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NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Wednesday Wagers
By Brian Edwards

The Heat and Hawks have settled nothing after four games. The series is tied up at 2-2 as these clubs head back to Atlanta for Wednesday’s monumental Game 5 showdown at Philips Arena.

As for the Hornets and Nuggets, they go back to the Mile High City with few bettors expecting a Game 6 in New Orleans. Denver took a 3-1 lead with Monday’s 121-63 clubbing in the Crescent City. Let’s take a look at both games that gamblers are pondering for Wednesday night.

**Heat at Hawks**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Atlanta (49-37 straight up, 45-40-1 against the spread) as a six-point favorite with a total of 182. As of late Tuesday afternoon, most books had the Hawks as 5 ½-point ‘chalk’ with the total adjusted to 180. The Heat are plus-200 on the money line (risk $100 to win $200).

--Miami (45-41 SU, 42-42-2 ATS) appeared to be poised to take a commanding 3-1 series lead going into Game 4. The Heat had destroyed the Hawks 108-93 as five-point road underdogs in Game 2. Next, they cruised to a wire-to-wire win in Game 3 by a 107-78 count. However, it was the Hawks who prevailed in wire-to-wire fashion Monday, collecting an 81-71 triumph as 5 ½-point road underdogs.

--Zaza Pachulia was the catalyst for Atlanta in Game 4, tallying 12 points, 18 rebounds and a pair of steals. With Al Horford in foul trouble, Pachulia took over the lane. There were no free runs to the rim for the Heat and Pachulia seemingly came up with every loose ball. Josh Smith added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots. Mike Bibby added 15 points, burying all three of his attempts from 3-point range.

--After averaging 31.0 points, 7.5 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per contest in Games 2 and 3, Dwyane Wade was off his game Monday. Back spasms apparently bothered the Marquette product as he shot three air-balls in the first quarter alone. Wade finished with 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but he had four turnovers and made only 9-of-26 shots from the field.

--Miami’s Jamario Moon (7.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG) is “out” for the rest of the series with a groin injury. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Marvin Williams (13.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG) is “questionable” for Game 5 with a sprained wrist. The guess here is that Williams is closer to “doubtful.”

--Mike Woodson’s team has played its best basketball in Atlanta, compiling a 32-11 SU record to go with a 23-19-1 spread ledger. The Hawks are 16-15 ATS in 31 spots as single-digit home favorites.

--Miami owns a 16-27 SU record on the road, but it has a respectable 21-21-1 ATS mark when leaving South Florida.

--Even though Atlanta has regained home-court advantage, handicapper Mark Franco still likes the Heat’s chances. Franco said, “Miami still has the edge and the reason is because they have the best player on the court in Dwyane Wade. I know his back was bothering him in Game 4, but he’ll be ready to go Wednesday night.” Since April 8, Franco is on a 17-11 run (61%, +513) in the NBA.

--The ‘under’ is 3-1 in this series to date. Going back to the regular season, the ‘under’ is 7-1 in eight head-to-head meetings between these division rivals.

--The ‘under’ is 45-39-2 overall for the Hawks, 24-19 in their home assignments.

--The ‘over’ is 46-39-1 overall for the Heat, 22-21 in their road games.

--TNT will provide television coverage at 8:05 p.m. Eastern.

**Hornets at Nuggets**

--LVSC opened Denver (57-29 SU, 48-37-1 ATS) as a nine-point favorite with a total of 193 ½. As of late Tuesday afternoon, most spots had the Nuggets at 10 ½ with the total increased to 197. The Hornets are plus-500 on the money line (risk $100 to win $500).

--“Denver is clearly the better team,” Franco said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Nuggets close it out in Game 5, but they’re looking at a big number to cover the spread.” Too big a number? “Well, the books have to anticipate everyone playing Denver since it was so dominant in the Game 4 blowout. I was surprised to see it double digits but I’m not in any hurry to back the Hornets.”

--New Orleans (50-36 SU, 35-49-2 ATS) hasn’t covered the number in this series yet. The Hornets won a 94-93 decision in Game 3, but they allowed the Nuggets to cover as 4 ½-point underdogs after a furious last-minute rally.

