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Sunday's Tip Sheet

Sunday's Tip Sheet

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

The NBA Playoffs continue Sunday with a quartet of games. Phoenix might get sent packing early if it doesn't dodge a sweep against San Antonio. Also, Detroit is in dire need of a win in the City of Brotherly Love. To the games...

**Cavs at Wizards**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Washington (44-41 straight up, 47-38 against the spread) as a 4½-point favorite with a total of 191. As of Saturday afternoon, most spots had the Wizards at four with the total down to 190. Bettors can back the Cavs on the money line for a plus 160 return (risk $100 to win $160).

--Cleveland (47-38 SU, 39-46 ATS) pulled a total no-show in a humiliating 108-72 loss in Game 3. Nevertheless, the Cavs can still go home with a 3-1 series advantage if they can take Game 4.

--Eddie Jordan’s squad easily took the cash as a 5 ½-point ‘chalk’ in Thursday’s clubbing of Cleveland. Deshawn Stevenson drained 5-of-7 shots from 3-point land en route to a team-high 19 points. Roger Mason erupted for 18 points off the bench, while Caron Butler added 17. LeBron James had 22 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.

--Washington owns a 26-16 SU record and 23-19 ATS mark at home. Meanwhile, Cleveland is only 18-24 SU on the road, but it has mustered a decent 22-20 spread mark.

--Washington guard Gilbert Arenas only played 10 minutes in Game 3 due to a knee injury. Arenas, who is also nursing a sore wrist, is expected to play in Game 4 but his minutes are most likely going to be limited.

--The ‘under’ is on an 8-1 run for the Cavs. On the flip side, the ‘over’ has hit at a 13-3 clip in the Wizards’ last 16 home games.

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

**Spurs at Suns**

--San Antonio (59-26 SU, 39-44 ATS) took a commanding 3-0 series lead by going into Phoenix on Friday night and dealing out woodshed treatment in the form of a 115-99 beatdown. The Spurs covered the number as seven-point underdogs, hooking up money-line backers with a payout in the plus 240 range. The 214 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 196½-point total.

--Tony Parker was the catalyst yet again in Game 3, scoring 41 points to go with 12 assists and five rebounds. Simply put, the Suns have nobody who can defend Parker, who lightning quick off the dribble. Tim Duncan added 23 points and 10 rebounds.

--LVSC opened Phoenix (55-30 SU, 40-42 ATS) as a three-point favorite with a total of 199. As of Saturday afternoon, most books have the Suns at four with the total bet up to 201.

--The ‘over’ has cashed in all three games of this series thanks to the following scoring outputs: 232, 198 and 214.

--Mike D’Antoni’s club has a 30-12 SU record and 19-22 ATS mark at home.

--Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

**Pistons at 76ers**

--I’m still irate with myself for not backing Philadelphia in Game 3 on Friday night. The line was four or 4½ most of Friday afternoon, only to shoot up to six at a lot of books in the hour or so before tip-off. The 76ers didn’t need the points and could’ve covered a ‘chalky’ number, as they thumped Detroit by a 95-75 count. Samuel Dalembert scored 22 points and pulled down 16 boards, while Andre Miller with 21 points.

--Philadelphia (42-43 SU, 45-37 ATS) wasn’t even expected to make the playoffs this season, yet it has a 2-1 series lead over the second-seeded Pistons, who are in danger of failing to make the East finals for the first time in six seasons.

--Detroit (60-25 SU, 46-38 ATS) is getting outworked at both ends of the floor from an effort standpoint. Rasheed Wallace was a complete no-show in Game 3, scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. Chauncey Billups wasn’t much better, missing nine of 11 attempts and scoring just 11 points.

--Detroit is 25-17 SU and 19-22 ATS on the road this year. As for the 76ers, they are 23-19 SU and 21-19-2 ATS at home.

--The ‘under’ is 24-18 in Philly’s home games, 22-20 for the Pistons on the road.

