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SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
10* NBA 1st Round Total
The Hawks ended an eight-year playoff drought last season and in the first round of the postseason, never backed down from the eventual champs, the Boston Celtics. The Celtics prevailed over the Hawks but needed seven games. Atlanta 'snuck ' into last year's postseason with the worst record of any playoff team () but Atlanta's goal this year was to play well enough to earn home court advantage. The 47-35 Hawks did just that and with a No. 4 seeding, open the 2009 playoffs at home vs the Miami Heat. The Heat are quite a story themselves this year. Miami won the 2005-06 NBA title by beating the Magic, as one of the league's best young players (Wade) and one of it's legends (Shaq), led the way. However, Wade was hurt for most of last season and Shaq was traded away. Just two seasons removed from a title, the Heat finished an embarrassing 15-67. Wade's return to health and the drafting of Michael Beasley (No. 2 overall pick) and Mario Chalmers brought new hope to South Florida this year. With Wade (30.2-5.0-7.5) putting up MVP-like numbers plus Beasley (13.9-5.4 / shot 47.2 percent) and Chalmers (10.0-4.9 APG) both having productive if not spectacular rookie years, the Heat earned the East's No. 5 seed with a 43-39 record. Haslem (10.4-8.1) has played well all season plus getting O'Neal (13.0-5.4 in 27 games) and Moon (7.1-4.5 in 26 games) from the Raptors (for Marion), has worked out very well. The Hawks feature a superb backcourt trio. The starters are Johnson (21.4-4.4-5.8) and Bibby 914.9-3.5-5.0), with Murray (12.2), who was unwanted in Detroit (think he's glad to be out of there?), becoming a terrific reserve. Atlanta's young frontcourt is the envy of many a franchise, led by power forward Josh Smith (15.6-7.2), small forward Marvin Williams (13.7-6.2) and center Al Horford (11.5-9.3). The veteran Evans (7.2) filled in nicely for Williams recently (Williams is ready to go here) and Pachulia (6.2-5.7) is a steady backup at center. This will be a competitive series but what caught my eye in looking at the team's four regular season meetings was this. Despite Wada's ability to put points on the board and Atlanta's scoring depth, the four regular season games averaged a puny 167 PPG, as two games totaled exactly 160 and the other two, exactly 174. So what was the opening total in this Game 1? Try 187, or 20 points ABOVE the four-game average of the series and the 'move' was on the 'under.' I quick check of the injury report shows that for Miami, Haslem (thumb), Moon (groin) and O'Neal (calf) are all probable and for Atlanta, Williams (back) is about ready to resume his role in the starting lineup, or at lest be able to play significant minutes. I'm siding with the oddsmakrers on this one and making a HUGE play on the 'over' in this game.
Eastern Conf 10* Total on Mia/Atl Over.
9* Club-80 Play
The A's began the 2009 season with a five-man rotation of Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Dana Eveland, rookie Brett Anderson and Josh Outman. That group owned a combined 63 major league starts entering this year. Braden was their Opening Day starter (lost 3-0 to the Angels) but not a single person in the Oakland organization thinks he has "ace potential." However, the A's go with what they have. Braden went 1-8 with a 6.72 ERA in 2007, making 20 appearances, including 14 starts (team was 5-9, minus-$485). He went 5-4 with a 4.14 ERA last year in 19 appearances, including 10 starts (team was 6-4, plus-$524). Braden pitched well in the opener at the Angels and in his second start (this time at home), pitched six strong innings to beat the visiting Red Sox 8-2 on Monday. He allowed two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three, retiring 12 of 13 batters at one point. He's 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA after two starts. However, he'll face a Toronto team which went 7-3 vs left-handed starters in home games last year and this year, while the Jays haven't faced a lefty at home in a day game, they have faced two lefties on the road in day games, going 2-0 while scoring 18 runs (nine per).The Blue Jays' bats have 'cooled' somewhat in this series (1-1) but a win here will give 9-4 Toronto its fourth straight series win. The last time Toronto began the season winning its first four series was in 2001. Rookie Ricky Romero (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will get the call, as he looks to continue the impressive start to his major league career. He pitched very well on Tuesday night, as Toronto fell to Minnesota in extra innings, 3-2. Romero earned a no decision by going eight strong innings and allowing only two runs on eight hits. He defeated Detroit in his first start of the season. In that game, Romero went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with five Ks. Now here's the really good news for Romero and the Blue Jays. The A's were 0-12 vs left-handed starters in 2008, averaging a woeful 2.0 RPG. This will the team's first try in an afternoon road game vs a lefty in 2009. That 7-3 mark on Toronto in home day games vs lefties plus that 12-0 go-against mark vs the A's in road day games vs lefties gives us a 19-3 mark, or 86.7 percent since the beginning of last year.
Club-80 Play on the Tor Blue Jays
Las Vegas Insider-MLB (4-0 TY!)