--In Game 4 Monday night, George Karl’s club dealt out serious woodshed treatment in the form of a 121-63 thrashing as a 2 ½-point road underdog. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. Chauncey Billups added 17 points and eight assists.

--The Denver defense was physical with New Orleans All-Star guard Chris Paul from the outset Monday. In turn, Paul had more turnovers (six) than points (four). Also, shooting guard Peja Stojokavic missed all five of his attempts from 3-point land.

--In Games 1 and 2 at Pepsi Center, Denver captured easy wins by scores of 113-84 and 108-93, respectively. Those closing lines were much more manageable, however, at 6 ½ apiece. We’ll see if the upward adjustment allows the Hornets to cover for the first time.

--Denver is 35-8 SU and 25-17-1 ATS at home this year. On the flip side, New Orleans is 21-22 SU and 16-26-1 ATS on the road.

--The ‘over’ is 44-42 overall for Denver, 25-18 in its home games.

--The ‘under’ is 48-36-2 overall for the Hornets, 21-20-2 in their road games.

--Tip-off is scheduled for 10:35 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Billups has an amazing 26/3 assists-to-turnovers ratio in the playoffs to date. Meanwhile, Paul has committed 21 turnovers in four games of this series.

--The updated future odds for Denver per LVSC are 7/1 (risk $100 to win $700).

--According to the Associated Press, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say about Pachulia after Game 4, “He was tough down there. He was pretty much doing everything in traffic. Bodies were flying. Loose balls, he seemed like he came up with every one of them. He had a major impact on the game. Eighteen rebounds … he played very well.”

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Nuggets' big win forces book to inflate Game 5 spread

There are blowout losses and then there are once-in-a-lifetime beat downs like the one the New Orleans Hornets suffered Monday night.

The Denver Nuggets walloped the Hornets 121-63 in Game 4 of their first round series.

Even the Washington Generals wouldn’t let the Globetrotters run up the score like that.

“That’s the worst game I’ve seen us play in the five years I’ve been here,” coach Byron Scott told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

It was actually the largest defeat for a home team – regular season and playoffs combined – in NBA history.

So how are bettors supposed to react to the meltdown on Monday?

Most sportsbooks opened with the Nuggets giving 9.5 points in Game 5, but the line quickly jumped to 10.5.

“Our send-out number was 9 and it would have been 7.5 or 8 had Denver won by a two or three in the last game,” says Mike Seba, senior oddsmaker with Las Vegas Sports Consultants.

Seba says the line movement is an over adjustment by the public basing too much on one game’s outcome. At the same time, he understands why people are backing the Nuggets at home to finish off the Hornets.

“My opinion on Denver has changed drastically in the last 12 hours. I originally thought this team was not as good as their record showed. But after watching them play against New Orleans, it seems clear they’re the second best team in the West.”

Past playoff history tells us that we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Chris Paul and Co. Since 2000, there have been 113 instances where one team won by 20 points or more in the postseason. The loser came back to win the following game 66 times and went 64-46-4 against the spread.

The above numbers support the capper who subscribes to the zigzag theory – the idea that backing the team that lost the previous game is a successful system in the playoffs.

But anyone who’s watched any of this playoff series should find it difficult to back New Orleans, regardless of what the trends suggest.

The Hornets’ roster isn’t as deep as it was last year and there are several nagging injuries slowing them down. Center Tyson Chandler is a shell of the force he was last season, Paul isn’t playing up to his standards and there isn’t a warm body on the bench that can contribute anything offensively.

What bettors have to ask themselves before they make their pick for Wednesday’s contest is whether the Hornets are playing to get back in this series or just to avoid another embarrassment?

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Game of the day: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks
By Ted Sevransky

Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks (-5.5, 180)

What’s up with Wade?

Initially, there was no overnight line posted on the Miami-Atlanta Game 5 showdown. Dwyane Wade’s bad back has been acting up and his ability to get on the court and be effective were in question.