--The ‘under’ is on a 7-1 run in Detroit’s last eight road outings.

--Most spots are listing the Pistons as 5 ½-point favorites with a total of 180. Gamblers can take the 76ers on the money line for a plus 210 return.

--TNT will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. ET.

**Hornets at Mavs**

--Facing an 0-2 deficit in its return home Friday, Dallas (52-33 SU, 36-45 ATS) responded by taking out New Orleans 97-87 as a 5 ½-point favorite. Dirk Nowitzki was brilliant, scoring 32 points, pulling down 19 rebounds and dishing out six assists. Jason Terry chipped in with 22 points.

--Chris Paul, who had absolutely dominated in Games 1 and 2 back in the Crescent City, made only 4-of-18 shots and finished with 16 points and 10 assists. Give credit to Dallas guard Jason Kidd for stepping up his play on the defensive end.

--New Orleans (58-27 SU, 52-31 ATS) has lost all three of its games at Dallas this year by nine points or more. The Mavs beat the Hornets by the following scores in the regular season: 89-80 and 111-98.

--Avery Johnson’s team is 35-7 SU and 18-20-4 ATS at home. On the other hand, New Orleans is 26-16 SU and 24-16-2 ATS on the road.

--The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these teams, but the ‘under’ is 8-1 in the last nine games they’ve played against each other in Dallas.

--Most books have installed the Mavs as 5 ½-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 195 ½. The Hornets are plus 200 on the money line. Tip-off on TNT is slated for 9:30 p.m. Eastern. 

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--I was watching the Raptors play at Atlanta earlier this season on a night when T.J. Ford absolutely lit it up. Unfortunately, Ford took a hard foul (but not a cheap shot) from Al Horford late in the game and lay motionless on the court for about 10 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher. It was tough to watch live. But with that in mind, it’s so good to see Ford back at 100 percent, penetrating at will off the dribble against Orlando.

--Despite Ford’s strong play, Orlando took a 3-1 series lead over Toronto thanks to its fourth-quarter domination triggered by Jameer Nelson, who had 12 of his 18 points in the final stanza. The Magic won outright as two-point underdogs, hooking up money-line backers with a plus 120 payout. Rashard Lewis paced Orlando with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Dwight Howard added 19 points and 16 boards.

--Toronto’s Chris Bosh was magnificent in defeat, scoring a game-high 39 points to go with 15 rebounds.

--Atlanta was completely outclassed in a pair of blowout losses at Boston to start their best-of-seven series. But on Saturday in Game 3, the Hawks shocked the Celtics 102-93 thanks to brilliant play from Josh Smith and Al Horford. Smith, who made only 6-of-23 shots in Games 1 and 2 in Boston, scored 27 points thanks to a six-pack of super-sick dunks. The fourth-year player also had nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one blocked shot. Horford finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Gamblers backing Atlanta on the money line won a payout as high as plus 400 at some books. The 195 combined points went 'over' the 188 1/2-point total.

--Mike Bibby bounced back Saturday after getting dominated by Rajon Rondo in Boston. Bibby had only two assists (total) in Beantown, but he dished out eight compared to just two turnovers in the upset at Philips Arena.

--Utah took a 3-1 series lead with Saturday's 86-82 win over Houston. However, the Rockets took the cash as 8 1/2-point underdogs, while 'under' backers cashed tickets on the 186-point total.

--I see changes galore coming in Denver this off-season. The (lack of) effort in Game 3 was pathetic.

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Re: Sunday's Tip Sheet



(4) Cleveland (47-38, 39-46 ATS) at (5) Washington (44-41, 47-38 ATS)

Having finally ended a long playoff losing skid to the Cavaliers, the Wizards now try to make it two in a row and even this best-of-7 series at 2-2 when they host Cleveland inside the Verizon Center.