The Cards and Cubs are, to say the least, bitter (and VERY longtime) rivals. The Cards opened this four-game set with a 7-4 win at Wrigley on Thursday but the Cubs have countered with dramatic wins on both Friday and Saturday. Alfonso Soriano's two-run HR in the eighth inning was the difference in Friday's 8-7 win and Aramis Ramirez's two-run HR in the 11th inning on Saturday, gave the Cubbies a 7-5 win. The Cardinals will hand the ball to Todd Wellemeyer on Sunday night. Wellemeyer made 103 appearances (all out of the bullpen) from 2003-06 and in 2007 began the season with KC as a reliever. He was traded to the Cards in mid-summer and like St Louis has done with a number of other relievers (Wainwright and Looper come to mind), the Cards put him in the starting rotation down the stretch of the 2007 season. The Cards won NINE of Wellemeyer's 11 starts to finish 2007, going plus-$955. He was strictly a starter last year (32 starts), going 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA, although the Cards were a modest 15-17 (minus-$228) in those starts. (1-1, 4.50 ERA). Wellemeyer struggled in his first outing of 2009 (5 IP / 12 hits / 5 ERs), but bounced back this past Monday night, by allowing one run over seven innings in a 2-1 win at Arizona. St Louis will need Wellemeyer to pitch 'deep' into tonight's game, as its bullpen has been asked to pitch too many innings lately and sports an unimpressive 4.98 ERA, so far. The Cubs will counter with Ted Lilly and while their bullpen has seen extensive action as well recently, the results have been better (3.32 ERA). However, the way Lilly pitched in his last outing, the Cubs may only need their closer. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and cruised through 6.1 innings, allowing one hit and three walks while striking out eight, as the Cubs beat the Rockies 4-0 on Monday. He's 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 2009 and the last two seasons, Lilly has really stepped up for the Cubs. He was 15-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 2007 (team was 19-15 in his starts) and then 17-9 with a 4.09 ERA last year, while the Cubs went an impressive 22-12 in those starts. The Cards went just 12-19 vs lefties on the road last year and the left-handed Lilly has had plenty of success against them in the past. He owns a 6-2 career mark with a 2.99 ERA in 11 lifetime starts (teams are 8-3) vs St Louis. That includes a 4-0 mark in his last seven starts vs the Cards (Cubs are 6-1).
Las Vegas Insider Chi Cubs
Re: SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
I'm laying the points with ATLANTA. Dwayne Wade will be the best known player on the floor and he's sure to get his share of points. That said, I believe that the Hawks have the more complete overall team and I expect them to start the series off by defending their home floor. The fact that this game is in Atlanta is very important as both these teams are much better at home. The Heat were a very solid 28-13 at Miami but they were a poor 15-26 on the road. The Hawks weren't much better when playing away from home, as they were just 16-25 outside of Atlanta. However, when playing at home, they were an excellent 31-10. Not surprisingly, the Hawks won both regular season meetings with the Heat, which were played here at Atlanta. The Hawks outscored teams by a 98.7 to 93 margin at home. The Heat were outscored by a 99.5 to 95.8 margin on the road. The Hawks have been strong at home for longer than just this year. You may recall that they took the Celtics to seven games last year, winning all three games here at Atlanta but losing the four at Boston. I expect them to benefit from that experience and for them to come out ready to play tonight. Having seen what happened at Boston, Coach Woodson preached the importance of gaining homecourt advantage. his Hawks got it, for a round at least. He was quoted as saying: "I hope like hell there's a carry-over from last year's run. That taught us how to play playoff basketball. When we to Boston, we had no clue. That's why the games were so lopsided. Then we came home and won Game 3. We grew up awfully fast and were able to make a series out of it." The Hawks are 9-3 ATS (10-2 SU) the last 12 times that they were favored by six points or less. I expect them to improve on those stats with a convincing win and cover. *Personal Favorite
I'm playing on Denver and New Orleans to finish UNDER the total. The last two meetings in this series both stayed below the total with combined scores of 189 and 175. I feel that tonight's over/under line, which is in the mid-190s, also offers us solid value with the UNDER. It's true that the Nuggets have a strong offense and that they get involved in some high-scoring games. However, those high-scoring games typically come against the league's weaker teams. When matched up against the league's better teams, their games often aren't quite as high-scoring. In fact, the UNDER was 25-14 when they faced a team with a winning record this season, including a profitable 13-4 their last 17 against winning teams. The Hornets have been a much lower-scoring team that the Nuggets and they've had some trouble scoring points in recent weeks. Despite playing Dallas twice and also the defensively-challenged Suns, they're still only averaging 91.6 points through their last five games. Like their hosts, the Hornets have been profitable for 'under' betters when matched up against the league's elite teams. The UNDER was 24-14 when they faced a team with a winning record this season. It's also worth noting that the Hornets, who were defeated 101-88 by the Nuggets (at New Orleans on 3/25) in the last meeting, have seen the UNDER go a highly profitable 69-38-2 the last few years, when facing a team which defeated them in the previous meeting. That includes a 8-2 UNDER mark the last 10 times that the Hornets attempted to avenge a home loss. While the Nuggets have been a high-scoring team for years, the UNDER is still a profitable 19-5 their last 24 first round playoff games, including a 8-1 mark the last two seasons. Look for those numbers to improve as the final combined score proves lower than most are expecting. *Main Event