Wade simply wasn’t himself in Miami’s ugly 81-71 home loss Sunday that tied the series at two games apiece. He still led the team with 22 points and dished seven of Miami’s eleven assists. But Wade shot just 9-of-26 from the floor and got to the free throw line only four times, which is a clear statistical indicator that he wasn’t able to drive the lane like he normally does.

“Any other player probably would have sat out (due to the back pain),” Wade’s teammate James Jones told reporters. “We didn’t do a good job lifting him up.”

Wade is officially listed as probable for Wednesday Night’s game. Whether he’ll be limited in his effectiveness due to the back injury is another question entirely.

Moon’s over in Miami

The Heat reached the playoffs in large part because their supporting cast was able to step up at crucial times during the regular season, complementing the play of their superstar. Miami’s role players have not been consistent at any point this year. Rookie point guard Mario Chalmers, veteran power forward Udonis Haslem, rookie bench behemoth Michael Beasley, 3-point sharpshooters Daequan Cook and James Jones have all been spotty in terms of their production.

That inconsistent play from the role players makes the injury to Miami reserve Jamario Moon a bit more significant than many believe. Moon averaged more than 26 minutes per game following his acquisition mid-season in the Jermaine O’Neal-Shawn Marion deal, averaging 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

But after suffering a sports hernia that requires surgery, Moon will be on the sidelines in street clothes for the remainder of the postseason. That leaves even more pressure on Miami’s underachieving supporting cast as the series moves back to Atlanta. Remember, the Hawks bench outscored Miami’s reserves 25-2 in Game 4, an enormous disparity.

Blowout Central

Of the eight first-round playoff openers, bettors have seen tight games in six of the series. Utah beat L.A. on a buzzer beater in Game 3. Chicago and Boston had two games go into overtime and a third contest decided on a last-second bucket. Dallas and San Antonio played two competitive games decided by single-digit margins. The 76ers and Magic have had three games decided on the final shot.

The underdog covered the spread in each of the first four meetings between Houston and Portland, despite the fact that the home favorite won three of those games in straight up fashion. Even the Nuggets and Hornets had a game that came down to the final possession to go along with the three blowouts.

Miami and Atlanta have not yet seen a competitive game in this series, with all four meetings essentially decided by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Incredibly, each of those four games was decided by at least 15 points against the spread.

It was a similar story in the playoffs last year for the Hawks. All seven games they played in their first round series against Boston were decided by double digit margins ATS.

Will Game 5 finally be the time for Atlanta to play a competitive playoff game?

Too much balance?

Mike Bibby scored a team-high 15 points in win at Miami Monday night. That was the only NBA playoff game in the last five seasons in which the victor's leading scorer had 15 or fewer points.

Atlanta did have six players reach double figures in scoring and won by double figures despite scoring only 81 points. But the reality is that, like Miami, Atlanta needs their All-Star to step up. Frankly, Joe Johnson has not been very good in this series.

Johnson is shooting less than 38 percent in the first four games against the Heat. He’s made only two three point shots in four games after averaging two 3-point makes per game in each of his last three seasons with the Hawks. Johnson has only made nine free throws and dished ten assists for the entire series, certainly not superstar caliber numbers. The Hawks have managed to win and cover twice without their star stepping up, but I’m not convinced they can continue to succeed without better production from Johnson.

Defense rules

All four regular season games between these two teams stayed under the total by a wide margin. None of the four games produced more than 174 points with all four totals in the low 190’s.

Here in the playoffs, it’s more of the same. Three of the four games have stayed below the total and twice we failed to see even 155 total points between these two squads.

At least one of the two teams has been held to 83 points or less in seven of the eight meetings this year. And it’s hard to expect anything different for Game 5, despite a posted total of 180 (six points lower than the total for Game 4).