Washington rebounded from an ugly 30-point loss at Cleveland in Game 2 by pounding the Cavs 108-72, easily cashing as a five-point home favorite. The Wizards shot 52 percent from the field (going 8-for-19 on three-pointers), held Cleveland to 39.7 percent shooting (including 2-for-16 from three-point land), forced 23 turnovers and outscored the Cavs by at least 10 points in each of the final three quarters.

With the Game 3 win, Washington not only snapped a three-game SU and ATS slide going back to the end of the regular season, but it ended an eight-game playoff losing streak to the Cavaliers, who have eliminated the Wizards each of the last two postseasons. Cleveland is still 6-3 ATS in the last nine playoff battles. Also, the home team has won seven in a row in this rivalry, and the favorite is 7-2 ATS in the last nine clashes.

Despite winning the first two games of this series, the Cavs are still only 7-8 in their last 15 games since mid-March (5-10 ATS). Also, Cleveland is just 3-10 in its last 13 road games (5-8 ATS).

For the season, Cleveland still holds a 4-3 SU and ATS lead against Washington this year, with the home team winning all seven contests (5-2 ATS). Finally, the favorite in this rivalry is on a 7-2 ATS run (playoffs included)

The Cavaliers are still 4-1 ATS in their last five first-round playoff games – all against Washington – and are 12-6 ATS in their last 18 as a playoff underdog and 31-16 ATS in their last 47 as a road pup. However, they carry negative ATS trends of 2-6 against teams with a winning record and 1-5 after a pointspread win.

The Wizards are on negative ATS runs of 2-4 against winning teams and 3-5 as a home favorite. On the bright side, they’re 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games played on two days’ rest and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 as a home chalk of five to 10½ points.

The under is 2-1 in this series and is on runs for Cleveland of 8-1 overall, 5-0 as an underdog, 6-0 as a pup of 5 to 10½ points, 14-3 as a playoff ‘dog and 47-22 on Sundays. On the flip side, for Washington, the over is on streaks of 13-3 at the Verizon Center, including 11-1 as a home chalk, 9-5 overall, 22-9 against the East and 6-4 in the playoffs (all against Cleveland). Finally, the over is 6-3 in the last eight clashes between these rivals in Washington.


(2) Detroit (60-25, 46-38-1 ATS) at (7) Philadelphia (42-43, 45-37-3 ATS)

The 76ers, who entered this best-of-7 series as a heavy underdog, looks to take a commanding 3-1 series lead when they host the Pistons in Game 4 at the Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia bounced back from a 17-point Game 2 loss in Detroit with Friday’s 95-75 rout of the Pistons, cashing as a 5½-point home underdog. It was just the second win in the Sixers’ last seven games both SU and ATS, while the Pistons fell to 5-2 SU and ATS in its last seven. The winner has cashed in each team’s last 11 games.

Philly is now 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS against the Pistons this season, including 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five meetings. Also, despite Friday’s outcome, the favorite in this rivalry is on a 13-7-1 ATS roll, and the road team is 8-4 ATS in the last 12 matchups.

Detroit, which has now lost six of its last seven playoff games, is in the midst of negative ATS trends of 6-12-1 in the playoffs (1-6 ATS last seven), 6-17-1 as a playoff chalk (1-8 last nine as a playoff favorite), 3-8 against the Atlantic Division, 4-11 as a road favorite and 2-8 overall on the highway.

Philadelphia remains on positive ATS runs of 15-7-1 as a pup, 9-3 against the Central Division and 7-1 as a home ‘dog of less than five. However, the Sixers are just 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 playoff games as an underdog, 6-11-3 ATS in their last 20 in conference quarterfinal games, 4-7 ATS in their last 11 when catching less than five points and 2-4 ATS in their past six at home.

For Detroit, the under is on streaks of 11-4 overall, 10-3 as a favorite, 13-3 against the East, 5-0 as a road chalk and 7-1 on the highway. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has seen the over-under alternate in its last 10 contests overall, and the under is 5-1 in its last six at home.



