If you are a sports betting enthusiast like all of us at BangTheBook.com are, then you probably start thinking about the betting impact of the day’s top stories. Not every top story has a relevance to betting, but you probably try to connect the dots anyway. In a new feature each weekday, we will take a look at the top six sports stories of the day in an article titled the Daily Six Pack. They say that an apple day keeps the doctor away. Well, we like to think that a six pack a day keeps the bookie away.

With that, let’s take a look at the six top stories for Thursday February 19:

Wheelin’ and Dealin’

The NBA Trade Deadline is this afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern and players like Goran Dragic, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, Brook Lopez, Reggie Jackson, Enes Kanter, and Arron Affalo could all be on the move today. It takes a PhD in Salary Capology to explain all of the possible scenarios for trades, with salary exemptions and cap room altering the value of draft picks compared to other sports that see draft picks traded all the time.

I won’t pretend to know anything about that, but there will be a lot of transactions today that directly impact the betting masses. Oftentimes, trades are as much of an advantage psychologically as they are on the floor. It’s a sign of confidence in a team that the GM is willing to trade future assets in order to get help now. Teams do trade to fill a need, which generally means acquiring depth, but there are some impact players in this year’s trade class, like Ty Lawson.

From a betting standpoint, teams that go into fire sale mode, like the Denver Nuggets seem willing to do, are going to be lined as heavy underdogs over the remainder of the season. This can be a dangerous spot for oddsmakers. As we’ve seen throughout the NBA regular season, teams don’t always bring a max effort to the table. Young teams have players that are trying to prove their worth and earn playing time for the following season, so those teams almost always play hard. A team that will sleepwalk to a win as a double-digit favorite against a team devoid of big names is a good team to fade.

On the other side of the coin, teams that make trade additions aren’t always better off. The player may fit from an X’s and O’s standpoint, but he could be a tough player to deal with and may be abrasive with teammates and coaches. A winning team is a happy team. A losing team can be a real unhappy team, especially if a favorite teammate is traded away for a cancerous persona.

Every trade needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to see what impact it will have and whether that impact will be positive or negative. Teams that buy at the trade deadline always see a bump in perception and savvy bettors can play against that perception to get value in the right situations. Similarly, there can be value on young teams that lose key pieces because they’re going to play hard.

It should be an interesting day. Keep it in the proper perspective and you could have a very profitable second half of the betting season.

The NBA Returns

Only four teams are back on the court tonight in the Association, but tonight’s NBA on TNT doubleheader features four teams with a lot of storylines for the rest of the season. The Dallas Mavericks take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (betting preview) in the first game and the San Antonio Spurs battle the Los Angeles Clippers (betting preview) in the nightcap.

The Mavericks picked up Amar’e Stoudamire earlier this week, as mentioned in yesterday’s Six Pack. They have been buyers on a couple of occasions this season, including the acquisition of Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics. The Mavericks played a tough schedule before the Break, so they could certainly be a play-on team the rest of the way given their depth. The Thunder, on the other hand, are desperate for wins to get into the top eight spots. Kevin Durant got a late start to the season and Russell Westbrook also missed time. Through it all, Oklahoma City is just outside the top eight, a half-game behind Phoenix, as play resumes.

The San Antonio Spurs are always a better team with rest, as mentioned in our Top Daily Betting Trends article today. The Los Angeles Clippers will be without Blake Griffin for at least a couple more weeks. Griffin had surgery to remove a staph infection in his elbow. The Spurs have seen a major line move in the market for this game. They opened +1 and are now -3, which is a significant move at this time of the season. The reigning NBA Champions can seemingly turn it on whenever they want to and maybe that’s what the betting masses expect the rest of the second half.

Living Up to the Hype

North Carolina and Duke was probably the highest bet college basketball game of the season to date on Wednesday night and it did not disappoint. Well, unless you laid the points with Duke. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils played a 92-90 thriller that ended in overtime. Both teams shot the ball very well, though Duke’s 10-of-16 mark from three-point range was a big contributing factor in the win because they barely made more than 50 percent of their free throws (16-of-31) and turned the ball over 16 times.

Freshman Jahlil Okafor deserves all of the accolades, but Tyus Jones has been Duke’s most impressive freshman over the last couple of weeks in my humble opinion. His maturity from November to the present has grown by leaps and bounds and he was outstanding in the final 10 minutes of Duke’s win at Virginia on January 31. He had 22 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds in the win over UNC on Wednesday. He’s been tremendous.

There are a couple other takeaways from this game. Duke was beaten pretty badly on the interior. Marcus Paige and Justin Jackson couldn’t score, but Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson were 15-of-20 from the floor. Isaiah Hicks and Joel James were 8-of-13 off the bench. Keep an eye on that going forward for Duke, especially with their NCAA Tournament draw. Teams that excel in the paint are going to give them fits.

Going against both North Carolina and Duke this weekend and possibly into next week seems like a great idea. After such a public game with good showings from both teams, perception is going to climb on both teams. North Carolina hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday in a game they are likely to sleepwalk through. Duke hosts Clemson and then goes on the road to Virginia Tech. I think you can make some money going against those two teams in their next couple of games.

“It’s Beautiful, Clarke”

Darren Clarke was named the captain of the European team for the 2016 Ryder Cup in at Hazeltine in Minnesota. Clarke was a unanimous choice among the five-man committee that included three past Ryder Cup captains - Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, and Paul McGinley.

Clarke played in five straight Ryder Cup matches from 1997-2006, including the 2006 event when Clarke went a perfect 3-0 in his matches just weeks after his wife lost her battle with breast cancer.

As reported earlier this week, the Americans are expected to go with Davis Love III, in lieu of going with Fred Couples, who was the players’ choice. The Americans have lost six of the last seven Ryder Cup matches, so there will be a lot of pressure to take this year’s event on home soil.

Puttin’ On The Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald signed a two-year extension with the Arizona Cardinals that will pay him $22M in guaranteed money over that time. The 31-year-old has been with the Cardinals for his entire career after getting drafted out of Pitt in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

The Cardinals didn’t have much of a choice other than to extend Fitzgerald, but they have to be worried about his production. Leg injuries have slowed the former Pro Bowler, who had just 784 yards and two receiving touchdowns last season. In fairness to Fitzgerald, the Cardinals quarterback situation was a major mess last season, but the health problems are a major red flag.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim said that the restructuring of Fitzgerald’s deal will give them some additional salary cap room to make moves in free agency this offseason. They could certainly use some help to add depth. The Cardinals had a lot of injury issues in the secondary and lost Darnell Dockett before the season began. Quarterback is still a problem with Carson Palmer’s dead shoulder and ACL rehab. Oddsmakers will take a very cautious approach to the Cardinals this season and they have already done that with their season win total.

Training Wheels

Four teams – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco – kicked off the official start of Spring Training yesterday with pitchers and catchers reporting by the mandatory date. Thirteen more teams report to camp today, including all six reigning division champions.

There’s not a whole lot of betting impact or value in that bit of news, but it’s really cold across the country and the start of Spring Training seems like a comforting thought.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, all 15 American League teams have been analyzed and previewed for the 2015 season with a free pick on their season win total. The NL East will go up today, with the NL Central tomorrow and the NL West on Saturday.

Bonus Beer: An Old Fashioned Game of Hockey

Let’s raise a toast to the group of about 40 hockey players that played in the longest running game in history. Guinness is evaluating the tape from the 250-hour long game outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The fifth annual event raised over $800,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation and should have a place in history, at least until they top the record next season. Congratulations, guys and girls!


Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.