— Last year in the major leagues, the first-pitch strike %age was 60.3%. In the Japanese major leagues, first-pitch strike %age was only 48.2%.
— Washington 74, Kansas 65— Mike Hopkins’ first big win with the Huskies.
— Loyola, Chi 65, Florida 59— Been a rough week for the Gators.
— Middle Tennessee 66, Vanderbilt 63— Nice win for the Blue Raiders.
— Last year, 12 SEC teams made bowls; this year, only nine made bowls, and 4 of those 9 are underdogs in their bowl game.
— RIP Ron Meyer 76, who was Eric Dickerson’s college coach at SMU and went 54-50 as an NFL coach with the Colts/Patriots.
[B][I]Armadillo: Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……. [/I][/B]
13) Stellar trivia item: Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright owns a USFL championship ring from the 1986 Philadelphia Stars, coached by Jim Mora Sr.
Wright worked in the Stars’ marketing department that season. Think anyone else won a USFL ring and also won a college basketball national title?
12) Was surprised to learn that new Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway will earn around $800,000 next season. Thats not a lot of cash for a big league skipper.
In other words, the manager of a major league team in New York City makes less than both of the coordinators of LSU’s football team. Not the head coach, the coordinators.
11) Basketball coaches at Virginia Commonwealth have this in their contract:
If the coach bolts VCU for another job, that team has to play a home-and-home series with the Rams, which is why Texas visited VCU Tuesday— LSU will do the same in the near future, since Will Wade skipped town to coach the Bayou Bengals.
10) 75 days after Hurricane Maria, 215,000 people have already migrated from Puerto Rico to Florida. Wonder how many of them will register to vote, or are already registered?
9) Former FBI Director James Comey is apparently writing a book on leadership; what do guys like that do when they lose their job? Guess he’ll do a book tour when it is published and we’ll hear a lot more from Mr Comey.
8) Arena trivia: West Virginia University’s basketball arena opened in 1970; they recently did $26M of improvements on it. Back in 1970, the first event held in the arena was a concert by Grand Funk Railroad. Just thought you’d like to know.
7) Sports agent Andy Miller lost his certification to be an agent this week, as result of the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. Miller represented Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Lowry- Lowry makes around $30M a year.
Very expensive day- losing Lowry as a client costs Miller’s agency $900,000 a year, and thats just one client.
6) There is one of those courtroom TV shows, Judge Mathis; apparently, Judge Mathis’ daughter went to Michigan State and worked as a student assistant for the basketball team. Spartans’ hoop coach Tom Izzo was in the “courtroom” for a recent taping and was recognized by the judge, whose daughter is now a lawyer.
5) Willie Taggart officially signed on to coach Florida State’s football team, meaning that in 2018, the Oregon Ducks will have their third football coach in three years. I’m guessing the next Oregon coach will have a steep buyout clause in their contract. Taggart’s buyout was $4.5M.
4) Kansas City Chiefs have a big game this week, at home against their rivals from Oakland, but they suspended CB Marcus Peters for the week, after Peters threw a penalty flag into the stands at Swamp Stadium Sunday, as he protested a penalty on a play against the Jets.
I laughed out loud when Peters threw the flag in the stands; never saw that before, but even Peters thought the move deserved an ejection— he left the field and threw his gloves to a fan in the stands. But it turns out he was never ejected— took the team ten minutes to get Peters back on the sidelines. He returned, but without socks/gloves.
Chiefs lost six of their last seven games after a 5-0 start; this week’s game is huge for both teams, but Kansas City took a stand and suspended a starter.
3) UCLA cancelled its basketball game with Montana Wednesday because of the wildfires in the Los Angeles area. Team practices/workouts were also cancelled.
2) Fact I learned from listening to Bill Walton on the Arizona-Texas A&&M game Tuesday: Arizona is the 6th-largest state in the country, in terms of area. Didn’t know that.
1) I got an e-mail today, asking to donate to a candidate in the Alabama Senate race— are you bleeping kidding me? I live in upstate New York, I think politicians are gutless weasels- there is a 0% chance I’m giving a politician money. Ever.
Would much rather go find a homeless person up by the supermarket I go to and give him a few bucks.
Washington @ Phoenix[/B]
December 7, 2017 @ 9:05 pm
by 5 1/2
by 7 1/2
(+7 1/2); Over
Oklahoma City @ Brooklyn[/B]
December 7, 2017 @ 10:05 pm
Lakers are 5-3 in last eight games with Philly; road team won seven of last ten series games. Six of their last nine games stayed under total. Lakers lost their last five games; they’re 3-5 vs spread as road underdogs. Six of their last nine games went over the total. 76ers are 7-4 in their last 11 games; they’re 5-4 as home favorites (0-3 in last three). Five of their last seven games stayed under the total.
