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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, December 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I consider the late Saul Bellow the greatest American novelist of the last century but I will have to admit as good as he was his fiction was seldom the equal of that put out each day in injury reports by the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bellow intended to write fiction. The NBA just lies.

Yesterday's injury reports said Golden State Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry would miss Sunday night's game with the visiting Los Angeles Clippers with a severely sprained ankle. That "fact" added insurance to my 25-unit play on the Clippers, laying the -5. Sweet, very sweet, insurance.

True to form, Curry played 33:28 minutes and the only thing injured about him was his dreadful shooting, going 2-for-12 from the field and 0-for-1 from the free throw line. In the end it did not matter as Los Angeles crushed the Warriors, 105-86. Still it was annoying to turn my TV to the game and see Curry there in full-bloom.

The upside is bettors were reminded on day one of the season the NBA and its fictitious injury reports will continue to be as they were in the past-just lie after lie. Try this in the National Football League and you will get your butt fined off .

The bottom line is: do not believe a single NBA injury report. If the league reports a player is out get to work and try to find out for yourself if there is any truth in it and if you can't confirm it from an independent source don't bet the game.

The opening night of NBA play saw favorites prevail by a 3-2 margin and the under won out by that same margin. It should be of considerable interest by NBA bettors that the wiseguys must believe 3 the totals on many games are too high and they are coming in on the "under" in wholesale fashion. For instance, here is how the smart money had gone on totals by early afternoon today.

Today's Moves On NBA Totals

Golden State Warriors under 196
Phoenix Suns under 194
Sacramento Kings under 199
Cleveland Cavaliers under 198
Minnesota Timberwolves under 209
Portland Trail Blazers under 189

Just five hours before the first NBA game tipped off there was not one single wiseguy or steam play on an over. This is just food for thought and it is of note on Sunday the wiseguys sent it in on under 192 in the New York Knicks-Boston Celtics game and lost.

Over the past six days, the wiseguys have sent it in on 53 games, using both sides and totals, and have gone 23-28-2 with those high-powered selections. That means they have hit 45% of their plays and I again remind bettors smart money-the kind that moves lines-is correct about 50% of the time, take a decimal point or two. In other words, follow the money at hour own risks.

It's Dicey When A Team Is Better Off Losing

It's down to the nitty-gritty in the NFL playoffs and most people have consulted their personal lawyers in an effort to determine just what each team has to do to make the playoffs, or improve their position in the post-season. Some things are obvious, some not. We know if the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons tonight they win the NFC South. The winner of the Dallas Cowboys at the New York Giants game Sunday is going to the playoffs and the loser is going home.

At the other end of the spectrum stand the Green Bay Packers (14-1) who have wrapped up all the regular season perks they can and have nothing to play for when they host the Detroit Lions. And how about those Indianapolis Colts (2-13) who are going nowhere but are still very much in the picture.

The Indianapolis Colts can gain the number one draft choice in the draft-and they really want to land Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck-by losing at Jacksonville this week. If they win and St. Louis (2-13) loses the number one choice goes to the Rams.

It gets real dicey and makes a lot of people nervous when losing is preferable to winning. There will be all kinds of proclamations this week on just how hard the Colts will work to win, that they would never just go through the motions and insure a loss.

Don't believe that for one second. Pay attention.

Alabama Now 1-Point Favorite In Title Game

The Crimson Tide of Alabama (11-1) are now a solid 1-point favorite to beat undefeated 13-0 LSU in the BCS championship game in New Orleans Monday, January. The game opened with Alabama a -1 favorite but immediate the contest went to a pick'em and remained there until this week.

Bookmakers who moved the game to Alabama -1 said they did that on the strength of big money on the Tide from some of the biggest and most respected names in the business. The public continues to send it in on both sides.

For the record, with seven bowl games down and with 28 to go, underdogs have prevailed by a 5-2 margin, with two of them, Ohio University and Louisiana-Lafayette, winning outright. The over has prevailed by a 4-2 margin.

If you are still shopping around for a ticket to the Alabama-LSU game, the average going price from ticket agencies and scalpers (what's the difference) is about $1,950. Television never looked better.

Handicapping Notes

If you intend to bet on the Boston Celtics at the Miami Heat Tuesday night, you might want to do a personnel study. Forward Paul Pierce missed the opening at New York with a heel injury, seems to still be in a lot of pain and may not play against the Heat. Then there is the case of the team's other forward, Kevin Garnett, who may be suspended for trying to strangle the New York Knicks Bill Walker Sunday. Just a temper tantrum, folks.

Kentucky is now the 4-1 favorite to win the NCAA basketball championship, followed by North Carolina and Ohio State at 5-1.

The Miami Heat are the 11/5 favorite to win the NBA championship, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at 3-1. By the way, you can own me if the Lakers win it all. My figures say they are done.

In Major League Baseball the Philadelphia Phillies are the 8-5 to win the National League pennant and the 7-2 favorites to win the World Series. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels are 5-2 co-favorites to win the American League pennant. Both are 5-1 to win the World Series.

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