Archives for category: Game of the Night

Brooklyn Nets (13-10, 10-13 ATS) vs New York Knicks (18-6, 14-10 ATS) @ MSG, 7.05 PM

Line: NY by 6
Total: 194.5

In the third meeting of the battle of New York, the Nets will be making their first trip to Manhattan since moving to Brooklyn. After splitting the first two games at the Barclay Center, the Garden will be a rocking tonight, as the island shows their hip borough cousins that basketball in NYC will always belong to the Knicks.

The Nets started of as one of the hotter teams in the league but have really struggled against teams with winning records, going 4-8 against them in 2012. Brooklyn is however having a lot of success inside their division going 5-1 versus the Atlantic.

The Knicks are coming of their first home loss of the season thanks to a former teammate in Jeremy Lin. New York’s Carmelo Anthony is questionable again for tonight’s game with a badly sprained ankle, if Melo does not play, the Knicks will have to rely on J.R. Smith scoring touch. Smith probably caused more New Yorker’s to choke on their Original Ray’s pizza since the Club 54 days.

The Nets only covered 2 of the last 9 games, but one of those came against the Knicks at home as an underdog.
If Melo does not play take the Nets and the six points.

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Cincinnati Bengals (7-6, 6-6-1 ATS) vs Philadelphia Eagles (4-9, 3-9-1 ATS) @ Lincoln Financial Field, 8.20 PM

Line: CIN by 5

Total: 45

This is one of the toughest Thursday night spreads of the season. The Bengals were winners of four straight before losing to the Cowboys at home 20-19, blowing a 9 point lead. How will the Bengals respond in a must win game on a short week. Even if Cinncy pulls this one out tonight, they still have play Pittsburgh and Baltimore, beating both to make the wild card.

Then there’s the Eagles, who I expected to roll over last week in Tampa, instead down 21-10, Nick Foles leads two touchdown drives with four minutes left, lifting Philly to a 23-21 win. With Vick, McCoy, and Jackson all missing again this week, Foles and Bryce Brown led Eagles have covered the spread the last two weeks against the Bucs and Cowboys. The Eagles are also doing a better job protecting Foles when he drops back in the pocket, but they’ll be tested against Geno Atkins & Carlos Dunlap and the seemingly endless line depth the Bengals have.

Bengals WR A.J. Green (who was featured in yesterday’s post) should be targeted early in tonight’s game, when he lines up against a battered Nnamdi Asomugha. Cincinnati will probably trying some big plays in their first series to suck the life out of the Philly faithful (cause 4-9 team and showing up on Thursday is as faithful as it gets) and lower the confidence of a young Eagles squad.

If those big plays do not workout for the Bengals, the Eagles will stick around much like they did the last two weeks. On a short week you cannot trust a Marv Lewis coached team to show up, even if the guy on the other sideline is packing up his office after the game, I wouldn’t count out the “new/young” Eagles as the home underdog on a short week.

Take Philly +5 and the under.

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Denver Broncos (9-3, 7-4-1 ATS) vs Oakland Raiders (3-9, 3-8-1) @ Oakland Coliseum, 8.20 PM
Line: DEN by 10.5
Total: 49

On the surface this looks like an easy win for the Broncos on another lame Thursday nighter. Denver’s 4-0 versus the AFC West this season and absolutely crushed the Raiders in their last meeting on Sept. 30th, 36-6. Peyton Manning was picking apart Oakland’s pass defense, going 30-38 for 338 yards, possessing the ball for close to 40 minutes of the games.

Oakland looks to avoid a six game losing streak that has seen the their defense allow Tampa and Cincinnati to run for over 200 yards on the ground. Reports last week of Terrelle Pryor possible starting for Carson Palmer, rumors of Jon Gruden returning to the Raiders sidelines the same day current head coach Dennis Allen was going to bury his father, and sending home first round pick Rolando McClain has put the entire team on notice, that nobody is safe in Raider-land.

Darren McFadden is probable for tonight’s game, giving Oakland a legitimate home-run hitter in the line-up. The combination of McFadden and Marcell Reece should force Denver to respect the run game keeping their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, allowing Palmer to work out of the play-action sets he runs so well.