Wizards won four of last five games with Phoenix; they’re 0-3 vs spread in last three visits to the desert. Under is 7-2-1 in last ten series games. Devin Booker is out for Suns, a big blow. Washington is 4-6 in its last ten games; they’re 1-1 road favorites. Four of their last five games stayed under total. Phoenix lost six of its last eight games; they’re 3-6 as home underdogs. over is 8-3 in their last 11 games.
Thunder won three of last four games with Brooklyn; they’re 3-2 vs spread in last five visits here. Over is 4-2-1 in last seven series games. Thunder won last three games, by 4-3-6 points; they’re 0-6 vs spread in last six tries as a home favorite. Five of their last seven games stayed under total. Brooklyn is 4-7 in its last 11 games, 4-2 vs spread as home underdogs. Four of their last five games stayed under total.
Jazz won four of last six games with Houston; over is 8-2 in last ten series games. Rockets are 1-3 vs spread in last four visits to Salt Lake City. Houston won its last seven games (5-2 vs spread); they’re 7-2 as road favorites. Five of their last six games stayed under the total. Utah won six of its last seven games; they’re 3-1 as home underdogs. Under is 5-3 in their last eight games.
[B]LA LAKERS @ PHILADELPHIA[/B]
LA Lakers is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
LA Lakers is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Philadelphia’s last 5 games
Philadelphia is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games at home
[B]WASHINGTON @ PHOENIX[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Phoenix
The total has gone UNDER in 13 of Washington’s last 16 games
Phoenix is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Washington
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Phoenix’s last 6 games when playing at home against Washington
[B]OKLAHOMA CITY @ BROOKLYN[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Oklahoma City’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Brooklyn
Oklahoma City is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Brooklyn
Brooklyn is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Brooklyn’s last 5 games
[B]HOUSTON @ UTAH[/B]
Houston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Utah is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Thursday, December 7[/B]
[B]LA LAKERS (8 – 15) at PHILADELPHIA (13 – 10) – 12/7/2017, 8:05 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
LA LAKERS are 37-54 ATS (-22.4 Units) in road games over the last 3 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 64-40 ATS (+20.0 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 33-19 ATS (+12.1 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 140-107 ATS (+22.3 Units) when playing with 2 days rest since 1996.
PHILADELPHIA is 19-7 ATS (+11.3 Units) against Pacific division opponents over the last 3 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 29-11 ATS (+16.9 Units) after a non-conference game over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 29-13 ATS (+14.7 Units) in non-conference games over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 22-11 ATS (+9.9 Units) after a loss by 10 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 32-18 ATS (+12.2 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 39-70 ATS (-38.0 Units) in home games in December games since 1996.
Head-to-Head Series History
PHILADELPHIA is 3-2 against the spread versus LA LAKERS over the last 3 seasons
PHILADELPHIA is 3-2 straight up against LA LAKERS over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
[B]WASHINGTON (13 – 11) at PHOENIX (9 – 17) – 12/7/2017, 9:05 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
WASHINGTON is 18-36 ATS (-21.6 Units) in road games versus good offensive teams – scoring 106+ points/game since 1996.
PHOENIX is 160-116 ATS (+32.4 Units) after allowing 115 points or more since 1996.
PHOENIX is 44-27 ATS (+14.3 Units) after a loss by 10 points or more over the last 3 seasons.
WASHINGTON is 23-11 ATS (+10.9 Units) in December games over the last 3 seasons.
WASHINGTON is 26-14 ATS (+10.6 Units) after a non-conference game over the last 2 seasons.
WASHINGTON is 56-36 ATS (+16.4 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 3 seasons.
Head-to-Head Series History
PHOENIX is 4-1 against the spread versus WASHINGTON over the last 3 seasons
WASHINGTON is 4-1 straight up against PHOENIX over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
[B]OKLAHOMA CITY (11 – 12) vs. BROOKLYN (9 – 14) – 12/7/2017, 10:05 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 7-15 ATS (-9.5 Units) in all games this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 6-15 ATS (-10.5 Units) as a favorite this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 7-15 ATS (-9.5 Units) in the first half of the season this season.
OKLAHOMA CITY is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games versus good offensive teams – scoring 106+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
Head-to-Head Series History
BROOKLYN is 2-2 against the spread versus OKLAHOMA CITY over the last 3 seasons
OKLAHOMA CITY is 3-1 straight up against BROOKLYN over the last 3 seasons
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
[B]HOUSTON (18 – 4) at UTAH (13 – 12) – 12/7/2017, 10:35 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
HOUSTON is 36-20 ATS (+14.0 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
HOUSTON is 36-21 ATS (+12.9 Units) in the first half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
HOUSTON is 112-83 ATS (+20.7 Units) after 3 or more consecutive unders since 1996.
