TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Re: TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS
4-Star Orlando +6 over DETROIT
The question here is whether the Magic will come to play. They certainly have a right to be discouraged, as they could be a lot better than down 3-1 in this series. We expect that the Magic will not throw in the towel and that the Pistons will see no urgency to win this one.
In their 90-89 loss at home, Dwight Howard scored only 8 points on 3-of-12 shooting in 44+ minutes. This is a poor shooting percentage for any player, but for Dwight Howard, it is terrible. In his pro career, the Magic has played only six games in which they were seeking revenge for a loss in which Dwight Howard shot less than 33% from the field. They are a perfect 6-0 ATS.
As a team, the Magic are fantastic when seeking revenge for a loss in front of their home fans, going a perfect 11-0 ATS when facing a team they lost to at home in their previous same-season match-up.
A further look at the player-based trends offer more compelling evidence that Orlando is the side on which to be. The Magic are an unbelievable 21-0 ATS off a loss in which Dwight Howard logged 40+ minutes, as long as they weren't laying 8+ in that loss. This exclusive player-based trend was active once already in this playoff series and that was the game the Magic won 111-86. In addition, the Magic are 10-0 ATS after losing the previous matchup at home in which Jameer Nelson was NOT the Magic's high scorer, 6-0 ATS after a loss in which Rashard Lewis had more turnovers than assists and 11-0 ATS with less than three days rest vs a rested opponent when they are off a loss in which Rashard Lewis played more than 40 minutes.
Many are crediting the Pistons with a great comeback to win game four in Orlando. However, the truth is that the Magic didn't have the playoff experience to drive in the stake when they had a big lead. They relaxed on both offense and defense and the Pistons took advantage, as a veteran team will. However, they were used hard and this will be to their detriment here. Detroit is 0-10 ATS at home after Tayshaun Prince played more than 40 minutes the last two and 0-6 ATS after winning the previous matchup in which Richard Hamilton scored at least 30 points.
Finally, we have a league-wide system that has been perfect since the start of the 2001 NBA season. It reads, "The league is 9-0 ATS as a dog with two or more days of rest off a loss as a favorite in which the game was tied at the end of the third quarter, covering by an average of 11.2 ppg. The Magic qualify here.
The Pistons will not cover this based on skill. They need the Magic to have a defeatist attitude, and we see no evidence of this. Grab the points and consider a moneyline play on Orlando.
MTi's FORECAST: Orlando 94 DETROIT 92
4-Star NEW ORLEANS -3 over San Antonio
This series seems destined to go seven games, which means that the Hornets should "hold serve" here. Unlike some handicappers that sell their plays like used car salesmen on late night TV, the PhD scientists at MTi Sports support their theories with actual data and logical, scientific reasoning.
In game four of this series, San Antonio won 100-80 with Tim Duncan leading the way with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting. He added 15 rebounds and 4 blocked shots as well. It is relevant to note that the Spurs are 0-15 ATS on the road after winning the previous matchup in which Tony Parker was NOT the Spurs' high scorer. In addition, San Antonio is 0-5 ATS on the road after winning the previous matchup at home in which Tim Duncan shot better than 66% from the field, failing to cover by an average of 12.1 ppg.
Another compelling piece of evidence comes from the fact that the Spurs didn't score much from the free-throw line in game four. It turns out that San Antonio is 0-8 ATS over the past year as a road dog with at least one day of rest after a game in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line. San Antonio has lost these games by an average of 16.6 ppg and failed to cover by an average of 13.1 ppg. Two of the eight qualifying games come from the playoffs. In last season's post-season the Spurs lost to the Jazz 109-83 getting two in Utah in this situation and in this post-season they lost to these Hornets 102-84 in this spot.
The Hornets are simply the best team in the league when seeking revenge at home. Since the beginning of the recently concluded 2007-08 season, they are a perfect 10-0 ATS at home when facing a team they lost to in their previous same-season match-up, winning by an average of 17.6 ppg and covering by an average of 12.7 ppg. They won EVERY SINGLE GAME by double-digits.
In addition, New Orleans is 9-0 ATS (7.2 ppg) after a loss in which they were outshot by at least 10 percent, 7-0 ATS (8.7 ppg) after a loss in which they had more turnovers than assists.
Lay the small number.
MTi's FORECAST: NEW ORLEANS 94 San Antonio 85
Re: TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Larry Ness' 15* NL Game of the Week (22-9 with GOW plays since Apr 7)
My 15* play is on the Arz D'backs at 9:40 ET. The D'backs were 20-8 at the end of April but have run into some trouble in May, going just 3-7 after getting swept in Wrigley Field over the weekend. However, the D'backs have made excellent strides this year. especially offensively. Arizona hit an NL-low last season (.250) while averaging just 4.40 RPG but in '08 has upped its team BA to .265 and even more importantly, is scoring 5.47 RPG. The Rockies, who swept the D'backs in the NLCS last year, have gone in the opposite direction this year. Colorado led the NL with a.280 team BA in '07, while averaging 5.28 RPG. In 2008, Colorado's team BA is down to .255 and the Rockies are averaging only 4.32 RPG. While Arizona hasn't played "up to snuff" in May, the Rockies enter having lost 15 of their last 21 and are just 15-23 on the season, including an 8-13 road mark, where they are averaging just 3.67 RPG. Meanwhile, the D'backs are 14-7 at home, averaging 6.24 RPG. These teams have already met six times this season, with Arizona taking the first five, before Colorado won 13-5 here at Chase Field on April 13. The starting pitchers are Jeff Francis and Randy Johnson. Francis was Colorado's ace last year, going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in the regular season and he finished as MLB's second-biggest "money-maker" among starters, as the Rockies went 22-12 (plus-$1,094) in his 34 regular season starts. He has NOT been able to even come CLOSE to that kind of performance this year. Francis enters this game without a win in seven starts (team is 2-5), going 0-3 with a 5.27 ERA. That includes two very poor outings against Arizona, allowing 12 hits and five ERs in 6.1 innings of a 7-2 loss at Coors on 4/5 plus lasting just five innings while allowing seven hits and seven ERs in an 8-2 loss here in Arizona on 4/11. Francis has always been better at home than on the road, as the Rockies have gone 32-16 in his home starts the last three seasons, while going just 27-27 in his road starts during that same time (Colorado is 1-3 in his home starts TY and 1-2 in his away starts). Randy Johnson was supposed to start Sunday but manager Bob Melvin decided not to send out his vet (who has had back problems) in the rain and wet conditions in Chicago. That means Johnson is well-rested, having not pitched since May 6. I wanted to play Johnson on Sunday, as he was 12-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13 career starts (teams were 13-0!) against the Cubs. He also had a 0.78 ERA over his last five starts against them, and was 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five starts at Wrigley. Now his career mark against the Rockies isn't quite that good but he is 15-7 with 2.27 ERA vs them in 24 starts. Better yet, he is 8-2 with a 1.11 ERA in 11 career starts against them there at Chase Field. NL Game of the Week 15* Arz D'backs.