After seeing how tragedy can impact a professional football team, giving players a greater goal to achieve over personal accomplishments (Indy and KC), the Raiders, who have been embarrassed for weeks on end, could very well come out a very angry bunch that wants to win one for their grieving coach.

Double digit home-dogs are 88-63 ATS since 1980, 9-0 in the last two seasons. Combining that with a Oakland team that probably wants to exact some revenge after being beaten badly on the road and a Broncos team that could be looking to next weeks road game against the Ravens, I’d give Oakland a real shot tonight.

I’d never bet against Peyton, but if you feel the need to make this game a little for interesting, why not take a chance on the home-dog in a division game.

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Miami Heat (12-3, 7-8 ATS) vs Washington Wizards (1-13, 6-8 ATS)
Line: MIA by 10.5
Total: 195.5
Miami will be well rested when they take on Washington, the Heat last played three days ago versus Brooklyn. Expect Lebron, Wade and Bosh to play extended minutes as they prepare for a stretch that has them playing 8 games in 16 days. Washington is shooting a woeful 30.2% from three-point, so unless the they magically find their shooting touch tonight, Miami should win big and easily cover that 10.5 number.

Minnesota Timberwolves (7-8, 9-6 ATS) vs Philadelphia 76ers (10-7, 9-8 ATS)
Line: PHI by 3.5
Total: 188.5
Things are finally starting to turn around for the T-Wolves, with Kevin Love fully recovered from his broken wrist and stomach bug and Ricky Rubio returning to full contact, Minny seems to have weathered the early season storm to stay around .500. Love will be asked to carry the load for the Wolves, who are suffering with injuries to AK-47, Brandon Roy, and Chase Budinger. Philly’s been scoring over 100 ppg at home and expect that trend to continue tonight when they take on an out-gunned and out-manned Timberwolves squad.

Oklahoma City Thunder (14-4, 12-5 ATS) vs Brooklyn Nets (11-5, 10-5 ATS)
Line: OKC by 4
Total: 192.5
Two of the hottest teams in the NBA meet tonight with the Thunder winning their last five in a row, while the Nets are winners of five of their last six. The Thunder are leading the league scoring 105.1 ppg and shooting an outstanding 83.4% from the free throw line. Since moving to the borough, Brooklyn is 7-1 at the Barclay’s Center. Gerald Wallace is going to have the luxury of guarding Kevin Durant tonight, Wallace is an excellent on-ball defender and takes pride in shutting down other teams top scorers. Expect the refs to pay a bigger factor than usual in this one, whether they’re giving OKC the superstar treatment or Brooklyn with the hometown calls. If it’s close in the final minutes expect OKC’s exceptional free throw shooting to carry them through this.

Indiana Pacers (8-9, 7-10 ATS) vs Chicago Bulls (8-7, 4-11 ATS)
Line: CHI by 3.5
Total: 180
Bulls fans should be relieved to know that Richard Hamilton is returning from injury tonight, so the Jimmy Butler/Marco Belinelli era will finally becoming to  much needed end. Much like Minnesota, Chicago has battled through a rash of injuries and still find themselves in first place in the Central division. Chicago hasn’t been very successful at home against the spread, going 1-8 at the United Center in 2012. The Pacers are looking to end their four game road trip that saw them pick up big wins in L.A. and Sacramento. Pacers forward David West is playing at an all-star level again with Danny Granger missing, if they could only get Paul George to be consistent instead of one night looking like Tracy McGrady and the next Ricky Davis. I expect this game to go right down to the wire if not overtime, but in a low scoring game.

Los Angeles Lakers (8-9, 10-7 ATS) vs Houston Rockets (8-8 10-6 ATS)
Line: LAL by 2
Total: 214
While the Lakers are continuing to work out the kinks with new head man Mike D’Antoni, Dwight Howard seems to have found his place in the new system. Howard is coming off his first back to back 20 point 15 rebound performances, but so how has reached Shaq-esque levels on the free-throw line (46%). The Rockets very easily could implement the Hack-a-Howard defense and keep this game closer than it should be. With Steve Blake out for 6-8 weeks, Kobe is going to be forced to handle the ball handling duties until Steve Nash returns. With Kobe 52 points shy of 30,000 and Houston’s one man defense (Omir Asik) with his hands full with Howard, we could be in-store for a vintage Kobe night. Either he goes off for 50 or 2-23 shooting, either way you might want to stay up late for this one.

