-80 home win over the Spurs, narrowly cashing as three-point favorites. The spread-cover was the first for the Pistons in their last six games (4-2 SU), and they’re just 12-20 ATS after going 18-1-1 ATS in their previous 20 games.

Earlier this season, the Pistons went to New Orleans and shut down the Hornets 91-76, getting the cash as a one-point road ‘dog. However, last year Byron Scott’s squad scored a 100-99 upset in the Motor City as 7½-point pups, and the visitor is on a 5-0 ATS run in this rivalry. Finally, the Pistons are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings overall, and the straight-up winner is 9-1 ATS in the last 10.

Detroit is 18-13 ATS at home this season, but 2-4 ATS in the last six. Also, the Pistons enjoy the Sunday spotlight (7-2 ATS in their last nine) and they like facing Southwest Division teams (8-1-1 ATS in the last 10). Meanwhile, New Orleans is on ATS streaks of 20-8 after a victory, 5-1 when playing on one day of rest and 7-3 against the Eastern Conference, but the Hornets have failed to cash in four of their last five on the highway.

The under is 6-3 in the last nine series clashes and 14-2 in Detroit’s last 16 against Southwest Division squads. Meanwhile, the over is 19-9-1 in the Hornets’ last 29 against Central Division foes and 5-2 in the last five series clashes in Detroit.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


L.A. Lakers (45-20, 39-25-1 ATS) at Houston (45-20, 39-25-1 ATS)


The Rockets put their 21-game winning streak on the line and look to take over the top spot in the Western Conference playoff race when they host the Lakers inside the Toyota Center.

Houston’s 21-game streak (18-3 ATS) is the second-longest in NBA history. The streak continued with Friday night’s 89-80 home victory over the Bobcats, but Houston came up a bit short as a 10-point favorite, ending a 12-game ATS winning streak. The Rockets have been getting it done with defense lately, not allowing an opponent to hit triple digits in 11 straight games (10-1 ATS) and holding the opposition to 84.4 points and 39 percent shooting in the last five (4-1 ATS).

Despite Friday’s non-cover against Charlotte, Rick Adelman’s club is still 12-2 ATS in its last 14 at home and 35-16-1 ATS in its last 52 overall. One negative for the Rockets: they’re 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Pacific Division.

The Lakers have lost two of their last three (0-3 ATS) to fall back into a tie for the West’s top spot with Houston. Los Angeles went to New Orleans on Friday and fell 108-98 as a two-point road favorite. It was the first time in eight games that Phil Jackson’s team failed to reach the century mark on offense.

Friday’s non-cover in New Orleans aside, Los Angeles is still 19-7-1 ATS in its last 27 on the highway. The Lakers are also 4-0 ATS in their last four as an underdog, but 0-4-1 ATS in their last five against the Southwest Division.

These two have split the first two meetings this season, with the visitor prevailing each time. Houston opened the season on Oct. 30 with a 95-93 win in Los Angeles but failed to cover as a 5½-point road chalk. The Lakers returned the favor on Nov. 14 with a 93-90 win in Houston, cashing as 6½-point ‘dogs. Los Angeles is 6-2 ATS (5-3 SU) in the last eight series matchups overall and 6-1 ATS in its last seven trips to the Toyota Center. Finally, the straight-up winner is 9-1 ATS in the last 10.

The under has been the play in three of the last four head-to-head clashes, is 3-0 in the Rockets’ last three overall and 6-2 in Los Angeles’ last eight Sunday tip-offs. However the over is 5-2 in the Lakers’ last seven overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: HOUSTON

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New Orleans Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons

- The fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills will be treated to a game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Detroit Pistons when they take their seats on Sunday.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

Chris Paul was good for 27 points and 17 assists on Friday night as New Orleans picked up a 108-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers had been favored by 1.5 points on the road in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the night's posted total (209.5).

Richard Hamilton had 25 points on Friday night as the Pistons held on for an 84-80 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Pistons just managed to cover the 3.5-point spread on that night, while the combined score fell UNDER the game's posted total (175).

Current streak:
New Orleans has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
New Orleans: 44-20 SU, 39-24-1 ATS
Detroit: 47-18 SU, 35-29-1 ATS

New Orleans most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 6-4
Before playing Chicago are 3-7
After playing LA Lakers are 2-8
After a win are 7-3

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 9-1
Before playing Denver are 7-3
After playing San Antonio are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
New Orleans is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
New Orleans is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of New Orleans's last 11 games when playing on the road against Detroit
New Orleans is 18-7 ATS in its last 25 games when playing on the road against Detroit
Detroit is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing New Orleans
Detroit is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games at home
Detroit is 18-5 SU in its last 23 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Detroit's last 11 games when playing at home against New Orleans

Next up:
New Orleans home to Chicago, Monday, March 17
Detroit home to Denver, Tuesday, March 18

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

- The Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets will both be gunning for a victory on Sunday when they meet at Toyota Center.