(3) San Antonio (59-26, 39-44-2) at (6) Phoenix (55-30, 40-42-3 ATS)

What was supposed to be the most competitive and compelling first-round playoff series in recent memory has turned into a one-sided affair, as the defending champion Spurs carry a 3-0 lead in today’s contest at the US Airways Center.

After escaping with two close wins at home, San Antonio went to Phoenix on Friday and pushed the Suns around all night, leading wire-to-wire in a 115-99 upset victory as a 7½-point road underdog. Tony Parker had a monster night with 41 points and 12 assists, and Tim Duncan (23 points, 10 rebounds) contributed a double-double as the Spurs shot 56.1 percent from the field.

Going back to the regular season, the Spurs have won five straight games, and they’ve followed up 2-6 ATS slump with back-to-back spread-covers. Also, going back to last year’s postseason, Gregg Popovich’s club has won nine straight playoff games (7-2 ATS), going 4-0 (3-1 ATS) on the road during this stretch.

Phoenix, which ended the regular season on a 15-5 romp, has dropped three in a row for the first time all season, and is 7-9 ATS in its last 16.

With Friday’s result, the underdog is now 6-1 ATS in this rivalry this season, going 5-2 SU. Also, San Antonio, which took out Phoenix in last year’s conference semis by winning the series 4-2 (3-2-1 ATS), is 10-4-1 ATS in its last 15 visits to the US Airways Center.

Despite their recent surge, the Spurs are in the midst of ATS funks of 2-4 against the Pacific Division, 4-8 as an underdog, 5-12 as a road pup and 1-4 on the highway. One positive for San Antonio is its 6-1 ATS run in first-round playoff games.

The Suns are still on positive pointspread trends of 8-3 at home, 12-6-1 against the Western Conference, 6-1 after a non-cover, 4-2 after a SU loss, 7-3 as a home favorite and 10-5-1 overall as a chalk.

The under cashed in all four regular-season meetings between these squads, but the over has been the play in all three games of this playoff series. Additionally, for Phoenix, the over is on runs of 5-0 in conference quarterfinal games, 11-4 as a playoff favorite, 10-4 against the Southwest Division and 12-5 as a home chalk. For San Antonio, the over streaks are 6-0 overall, 6-0 against the West, 5-0 following a SU win, 7-1 against the Pacific Division (including a current 5-0 run) and 8-2 with the Spurs catching points in the playoffs.


(2) New Orleans (58-27, 51-32-2 ATS) at (7) Dallas (52-33, 36-45-4 ATS)

After an impressive Game 3 win, the Mavericks will now attempt to even their best-of-7 series against the Hornets when the teams battle at American Airlines Center tonight.

With their backs against the wall after a pair of double-digit losses in New Orleans, the Mavs came home on Friday and responded with a convincing 97-87 victory, cashing as a six-point chalk. Dallas, which held New Orleans to just 38 percent shooting in Game 3, is still only 2-4 SU in its last six and 2-6 ATS in its last eight. Meanwhile, the Hornets are just 4-5 in their last nine (5-4 ATS).

The home team has won all seven head-to-head meetings this season, going 7-0 ATS in the process. In fact, the last five battles have been decided by double digits, and the favorite is 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 series clashes, including 6-0 ATS in the last six.

The Hornets, who sported the league’s third-best ATS mark in the regular season, are still on a multitude of positive pointspread streaks, including 40-19-1 overall, 6-2 in conference quarterfinal games, 9-4 against the Western Conference, 20-10 as an underdog and 31-16-2 as a visitor. On the downside, they are on ATS slides of 3-8-1 as a playoff underdog, 2-6 as a road pup of any price and 1-6 as a road ‘dog of five to 10½ points.

Dallas’ last two home wins have come against the Hornets, but the Mavs are still on negative pointspread streaks of 5-10 against winning teams, 3-6 at home and 1-6 in first-round playoff games. On the positive side, Dallas is 38-17-1 in its last 56 against Southwest Division rivals.

