Oct 25 ’17, 10:05 PM in 6h
NBA | Jazz vs Suns
Play on: Jazz -6½ -115 at BMaker
Phoenix is off of a rare win in their last outing. They build a big 20 pt lead in the 1st half and barely hung on for a 2 pt win. Utah has won seven straight in the series and plays defense. The Suns average 102.8 PPG and are the worst defensive club in the league in giving up a whopping 125.3 PPG. Eric Bledsoe is out again for the Suns as they are trying to trade him. The Suns depth took a hit when Bledsoe decided to quit the team and I see Phoenix losing this one by 10 or more.
Here’s an early opportunity for us to find out what this Minnesota team is made of. The Wolves were absolutely horrible on Tuesday in a lopsided home loss to the Pacers. Jimmy Butler missed the game with a respiratory issue and he might be out again tonight. But this was a very flat performance by Minnesota as the team bounced badly off the thrilling win at Oklahoma City.
Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t very happy after the game for obvious reasons. He basically said the team can’t expect to just show up and win, and that about says it all.
So now we get to see what this team is all about. Tonight’s game is a spot where good teams come out flying and issue a statement that what happened the last time out was a fluke. On paper, even minus Butler, the Pistons are a team Minnesota is supposed to handle. If the Wolves are legit, they’ll use the embarrassing home loss to Indiana as motivation for a full game effort tonight. If the team comes out sulking off the Tuesday night stinker, it’s an indication that Minnesota might not be ready for prime time just yet.
I’m of the opinion that this is a good NBA team. Not a championship caliber squad, but a rising Minnesota squad that takes care of business against teams with less talent than they have. With or without Butler, I believe the Timberwolves are the way to play tonight.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a really tough loss to the Timberwolves. Indiana just thumped Minnesota last night. Jimmy Butler didn’t play in that game though, and it was a clear letdown spot for the TWolves off that win over OKC. The Thunder should play with plenty of emotion here as Paul George plays against his old team and they look to bounce back. This looks like a blowout spot to me. I’ll lay the points with the Thunder.
No chance Ok City overlooks Indy after losing twice to the Pacers last season. And after back-to-back losses, the Thunder wouldn’t overlook Abilene Christian. But the sorts of games that might not trouble Ok City from December onward are proving a handful in late October, and Indiana’s offense, led by Victor Oladipo, was in high gear last night in the win at Minnesota.
There is a huge gap between the top tier of the NBA and the bottom, and I don’t think the this line shows that. LeBron James is a unique and talented player that can play any position, and he was inserted as the point guard in last night’s game, that saw him score 34 points and hand out 13 assists. The Cavaliers’ offense thrived, but the defense was awful and I’m sure they heard about it, so I expect a more concerted effort on that end tonight. Brooklyn plays no defense at all, allowing 122.5 points per game to start the season, and if they get into a game of trying to trade baskets with the offense of the Cavaliers, they are not going to stay in the game very long. Cleveland looks good with LeBron at the point and the offense is just too much for Brooklyn. Lay the points on Cleveland.
This looks a potentially disturbing matchup for the Lake Show, with word from Wizards camp that John Wall has his sights set on teaching rookie Lonzo Ball a thing or two tonight. Wall scored 34 and 33, respectively, vs. Lakers in a pair of Wiz wins last season, and no indicator LA about to do any better job slowing him tonight.
We wouldn’t exactly call Game 1 of the World Series a surprise. The home team, the best team in baseball by wins over the entirety of the season–parlayed an excellent performance by their Hall of Fame starting pitcher into a win over a gutty performance by the opposing team’s 1-A ace. There were lots of strikeouts, and the runs in the game were scored off homers in a season chock full of strikeouts and dingers. It was a taut, exciting game but hardly qualified as unexpected in terms of outcomes. Tonight night be different.
Tonight we have to wrestle with two conflicting expectations. First, there are the Dodgers, who look so strong coming off their previous playoff wins and last night’s victory and are possessed of both powerful lineup and dominant bullpen. As the home team, they are likely projected to win any possible game at home, no matter how powerful their opposition might be. They are a great blue juggernaut rolling over their competition.
On the other hand, we have Justin Verlander’s screaming fastball. Unlike any other pitcher since Curt Schilling, Verlander embodies the gut-it-out playoff ace narrative, and for excellent reason. With his history of being able to step up his performance late in games or at the end of seasons, the no-hitters, and his larger-than-life reputation, the big righty has taken it up a notch since coming to the Astros. It is almost impossible to look at him taking the bump in October and bet against his team. Thus, the Dodgers are in the right place. The Astros have the right pitcher at the right time. Something will give.
You can say that this is a critical game for the Astros already, as going down 0-2 to start a World Series is a recipe for disaster. That is not wrong. At the same time, every single game during a World Series is a critical game. Nothing about this particular outing is more critical than any other during this seven-game stretch. Both teams have to win four games to take home a trophy, and that still hasn’t changed.
However, Game 2 presents, possibly, the Astros’ best chance to win a game on the road. The Astros have been absolute murder on left-handed pitchers this season, and while that may not have held up against Kershaw–few things do–Rich Hill is not Kershaw. While the Dodgers may not be facing the same kind of pressure as the Astros, no one should be resting easy. If the Astros steal an away game in L.A., then that means the Dodgers have to do the same during the long slog in Houston this weekend. They’re equipped to do it, but potential and practice are two very different things, and a loss tonight may actually put them at a disadvantage overall in what will have become a five-game series where they do not hold home-field advantage.
So, the pendulum could swing tonight, if any one structure in the system breaks down. Verlander is among the least likely cogs in any system to break down. Expecting another shutout seven might be over-relying on his story, but he’s very likely going to have another rock-solid outing and it goes without saying that the Astronauts have a great chance to tie the series up here.
Our two options are to play the Astros in Game 2 or at the adjusted series price of +225. We’re going to choose the former because if they win here, we’ll still have them in the series at +146, which we would then be free-rolling on. However, if we bet the updated series price and they win here, we cash nothing and they could still lose the series.
This is the first of back-to-back meetings as these two will play again tomorrow in Memphis. The Grizzlies have already defeated two of the top teams in the West by taking out Golden State and Houston and are now up against the winless Mavericks. Dallas (0-4) started the same way last season opening the season 2-14 while Nowitzki was on the DL and now it appears in his 20th season that he is just big and slow. Memphis is off a great win over Houston where they outscored the Rockets 20-2 during the 4th quarter. I don’t see how they maintain their intensity against the lowly winless Mavericks.
The Pacers were solid last night in Minnesota and should carry that effort over in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are still in the early stages of trying to stay consistent with the addition of C. Anthony and P.George. Since 1998 road dogs of 10 or more with a 190 or higher total have covered every time if they have no rest and were a road dog of 5 or more, vs a team that scored 110 or more and failed to cover as a home favorite like the Thunder. The pacers won here last year. That wont happen here but they should hang around for the cover. Take all those points with the Pacers.