Oddsmakers currently have the Rockets listed as 4-point favorites versus the Lakers, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Kobe Bryant poured in a game-high 36 points in the Lakers' 108-98 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

The Lakers had been favored by 1.5 points on the road in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the night's posted total (209.5).

The red-hot Rockets continued to win on Friday night, knocking off the Charlotte Bobcats by a final score of 89-80.

The Rockets failed to cover the 10.5-point spread at home in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total (195).

Current streak:
Houston has won 21 straight games.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 45-20 SU, 39-25-1 ATS
Houston: 45-20 SU, 38-25-2 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 9-1
Before playing Dallas are 3-7
After playing New Orleans are 6-4
After a loss are 8-2

Houston most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 5-5
Before playing Boston are 6-4
After playing Charlotte are 4-3
After a win are 10-0

A few trends to consider:
LA Lakers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on the road against Houston
LA Lakers are 14-3 SU in their last 17 games
LA Lakers are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games on the road
LA Lakers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games on the road
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Houston is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games
Houston is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games at home

Next up:
LA Lakers at Dallas, Tuesday, March 18
Houston home to Boston, Tuesday, March 18

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat

- The Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat will both be trying to pick up a win on Sunday when they battle at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points on Friday night to lead the Mavericks to a 116-97 win over the visiting Indiana Pacers.

The Mavs managed to cover the big 13.5-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the game's posted total (212).

Jason Williams was the bright spot for Miami with 34 points in their 103-94 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

The Magic failed to cover the 11.5-point spread on the road in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total (204).

Current streak:
Dallas has won 4 straight games.
Miami has lost 7 straight games.

Team records:
Dallas: 43-23 SU, 29-33-4 ATS
Miami: 11-53 SU, 23-40-1 ATS

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 9-1
Before playing LA Lakers are 9-1
After playing Indiana are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

Miami most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 5-5
Before playing Milwaukee are 5-5
After playing Orlando are 6-4
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
Dallas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Dallas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Dallas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Dallas's last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Miami's last 10 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games at home
Miami is 4-1-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Dallas

Next up:
Dallas home to LA Lakers, Tuesday, March 18
Miami at Milwaukee, Tuesday, March 18

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

- The Charlotte Bobcats and the Cleveland Cavaliers will both be gunning for a victory on Sunday when they meet at Quicken Loans Arena.

Oddsmakers currently have the Cavaliers listed as 7½-point favorites versus the Bobcats, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Jason Richardson had a team-high 28 points in Charlotte's 89-80 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

The Rockets failed to cover the 10.5-point spread at home in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total (195).

LeBron James led Cleveland with 25 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in its 101-99 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

Washington won as 3.5-point home favorites as the teams played over the 194-point total listed by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Charlotte has lost 2 straight games.
Cleveland has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Charlotte: 24-41 SU, 28-35-2 ATS
Cleveland: 37-29 SU, 32-34 ATS

Charlotte most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 3-6
Before playing Memphis are 1-6
After playing Houston are 2-5
After a loss are 2-8

Cleveland most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 3-7
Before playing Orlando are 7-3
After playing Washington are 7-3
After a loss are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
Charlotte is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games
Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte's last 5 games when playing Cleveland
Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Charlotte
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Cleveland's last 7 games at home
Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
Charlotte at Memphis, Monday, March 17
Cleveland at Orlando, Monday, March 17

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks

- The Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks will both be trying to pick up a win on Sunday when they battle at Madison Square Garden.

Oddsmakers currently have the Hawks listed as 2-point favorites versus the Knicks, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Joe Johnson had a game-high 28 points on Friday to lead the Hawks to a 117-93 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Hawks managed to cover the 10-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the night's posted total (197.5).

The Knicks overame a sluggish fourth quarter to defeat the Heat 91-88 last time out. The Knicks covered the 3-point spread on the road, while the combined 179 points fell UNDER the posted total of 194.5.

Zach Randolph led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double for the Knicks, and Jamal Crawford netted a team-high 23 points in the win.