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New York Giants (7-4, 5-5-1 ATS) vs Washington Redskins (5-6, 6-5 ATS) @ FedEx Field, 8.30 PM
Line: NYG by 3
Total: 49.5

While home-field hasn’t been an huge advantage for the Redskins this season, Washington is 3-0 against the spread versus the NFC East this season. In Robert Griffin III first meeting against the reigning champs, New York need three forced fumbles and a 77 yard Eli to Victor Cruz pass with less then two minutes to beat the impressive rookie from Baylor 27-23.

The Redskins offense ran the ball 38 times for 248 with Alfred Morris getting career highs in carries (22) and yards (120).

The Giants have struggled when their opponent gains 100+ rushing yards against them (2-4, but really 1-4 last week Green Bay gained 100 mercy yards in a blow-out).

RGIII went 20-28 with 2 TDs and 1 INT, this time he’ll have favorite target Pierre Garcon who missed the last meeting. The only thing really holding the Redskins out from a big blow-out is that Washington’s secondary is one of the worst in the game. Washington linebacker London Fletcher-Baker, who originally got hurt in the first game, may miss his first game in like two decades.

Take Washington and the over.

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Houston Rockets (7-7) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (11-4) @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, 8 PM
Line: OKC by 9
Total: 207.5

James Harden will be making his first trip back to Oklahoma City since being traded right before the start of training camp. So far, the trade seems to be paying off for all sides. Harden got his huge contract and ability to show he’s more then a role player.

Oklahoma has had a seeming-less transition adding Kevin Martin (15 ppg) to the starting line up, while freeing up more playing time for their endless bench of former first rounders (veterans like Collison, Perkins, Sefolosha and recent picks like Maynor, Thabeet, Jackson, Orton, Lamb, and Jones III. The Thunder could piece together another deal for a top-end talent without even affecting the starting line-up. Any rebuilding team would take back Orton and Thabeet (one of two seven-footers) a potential starting point guard in Maynor or Jackson and an athletic wing in Lamb or Jones. Scary stuff!

It’s a shame Houston had to play last night against my beloved Raptors, as the Rockets are give up 100.2 points per game and as Omir Asik is the only one playing any defense for them, the Thunder could easily drop 130 on them tonight.

Check back tomorrow on my story about “Why I Hate James Harden”.

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#4 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) vs #2 Duke Blue Devils (6-0) @ Cameron Indoor Stadium, 9.30 PM
Line: Duke by 6
Total: 144

Seriously, does no one else find it weird that Duke is already 6-0. Its November 28th. Notre Dame football won’t play again til January 7th, while Notre Dame basketball (already 6-1) will play eight more games before the National Championship game even kicks-off. Just me?

Mason Plumlee has really thrived since brother Miles left for the NBA last summer. Plumlee is averaging a double-double so far this season (19 pts/10 rebs). Expect Mason to continue his improved play against Ohio St., who has yet to find a replacement for the departed Jared Sullinger.

Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft will show off his lock down defensive skills when he tries to slow down the smoother jumper of Seth Curry. While Duke will have to find an answer for Bucks forward DeShaun Thomas. Thomas is scoring 24 ppg along with 7.3 rbg and 1.5 apg. At 6’7, he presents a big match-up problem for the Dukies. Duke does have all five starters averaging over 10 points per game though.

Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon looks to be next in the long line of slightly undersized two-guards to play in Cameron Indoor along the lines of Dahntay Jones, Andre Dawson, DeMarcus Nelson, Nolan Smith and J.J. Reddick.