Head-to-Head Series History
UTAH is 4-4 against the spread versus HOUSTON over the last 3 seasons
UTAH is 4-4 straight up against HOUSTON over the last 3 seasons
6 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]NBA Betting Roadmap: Is Rudy Gobert’s return good for the Jazz?[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
There has been a lot of belly-aching about the non-competitiveness of the NBA, with the Golden State Warriors being far and away the league’s best team. But that seemingly hasn’t put a lid on fan interest. Nationally televised games are up 32 percent this season, and viewership is at the highest level since LeBron James’ first season with the Miami Heat.
Of course, it’s also possible that the numbers would be even higher if there were teams that could threaten Golden State’s supremacy. The NBA, though, never seems to lack storylines, so let’s check out what’s happening in the Association.
Necessity is sometimes the mother of invention. Would Golden State have been so quick to realize the talent of Draymond Green had David Lee not gotten injured? Likewise, in Utah, it took an injury to star center Rudy Gobert for coach Quin Snyder to move to a spread offense.
When Gobert was healthy, Snyder played him alongside Derrick Favors and had another non-shooter (Ricky Rubio) at the point. So with a dearth of shooting, the opposing defense could easily guard the paint. When Gobert went down, Snyder moved Favors to the center position, and inserted Jonas Jerebko as a stretch four and the Jazz offense went thru the roof.
Gobert recently came back but in the 11 games that he missed Utah went 7-4 SU/ATS, including 5-0 SU/ATS in the last five games before he returned. The Jazz also outscored their foes by 19.85 ppg in those last five games. Since Gobert’s return, the Jazz have gone 1-1 straight-up, but 2-0 ATS. And Utah’s pointspread win streak is now at seven games!
Will it continue? I’m not overly-optimistic. Coach Snyder has returned to starting Gobert, Favors and Rubio together, which means the defenses can go back to clogging the paint. And the other issue is that, when one really scrutinizes Utah’s schedule, it becomes obvious that the offensive success can be partially attributed to the opponents played. Indeed, in Utah’s last 13 games, it only played two teams currently ranked among the Top 15 in adjusted defensive efficiency (76ers, Thunder). And in those two games against the 76ers and Thunder, the Jazz had their two worst offensive games throughout this 13-game stretch, and scored 86 and 94 points, respectively. In the 11 games vs. the teams that currently rank among the 15 worst defensive teams, the Jazz averaged 112.54 ppg.
This week, Utah will face Houston at home, on Thursday, and Milwaukee on the road, on Saturday. Given that the Rockets currently rank No. 5 in adjusted defensive efficiency, don’t be surprised if Utah’s seven-game ATS win streak gets snapped by James Harden & Co.
The Washington Wizards have missed point guard John Wall, who is recovering from a knee injury, for the last six games, and seven of the last nine. Over this stretch Washington has gone 3-4 straight-up, and has also gone 5-2 Under the total. For the season, the Wizards are 16-8 Under the total, including 13-3 their last 16.
This week, the Wizards will continue to play without their floor leader, and will take on the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, and the Los Angeles Clippers, on Saturday. I look for another relatively low-scoring game vs. the Suns, as 13 of the last 18 meetings between these two clubs have gone Under the number.
The San Antonio Spurs have played the entire season minus their best player, Kawhi Leonard, yet the Spurs are 16-8 straight-up and 12-11-1 ATS. Last season, at this juncture, the Spurs were 19-5 straight-up, and 11-12-1 ATS. So, the fact that they are just three games off last year’s pace has to be considered a huge victory for Gregg Popovich’s crew.
The good news is that Leonard should be back this week, as he’s been engaged in 5-on-5 drills, which is the final stage of the Spurs’ rehabilitation schedule.
San Antonio has home dates on deck vs. Miami (Wednesday) and Boston (Friday), before traveling to Phoenix, on Saturday, to take on the Suns. Of these games, the match with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics is the most interesting from a betting standpoint, given that Boston already blew out the Spurs earlier this year, 108-94, in Beantown. So, look for the Spurs to avenge that defeat (with or without Leonard), as San Antonio is 40-26 ATS in the regular season when playing with revenge from a 14-point (or worse) defeat earlier in the year to its opponent.
Earlier this season, the Dallas Mavericks handed the Milwaukee Bucks a 32-point defeat – Milwaukee’s worst loss of the past two seasons. But you know what they say about “Paybacks!”
Look for the Bucks to avenge that loss this upcoming Friday, in Milwaukee. That’s because .633 (or worse) NBA teams, playing with revenge from a 19-point (or worse) upset loss, have gone 86-47-3 ATS as favorites since 2000. Additionally, the Bucks are 11-4-1 ATS at home vs. Dallas since 2000. Take Milwaukee on Friday.
