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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 12:02 PM

If you’ve been following pro basketball this week, you know all about the soap opera involving the Orlando Magic. Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy seem to be on different pages. And, given other players on the floor and in the front office…there may be five or six different pages. Throw in an injury to Hedo Turkoglu, and there are a lots of reasons to be skeptical right now about the Magic’s chances to close the regular season strong and thrive in the playoffs.

Sharps expressed some skepticism themselves when opening lines came out for Saturday Night’s Orlando-Philadelphia game. The hometown Sixers opened at -4, but have been bet up to -5.5 as we go to press. Worth noting in this game:

*Philadelphia has been having off court troubles of their own lately, with some media reports suggesting that the players had tuned out Doug Collins.

*Even with that as a backdrop, oddsmakers rated Philly as the stronger “neutral court” team with an opening line of -4. Home court is worth three points in the NBA. So, oddsmakers anticipated negative Orlando sentiment, but still underestimated how much there would be. If this game was being played two weeks ago, Philadelphia probably would have opened at -2.5 or -3…and sharps may not have even touched the game because the Sixers have struggled this year vs. playoff caliber opposition.

*The public isn’t betting the NBA right now outside of the occasional showcase national TV game. Any pro hoop line moves right now are definitely sharp. The public invaded Vegas for March Madness. There won’t be much public money hitting the boards until the NBA playoffs. And, even that will be sporadic.

Sharps think Orlando is toast, at least for the time being. And, from what we’re hearing in our discussions from sources in Las Vegas and offshore…sharps aren’t very optimistic about Philadelphia closing the season well either. If the Magic and Sixers had been playing other teams tonight, the lines might have moved against them in both games.

Other sharp notes from Saturday’s NBA:

*Sharps have driven Minnesota up from -1.5 to -3 as a small road favorite at New Orleans. Minnesota is rested, while New Orleans is on night two of a back-to-back.

*Memphis opened at -3 vs. Dallas in a very important Western Conference showdown. Sharps have bet the line up to -3.5 and -4 in this game. Both teams are in tough fatigue spots. Memphis is in a back-to-back after scoring an upset in Miami Friday Night…and it’s also their fifth game in six nights because they played a triple-decker earlier this week. But, Dallas is playing the night after overtime, possibly down in the dumps after losing to Portland. Sharps often leave games like this alone…so it’s telling that they’ve jumped in on Memphis.

*Phoenix has moved from +1 to -1 at home against the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams played last night. We hear that sharps have more respect for the Suns depth and ability to play when tired.

In Saturday MLB action:

*Sharps are betting the Miami Marlins for the third straight day, despite going 0-2 the first two times they tried that. Cincinnati opened at -165 in Saturday’s meeting. The line is down to -150.

*Sharps also like underdog San Francisco at Arizona. The D-backs opened at -130. We’re seeing mostly -115 or -120 as we go to press. The Giants are in a bounce-back spot in a battle of divisional contenders, which may be a factor in sharp thinking here.

*There’s Under sentiment in Oakland for the Mariners/A’s game. An opener of 6.5 is being driving down to 6.5 with Under juice or even 6. These teams played Under games in Tokyo last week, and this is a tough scoring park in night games as you probably know. Sharps aren’t afraid to go Under a low total in a pitcher’s park, particularly with a guy like Felix Hernandez on the mound.  

We’re scheduled for 2-3 market reports per week here at VegasSportsMasters depending on the schedule and any breaking news. We’re likely to have at least three per week early in the NBA playoffs because sharps are so active in the opening round when there are eight series to attack. Our next report will be in a few days.

Don’t forget that the best minds in handicapping post their best plays right here at the showcase website in the sports wagering industry. Saturday’s selections are up now. Please check the ads on the home page to see what your favorite legend has on tap for today. Remember that sharps will be exploiting the split Saturday sessions to maximize their profits…re-investing day game winnings on the night schedule. If you want to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp, you’ll be doing the same thing.

Keep an eye on the markets each and every day…and you’ll soon understand why sharps are so respected, and so dangerous!

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