New England Patriots (7-3, 6-4 ATS) vs New York Jets (4-6, 5-4-1 ATS) @ MetLife Stadium, 8.20 on NBC
Line: NE by 7
Total: 48.5

Rex Ryan and the Jets are going to be throwing everything at the Patriots defense including the kitchen sink and parts of the foundation. New England allows 290.5 yards thru the air and in the last two meetings made Mark Sanchez look like a solid QB (297 and 268 yards passing in the last two meetings). Fake punts, wildcat with Tebow, flea flicker,s expect offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to try and invent a few things on the fly.

New York dodged a huge media circus last week when St. Louis laid down and gave them the road victory to keep their record to a manageable 4-6, then the dead in the water 9-7. With new acquired Aqib Talib playing in his second game in five days for the Pats, after a five weeks off, should help him get back up to game speed after an up and down game versus Indy.

Brandon Lloyd is going to be looked upon for a big night with both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez out of the line-up. The Pats will have to use a combination of Daniel Fells, Visante Shinacoe and Mike Hoomanawanui to fill the void at tight end. That shouldn’t be an issue for Tom Brady, back in his Super Bowl winning days, he had lesser known guys manning the position like Daniel Graham, Ben Watson and Christian Fauria. New England’s averaging 35 points a game this season with two 50 spots on opponents this year. Expect this game to go over unless the Jets are completely anemic in this one.

Washington Redskins (4-6, 5-5 ATS) vs Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 4-6 ATS) @ Cowboys Stadium, 4.15 on FOX
Line: DAL by 3
Total: 48

The Dallas Cowboys are 28-15-1 all time on Thanksgiving, winning five of their last six. When I dug a little deeper into the numbers, there were some very odd trends, Dallas is 6-19 when they are the favorite over the last three seasons. The Cowboys are 5-15 against the spread at Cowboy Stadium. Dallas clearly has a history of playing down to opponents much like last weeks OT win versus Cleveland. While this is Dallas and Washington’s first meeting this season, Dallas is 3-1 over the last three seasons, but funny enough the Redskins are 4-0 against the spread over that same time and nobody mistaking those teams for the Art Monk/Joe Riggins ‘Skins of old. There’s two ways I see this game going.

Scenario One: On short rest the Skin’s offensive line does not have the same push on short rest to control the clock thru the ground like they want to do. RG3 goes all Madden-Vick, and he and Pierre Garcon continue to run those school yard plays where RG3 run one way, jukes a couple of defenders, and hurls the ball across the field in the “there’s no way!…..WOW!!! how did he find that guy” moments (like at the 1.08 mark of the video below), which works with varying success. This gives Tony Romo and Cowboys to take chances on Washington’s weak secondary (289.2 yards against in the air, Safety Brandon Meriwether is not playing today) Dez Bryant continues his improved play when he lines up against the less physical/head case in DeAngelo Hall. This ends up being another close game with a final drive to win (for Dallas fans this scares the crap out of them either way).

Scenario Two: Mike Shanahan lays a coaching beat down on Jason Garrett. Washington continues their running dominance (166 ypg) with Dallas missing both defensive tackles Jay Ratliff and Keyon Coleman, this frees up the Skins to double up on DeMarcus Ware. RG3 follows up a stellar performance last week against Philly, 14-15 for 200 yards and 4 TDs, with a healthy mix of play-action pass and scripted runs. The Cowboys without LT Tyron Smith and both centers in Phil Costa and Ryan Cook struggle to protect Romo, and create little space for ‘boys running backs. Redskins win in a rout.

click to see how the play ends!

Houston Texans (9-1, 7-3 ATS) vs Detroit Lions (4-6, 4-6 ATS) @ Ford Field, 12.30 AM on CBS
Line: HOU by 3.5
Total: 49.5