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]How the return of Kawhi Leonard impacts the Spurs and NBA bettors[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[I]Kawhi Leonard, the preseason co-favorite to win this year’s MVP award, could make his season debut Friday night for the San Antonio Spurs with the East-leading Boston Celtics in town.[/I]
It was Game 5 of the 2013 NBA Finals, with about two minutes left in the first half, and LeBron James – then with the Miami Heat – was at the free throw line. He missed the first and the horn buzzed signaling a player substitution for the San Antonio Spurs. Kawhi Leonard was checking in for Danny Green and James was not happy to see it.
That’s how the rest of the NBA, outside of Spurs backers, are feeling right now with Leonard expected to make his season debut on Friday when San Antonio hosts the Boston Celtics in the late game of the ESPN NBA doubleheader. Ashton Grewal breaks down what the impact of his return means to the betting landscape.
The last time bettors saw the corn-rowed one on the floor he was ripping the Warriors to pieces in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, until Golden State center Zaza Pachulia slid under his feet on a closeout and injured Leonard’s ankle in the process.
The Spurs were winning by 21-points at the time of the injury and Leonard already had 24 points and eight rebounds in the game. San Antonio ended up losing Game 1 by two points and never came close to competing with the Warriors the rest of the series with Leonard out the lineup.
Gregg Popovich’s team is 16-8 straight up and 12-11 against the spread on the year without Leonard and went 13-6 SU and 8-11 ATS without him the previous two seasons.
We received varying opinions on what the spread would look like in Friday’s marquee matchup between the Spurs and Celtics. Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts sportsbooks, predicted the Spurs would be 3-point chalk without Leonard and 9-point faves with him. Jason Simbal, CG Technology vice president of risk, forecasted the Spurs would be favored by two points with Leonard and 1-point home underdogs if they faced the C’s without Kawhi.
Stoneback thinks Leonard is worth about six points to the spread for the Spurs while Simbal had it at three points.
As for the NBA futures market, nothing changes here – barring a further setback to Leonard’s health. Vegas knew Leonard would return and priced the Spurs odds to win the NBA championship as if he would be 100 percent by the time the postseason rolled around.
Last May, the Westgate SuperBook opened San Antonio at +1,000 to win the 2018 NBA championship and the club is now listed at +1,200. That puts the Spurs behind the Golden State Warriors (-250), the Cleveland Cavaliers (+500) and the Houston Rockets (+800).
If you had told a San Antonio Spurs backer that Kawhi Leonard was going to miss at least the first 25 games of the regular season, that person probably would have thought twice before betting the Over on the Spurs’ season win total. But here we are at the quarter pole of the campaign, the Spurs are on pace to win 55 games (a half game more than their 54.5 season win total) and Leonard hasn’t played a minute yet.
[B]MVP Chances [/B]
Big things were expected from the 2014 NBA Finals MVP. He was coming off his second All-NBA First Team season and oddsmakers installed him as the preseason, co-favorite with LeBron James to win the 2018 MVP at +400.
Bad luck for anyone who did take Leonard at that price. His MVP odds have dropped to +2,000, and rightly so. Bill Walton is the only player to miss 20 or more games and still be named regular season MVP of the league. He won the MVP despite playing only 58 regular season games for the 1977-78 Portland Trail Blazers.
[B]Spurs new rotation[/B]
Leonard’s return would mean a return to the pine for Kyle Anderson, which would be good news for Spurs backers. Anderson has improved as a pro but he’s rotation player at best in the league. San Antonio defense is 4.3 points lower per 100 possessions when Anderson isn’t on the floor. Leonard’s on/off court defensive statistics weren’t great last year but we all know what the guy can do when defending. Just ask Ben McLemore.
San Antonio runs post-up action with about 11 percent of its offensive possessions – which is tops in the league. Last year the Spurs were fourth in the league in most frequent post ups with about nine percent of their sets dumping it down on the block. Don’t expect more isolation plays with Leonard back in the fold. Popovich’s teams over the years are normally always close to the bottom in iso actions per game.
The Spurs’ offensive efficiency should improve as soon as Leonard shakes off the rust. San Antonio averaged 105.3 points per game last year and is at 101.3 per game this season. It might be a wise move to play the Over in the first couple games with Leonard back in the mix.
[B][I]Inside the Paint – Thursday
December 7, 2017[/I][/B]
Favorites went 10-0 straight up in the NBA last night and that’s been the theme of this week’s action with the ‘chalk’ going 25-4 since Sunday.
Fortunately there’s a point-spread and that’s where the underdogs have remained somewhat competitive. The ‘dogs went 5-4-1 against the spread last night and they’re 13-15-1 ATS in the last 29 games. Total players have seen the ‘under’ go 19-9-1 since the start of the week.
Thursday’s card has four games and below is my quick handicap.
