NBA on TNT Preview: Mavericks vs. Lakers Spread Betting Predictions

Two teams battling for the second seed in the Western Conference playoff race meet on Thursday at the Staples Center, as the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers (53-20) host the Dallas Mavericks (53-21) with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.  The Lakers (-6) have dropped two of the last three meetings with the Mavericks, and both teams still have an outside chance of catching San Antonio for the best record in the league.

The Spurs are mired in a season-high four-game losing streak pending the outcome of their matchup with Boston earlier in the evening.  The Lakers are an NBA-best 15-1 since the All-Star break and have continued to narrow the gap with San Antonio in an effort to seize homecourt advantage when they defend their championship.  Despite the hot streak, LA has failed to cover the spread in four of the last five games with the OVER cashing three times after the total went UNDER in seven of the previous eight.

The team won 96-91 at Dallas to start a seven-game winning streak on March 12 after losing the previous two meetings by an average of seven points.  The Mavs would lose a potential tiebreaker for the second seed with the Lakers, who have the edge as a division winner.

Regardless of what happens, Dallas should finish no worse than third in the West after winning 50 games for the 11th season in a row.  The Mavericks are riding a five-game winning streak – going 4-1 against the spread – and the UNDER has cashed in five of their past six.  The last three wins are part of a five-game road trip that ends with stops in Oakland and Portland.

Dallas topped the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday 106-100 at Staples behind 24 points from Dirk Nowitzki while J.J. Barea added 22 off the bench.  The Mavs had scored less than 95 points in each of their previous two games, and scoring at least 100 against the Lakers could be the key to deciding which team emerges with a victory.  The winner between the two has totaled 100 points or more in eight of the past 10 meetings with the OVER cashing six times.

LA is averaging nearly 118 points in its last three games after failing to reach the century mark in four of the team’s previous five games.  Of course one of those recent games was a 139-137 win over Phoenix last week in triple overtime, the closest an opponent has come to beating the Lakers outside of their loss at Miami on March 10.

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ESPN Opening Day TV Schedule: Tigers vs. Yankees Pick and Preview

Opening Day MLB Thursday winner is on the New York Yankees (-145) to Detroit from Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers. It’s a day game on ESPN.

Many more times than not I am an underdog player with baseball as I love getting that take back and subsequent value with a team that has a great chance to win yet is a nice priced dog. There certainly are though times when the favorite seems to be laying less than they should be and that is the case here from Yankee Stadium.

I have said for a while that the prices on the diamond have been plummeting over the past five to 10 years and I see this game as a prime example. To be able to lay south of about 150 with Yankees in the Bronx and a stud ace in CC Sabathia on the hill would never have been the case just a few short years ago. I have all of the respect in the world for Justin Verlander as the guy has lights out stuff at times but it’s still on the road against one of the best teams in the game in the Yankees. Plus Verlander is no Sabathia.

Arod, Tex, Swisher, Jeter, Cano and the Bombers may be getting a little older but they are still much deeper and more potent than the sketchy Tigers, whether Miggy is sober or not. Jim Leyland’s team is truly very average when all is said and done and away from Comerica and up against the big bad Yankees makes me more than fine with fading the boys from Motown and backing the superior Yankees.

Top expert pick on today’s card: New York Yankees

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Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Bradford Burgess, Shelvin Mack, Terrence Jones Prop Odds

Proposition odds are up for the Final Four matchups Butler vs. Virginia Commonwealth and Kentucky vs. Connecticut. Bradford Burgess vs. Shelvin Mack, Terrence Jones vs. Jeremy Lamb; how many points will Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker score? These are among the proposition bets available according to world class pick site