The “over” trends run particularly heavy for New Orleans, including 4-1 overall, 7-2 as a road ‘dog of any price and 5-2 catching 5 to 10½ points on the road. For Dallas, the over is on streaks of a 4-2 overall and 5-2 against the Southwest Division. However, the under is on runs of 10-3 for the Mavs as a favorite, 9-2 for the Mavs as a playoff favorite, 7-2 for the Mavs at home, 20-7-1 for the Mavs on Sundays, 5-2 for New Orleans on the highway and 6-2 for New Orleans on Sundays

Finally, these teams stayed under the number in Game 3, ending a 4-0 “over” streak in this rivalry. The under is now 12-5-1 in the last 18 clashes between these rivals and is 8-1 the last nine meetings in Dallas.


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Sevransky on this weekend's NBA action

Sunday's games

Cleveland at Washington

This bizarre series has just featured back-to-back 30 point blowouts, one for each team on their home floor. It’s the first time in NBA playoff history that a team has lost by that margin in one game, then responded with a win by that margin in the next. No surprise here if Game 4 is more like Game 1, which was tied with under two minutes remaining before a 9-2 Cavs run earned them the victory and pointspread cover. The Wizards missed ten consecutive shots from the floor down the stretch of that ballgame while LeBron James was making huge shots, and Washington’s best clutch shooter, Gilbert Arenas, tweaked his knee in the second quarter of Friday Night’s blowout win. Arenas has been upgraded to ‘probable, but will be limited’ for Sunday’s national TV game.

San Antonio at Phoenix

Game 1 of this series was one of the best first round playoff games in NBA history, a double overtime Spurs victory won with less than two seconds left in the second overtime on a Manu Ginobili drive to the hole. The Suns haven’t recovered from that devastating defeat, blowing a double digit first half lead in Game 2, then returning home only to suffer an ugly blowout loss in Game 3. No NBA team has ever come back from 3-0 series deficit. The defending champs have now won four straight road games in the postseason and nine of their last eleven on the highway dating back to last season. In fact, San Antonio is now 18-4 SU, 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 playoff games, arguably the single most undervalued team in the postseason betting marketplace.

Detroit at Philadelphia

The prevailing wisdom about the Detroit Pistons is that they don’t start to play their best basketball until their backs are up against the wall. That’s exactly the case here, after they were blown out in a crucial Game 3 at Philadelphia. Philly did all the things that Detroit was supposed to do in this series: hitting clutch shots, playing championship level defense and keeping their composure. Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups: “They just beat us in every category. From the start, they had more energy for whatever reason.” Detroit has been a resilient squad in season’s past, even rallying from a first round 3-1 series deficit against Orlando on their first of five consecutive trips to the conference finals. Yet, somehow, this year’s meltdown feels very different, especially considering the Pistons repeated postseason failures under Flip Saunders.

New Orleans at Dallas

The Dallas Mavericks finally found a way to contain Chris Paul in Game 3, after Paul positively torched them in the first two games of the series. Avery Johnson inserted Jason Terry into the starting lineup, replacing Jerry Stackhouse and gave Terry the responsibility to cover Paul instead of Jason Kidd. The strategy worked for at least one game: Paul missed 14 of his 18 shot attempts, while David West missed 14 shots of his own, hounded by Dirk Nowitzki. Paul, didn’t seem to think that there were any fundamental problems for New Orleans, despite their 44 point drop-off between Games 2 and 3: “I think we got a lot of shots we wanted. We just missed them.” That being said, there was no question that Dallas was the more aggressive team throughout, as evidenced by the enormous free throw disparity, with Dallas taking 38 attempts from the charity stripe in sharp contrast to the Hornets 13 foul shots. Paul certainly hasn’t lost his confidence: “Now we’re trying to win it in five games. This is fun. I love this. We lost tonight, but we get to see them again Sunday. This isn’t the end of the road.”

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