Hawks and Bucks Reach Win Total Set By Odds Makers

The NBA All-Star game has yet to be played, but the first half of the regular season for the NBA is in the books with the majority of teams having played between 45 and 50 games.

Before the season began, odds makers released their futures for total wins during the 82-game regular season.

The season is so long that it is difficult for even the best NBA teams to play well game in and game out. At the start of the season, the Western Conference was considered the stronger of the two conferences and that has held true for the first half of the season.

After only one quarter of the season had been completed, 9 teams in the West were on a pace to go OVER the win total odds maker had given them.

The team that has taken the NBA by storm at this point of the season is Atlanta. The Hawks won 19 straight before being defeated by New Orleans, but came back on Wednesday to defeat Washington to start another streak.

The Hawks to start the season were given a won total of 40.5. On Wednesday, with their win over the Wizards, the Hawks surpassed that win total, as they are now 41-8 on the season.

Golden State was a dominating force during January as well when they were 12-3. The Warriors are currently 39-8 on the season. The Warriors need 12 wins over their last 35 games of the season to cash the OVER of 50.5.

Just one team, Minnesota has won less than 10 games this season. Those bettors who took the 76ers, Timberwolves and Knicks and the UNDER are looking strong. Minnesota has an OVER of 25.5 and the Timberwolves are currently just 9-40. The Knicks have a win total of 40.5 and are just 10-39 on the season. Three more losses and the UNDER ticket will cash.

Last season, the Phoenix Suns were the first team that earned a result on its win total. The Suns of this season, besides the Hawks are the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are 27-22 on the season through February 4. The win total for Milwaukee set before the season begin was 24.5. That means the Bucks cashed OVER tickets when they defeated Portland at home last week.

The Western Conference is still the strength of the league with the eighth place team 6 games over .500, while the eighth place team in the East is 7 games under .500.

Hawks host Wizards, Bulls visit Rockets and More…

The Wednesday night calendar in the NBA has a number of good matchups to choose from and here are three.

Washington at Atlanta

The Atlanta Hawks are looking to start another winning streak after their 19-game streak was snapped by the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.
Atlanta has allowed 100 points or more, only six times over their past 20 games played. However, in its past 5 games played, Atlanta is just 1-4 ATS. The Hawks are 10-0 in their past 10 games played at home including a 31-point rout of Washington in January.

Washington lost two straight at home before hitting the road to Atlanta. The Wizards are 0-7 ATS in their past 7 games overall.

In a 92-88 loss on Monday, the Wizards were only able to score 37 points during the second half against Charlotte. Washington is 1-4 SU over its past 5 games at home.

As a road dog this season, the Wizards are 3-7 ATS, while 1-4 ATS on the road versus teams from the Southeast division.

Chicago at Houston

Chicago has had four days of rest leading up to this game while on a road trip of six games. Chicago will try to break a skid of two games. The road trip started well with an overtime win over Golden State, as 11-point road dogs. However, the Bulls lost consecutive games to the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. In Phoenix, the Bulls covered the spread as a seven-point dog. The Bulls have yet to lose three straight his season, while going 4-0 SU off two straight losses.

Houston starts a three game stay at home after losing at Detroit 114-101 on Saturday as a favorite by four points. The Rockets loss snapped a winning streak of four games for Houston.

Houston has won six of its past seven home games, while going 6-2 straight up and 4-4 ATS in its past eight home games against opponents from the Eastern Conference.

Oklahoma City at New Orleans

New Orleans is the hottest team against the spread in the NBA at this time covering 6 of its past 7 games. New Orleans ended the 19-game winning streak of Atlanta on Monday with a 15-point victory as a home dog by 3 points.

New Orleans won the first two head-to-head games vs. the Thunder this season, with two underdog outright wins. The teams will conclude a home and home set on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Kevin Durant has a toe injury and is doubtful. The Thunder is 2-4 SU and 0-6 ATS in its past six games.

Two Games Highlight NBA Sunday Schedule

Two great match ups highlight the NBA schedule on Sunday. In one game, the Miami Heat visits the Chicago Bulls and in the other, the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to Bovada and topbet, Chicago is favored by 8.5 points over Miami with the point total at just 187.

Miami on the season is 19-24 SU and 19-22-2 ATS. On Friday night, the Heat defeated Indiana 89-87. However, Miami did not cover as a home favorite by 3.5 points.