Kentucky vs Connecticut
1301 Kentucky -112
1302 Connecticut -104
1303 Over 11 Points  -132
1304 Under 11 Points  +113
1305 Kentucky -118
1306 Connecticut +101
1307 Kentucky -124
1308 Connecticut +106
1309 Kentucky -130
1310 Connecticut +111
1311 Kentucky -136
1312 Connecticut +116
1313 Kentucky +116
1314 Connecticut -135
1315 Kentucky -133
1316 Connecticut +114
1317 Over 13 3 Pt Shots made  -117
1318 Under 13 3 Pt Shots made  +100
1319 Over 25.5 Points  -108
1320 Under 25.5 Points  -108
1321 Over 17.5 Points  -108
1322 Under 17.5 Points  -108
1323 Terrence Jones +108
1324 Jeremy Lamb -126
VCU vs Butler
1201 VCU +101
1202 Butler -118
1203 Over 11 Points  -130
1204 Under 11 Points  +111
1207 VCU +101
1208 Butler -118
1211 VCU +106
1212 Butler -124
1215 VCU +111
1216 Butler -130
1219 VCU +116
1220 Butler -136
1221 VCU -120
1222 Butler +103
1223 VCU -125
1224 Butler +107
1225 Over 15.5 3 Pt Shots made  -108
1226 Under 15.5 3 Pt Shots made  -108
1227 Jamie Skeen -115
1228 Matt Howard -101
1229 Bradford Burgess +131
1230 Shelvin Mack -153

For winning point spread picks, Joe Duffy has his picks part of GodsTips, anchor of A long-time veteran of the sports betting industry, Duffy got his start at Dial Sports 976 Dial It service and eventually became the most decorated scorephone handicapper in history.

Fantasy Baseball: Rotisserie Deals and Steals

If you haven’t had your fantasy baseball draft yet, that means two things: (a) you’re wrapped up in MLB betting or (b) your draft must be in the next 24 hours, as the season starts Thursday. If you fall under (b), you clearly need a quick cheat sheet. Here’s some crucial information to know.


1.                     Albert Pujols, 1B: He’s only the greatest right-handed hitter of all time AND in a contract year. Take him if you have the first pick.

2.                     Hanley Ramirez, SS: He needs to be a top-two guy given the scarcity of talent at shortstop this year.

3.                     Miguel Cabrera, 1B: Joey Votto has the one big season and Troy Tulowitzki gets hurt every year. Booze or no booze, Miggy Cabrera is money in the bank. Take that to your sportsbook.


1.                     Carlos Gonzalez, OF: CarGo is a great ball player and had an amazing 2010 but he’s going as high as first in some drafts. That’s way too crazy for a guy with one good season and sometimes-questionable plate discipline.

2.                     Ian Kinsler, 2B: Still very talented but Kinsler gets hurt every single year.

3.                     Joe Mauer, C: Why take Mauer when you can wait 10 picks and take Buster Posey, who could match Mauer in average but has more power and is less of an injury risk?


1.                     Jon Lester, SP: You’ll probably see at least five pitchers fly off the board before Lester but he’s a reliable 200-plus strikeout guy on a great team. He’s a fine anchor for any fantasy rotation.

2.                     Nelson Cruz, OF: For all the love that a guy like Matt Kemp gets, Cruz’s per-game fantasy production was as good as anyone’s last season. Let’s hope he can avoid injuries in 2011.

3.                     Dan Uggla, 2B: Some people get scared off by his strikeouts and often-poor average – but not this sports betting blog. Uggla is just the second second baseman in MLB history to hit 30 homers in four consecutive seasons. That’s major power from a light-hitting position.


1.                     Jason Heyward, OF: To me, he’s the National League’s answer to Josh Hamilton. Unfortunately, that comparison looks like it will include injury concerns. Let’s hope the big fella plays a full year with the Braves.

2.                     Francisco Liriano, SP: As we’ve seen with Josh Johnson, many pitchers really start to dominate once they’re more than a full season removed from Tommy John surgery. I think Liriano will put it all together and contend for a Cy Young this season.

3.                     Carlos Santana, C: Mauer, Posey, Victor Martinez and Brian McCann get all the love, but you can wait another round or two after those guys are gone and snag a catcher who could be just as valuable this season. I’m betting the Indians’ Santana bounces back from his knee injury to hit .285 with 20-plus homers and 80-plus RBI.


1.                     Starlin Castro, SS: Castro still isn’t quite a household name yet, so you may be able to snag the Cubs’ starting shortstop on the cheap for one more season. Castro hit .300 as a rookie and is tearing the cover off the ball this spring. Go get him.

2.                     Aroldis Chapman, RP: He isn’t closing right now but the man who owns baseball’s fastest-ever pitch won’t be denied the job for long. His strikeouts make him valuable immediately, especially in leagues that count holds.