The Houston Texans despite taking off the first three-quarters last week at home versus Jacksonville, managed to pull off a huge come from behind win to extend their four game winning streak. The Texans be playing their fourth game in 19 days, and after last week, no one knows which Texans team is showing up today (HOU is 6-1 when playing on six days or less this season). This game has all the makings of a high scoring aerial assault. With the Detroit Lions losing staple left tackle Jeff Backus last week, rookie Riely Reiff will be making his first career start, the question is going to be a how quickly will Detroit abandon the run game against the Texans run defense that allows 86.3 ypg. If Detroit does goes go all pass expect J.J. “SWAT” Watt to wreak havoc on the inconsistent Matt Stafford. Houston might be without top corner Johnathan Joseph. Despite playing last week, Jags rookie Justin Blackmon lit up Joseph and company to the tune of seven catches for 236 yards and 1 TD. Lions Calvin Johnson been on fire in the last three weeks with 24 catches for 479 yards and 2 TDs. Lions will look to Johnson to put up big numbers today despite constant double teams. With Adrian Foster leading the league in carries playing on short rest you’ll see a ton of Ben Tate today. It really doesn’t matter who the Texans put back there as the team rushes for 136.7 ypg. With all that said, This should be a better game than most of us are accustomed to when it comes to Lions Thanksgiving football. Usually short rest playing on Thursday favors the home squad, but these Texans have shown resolve all season and expect nothing more today. Unless they just do not show cause they all want to get on the first thing back to Houston.

If the game is a blow out in either direction, you might want to watch on mute unless you want to hear a ton about Phil Simms mother’s cooking!

“That’s my Mayor!”

With plenty of action going on in the NBA tonight with 14 games, highlighted by the Los Angeles Clippers vs the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here’s a couple of thoughts on the latest going on in the Sports world.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers bring back Plaxico Burress: When Plax was let walk after his first five years in the ‘burgh, it seemed the controversial Buress had burned every bridge on his way out-of-town. I guess time does heal all wounds.
  • Chelsea Football Club has fired its manager Roberto Di Matteo, just months after winning the UEFA Champions League title. Di Matteo was hired permanently after taking over for another short-lived boss in Andre Villa-Boas. Di Matteo over the summer lost striker Didier Drogba, had team captain embodied in a country-wide controversy, failed to land Drogba’s replacement in Brazilian Hulk, while dealing with a bunch of aging stars in Lampard, Cole, and Terry. The change will be Chelsea’s owners Roman Abramovich’s ninth manager since buying the squad in 2003
  • If you’re wondering why the price of your Under Armour went up in stores, look no further then the $50 million dollar exit fee the University just paid to leave the Atlantic Coastal Conference to join the BIG 10 (now with 14 teams including Maryland and Rutgers). It’s an odd move for a University that has a ton of local rivalries in the state of Virginia and North Carolina’s, also adding a ton of extra travel time and expenses. While bizarre has been the norm since coach Randy Edsall arrived, horrible uniforms, scaring off recruits and players on his own team, know paying for the right to get beat down by Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State every year. Who pays 50 mil for that.
  • Jays hire John Gibbons: I thought the first rule of fight club is DON’T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.
  • For the first time in a very long time the 2012 Heisman race is as wide open as the competition has ever been. Arguments could be made for Texas A&M QB Johnny “Football” Manziel (166 yards short of Cam Newton’s SEC record for total offense in a season) Two linebackers that lead two of the top defenses in the country in Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Georgia’s Javris Jones and the ultimate stat-filler in USC’s WR Marqise Lee. Lee in 11 games has 107 receptions for 1605 yards and 14 TDs with three games to play. A signature moment in this weekends ND-USC game could push one of Te’o or Lee to the top of the list of hopefuls.

Toronto Raptors (3-7, 4-6 ATS) vs Philadelphia 76ers (6-4, 6-4 ATS) @ Wells Fargo Centre, 7.05 PM
Line: PHI by 5.5
Total: 182

While Toronto was going bat-shit this week over their baseball trade, adding a potential franchise strapping amount of cash in the process, its hard to forget the same sports fans were willing to set the ACC on fire when DeMar DeRozan signed his extension. When DeRozan, 23, signed his four years, 40 million dollar extension, you’d have thought the Raps re-signed Vince Carter (2012 version), Hedo Turkoglu and Joey Graham in one, not a twenty three year old with unlimited potential and a proven ability to score 15 ppg in the league with relative ease. Most fans just pretended like they watched the preseason, figured he’s the same player, didn’t see the obvious improvements in his ball handling, mid-range game, and general fearlessness to the basket, they shit all over the deal with the same vigor they praise their precious Anthopolous. DeRozan’s college teammate and Chicago Bulls forward, signed basically identical deals, the difference being Gibson is already 28 years old and will be close to 33 in the final year of his extension. While Derozen is going to be 28 years old entering the prime of his career when his contract ends. What’s been even more impressive about DeMar’s game this year, in an offense that isn’t even geared around him, it’s tailored around Andrea Bargnani.