Chicago is 29-16 SU and 20-25 ATS. On Monday, the Bulls were routed by Cleveland, but defeated San Antonio as a home dog by 5.5 points and then defeated Dallas as road dogs by 6 points.

Miami is on a streak of 10 straight UNDERs. The Heat during that stretch has held eight of 10 opponents to fewer than 100 points.

The first meeting between the two teams this season saw Chicago defeat Miami in Miami 93-75 and easily cash as a road favorite of 7 points.

Joakim Noah has returned for Chicago after missing four games due to an injured ankle.

Chicago has covered only two of its last nine games as a favorite at home.

During that span, Chicago has lost as a double-digit home favorite outright to the Nets, Magic and Jazz.

The Cleveland Cavaliers looked to have awoken. While going through a horrible run while star LeBron James was out injured, Cleveland is currently enjoying a run of 5-0 SU and ATS. The Cavaliers are 5-1 SU and ATS since James has returned.

On Friday, the Cavaliers routed Charlotte 120-90 to cover easily as a favorite by 10 points.

Oklahoma City is 22-21 SU and 20-212 ATS. The Thunder is currently 3-1 on a road trip of five games. OKC beat the Magic, Heat and Wizards in their first three games of the trip but were defeated by the Hawks 103-93.

The Cavs lost to the Thunder in their December game in Oklahoma City 103-94. The Thunder cashed as a 7.5-point favorite at home.

That was the Thunder’s first cover in the last four games versus the Cavaliers.

With LeBron playing, Cleveland is 12-2 SU 8-6 ATS in its past 14 games played at home.

Cleveland is 4-4 against opponents from the Western Conference at home. As the favorite at home against teams for the West, the Cavs are 4-2 ATS.

As an underdog this season, the Thunder is 10-9-1.

This game should be high scoring with a wide-open atmosphere.

Saturday NBA Slate Has Some Big Spreads

I have to wonder what goes through Carmelo's mind when he laces them up for this Knicks' team each night.

With the NFL taking a break this weekend, the NBA is in my focus. Here are four games I like for you tonight.

New York (+9.5) at Charlotte – The lottery-bound Knicks are dead last in the Eastern Conference and I see little help on the way. I expect Phil Jackson to continue dumping as much salary as he possibly can.

The Hornets have won eight of their last ten and have pulled within a half game of the eight spot in the Eastern Conference. Strangely enough though the Knicks come in on a three-game winning streak.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in five of the Knicks’ last seven games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Charlotte’s last seven games at home… New York is 3-7 against the spread in their last ten games against the Hornets… Charlotte is 4-1 straight up in their last five games at home.

The Pick: Take the Hornets to cover and the OVER.

Jason Kidd has made the Bucks competitive despite the loss of Jabari Parker.

Detroit (-2) at Milwaukee – The Pistons have won seven of their last ten games as they continue to play well in the weeks since Josh Smith was sent packing. Although they are currently in the 10th spot in the East, they are just a game behind Brooklyn for the all important eight spot.

The Bucks sit at 21-21 and not surprisingly they have gone 5-5 over their last ten games. The loss of Jabari Parker to his ACL injury was a tough blow but Jason Kidd has kept this team competitive with good defense.

Trends: The Pistons are 12-3 straight up in their last 15 games… The total has gone UNDER of 12 of Milwaukee’s last 13 games… Detroit is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against the Bucks… The total has gone OVER in five of Milwaukee’s last seven games against the Pistons.

The Pick: With the Pistons being better on the road then at home, I like them to cover and I like the UNDER.

Philadelphia (+16) at Memphis – At 8-35, the Philadelphia 76ers are going nowhere and now they have to try without guard Troy Wroten is out with a knee injury. The Sixers have lost four straight and are just a half a game ahead of the New York Knicks who have won three in a row.

Memphis has won six of their last ten and currently resides in the second spot in the Western Conference. Although the Grizzlies have been good at home (17-5), the Sixers are actually better on the road than they are home.

Trends: Philly is 1-8 straight up in their last nine games on the road… The total has gone OVER in five of Memphis’ last seven games… The Sixers are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games when playing on the road in Memphis… The Grizzlies are 5-1 SU in their last six games at home against Philadelphia.

The Pick: Take Philly getting the points and the OVER.