3.                     Mike Morse, OF: The Washington Nationals’ new starting left fielder is a very deep sleeper and will only be drafted in the biggest of leagues. But he jacked 15 homers in half a season’s worth of at-bats last year and will finally get a crack at full-time duty this year.


1.                     Trevor Cahill, SP: He doesn’t strike anyone out and was very lucky last season with his defense and ballpark. Time for the 18-game winner to crash back to Earth.

2.                     Jose Bautista, 3B/OF: Bautista may still have a decent season but there’s just no way he hits 54 homers again. Something around 34 seems more appropriate.

3.                     Clay Buchholz, SP: Buchholz is a good pitcher for sure but the advanced numbers indicate that luck on his batting average on balls in play helped his ERA drop a run lower than it should’ve been last season.

Warriors vs. Grizzlies Free NBA Picks Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers has an NBA pick Wednesday is on Golden State (+10.5) to Memphis.

Reasoning: I might as well but and paste the last few comp plays on the Warriors that I have written because this is going to be a similar write-up. I have been backing Golden State a lot in this spot of late even though they have nothing at all to play for. It’s tough to trust a team that has struggled and is well below. 500 like Golden State is and that’s why I can’t back them in any premium play sort of a way. But to fully disregard today’s talented visitors even on a back-to-back is something that I cannot do.

Memphis is certainly competent and fighting for their playoff lives. But the Grizzlies aren’t exactly a great team and without Rudy Gay can’t exactly be trusted either. No doubt Zach Randolph has stepped up this season in a big-time way and at times looks like a superstar but former All-Star David Lee should hold his own in the post and the other three talented leaders on the Warriors in Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright are very good as well.

It is a tough spot for Golden State after just playing in Oklahoma City last night and traveling here to Elvis land but the Warriors don’t have any pressure on them and have the upside and ability to come out and keep this game very tight.

There is always a chance that a good Memphis team could blast the tired Warriors but the Grizz aren’t anything more than good and at this gaudy number I’ll take my chances.

Top expert pick on this game: Golden State

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Magic vs. Hawks NBA Betting Picks For Sports Handicappers

Two teams that will likely square off in the first round of the NBA playoffs meet on Wednesday when the Orlando Magic (47-27) visit the Atlanta Hawks (42-32).  Orlando holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, sitting four games behind Miami and five games ahead of Atlanta.  The Hawks are also four games ahead of Philadelphia and will be looking to win their third straight game and second without leading scorer Joe Johnson, who is expected to sit out again with a sprained thumb.

Atlanta went 5-4 without Johnson in December when he missed time with an elbow injury and can win the season series against the Magic with one another victory here.  The Hawks have covered all three meetings this season as underdogs, winning the last two straight-up by an average of eight points.  The UNDER has cashed in nine of the past 10 games between the teams.

Johnson was not missed in a 99-83 rout of Cleveland on the road Sunday since Marvin Williams picked up the slack by scoring a season-high 31 points.  Al Horford also had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta while Josh Smith added 13 and 18.  The Hawks have covered their last three games with the UNDER cashing in the past two.

“It was something we had to learn to do,” Williams said. “(Johnson) doesn’t miss many games. We knew what we had to do. Everyone had to chip in a little more.”

Orlando is also dealing with injuries, as guards Jameer Nelson (knee), Quentin Richardson (back) and Chris Duhon (thumb) are day-to-day and J.J. Redick (abdomen) will miss his 10th game in a row.  Gilbert Arenas filled in for Nelson at the point on Monday and contributed nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a 113-106 overtime loss at New York.

The Magic saw All-Star center Dwight Howard foul out in the extra session after scoring a team-high 29 points and grabbing a game-high 18 rebounds against the Knicks, and he then proceeded to pick up his NBA-leading 17th technical.  One more tech will lead to a one-game suspension for Howard, who is averaging 26.3 points and 16.7 rebound in the last six games.

“It was a wild, wild game, but we still had a chance to win it if a few things had gone the other way,” Howard said. “It’s an intense game out there and I’m emotional sometimes. My teammates know what is going on, but we’ll just move on.”

