Final Four Betting – Go with Mountaineers, Bulldogs this Weekend

FInal Four OddsFinal Four odds for this weekend’s matchups features just one No.1 seed left in the NCAA Tournament, and even they will have a tough time getting to the national-championship game in what has been one of the wildest Tournaments in recent memory.

Michigan State vs Butler odds – Saturday, April 3, 6:07 PM ET

In this battle of five-seeds, the Spartans will represent the Midwest region after a 70-69 win over Tennessee, but they’re still without star Kalin Lucas, and a couple of other players are playing through pain. The Bulldogs come out of the West region after outlasting Kansas State 63-56, and Butler has yet to allow an opponent to score 60 points on them in the Tournament. The Bulldogs will have a huge hometown advantage in their first meeting with Michigan State, who played in the Final Four in their home state last year, so they’ll know what the Bulldogs are going through. The Spartans’ sportsbook odds depend on their ability to break down the Butler defense, but we’re not sold on Korie Lucious, who has nine turnovers replacing Lucas in the last two games. As long as Butler stays out of foul trouble, because they’re not that deep, they should roll to Championship Monday by covering the 1.5-point spread.

West Virginia vs Duke odds – Saturday, April, 8:47 PM ET

The Mountaineers emerge from the East after defeating top-seeded Kentucky 73-66, using a mix of zone and man defense to keep the talented Wildcats out of the paint, and it worked as Kentucky shot 4-of-32 from three-point land. The top-seeded Blue Devils are the only No.1s still dancing as they dropped Baylor 78-71, and Duke was 11-of-23 from three-point land against the Bears. The Blue Devils are a 3-point favorite according to 2010 March Madness odds, and they’ll be out for revenge after a 73-67 loss to the Mountaineers in the second round of the 2008 Tournament. The Mountaineers could have injured point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant back for this weekend, which would give West Virginia some good ball-handlers with Bryant, Joe Mazzulla, and even Da’Sean Butler, who has made some big shots for the Mountaineers over the last month. This game could very well come down to the battle on the bench, where Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins will do battle. Krzyzewski has the Blue Devils playing perhaps the best defense of his tenure at Duke, while the Mountaineers havce taken on the character of Huggins, which is tough, relentless and in-your-face for 40 minutes. This has the potential to be the best game in the Tournament, but West Virginia should get the nod for online betting on Saturday.

Final Four BettingAs exciting as the 2010 installment of the March Madness tournament has been, perhaps with the storylines centered on the “Cinderella” underdogs and top-seed upsets, the Bulldogs and Spartans have not rendered the attention they deserved. That has changed now that the fifth seeds from both the Midwest and West have advanced to the Final Four odds games.

What: NCAA Basketball Betting

When: Saturday April 3rd – 6PM ET

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

The Road To The Final Four: Michigan State

After a stunning upset overtime loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten quarterfinals, the Spartans have done their best to make their fans forget about their early conference tournament title exit by advancing to the March Madness Final Four. It seems however that Michigan State has played to the level of its competition, as with the exception of a 59-52 win over Northern Iowa in the regional semi finals, the Spartans have won their three games by a combined six points. That includes a close 70-69 win over Tennessee in the Midwest finals in which the Volunteers’ Scotty Hopson couldn’t hit both of his free throws with less than 15 seconds to go to give his team the lead. That led to the Spartans’ going the other way and Raymar Morgan drew a foul, hit one of two free throws with two seconds left, which was enough for the win. Michigan State is in the Final Four for the eighth time in school history, and the sixth since 1999, which leads the best online sportsbook
NCAA over that span.

The Road To The Final Four: Butler

The Bulldogs did it all on the way to the March Madness picks Final Four. After encountering little resistance in their first round win over UTEP, Butler shut down any idea of number 13 Murray State going on a “Cinderella” run, topping the Racers 54-52 in the second round. From there, the Bulldogs would eliminate the top two seeds in the West region, bouncing top-seed Syracuse 63-59 in the Sweet 16, and then bumping Kansas State 63-56 in the Elite Eight. Butler has not lost in 2010, extending their phenomenal win streak to 25 straight games, sweeping through the Horizon conference and all the way to Indianapolis. With four players averaging over 10 points per game, the Bulldogs are probably the best team in the nation to receive such little attention heading in to the Final Four.

Who Will Advance To The National Title Game: Michigan State vs Butler

As is often the case with March Madness odds, it is unlikely that many prognosticators had these teams making an improbable run to the Final Four to play one another. Now that Michigan State and Butler are one game away from the big game, the college basketball betting picture is becoming clearer. The Bulldogs have beaten better competition to get to this game, then again it is hard to think that any one team, never mind from the Horizon conference, will be able to win 27 straight and a national title. Butler has the better team, but that doesn’t mean they are anything more than just a favorite.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Butler

NBA Odds PicksIf you’re doing March Madness odds, you may remember Golden State’s playoff win over Dallas in the 2007 playoffs, as it was a series that rivaled any of the passion you’ll find in college basketball. The Warriors were the first 8-seed to beat a 1-seed in a seven-game series, and the Mavericks have continued to struggle in Oakland, where they’ll head to face the Warriors on Saturday night.