Team records:
Atlanta: 27-38 SU, 30-35 ATS
New York: 19-46 SU, 30-34-1 ATS

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 3-7
Before playing Washington are 5-5
After playing LA Clippers are 4-6
After a win are 4-6

New York most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 2-8
Before playing Indiana are 5-5
After playing Miami are 2-8
After a win are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Atlanta's last 12 games when playing New York
Atlanta is 7-17 SU in its last 24 games when playing New York
Atlanta is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
New York is 15-1 SU in its last 16 games when playing at home against Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 6 of New York's last 7 games at home
New York is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games when playing at home against Atlanta
New York is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Atlanta

Next up:
Atlanta at Washington, Monday, March 17
New York at Indiana, Monday, March 17

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Seattle SuperSonics vs. Denver Nuggets

- The division rival Seattle SuperSonics and Denver Nuggets are set to renew hostilities on Sunday when they meet at Pepsi Center.

Oddsmakers currently have the Nuggets listed as 16½-point favorites versus the SuperSonics, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Kevin Durant poured in 24 points in Seattle's 121-116 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

The Sonics had been favored by 1.5 points at home in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the night's posted total (201.5).

Allen Iverson's 28 points led the way Friday as the Nuggets cruised to a 137-105 home win over the Toronto Raptors.

The Nuggets easily covered the 8.5-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the night's posted total (219.5).

Current streak:
Seattle has lost 7 straight games.
Denver has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Seattle: 16-50 SU, 32-33-1 ATS
Denver: 39-26 SU, 34-31 ATS

Seattle most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 6-4
Before playing Phoenix are 5-5
After playing Minnesota are 4-6
After a loss are 1-9

Denver most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 5-5
Before playing Detroit are 2-8
After playing Toronto are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Seattle's last 10 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Seattle's last 5 games when playing Denver
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Seattle's last 9 games when playing on the road against Denver
Seattle is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games on the road
Denver is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Denver is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Denver's last 6 games
Denver is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Seattle

Next up:
Seattle home to Phoenix, Wednesday, March 19
Denver at Detroit, Tuesday, March 18

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings

- The Toronto Raptors and the Sacramento Kings will both be gunning for a victory on Sunday when they meet at ARCO Arena.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

Anthony Parker was good for 19 points in Toronto's 137-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

The Nuggets easily covered the 8.5-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the night's posted total (219.5).

Ron Artest led the way for Sacramento with 26 points and nine boards in its 127-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Phoenix covered as 9-point home favorites as the game played under the 228-point total posted by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Toronto has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Toronto: 34-31 SU, 35-30 ATS
Sacramento: 29-36 SU, 33-31-1 ATS

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 3-7
Before playing Utah are 4-6
After playing Denver are 1-9
After a loss are 6-4

Sacramento most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 2-8
Before playing Golden State are 7-3
After playing Phoenix are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games when playing Sacramento
Toronto is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Sacramento
Toronto is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Sacramento
Sacramento is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Toronto
Sacramento is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games when playing at home against Toronto
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Sacramento's last 5 games when playing Toronto
The total has gone OVER in 12 of Sacramento's last 16 games at home

Next up:
Toronto at Utah, Monday, March 17
Sacramento home to Golden State, Tuesday, March 18

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.16

NCAAB

CLEMSON (23 - 8) vs. N CAROLINA (30 - 2)
Top Trends for this game.
N CAROLINA is 19-9 ATS (+9.1 Units) in all games this season.
N CAROLINA is 19-9 ATS (+9.1 Units) in all lined games this season.
N CAROLINA is 24-10 ATS (+13.0 Units) when the total is 150 to 159.5 over the last 3 seasons.
N CAROLINA is 18-9 ATS (+8.1 Units) as a favorite this season.
N CAROLINA is 17-5 ATS (+11.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
N CAROLINA is 3-1 against the spread versus CLEMSON over the last 3 seasons
N CAROLINA is 4-0 straight up against CLEMSON over the last 3 seasons
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


KANSAS (29 - 3) vs. TEXAS (27 - 5)
Top Trends for this game.
TEXAS is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 77+ points/game after 15+ games over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
TEXAS is 4-1 against the spread versus KANSAS over the last 3 seasons
KANSAS is 3-2 straight up against TEXAS over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


ILLINOIS (15 - 18) vs. WISCONSIN (27 - 4)
Top Trends for this game.
ILLINOIS is 24-39 ATS (-18.9 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
ILLINOIS is 24-39 ATS (-18.9 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.
ILLINOIS is 13-26 ATS (-15.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
WISCONSIN is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) in road games against conference opponents this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
WISCONSIN is 3-2 against the spread versus ILLINOIS over the last 3 seasons
WISCONSIN is 4-1 straight up against ILLINOIS over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


TX-ARLINGTON (20 - 11) vs. NORTHWESTERN ST (15 - 17) - 3/16/2008, 1:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
NORTHWESTERN ST is 4-0 straight up against TX-ARLINGTON over the last 3 seasons

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