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National League Preview 2011: Phillies, Brewers, Giants Divisional Favorites

Arguably, the National League has more hype than the American League entering 2011 MLB betting. After all, the Senior Circuit boasts the defending World Series champion in the Giants, baseball’s answer to the Miami Heat in the Phillies and hot sleeper teams like the Brewers and Braves. Here’s a sports betting blog breakdown of the NL.

National League East odds

Philadelphia Phillies: -325

Atlanta Braves: +375

Florida Marlins: +900

New York Mets: +1600

Washington Nationals: +3000

No team is a bigger sportsbook favorite to win its own division than the Philadelphia Phillies – which is pretty amazing considering they share the NL East with another serious World Series contender, the Braves.

But that’s how excited people are about the Phillies this season. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels could be the greatest pitching quartet ever to grace one team. They give the Maddux/Smoltz/Glavine/Avery 1993 Braves a serious run. Still, the Phillies aren’t a slam dunk. Chase Utley’s knee is a concern and Atlanta is a legit threat. The Braves have a budding ace in Tommy Hanson, a future superstar in Jason Heyward and an improved offense thanks to the Dan Uggla trade. They’ll stay in the hunt.

The Marlins have solid pitching but their offense isn’t up to snuff. The Mets are loaded with injury risks – Jason Bay is already hurt again – and have a weak rotation. The Nationals aren’t worth considering until Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are in their Opening Day lineup.

The Phillies will have to work for it but they may get 75-plus wins from their top four starters alone. They have to take the East.

Free pick: Phillies -325

National League Central odds

Milwaukee Brewers: +190

Cincinnati Reds: +200

St. Louis Cardinals: +300

Chicago Cubs: +450

Houston Astros: +2500

Pittsburgh Pirates: +4000

The Milwaukee Brewers’ hype train has zoomed them to the top of the divisional odds and I think the buzz in the sports betting community is justified. This team already had a potent offense; Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are the studs and they have plenty of support from guys like Hart, Weeks and McGehee. But now the plot thickens for Milwaukee with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum joining Yovani Gallardo in a revamped pitching rotation.

The defending NL Central champs, the Reds, will challenge again. Joey Votto is as good as any hitter on the planet and other young guns like Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce help pace a Cincinnati team that is potent offensively and also outstanding defensively. But will the Reds’ pitching hold them back?

Even though Albert Pujols has something to prove in his walk year, I don’t think he can carry St. Louis to the playoffs without Adam Wainwright, who underwent Tommy John surgery this offseason. The Cubs have some talent but also too many aging, slump-prone hitters. The odds for Houston and Pittsburgh are generous; neither of those teams has a chance. It’s worth noting that the Pirates could field an above-average offense this season.

With big power, a solid rotation and Prince Fielder playing for a new contract, the stars have aligned for Milwaukee this season.

Free pick: Brewers +190

National League West odds

San Francisco Giants: +130

Colorado Rockies: +185

Los Angeles Dodgers: +300

San Diego Padres: +1100

Arizona Diamondbacks: +1800

The National League West seems to be hotly contested every year but the gaps between teams seem to be widening. The Giants are still probably the class of the division thanks to their outstanding pitching. They’ll need Buster Posey to avoid the sophomore slump and Pablo Sandoval to recapture his 2009 form if they want to contend for the World Series crown again, though.

It looks like Colorado is the only team with a shot to unseat San Francisco. The Rockies have some amazing talents, like MVP candidates Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzales and Cy Young contender Ubaldo Jimenez. But do they have the depth? Up-and-comers like Dexter Fowler, Ian Stewart and Jorge De La Rosa have to step up.

The Dodgers, like Mets, look like high-profile frauds to me. Good pitching but I hate their offense. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier can’t do it all on their own. The Padres were a total fluke last year and lost Adrian Gonzalez. Gulp. The Diamondbacks have a few good young players but are in rebuild mode. The division looks like San Francisco’s for the taking again.

Free pick: Giants +130

Wild Card pick: Atlanta Braves

National League Pennant pick: Philadelphia Phillies

NBA Betting: Warriors vs. Thunder Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers has a free NBA pick Tuesday  on Golden State (+11) to Oklahoma City.

Reasoning: Nobody respects Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook more than I do and I even believe that this Oklahoma City team has the potential to win the championship this season but I’m sucked in a bit with this number on the capable enough Warriors.