[B]L.A. Lakers (8-15 SU, 10-13 ATS) at Philadelphia (13-10 SU, 15-8 ATS) [/B]
These teams squared off on Nov. 15 from the Staples Center and the 76ers captured a 115-109 win over the Lakers as four-point road favorites. Even though Los Angeles couldn’t buy a shot (38.5%) all night, this was a tight game and the 76ers outscored the Lakers 32-25 in the final 12 minutes to secure the win. Philadelphia center Joel Embiid had arguably his best game of his career, finishing with 46 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
The oddsmakers are expecting Philadelphia to complete the season sweep on Thursday, opening the club as an eight-point favorite. The 76ers have been installed as home favorites 10 times this season and they’ve been a profitable 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS. However, they did just surrender a 115-101 setback at home to the Suns on Monday as 10-point favorites. That loss dropped the team to 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS over its last five games, which has been the worst stretch this season for the club at the betting counter.
Los Angeles enters this game with a five-game losing skid (1-4 ATS) and three of the setbacks came by double digits. Away from home, L.A. has been much worse (2-8 SU, 3-7 ATS) this season and the two wins came against the Phoenix Suns.
Since neither team has been in great form, my next look is at the statistics for both teams and the Lakers are at a clear-cut disadvantage to the 76ers in almost every category. From a situational standpoint, the 76ers have gone 6-1 off a loss since they started the season 0-3 and I would expect them to keep that trend rolling along. Sticking with that thought, I would probably lay the points too knowing Los Angeles has only been able to cover two of its 15 losses and 10 of the defeats were by eight-plus points.
TNT will provide national coverage of this game at 8:05 p.m. ET.
[B]Washington (13-11 SU, 13-11 ATS) at Phoenix (9-17 SU, 12-13-1 ATS)[/B]
This isn’t an easy game to handicap since both teams won’t have their best players on the court. Washington point guard John Wall (knee) is still nursing an injury and Phoenix just lost Devin Booker (groin) for a couple weeks.
Washington opened as a 7 ½-point road favorite and it’s coming off a solid 106-92 win at Portland on Tuesday. You could be hesitant to lay the points tonight when you realize the Wizards haven’t won back-to-back games since mid-November. They have been solid on the road (7-6 SU, 9-4 ATS) and will be facing a Suns team that has been worse in the desert (4-9 SU, 4-9 ATS) this season.
Also, Phoenix is playing its first game back from a six-game road trip and those situations are never easy plus the injury to Booker is a major factor. With healthy rosters, the Suns ran past the Wizards 122-116 on Nov. 1 as 11-point road underdogs. Prior to that setback, Phoenix had dropped four straight to Washington but it has managed to go 4-1 ATS over this span.
Total bettors could be scratching their heads for this matchup knowing the Wizards (16-8) have been a great ‘under’ lean this season but Phoenix owns the best ‘over’ (16-10) mark in the NBA. The total (215 ½) for the rematch is 13 points lower (228 ½) than the aforementioned meeting and that should put the injuries into perspective.
[B]Oklahoma City (11-12 SU, 7-15-1 ATS) at Brooklyn (9-14 SU, 15-8 ATS) from Mexico City[/B]
The NBA heads ‘South of the Border’ for this matchup and the Thunder (-7 ½) are expected to leave Mexico City with the win. Oklahoma City swept the season series between the pair last season and both games were decided by double digits (18, 19).
Despite lacking talent and playing with a short-handed roster due to injuries, the Nets have been much more competitive this season. They’ve covered eight of their last nine games and the lone ATS loss came when they were favored. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has been a nightmare for bettors, especially on the road (2-9 SU, 2-9 ATS).
The Thunder do enter this game with a three-game winning streak but the wins came by four, three and six points. Another win would get the club back to .500 and it should be noted that OKC has gone 5-3 versus the Eastern Conference this season.
Brooklyn has seen its totals mark (11-11-1) produce back-and-forth results all season but Oklahoma City has clearly identified itself as a solid ‘under’ (15-8) bet and that includes a 7-1 record in games versus foes from the East.
[B]Houston (18-4 SU, 13-9 ATS) at Utah (13-12 SU, 15-10 ATS)[/B]
TNT will provide cover of this late-night tip at 10:35 p.m. ET and it features a pair of hot teams on the hardwood and at the betting counter. Houston has won seven straight and 13 of its last 14 games after starting the season 5-3. They’ve been an impressive 10-4 ATS during the run and they’ve been laying some healthy prices during this stretch as well.
The offseason acquisition of PG Chris Paul from the Clippers didn’t seem like the right fit and he missed 14 straight game due to knee soreness. However, he returned on Nov. 16 and while his numbers haven’t been off the charts (12.4 PPG, 9.8 APG), you can’t dismiss the fact that Houston remains undefeated (8-0) this season when plays.