In fact, Miami is blaming their Game 4 loss on their defensive in-efficiency, not their offensive ugliness in a 71 point effort.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Miami is 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games when playing Atlanta
Miami is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Atlanta
Atlanta is 2-4-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Atlanta is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games

New Orleans is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
New Orleans is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games
Denver is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing New Orleans
Denver is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing New Orleans

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MIAMI (45 - 41) at ATLANTA (49 - 37)
Top Trends for this game.
MIAMI is 75-91 ATS (-25.1 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
ATLANTA is 46-38 ATS (+4.2 Units) in all games this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
MIAMI is 10-6 against the spread versus ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons
ATLANTA is 8-8 straight up against MIAMI over the last 3 seasons
12 of 16 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

NEW ORLEANS (50 - 36) at DENVER (57 - 29)
Top Trends for this game.
NEW ORLEANS is 36-49 ATS (-17.9 Units) in all games this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 7-16 ATS (-10.6 Units) as an underdog this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 16-26 ATS (-12.6 Units) in road games this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 16-26 ATS (-12.6 Units) second half of the season this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 6-16 ATS (-11.6 Units) against Northwest division opponents this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 7-15 ATS (-9.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 19-31 ATS (-15.1 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 12-21 ATS (-11.1 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 12-28 ATS (-18.8 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 7-18 ATS (-12.8 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
DENVER is 49-36 ATS (+9.4 Units) in all games this season.
DENVER is 33-23 ATS (+7.7 Units) as a favorite this season.
DENVER is 49-36 ATS (+9.4 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
DENVER is 15-6 ATS (+8.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.
NEW ORLEANS is 64-46 ATS (+13.4 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
DENVER is 8-7 against the spread versus NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
DENVER is 8-7 straight up against NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
8 of 15 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

NBA Playoffs

None of the four Miami-Atlanta games has been close; teams are 1-1 in each arena-- Heat scored 64-71 points in two losses, 108-107 in the two wins-- they shot under 38% in both losses (8-39 from arc), 56-47% in wins (27-49). Atlanta had 18 shots blocked in its two losses, only eight in its wins. Three of four series games stayed under the total.

Denver won 17 of last 20 games, crushing Hornets 121-63 in last game, tying an NBA record for most onesided playoff loss. New Orleans lost nine of last 12 games- whatever they have left in the tank you'll get here, but after losing by 58 it might not be much. Nuggets won the first two series gamea at home, 113-84/108-93, making 20-37 from arc, shooting 50%+ in both games. Hornets had 26 turnovers in Game 4 humiliation.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Miami at Atlanta


12-26 ATS after having won 2 of their last 3
4-15 ATS AWAY revenging SU loss as favorite

10-2 ATS at home after 2+ consecutive unders
19-9 ATS after a combined score of 175 points or less

New Orleans at Denver

New Orleans:

6-16 ATS against Northwest division
7-16 ATS as an underdog

23-10 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 to 12
16-5 ATS after playing a game as a road underdog

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 4/29

Tips and Trends

New Orleans Hornets at Denver Nuggets

Hornets: New Orleans' 58-point Game 4 loss matched the most lopsided loss in NBA playoff history. "The pressure is on them to close us out," Hornets All-Star David West said. "We have to go up there with the mind-set that we have to do everything in our power to keep the game close." Like they did in Game 3, which they won by two points. The banged-up and browbeaten Hornets scrapped their practice plans Tuesday. The Hornets dropped the first two games in this series in Denver by 29 and 15 points. Both of those games went over the posted total.

The Hornets are 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
The Hornets are 7-20 ATS in their last 27 games as a road underdog.

Key Injuries - G Chris Paul (back) is PROBABLE.


Nuggets (-10.5, O/U 197.5): Chris Andersen said the Nuggets have already put their big 121-63 win in the rearview mirror. "It's a new game. It's 0-0," he said. "Even though we're not facing elimination, we got to kind of act like it," Chauncey Billups suggested. "It's a hard game because the team that you're facing knows that they have to do every single thing that they can to try to stay alive," Billups said. "And any time you're in a desperate situation, it's a dangerous situation." Denver stifled Chris Paul (4 points, 6 assists) with double teams that led to 6 turnovers. Karl said he won't change his strategy much for Game 5.

The Under is 21-6 in the Nuggets' last 27 Conference Quarterfinals games.
The Nuggets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 101 (UNDER - Total Play of the Day)

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