Golden State has had their share of struggles on the road and especially last week when they were embarrassed over and over and over again in the state of Texas. But the Warriors still boast a lot of talent and frankly too much talent to be this big of a dog in this spot. The Thunder were not overly impressive in that last game against the Trailblazers and at least State comes in as winners of two straight games.

They may be 10 games under .500 but tonight’s visitors do have a very potent nucleus with Monta Ellis, David Lee, Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright why not scoop up double digits? It’s going to be hard to win this game outright but the Warriors certainly do not have any pressure on them and with their quality foursome have enough to be competitive in the end.

Top expert pick on this game: Golden State from Matt Rivers

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Warriors vs. Thunder NBA Odds, Predictions, and Preview

MLB baseball betting picks are less than 48 hours away. But it’s been a great NBA odds season. The Golden State Warriors (32-42) at Oklahoma City Thunder (48-24) is one of the top games on the board tonight.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (48-24) have already clinched their second consecutive playoff berth and do not have much to play for down the stretch heading into this Western Conference clash with the Golden State Warriors (32-42) on Tuesday.  The Thunder (-10.5) are 4.5 games ahead of Denver for the lead in the Northwest Division and 3.5 behind Dallas for the third seed.

With Oklahoma City essentially deadlocked in a 4-5 matchup with homecourt advantage in the first round, the team would still like to finish strong and enter the postseason on a roll.  The Thunder have won nine of their last 10 games along with 12 of 14, going 1-2-1 against the spread in their past four after covering six in a row.  The UNDER has cashed in eight of their last nine.

Golden State can only dream of the playoffs but has won two straight games following a six-game losing streak.  The Warriors are coming off a 114-104 win over Washington on Sunday behind a game-high 37 points and 13 assists from Monta Ellis while David Lee also turned in a dominant performance with 33 points and 12 rebounds.  They had routed Toronto 137-100 at home two days earlier, as four starters scored 21 points or more in the victory.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has averaged more points against Golden State than any other Western Conference opponent at 30.2 per game.  However, Durant has struggled a bit with his shot lately, averaging 23.3 points on 36.2 percent shooting from the field in the last four games.  He made only 5 of 18 for 21 points in a 99-90 victory against Portland at home on Sunday, but Russell Westbrook picked up the slack by scoring a team-high 28.

The Warriors won the last meeting with the Thunder 100-94 back on February 13 despite Durant and Westbrook combing for 50 points.  Jeff Green was the only other Oklahoma City player to score in double figures with 12, and he has since been traded to Boston.  Ellis finished with a game-high 33 points in that game while Lee and Stephen Curry each added 23.

Golden State has not won on the road in four games during this series since the Thunder moved from Seattle, but the Warriors are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings overall.  The last two games between the teams in Oklahoma City have both been decided by eight points or less with the OVER cashing both times.

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Butler vs. VCU, Kentucky vs. Connecticut Sports Betting Breakdown

The Final 4 2011 predictions info is up from a sports handicapping standpoint. It’s Butler vs. Virginia Commonwealth and Kentucky vs. Connecticut. Here are the betting matchups.

Virginia Commonwealth vs. Butler (-2.5) 133.5

Spread betting trends (all records are against the spread): VCU 9-0 is as an underdog, 9-0 in NCAA Tournament, 6-0 nonconference, 5-0 as an underdog.

Butler is 6-0 off straight up win, 15-2 on neutral courts, 21-4 versus an opponent with a winning percentage of .600 or above, 17-5 in NCAA Tournament, 2-15 to teams with a winning record, and 40-16 outside the conference.

Over/under trends: VCU over 10-3 off win, but under 7-3 as an underdog of 0.5-6.5. Butler has gone under 7-2 in NCAA Tournament, over 14-6 neutral site games as a favorite, under 7-3 off win.

Kentucky (-2.5) 140 vs. Connecticut

Spread betting trends (all records are against the spread): Kentucky 7-1 in nonconference games, 8-2 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite, 16-5 to Big East, but 3-7 off straight up win.

UConn is 6-0  neutral site games as an underdog, 9-1 10 non-conference games, 26-9  following a S.U. win, 23-8 as underdogs.

Over/under trends: Kentucky over 5-0 off straight up win.

The top picks against the spread will be on the Network