Keeping that record intact on Thursday won’t be easy against Utah. The Jazz just had their six-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday as they dropped a 100-94 decision at Oklahoma City. Utah managed to earn the cover (+8) and that pushed its ATS streak to 7-0.
The 94-point effort against the Thunder was the lowest offensive output for the Jazz during this span and what’s surprising is that Utah’s leading scorer Rodney Hood (ankle) has missed the last five games. He’s listed as ‘questionable’ on Thursday but they could certainly use him knowing they’ll be playing their third game over a four-day span.
The Rockets blasted the Jazz 137-110 on Nov. 5 as 6 ½-point home favorites as James Harden went off for a season-high 56 points. The ‘over’ easily cashed (204) and that’s been a solid wager in this series lately with the high side connecting in four straight and eight of the last 10. The Jazz have picked up their pace and scoring lately but still remain a solid defensive team (98.8 PPG) and the recent return of Rudy Gobert solidifies the unit more.
Houston owns the best road record (10-1 SU, 8-3 ATS) in the league and it opened as a five-point favorite for this contest. Even though the Rockets have been lights out this season, Utah should still have confidence considering it has won four of the last six meetings against Houston and the Rockets are just 2-4 in their last six trips to Salt Lake City.
[B][I]NBA roundup: Nets rally from 16 down to beat Thunder
December 8, 2017[/I][/B]
MEXICO CITY — Caris LeVert recorded his first career double-double with 21 points and 10 assists as the Brooklyn Nets rallied from a 16-point deficit and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-95 on Thursday night at the Global Games.
On the first anniversary of his NBA debut, LeVert saw extensive time at point guard because of Spencer Dinwiddie’s foul trouble. In 30 minutes, Levert shot 6 of 10 and also played effective defense on Russell Westbrook down the stretch.
Westbrook finished with 31 points but shot 10 of 27 from the field. He scored only five points in the fourth quarter and was also forced into a turnover by LeVert with 2:11 remaining.
Oklahoma City missed three straight shots in a span of seven seconds and LeVert iced Brooklyn’s fourth win in six games by hitting four foul shots in the final 18 seconds.
[B]Lakers 107, 76ers 104[/B]
PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Ingram hit a 3-pointer with eight-tenths of a second left to lift Los Angeles over Philadelphia.
Ingram led the Lakers with 21 points. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson added 16 apiece off the bench for Los Angeles, which snapped a five-game losing streak.
Joel Embiid had 33 points to lead the 76ers, who dropped their second straight and their third in four games. Robert Covington chipped in 19 points, and rookie Ben Simmons contributed his third triple-double — 12 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists.
[B]Wizards 109, Suns 99[/B]
PHOENIX — Bradley Beal continued his offensive surge with 34 points and Washington won back-to-back games for the first time in almost a month with a victory over Phoenix.
Beal, who had a career-high 51 points in a win at Portland on Tuesday and 40 against the Suns earlier this year, is carrying the offensive load with John Wall (knee) out for a seventh straight game.
Forward Markieff Morris added 21 points and the Wizards won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four straight from Nov. 9-15. Phoenix got 23 points from T.J. Warren in its first game without leading scorer Devin Booker (adductor strain).
Houston 112 -Utah 101[/B]
[B][I]Report: 76ers trading Okafor to Nets
December 7, 2017
Jahlil Okafor no longer has to “Trust the Process.”
The Philadelphia 76ers traded Okafor to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday in exchange for forward Trevor Booker, the 76ers announced.
In addition, Philadelphia sent guard Nik Stauskas to Brooklyn as well as a 2019 second-round pick that originally belonged to the New York Knicks.
Okafor, 21, was drafted No. 3 overall by Philadelphia in the 2015 NBA Draft, but had fallen out of favor with the organization and has played sparingly this season.
“Trevor Booker has been a solid and competitive two-way contributor at every NBA stop. Trevor’s abilities should complement our style of play and his experience should add to our bench depth with playoff contention in mind,” 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. “Jahlil and Nik are both quality young men with talent that should keep them productive in this league a long time. We hope they find more opportunity in Brooklyn this season and thank them for their contributions over the past few years.”
After averaging a career-high 17.5 points and seven rebounds over 53 games and being selected to the All-Rookie first team in the 2015-16 season, Okafor has appeared in just two games this season for the Sixers, averaging 5.0 points and 4.5 rebounds.
He certainly welcomed Thursday’s trade based on comments he made to ESPN last month.
“I would like for them to just send me somewhere where I can get an opportunity,” Okafor said. “I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me, and I would just like to get an opportunity to play with a trade or a buyout. I just hope something happens quickly. … I know it’s business, but in my eyes, I don’t know if it’s good business.”
The 76ers previously declined their team option on Okafor for next season.
