Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 12:00 AM
JIM SEZ MID-WEEK REPORTHOOPS, HARDBALL AND MORE LOOKS INTO THE FUTUREOkay, so we’re still relatively early into NBA Playoffs second-round action these days but there have definitely been some raise-your-eyebrows pointspread stats that we’ve noticed… here’s some of ’em:18-11That’s the ATS (against the spread) mark of NBA Playoff Betting Favorites of 6-or-more points through the games of Monday, May 2nd. Folks, that’s a nifty .621 winning mark for what we’d call “prohibitive betting favorites” and just to put things into perspective we’ll add that the defending champion Golden State Warriors entered Tuesday night’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers a perfect 5-and-0 against the odds this post-season whenever laying 6-or-more points.29-18-0 (1 Pick ’Em)Overall, this is the pointspread mark for all NBA Playoff Betting Favorites through the games of Monday, May 2nd – that’s a .617 winning rate (or almost exactly matching that of those “prohibitive betting favorites” listed above in this Jim Sez column) and, if anything, it basically proves the conventional theory that heading into this year’s post-season the “cream of the crop” teams were head-and-shoulders better than the rest with Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Cleveland a composite 17-7 ATS so far in these playoffs. Va-va-va voom!28-20-0NBA Playoff home teams have scratched out this eight games-over .500 pointspread record through the games of May 2nd (a ½83 winning rate) – a solid mark that would have netted you a grand total of $600 based on $100 per-play wagers. Did you think it might be better considering what we said up above about the likes of the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder and Cavaliers? Hmm, so did we but the proverbial “bottom line” is home teams have banged out a nice profit in these playoff thus far and – believe it or not – heading into Tuesday’s action there were only five teams that won in outright fashion as road underdogs including Oklahoma City’s controversial 98-97 triumph at 7-point home fav San Antonio this past Monday night.Here’s what is on the Wednesday night NBA Playoff menu:EASTERN CONFERENCEATLANTA at CLEVELAND – Cavaliers lead series 1-0; 8:05 p.m. ET, TNTThe mission objective for the Eastern Conference’s defending champions is, of course, get past the Atlanta Hawks here but Part B of the plan is to get mission accomplished ASAP.Sure, the Cavaliers – following on the heels of Monday’s 104-93 win/cover as 8-point home favorites – were not happy about blowing an 18-point lead and then having to chisel out the win behind LeBron James’ team-high 25 points but “The King” and Company sure as heck are eyeballing either another sweep here (remember they swept the Hawks in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals) or no more than a five-game set and so this becomes a super-important game for the home team… got it?Atlanta lives/dies with the success or lack thereof from its three-point shooters and that crummy 11-of-32 shooting line from beyond the arc in Monday’s Game 1 ain’t gonna cut it here even if reserve G Dennis Schroder (game-high 27 points) goes off.Note… Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to pile up the profits in this year’s NBA Playoffs and we’ll continue to rock-n-roll through the post-season all week and all month long.Go online right here at www.VegasSportsMasters.com or call us at 1-888-777-4155 each/every day… Cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and Get the Money with Network’s Blue Ribbon Major-League Baseball Club both available every day!THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOKThink Sports Illustrated wants a “do-over” when it comes to picking the Houston Astros as this year’s World Series champions?Well, maybe we won’t bury the ’Stros (8-18 entering Tuesday’s home game against the equally-dreadful Minnesota Twins) and their 2016 season just yet but a month into this current campaign this American League West team is tied for the second-worst record in all of baseball… thank you, Atlanta Braves, for being the worst!Meanwhile, the Astros entered the season with a projected wins total of 85½ and that seems quite unlikely to achieve especially when you consider that 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner LHP Dallas Keuchel has been downright rotten with a 2-4 record, 5.11 ERA and a bloated 1.57 WHIP… and one-time “#2 starter” RHP Collin McHugh isn’t exactly humming along with his stat line of a 6.65 ERA and 1.89 WHIP while heading into last night’s game against the Twins.Finally, a month-plus into this ’16 MLB season and there are a couple of real surprise teams – such as the Philadelphia Phillies (we told you to go “over” 66½. wins back in March, didn’t we?) and the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox (18-8) who entered last night’s home game against the Boston Red Sox with a plus 25 runs differential – best in the AL – and a starter in LHP Chris Sale who sports a 6-0 record, 1.66 ERA and a miniscule 0.81 WHIP. The question about Sale is could he be the sport’s first 25-game winner since the late Bob Welch won 27 games for the 1990 Oakland A’s (note Welch won the 27 games in 35 games, truly unbelievable at any time in baseball history)?Okay, so you want some long-range predictions from this point forward?The Astros will be a sub.500 team when it all shakes out in late September (those SI World Series articles will have to re-appear in time for 2017), the Phillies will be a very close-to .500 squad and thus “cash” the over play and the White Sox’s Sale will win somewhere between 20-and-24 games but not hit that 25-win plateau. So there!NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.