Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1:06 AM
The NBA is in the very odd position of having FOUR games scheduled Tuesday night, but possibly little on the plate Thursday and Friday because so many series have the chance of wrapping up before reaching a sixth game. As boring as some of these series have been, that may be a good thing!
Of course, handicappers aren’t worried about entertainment value. They want to pick winners. The more games on the schedule…the more chances to find a winner. That doesn’t mean JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK will be betting on continuations just because they want the first round to last longer. We’ll take each game as it comes. Here are the four games coming up tonight in rotation order…
INDIANA vs. ORLANDO
Game Five Vegas Line: Indiana by 10, total of 179
Indiana leads 3-1
Indiana blew a huge fourth quarter lead back in Game Four, but managed to win in overtime. That makes laying a high number like this a bit dicey. We already know that the Pacers can blow a big lead. That being said, their first two victories were by 15 and 23 points.
GAME FOUR SUMMARY
INDIANA 101, ORLANDO 99 (in overtime)
Field Goal Pct: Indiana 46%, Orlando 40%
Three-Pointers: Indiana 6/21, Orlando 9/29
Free Throws: Indiana 17/20, Orlando 22/28
Rebounds: Indiana 49, Orlando 42
Turnovers: Indiana 16, Orlando 11
Vegas Line: Indiana by 5, total of 179.5
You can see that Indiana lost focus with their lead. Something like 16 turnovers is way too high for a game against a bad team like Orlando (under .500 since the All-Star Break even with Dwight Howard seeing a lot of action). The Pacers also put the Magic on the foul line too often. If a team tries 29 treys, then they’re not attacking the basket enough to get 28 free throws. Indiana lost its discipline when they got overconfident. They need to figure out how to handle success. The Pacer’s worst stretches were when they started the series as a big favorite…then when they had that big fourth quarter lead on Saturday. Can they man up and finish the job here? JIM HURLEY will wait to hear what his on-site sources have to say about Orlando’s mindset before making a call. If the Magic are in the mood to play, they can cover this big number. If they’re already mentally done…then Indiana names the score.
BOSTON vs. ATLANTA
Game Five Vegas Line: Atlanta by 1, total of 174
Boston leads 3-1
Atlanta is struggling to find lineup continuity because injured guys are volunteering to play, but can’t go at full speed. The backups can go at full speed, but aren’t very good. Sunday’s loss was a mess, as Boston made a run at a 40-point lead until garbage time made the score less embarrassing. The Celtics team we saw in that one could win here by 10-15. JIM HURLEY will find out what he can from his sources regarding the Hawks mindset. We may be saying that a lot this week. It’s truly the key later in a series when all the tangibles are pretty well known. Boston is the better team. It’s going to take something intangible to get Atlanta a win and cover Tuesday Night.
GAME FOUR SUMMARY
BOSTON 101, ATLANTA 79
Field Goal Pct: Atlanta 41%, Boston 51%
Three-Pointers: Atlanta 4/20, Boston 11/26
Free Throws: Atlanta 13/17, Boston 8/13
Rebounds: Atlanta 40, Boston 37
Turnovers: Atlanta 17, Boston 11
Vegas Line: Boston by 6, total of 172
If you watched, you know the carnage was actually worse than those numbers make it seem. It’s like Boston finally got its wake-up call after accidentally sleeping through the first three games. Atlanta doesn’t have the horses to play with the Celtics contingent that played so great in the second half of the season. Few teams did after the All-Star Break. Again, the math says Boston is the value side at +1 or pick-em. We’ll see what our sources have to say about Atlanta’s attitude and health.
CHICAGO vs. PHILADELPHIA
Game Five Vegas Line: Chicago by 5, total of 171.5
Philadelphia leads 3-1
Chicago has just completely fallen apart offensively in this series without Derrick Rose driving and dishing. Philly had a strong defense all season, and figured out quickly how to disrupt Chicago’s limited options. Given that, it’s hard to justify the line of Bulls -5 above. Chicago’s certainly capable of winning the game and staying alive. Are they capable of winning comfortably? Only if the Sixers have an off-game in a letdown spot after sweeping the weekend. Again, intangibles. We’ve seen three games post-injury that make it clear that virtually nothing separates these two teams. The Sixers are a little better because they’re attacking the free throw line and getting more cheap points.
GAME FOUR SUMMARY
PHILADELPHIA 89, CHICAGO 82
Field Goal Pct: Chicago 40%, Philadelphia 39%
Three-Pointers: Chicago 3/11, Philadelphia 5/19
Free Throws: Chicago 11/14, Philadelphia 22/31
Rebounds: Chicago 48, Philadelphia 46
Turnovers: Chicago 14, Philadelphia 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia by 3, total of 171
You can see what we mean regarding free throws. Philadelphia was +11 in makes and +17 in attempts in a game they only won by seven points. In the three games since the Rose injury, Philadelphia is +25 points from the line. When neither offense seems to have any sets they can hit field goals out of, those bonus points are huge. They’re the difference-maker in fact. If Philly stays aggressive, they can wrap up the series tonight. If they get passive with a lead (which is actually very common for teams who haven’t figured out how to win yet), Chicago can stay alive and try to make this a series. Interesting dynamic in play. And, one you shouldn’t toy with until you’ve talked to JIM HURLEY!
LA LAKERS vs. DENVER
Game Five Vegas Line: Lakers by 6, total of 198.5
Los Angeles leads 3-1
The Lakers were only -4.5 and -5 in their first two home games of this series. So, they’ve earned a bit more respect from the markets than they had initially. Remember that the Wise Guys generally liked Denver at the earlier series underdog prices…and liked them to be competitive on a game-by-game basis. The Nuggets are 2-2 ATS in the series, but are now a big longshot to pull off an upset given their fourth quarter fade Sunday. The total has dropped from 203 and 200 in the first two games at Staples given the defensive strength of the Lakers.
GAME FOUR SUMMARY
LA LAKERS 92, DENVER 88
Field Goal Pct: Lakers 45%, Denver 45%
Three-Pointers: Lakers 5/17, Denver 3/19
Free Throws: Lakers 9/18, Denver 7/12
Rebounds: Lakers 48, Denver 38
Turnovers: Lakers 13, Denver 10
Vegas Line: Denver by 2, total of 202.5
It’s very hard to score on the Lakers in the paint unless the big guys are in foul trouble. That means you have to shoot over them. Dallas did that easily last year in a series rout. Denver has been horrible from behind the arc in this series, and can point to that as the main reason they probably won’t be advancing. As handicappers, you need to be on the lookout for Lakers opponents who CAN make some treys. Oklahoma City may not be able to attack the basket as much as they’d like in the next round, but they can make up for that by hitting some bombs. Yes, it may be premature to assume Denver is done. Maybe they can steal a road win. Can they steal three straight from the Lakers without anybody who can consistently drain some treys?
Big play selections from Tuesday’s schedule SLAM will be available a few hours before first tip right here at this website for credit card purchase. If you have any questions about basketball or baseball, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. We have great rates for two-sport packages. And, if you like betting the Triple Crown races, be sure to ask about including the Preakness and the Belmont in any longterm program.
That wraps up Tuesday’s previews. Back with you Wednesday to crunch the numbers in Game Five of Miami-New York and LA Clippers-Memphis This may be a short week in the NBA depending on how many series end Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll use any hoop-free days to get caught up on Major League Baseball. Isn’t it great to have so much going on?!
MAY MEANS MONEY with legendary handicapper JIM HURLEY!