I'm playing on the Lakers and Jazz to finish UNDER the total. These teams just played a very high-scoring game against each other to close out the regular season. That's helped to keep tonight's over/under line generously high. In fact, even though playoffs are typically lower-scoring than regular season games, tonight's over/under line is several points higher than the number was for the 4/14 game. I feel that gives us excellent value. You may recall that these teams also met in the playoffs last year. The first game was expected to be high-scoring but stayed below the total by 6.5 points. While that wasn't a first round series, it's also worth noting that the UNDER is a profitable 29-16 the last 45 time that Sloan's Jazz played in the first round of the playoffs. That includes a 2-0 mark in the first two games of their first round series (vs. Houston) in last year's playoffs. Note that the Lakers saw three of their four first round games (vs. Denver) stay below the total. Their high-scoring finale notwithstanding, the Lakers saw the UNDER go a profitable 22-14 their last 36 games, including 12-5 their last 17 overall and 8-2 their last 10 here at LA. They held seven of those 10 opponents to 100 points or less and six of them to less than 95. Look for them to elevate their level of defensive play and for that to lead to the final combined score staying below the total. *Annihilator
I'm laying the price with TEXAS. The Royals come in as the hotter team and they also bring the hotter pitcher to the mound. While the Royals are going to be improved this year, it's important to remember that its a long season. It's also important not to completely ignore history. Give Davies credit for getting off to a great 2-0 start. However, he's never fared well vs. the Rangers. His team's (KC and Atlanta) are 0-4 in his four starts vs. the Rangers. He'll face a Texas lineup which is potent at home, yesterday's game notwithstanding, and which will be looking to pound someone, after getting blanked yesterday. Now 4-4 at home, the Rangers' four home victories have come by a combined score of 48-20. All three victories came by a minimum of three runs and two of them came by eight or more. Padilla has gotten off to a slow start. Unlike, Davies, he's had some success vs. KC. He's won each of his last two starts vs. the Royals and the Rangers are 3-0 the last three times that he started against them. In his last two home starts against the Royals, he didn't allow a single earned run (1 unearned) through 11 complete innings. He had 13 K's and only two walks and allowed just six combined hits. Look for things to return to "normal" (at least for this afternoon) as the Rangers bounce back and avoid being swept at Arlington for the first time since 2003.
Re: SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
6 Unit Series Wager.
PARLAY - DENVER -220 & ORLANDO -1000 for the Series.
A 6 Unit Wager will yield you 3.6 Units here. Given that each of our plays are 4 Units, this is a standard wager for us and we are riding two teams that both have home court advantages and have a nice set of advantages in this series. I talk about each series in the daily page on the Research, so I will have more thoughts on these two teams tomorrow. But, bear in mind that the Nuggets closed the year very strong. They have won 8 of their last 10 and I love the fact they come off a 76-104 loss at Portland. That's great. In fact, Karl probably wanted his team to come off that loss so they remain focused and fired up for this game. These two teams have met four times so far this year and have actually split. Each team has won home once and each team has won on the road once. Denver won 101-88 last time out on the road, New Orleans won 94-81 at home prior to that, Denver won 105-100 at home and New Orleans won 101-105 on the road. But, the difference to this series and frankly, the difference in how these two teams finished the regular season is the fact that Denver has a bench that is stepping up with JR Smith and has a General this year as compared to last year. Billups has stabilized this team to 54 wins on the year, plus New Orleans has just not been clicking well to close the year out. This team has lost 6 of their last 8 and finished 1-3 on the road this year. Again, I love the fact that Denver comes off an ugly loss to Portland the road, they win at home on Sunday, and I expect them to pick up right where they left off winning 7 of their last 9 as compared to New Orleans who simply won 2 of their last 8. I got nothing against New Orleans, this team is solid, plays strong defense and has a great general of their own in Chris Paul. But, bear in mind the way New Orleans struggled on the road at San Antonio, at Dallas, losing 66-86 at Houston, the home court advantage of Denver, I suspect Denver wins this series in 6 games as they pluck off a road win in the process. As per Orlando, not much needs to be said outside the fact Orlando has covered and won all 3 times these two teams have met, the Magic are well rested, and Philadelphia comes into this game 1-6 over their last 7 games and even the win at Cleveland in OT was a failed cover as they were laying 3 as Lebron was out in that game. Denver in 6 and Orlando in 5.
Re: SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
100* Play New Orleans (+6) over Denver (NBA)
Denver is 5-10 ATS vs. New Orleans at home
Denver is 1-3 ATS over the last 4 games
Denver is 1-8 SU when playing in the 1st round of the playoffs
Denver is allowing an average of 103 ppg on defense over the last 5 games
100* Play Miami (+5) over Atlanta (NBA)
Miami is 6-2 ATS over the last 8 games
Miami is 4-2 ATS vs. Atlanta on the road the last 3 seasons
Other Hoops & Hockey Plays
50* Play Carolina (-140) over New Jersey (NHL)
MLB Baseball for Sunday
100* Play NY Yankees (-250) over Cleveland
50* Play Tampa Bay (-170) over Chicago White Sox
50* Play Kansas City (+100) over Texas