Washington (-4.5) at Portland (O/U 195.5) – The story here is obviously “life without LeMarcus” in Rip City. Portland’s all-star big man is out six to eight weeks with a hand injury. Portland currently resides in the third spot in the West but common sense tells us that won’t last. The question is just how long can the Blazers hang on without Aldridge?

For the Wizards, they are in the second spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Atlanta Hawks by six and a half games. Washington needs to pay closer attention to Toronto and Chicago who are just a game behind them. The Wizards will go as John Wall goes and he’ll be challenged by good guard play in Portland.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in four of Washington’s last six games… Portland is 1-5 straight up in its’ last six games… The Wizards are 3-6 against the spread in their last nine games in Portland… The Blazers are 2-4 SU in their last six games against the Wizards.

The Pick: I like the Blazers to halt their two game skid and take the UNDER.

Cavaliers Odds Shortened After Trade for Smith and Shumpert

If one has faith in the recovery of LeBron James from his injury giving him the opportunity to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first professional basketball championship in 51 years, then the best time to place a bet is likely now.

Odds are dropping on the Cavaliers. According to Bovada and sportsbook.com, Cleveland went from 13 to 4 to 5 to 1 since early December, while at topbet and betonline, the Cavs are 4 to 1 to win it all.

Since James took the decision to sit out for what was billed initially as a hiatus of two weeks, but could end up being shorter, Cleveland is just 1-4.

Kyrie Irving is now on the team’s inactive list with James. Fortunately, more help is coming.

With their recent trade to acquire J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, the Cavaliers will be helped with experience and scoring.

Dion Waters is gone to Oklahoma City and his quickly fading reputation left with him. He was hit or miss on too many occasions with Cleveland.

With Smith, they acquired a guard with playoff experience, while Waiters has none.

Smith can also pay good defense and that will be important when the playoffs roll around.

Shumpert should at some point replace Matthew Dellavedova as the starting No. 2 guard and instantly be the best defender on the ball the Cavs will have.

Shumpert’s presence will give Irving the chance to defend the weaker opposing guard each night.

The Chicago Bulls have crept up the futures board going from 17 to 2 down to 11 to 2 to win the championship.

With Derrick Rose looking less injury prone of late, Nikola Mirotic emerging as an important facet and Jimmy Butler becoming a legitimate NBA star, the Bulls are making a name for themselves on the futures board.

One online site has the Bulls and Cavaliers even at +180 to be the Eastern Conference champions. However, that same site has moved Atlanta to +500, just over Toronto at +650.

On another futures board, Atlanta is down from 75 to 1 to 25 to 1 to win the NBA title, which is the biggest move by any team in December.

Unless Cleveland can make up six games over the second half of the season to catch Chicago in the East, the club will likely be a 4 or 5 seed.

However, Shumpert and Smith should help the Cavs during the second half, especially when Irving and James are back to 100% health.

Be it Toronto, Atlanta, Chicago or Cleveland, the time to jump aboard is now as the four will likely separate themselves further from the rest of the conference after the All-Star break.

U.S. and Spain Heavy Favorites in FIBA World Cup

When one hears World Cup, their minds are automatically thinking about the sport the entire world, less the United States, calls football. However in this case they would be wrong, this World Cup is basketball and will take place starting on Saturday August 30 in Spain.

The early lines for the event on Bovada and topbet have the U.S. and Spain as the heavy favorites to win gold. The U.S. on betonline is currently going off at 4 to 7, while Spain on sportsbook.com is sitting on 3 to 2.

Host country Spain has seen the gap in price between it and the U.S. shrink just a bit since the beginning of last week. That could be due to Kevin Durant deciding not to play.

However, the U.S. remains the favorite to win a fourth consecutive international tournament after winning gold in the 2008 Olympics, the 2010 World Championships, and the 2012 Olympics.

Despite not having basketball’s two best players in LeBron James and Durant, Team USA still has a number of strong players that are currently or have been NBA All-Stars.

The roster for Team USA includes the likes of Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving amongst others.

Davis and Harden were on the Olympic team from 2012, while Rose and Curry played on the team that won the World Championship in 2010.

Spain’s team will not be a slouch. The roster includes a number of former and current players in the NBA.

If or when the two powers play head to head, the USA must deal with the brothers Gasol – Pau and Marc and Serge Ibaka down low and point guard Ricky Rubio.