That same Bargnani that makes 10 plus million a year, has five inches and 40 pounds on DeRozan and some how still averages less than a rebound per game less than the former Trojan. Bargnani, the focal point of the offense, has been shooting a disastrous 35% on Field Goals and 16.2 ppg (his lowest since the ’08-’09) compared with DeRozan’s 45 FG% and team leading 19.0 ppg. This is also while Kyle Lowery has been out of the line up, so using the excuse “he’s learning to play with new players” does not apply here for Andrea.  Calderon is playing as well as anyone not names Paul, Williams, Irving, or Lillard. Which makes me wonder, would it have been better to ride out Brandon Roy with that first pick, have him play like he did for those few seasons (bring hype and excitement and playoff ball to Toronto) then have to rebuild or toil with this Italian enigma in Bargnani.

For the Raps, a game like tonight’s is when you’ll see the standard stout DeWayne Casey defense but scoring at a Big Ten type pace. When fully healthy, the Raps and Sixers are quiet evenly matched teams. Both squads have plenty of length in the front court and tough-minded back court players. Hard not to think, Philly born Kyle Lowery, would have gone off on the 76ers in front of all his friends and family (something like 20 pts, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds). Philly’s is going to rely heavily on sixth man Nick Young tonight. Young has been a constant pain for the Raps since entering the league. In 17 games versus Toronto, Young averages 12.5 ppg on 45% on field goals in just 24 minutes. Look for him to get a lot of shots against the depleted second unit of the Raptors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpNrVrSkXj4

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Los Angeles Clippers (7-2, 7-2 ATS) at San Antonio Spurs (8-2, 6-3 ATS) @ AT&T Centre, 8:30 PM

Line: SAS by 4.5
Total: 198.5

In the classic clash of youth versus experience, The Spurs will be rocking the all veteran line-up with Kawhi Leonard out for two weeks with quadriceps tendonitis in his left knee, Stephen Jackson will be taking his place. San Antonio are going to have to break out all the old dog tricks and slow the pace of the game to a near halt. Last thing Timmy and crew want to do is get in to a sprint with the seemingly endless supply of athletic freaks on the Clips. L.A.’s front-court of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin need to be relentless in their attack of the basket and wear down Duncan and Splitter limiting their effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball. If the Clips can force Tony Parker to try to win the game with his outside shot, they’ll have a better chance of stealing the road win. In the last meeting, Los Angeles was high motivated in a 106-84 win at the Staples centre, after last season’s sweep at the hands of the Spurs in the first round. Well see if Chris Paul and co. can dig down deep again tonight as they come in riding the high of a five game winning streak,w while starting a four game road trip in Texas.

The Spurs are 52-12 vs the Clippers since 1996, and 28-4 in San Antonio in that same span. Sad news for the basketball world today hearing that Wolves guard Brandon Roy was shut down with another knee injury, which would seemingly end his playing career. Of course, Roy shocked everyone when he returned this summer after being forced to retire early last season. Brandon had a huge impact in his short career and not only has a mountain to climb to ever have a hope of playing again let alone walk without some sort of cane. Our hopes are with you.

One last thing, the NFL has some bad voodoo with them these days. From all the concussion issues, the replacement refs, bounty gate, a possible lock-out, bounty gate (again!), Thursday night football being less entertaining than an NBC sitcom, now a Monday Night Football game featuring Jason Campbell and Colin Kaepernick. If the NFL was a stock I’d short the hell out it. Didn’t seem like yesterday, the NFL was the Mugatu of the sports world and literally could have wrapped shit in foil and sold them to the Queen of England. Oh wait they did in terms of the Pats/Rams game in London.