Meanwhile, the Nets are happy about adding two young players to their mix.
“We are excited about the prospects of both Jahlil and Nik, as well as adding another future asset which will aid us in our continued roster development,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “This trade provides us with a good opportunity to bring in two young players who were high picks in recent drafts and give them a chance to succeed in our system.”
Booker, 30, is averaging a career-best 10.1 points per game and 6.6 rebounds through 18 games this season. The eighth-year pro has career averages of 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds.
Stauskus, 24, has averaged just 0.7 points and 0.2 rebounds in six games this year after averaging a career-best 9.5 and 2.8 last season, respectively.
The Nets also waived guard Sean Kilpatrick on Thursday. Kilpatrick was averaging 4.9 points in 16 games.
[B][I]SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY DECEMBER 8, 2017[/I][/B]
Time (ET) Away Home Site
7:00 PM Chicago Bulls Charlotte Hornets Spectrum Center
7:00 PM Cleveland Cavaliers Indiana Pacers Bankers Life Fieldhouse
7:00 PM Denver Nuggets Orlando Magic Amway Center
7:00 PM Golden State Warriors Detroit Pistons Little Caesars Arena
8:00 PM Dallas Mavericks Milwaukee Bucks BMO Harris Bradley Center
8:00 PM Sacramento Kings New Orleans Pelicans Smoothie King Center
8:00 PM Toronto Raptors Memphis Grizzlies FedExForum
9:30 PM Boston Celtics San Antonio Spurs AT&T Center
[B][I]DECEMBER NBA BEST BETS & OPINIONS (BASED ON 5 UNITS )
[B][I]Armadillo: Friday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……. [/I][/B]
13) Falcons 20, Saints 17— Strange game; both QB’s threw an INT in the end zone, with Brees’ critical turnover coming in the game’s last 2:00. Falcons were -2 in turnovers but won and are now 8-5, a game out of first place in NFC South. These teams meet again in Week 16.
12) Tuesday night, St John’s beat Grand Canyon 68-60 in a sloppily-played game in Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix. Kid named Keonta Vernon played 30:00 for the Antelopes, who are eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time this season.
Vernon played his ass off; he had 15 rebounds; granted, the shooting in this game was awful so there were a lot of rebounds to be had, but Vernon looks like an NFL tight end. and goes after rebounds like he is one. Problem is, he shoots the basketball like a pro wrestler; he was 0-3 from the floor, 0-6 on the foul line.
Not often a guy grabs 15 rebounds in a game and doesn’t score a point.
11) Cleveland Browns fired GM Sashi Brown Thursday and announced that coach Hue Jackson will be back to coach the team next season.
Browns have four extra draft picks in the 2018 draft, so the next GM has a shot to add a lot of talent. My advice: Draft a bleepin’ quarterback!!!!
10) Washington State opened some eyes when they won the Wooden Legacy tournament over Thanksgiving weekend, but now the bubble has burst.
Coogs were 6-0 after upsetting St Mary’s and San Diego State in Fullerton, but since then, they lost to Cal-Davis at home and by 27 at Idaho. No bueno.
9) Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt as its new football coach; the 43-year old Pruitt has been a defensive coordinator the last five years, at Florida State-Georgia-Alabama.
8) There are 14 football teams in the SEC; Nick Saban obviously coaches Alabama. Of the other 13 teams, four of them are now coached by former Saban assistants.
7) Movie trivia: Did you ever see the 1976 movie Network, about a TV network trying for better ratings, starring Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall and William Holden?
A woman named Beatrice Straight played a character named Louise Schumaker in the movie. She was on camera for a total of five minutes, two seconds, but she earned the Academy Award for the best performance by a supporting actress.
Hers was the briefest performance ever to win an Oscar.
6) Senator Luther Strange, the man who has held a Senate seat in Alabama for the last ten months (his spot is being filled in next week’s special election), is 6-foot-9, making him the tallest US Senator ever.
5) Angels/Mariners are both maneuvering to sign free agent Shohei Ohtani; they both sent a prospect from the 2017 Draft to Minnesota, each receiving money from the Twins’ international slot money. Both teams are in a bidding war to entice Ohtani to play for them- that international slot money is the key in that bidding war.
4) Seattle Mariners traded for Dee Gordon and are going to move him to centerfield. Gordon is owed $40M+ over the next three years. Mariners also got international slot money from Miami, but they gave the Marlins three of their top 10 minor league prospects.
3) Cubs signed P Tyler Chatwood to a 3-year contract; Chatwood has to be really happy, going to a better team and getting the hell away from hitter-happy Coors Field.
2) I’ve got nothing against Roger Goodell, but $40M a year seems a little excessive.
1) Baseball’s Winter Meetings start Sunday in Orlando. In reality, next week is the start of the 2018 baseball season, when lot of moves will be made that will shape next season’s rosters.