The next group of teams below the two heavy favorites is Argentina, Brazil, France, Lithuania and Greece. All five of the teams are currently 30 to 1 to win the title.
Each of those five teams have players with NBA experience,  if odds are to be believed then those five will battle it out for the bronze.

Of course, international basketball has some quirks such as a wider lane and rules around the rim, that are different than what most in the U.S. are used to. However, the talent the U.S. team possesses likely will carry them to a gold medal.

2014 FIBA World Cup Odds

U.S. 4 to 7

SPAIN 3 to 2


BRAZIL 30 to 1


FRANCE 30 to 1

GREECE 30 to 1

Minnesota Timberwolves Close the Book of Love

The NBA, players, coaches and fans alike knew that the Minnesota Timberwolves had to trade power forward Kevin Love.

The franchise’s face played in Minnesota for six seasons without reaching the postseason once. He did not see eye to eye with former team president David Kahn over an extension and spent most of last season putting up his best numbers individually as an NBA player, while occasionally having run-ins with his teammates in a locker room that was highly fractured.

Love wanted to leave Minnesota, the fans wanted him out and a seventh season for the two just seemed out of the question.

The Wolves did not have much leverage, but management had to convince teams that were ready to take advantage of the situation, that the Timberwolves really did not have to trade away Love.

On Saturday, a summer long saga came to its conclusion when the Wolves sent Love to Cleveland. Other players and other teams were involved in the trade, but Love was the featured star.

Minnesota however was lucky to land the two last No. 1 picks overall in the draft and a talented forward who is just 26 and averaged nearly 18 points a game last season, for a superstar who already had one of his feet out the door.

When Flip Saunders took Kahn’s place last summer, his priority was trying to persuade Love to stay with the club.

That did not pan out and as early as the day the season ended for Minnesota, they were taking bids from other teams, while trying to convince them they did not have to trade Love.

The Timberwolves were near a deal with Golden State at the time of the draft, but the Warriors decision not to include Klay Thompson in the deal broke it.

The Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics all made offers, but none was worthwhile to Saunders of the rest of the front office.

By waiting and holding out, the Wolves were able to get a deal they were comfortable with and one they felt was worth the wait.

Once LeBron James decided to play in Cleveland, the whole dynamics changed as the Cavaliers approached the Timberwolves with quite a bit to offer.

At first, Cleveland refused to offer Wiggins, who was the player most important to Minnesota. Minnesota waited for James to push the Cavs to make something happen.

Once the particulars were worked out and the three teams involved received whom they were hoping for, the deal was agreed to.

The Timberwolves quickly turned the page on the Love era as soon as the trade was completed last weekend and have already moved on, as has the man who wanted out, Kevin Love.

The pressure now starts to build for Cleveland to see if they can mesh LeBron and Love together to form a team that wins the NBA championship.

Odds Makers: Cleveland Cavaliers 9.5 Points Better with James and Love

Odds makers are already making adjustments to some Cleveland Cavaliers matchups during the season, especially those against the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

With LeBron James already signed to played in Cleveland and Kevin Love nearly there, bookmakers are adjusting point spreads, one of which is the Christmas Day game the Cavaliers will have on the road against the Miami Heat.

According to Bovada and topbet, the Cavaliers are now a road favorite by 3.5 points over the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.

After the regular season ended in May, Cleveland wa

s rated 11 points behind the San Antonio Spurs, the top-rated team in the NBA, playing on a neutral court.

As far as an actual spread, the Spurs at the time were favorites on their home court against the Cavaliers November 23 by 13 points. However, that has been cut to -7.5 as of now.

Prior to last season’s playoffs, Miami was only a half point behind the Spurs according to betonline and sporstbook.com, but now they have tumbled down the list.

Putting Cleveland as a favorite by 3.5 points on the ho

me court of Miami puts into prospective what value the bookmakers have assigned to the pair of Love and James.

Oddsmakers have made the Cavaliers 9.5 points better with James and Love than last season.

Others said that James makes the Cavaliers 6.5 points better and if nothing happens to stop the expected deal for Love, then he would make them better by another 4.5 points. On some books that would make Cleveland 11 points better than last year and at the top of the list with the league’s top rated team the San Antonio Spurs.

Last season, Cleveland won just 33 games while losing 49. With the addition of James, they were moved up to 57.5 on the win total. While James was on the Cavaliers, the team won 66 games in 2008-09 and 61 in 2009-10. If Love is picked up by Cleveland, the 57.5 number should expect to be moved up b

Odds makers will be adjusting the line on point spreads and win totals throughout the remainder of the summer.y at least 5 to 7 games.

Love is expected to be traded by Minnesota in late August to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins the top draft pick in this year’s draft. Anthony Bennett is also expected to be part of the deal, along with a protected first round draft pick.

Christie Vetoes Sports Gambling Bill in New Jersey

Online sportsbooks and Las Vegas can breathe a sigh of relief after Chris Christie the Governor of New Jersey vetoed a bill on sports betting. Christie said that ignoring the federal law is counter-productive to the country’s democratic traditions.

Christie vetoed a measure that would have opened the door to sports wagering in racetracks and casinos in New Jersey.

Christie rejected the legislation that would have had New Jersey circumventing a federal ban on gambling on professional as well as college sports in New Jersey.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state’s case, which meant the ban remained.

While Christie helped lead a spirited effort legally in an attempt to change the existing law, he said he could not join an attempt to circumvent the court.

Christie said ignoring federal law, instead of working to reform the standards, is not in line with the country’s democratic traditions and is inconsistent with the values of the Constitution that he was sworn to protect and defend.

Both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature overwhelmingly passed the measure in June, just days after the ruling by the country’s top court.

Christie, who currently is considering running for the presidency, was indifferent when the legislature passed the measure, saying the court said no, so it was time the state moved on.

Ralph Caputo a Democrat and a sponsor of the legislation called the decision by Christie disappointing. He said the state was running out of its options for finding ways to raise much needed revenue.

The legislation he said would have given a much needed injection of revenue for Atlantic City as well as for the racetracks in the state.

The legislation was a viable opportunity to raise revenue and help to rejuvenate the casino industry in New Jersey, and we failed to take advantage of it.

Christie said he would be open to looking at other approaches to allowing sports betting that complies with the country’s federal laws.

The state has fought for years in its attempt to overturn legislation that allows sporting betting in only four states in country where sports betting is legal and the federal law will not be overturned any time soon.

NBA Futures Re-Adjusted After Frenzy of Free Agent Activity

The futures for the NBA Championship have been adjusted again following a weekend full of free agents signings. Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks, while Pau Gasol exited Los Angeles for Chicago.

When LeBron James signed for Cleveland the frenzy of free agency in the NBA was just beginning. Moves over the weekend impacted the outlook for the NBA for the 2014-15 season.

Gasol signed with the Bulls and will be paired with center Joakim Noah. That gives Chicago the best NBA passing frontcourt.

Whether or not that translates to more wins will eventually be seen, but the two skilled big men should help open the Bulls offense.

Last season Gasol averaged 17 points, close to 10 rebounds and over 3 assists per game.

Chicago opened on Bovada and betonline following the NBA Finals at 12 to 1, but following the signing of Gasol that was halved to 6 to 1.

The Bulls were at 6 to 1 as early as last Friday since some bookmakers, such as sportsbook.com and topbet figured Anthony and or Gasol might sign for the Bulls.

For Chicago to be valued at such a price, oft-injured Derrick Rose must remain healthy following knee issues that have kept him out most of two straight seasons.

If Rose can stay healthy and Chicago gets offensive help from Doug McDermott their rookie from Creighton on the perimeter, the team could once again be a legitimate contender.

Carmelo Anthony was at one time said to be going to Miami to form the Big Four or joining James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston, but in the end, he re-signed to play in the Big Apple with the Knicks.

The Knicks opened at 50 to 1 and that has been shortened to 40 to 1, which is a slight adjustment but would have been much more significant the other way if he had signed with another team.

With Anthony leading the way, New York reached the second round of the playoffs in 2013 therefore a return this season to the postseason with Derek Fisher as the head coach will not be a stretch.

The Heat lost LeBron but was able to re-sign Chris Bosh. Of course, they are not in the title contender discussions at this point, but are re-assembling their franchise and should be a strong contender for the postseason.

The Heat expect that Dwayne Wade will also re-sign giving them two-thirds of the Big Three back in the fold. Miami also signed Luol Deng who will be their new small forward replacing James.

The Heat went from their opening price of 2 to 1 following the NBA Finals, to 100 to 1 after LeBron departed. They have been readjusted with the signing of Bosh, Deng and possibly Wade to 30 to 1.

Top Five NBA Championship Futures