Baseball season starts March 29, little earlier than usual, to create a few more days off during the season. March 31 figures to be a fun day, with the Final Four and a full day of baseball.
Sacramento @ New Orleans[/B]
December 8, 2017 @ 8:05 pm
by 7 1/2
Boston @ San Antonio[/B]
December 8, 2017 @ 9:35 pm
by 4 1/2
Chicago won its last three games with Charlotte; over is 5-2-1 in last eight series games. Bulls are 1-4 vs spread in last five visits to Charlotte. Bulls lost their last ten games; they’re 2-5-1 vs spread in last eight games as a road underdog. Six of their last nine games stayed under the total. Charlotte lost five of its last six games; they’re 7-1 as home favorites. Under is 4-1-1 in their last six games.
Cavaliers won seven of last eight games with the Pacers; they covered their last three visits here. Five of last six series games went over the total. Cleveland won its last 13 games; they’re 4-4 vs spread as road favorites. Under is 6-2-1 in their last nine games. Indiana won eight of their last 11 games; they’re 8-4 vs spread at home, 2-2 as home dogs. Under is 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
Denver won eight of its last ten games with Orlando; they’re 3-1 vs spread in last four visits to the Magic Kingdom. Over is 8-2 in last ten series games. Denver lost its last four road games; they’re 1-5 as road underdogs. Three of their last four games went over the total. Orlando is 3-2 in last five games after an 0-9 skid; they’re 1-5 as home favorites. Seven of their last nine games went over the total.
Golden State won 8 of last 10 games with Detroit; teams split last four. Warriors are 2-2 vs spread in last four visits to the Motor City. Last three series games went over total. Golden State won its last five games, covered its last four; they’re 8-7 as road favorites. Four of their last six games went over the total. Detroit lost its last four games; they’re 5-5 vs spread at home, 0-1 as home dogs. Their last four games stayed under the total.
Pelicans won eight of last ten games with Sacramento; Kings are 0-4 vs spread in last four visits to Bourbon Street. Three of last four series games stayed under. Kings lost three of their last four games; they covered last four games as a road underdog. Six of their last eight games went over the total. New Orleans lost four of their last six games; they’re 3-5 as home favorites. Last five Pelican games went over the total.
Dallas won nine of last ten games with Milwaukee (8-1-1 vs spread); four of last five series games stayed under. Mavericks are 3-1-1 vs spread in last five visits to Wisconsin. Dallas is 2-8 on the road; they covered four of last five games as a road underdog. Under is 7-4 in their last 11 games. Milwaukee won four of its last five games; they’re 4-5 as a home favorite. Five of their last seven games went over the total.
Toronto won six of last eight games with the Grizzlies; they’re 2-2-1 vs spread in last five visits to Memphis. Eight of last ten series games stayed under the total. Toronto won its last four games; they’re 2-3 vs spread as road favorites. Raptors’ last three games went over the total. Memphis lost 12 of their last 13 games; they’re 2-3 as home underdogs. Eight of their last ten games stayed under the total.
Spurs won nine of last ten games with Boston (7-3 vs spread); Celtics are 2-3 vs spread in last five visits to the Alamo. Last four series games went over the total. Celtics won 22 of their last 24 games; they’re 4-0 vs spread as a road underdog. Eight of their last ten games went over the total. San Antonio won six of its last seven games; they’re 7-5 as a home favorite. Under is 8-4 in their last twelve games.
[B]GOLDEN STATE @ DETROIT[/B]
Golden State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Golden State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Detroit is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Detroit’s last 6 games at home
[B]CLEVELAND @ INDIANA[/B]
Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Indiana is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Indiana’s last 6 games when playing Cleveland
[B]DENVER @ ORLANDO[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Denver’s last 6 games when playing Orlando
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Denver’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Orlando
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Orlando’s last 6 games when playing at home against Denver
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Orlando’s last 6 games when playing Denver
[B]CHICAGO @ CHARLOTTE[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games
Chicago is 16-8 SU in its last 24 games when playing Charlotte
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Charlotte’s last 6 games
Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Chicago
[B]TORONTO @ MEMPHIS[/B]
Toronto is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Toronto is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing Memphis
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Memphis’s last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Memphis’s last 10 games
[B]DALLAS @ MILWAUKEE[/B]
Dallas is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games when playing Milwaukee
Dallas is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Milwaukee’s last 7 games
Milwaukee is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
[B]SACRAMENTO @ NEW ORLEANS[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Sacramento’s last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Sacramento’s last 12 games when playing on the road against New Orleans
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Orleans’s last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Orleans’s last 6 games at home
[B]BOSTON @ SAN ANTONIO[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston’s last 5 games on the road
Boston is 22-2 SU in its last 24 games
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Boston
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home