Mavericks vs Warriors odds – Saturday, March 27, 10:30 PM ET

The Mavericks lost for the third time in four games on Thursday night, falling 101-89 in Portland, and they failed to do anything at the foul line. They made eight shots from the charity stripe, but they were there just nine times, while the Trailblazers were 18-of-26. Caron Butler broke out of his slump to pour in 25 points, while Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki both scored 15 points for the Mavericks, who shot 44.4% from the field, but the inability to put the Trailblazers in foul trouble, especially with their lack of depth up front, killed their sportsbook chances.

The Warriors snapped a three-game skid with a 128-110 win at home on Wednesday over Memphis, and Stephon Curry had a huge night with 30 points, 11 assists, five boards and four steals. He did have seven turnovers along the way, but the rookie is certainly finding his way in the NBA after some thought he couldn’t run a team. The Warriors shot 54.5% from the field, and they nailed 10 of their 24 three-point attempts to shoot down the Grizzlies, and there is a good foundation in Golden State, who have been battered by injuries all year. They could even look into moving Monta Ellis to fully hand over the team to Curry.

The Warriors may be a slight favorite in this contest, and we’re betting management are banking on a win, as the Mavericks have dropped eight of their last 10 in Golden State. The Mavericks have taken two of three meetings with the Warriors this year, including a 127-117 win in Golden State on February 8th, and Jason Terry has averaged 26.0 points against the Warriors, while Ellis has put up an outlandish 36.7 points against the Mavericks. The Mavericks weren’t aggressive enough in Portland on Thursday night, and that should be the first thing they look to rectify on Saturday. This will inevitably turn into a track meet, and the Mavericks’ defense has struggled as of late, giving up an average of 106 points in their last three losses. Those numbers should be right up Golden State’s alley as the Mavericks continue to struggle in Oakland. Go with the Warriors on Saturday before making your March Madness betting picks.

NBA OddsGolden State fans may be watching March Madness odds to see how the possible top picks are faring, but they’ll definitely be watching their Warriors on Friday night, as the Dallas Mavericks come to town, and they’ve had problems, to put it mildly, in Golden State lately.

Mavericks vs Warriors odds – Saturday, March 27, 10:30 PM ET

The Mavericks fell 101-89 in Portland on Thursday night for their third loss in four games, and they wasted a great effort from Caron Butler, who dropped 25 points, but it’s clear that the Mavericks are still trying to play with Butler in the lineup with Dirk Nowitzki, who had 15 points. Jason Terry also had a rough night, going 4-of-14 from the floor for 11 points for the Mavericks, who went to the foul line just nine times, making eight of their attempts. The Mavericks have now given up an average of 106 points in their last three losses, and for a team that is allowing 99.6 points on the year, that is a quick way to watch your sports betting odds go down the drain.

The Warriors stopped their losing streak at three games with a 128-110 win over Memphis at home on Wednesday, and Stephon Curry overcame his seven turnovers with 30 points, 11 assists, five boards and four steals on the night. Curry has a better assist-to-turnover ratio than Monta Ellis, who had 21 points, eight assists, six boards and three steals for the Warriors, who have to make a decision: are they going to stick with Curry and Ellis in the backcourt, or will they try to move one, likely Ellis? They should also have a solid pick in the draft, and things could be looking up in Oakland soon.

The Warriors should be favored at home by sportsbook odds (sportsbook reviews), given the Mavericks’ recent struggles in Golden State, where they’ve lost eight of their last 10, although they did win 127-117 in Oakland on December 8th. They’ll also remember their 2007 playoff series with the Warriors in which they became the first top seed to lose to a No.8 seed in the first round. The Mavericks have to get their act together going into the playoffs, especially on defense, but they’re going up against a Golden State that practically forces you to play an up-and-down game, and they’ve scored 100 points or more in nine straight games. Look for them to push the pace with Dallas’ Jason Kidd trying to keep up with Ellis and Curry, who will have big nights against the Mavericks. Take the Warriors at home on Saturday before checking in on your college basketball betting odds.

Nascar Betting OddsThose checking out March Madness odds looking for an upset aren’t likely to find one at the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 on Sunday, as three drivers have combined to win 10 of the last 12 races at Martinsville Speedway, the shortest track in the Sprint Cup series, and the paper-clip track has always been tough to handle. Will anyone break through and challenge the top three on Sunday?

NASCAR odds – Sunday, March 28, 1:00 PM ET

Jimmie Johnson has won a race at Martinsville each year since 2004, except for 2005, and it’s no surprise that the No.48 driver and winner of this race last year is favored at +275, especially after finally getting a win at Bristol last week. Johnson has six wins overall at Martinsville, and his 5.1 average finish in 16 races here is the best among active drivers. If you’re going to best Johnson at Martinsville though, this would be the best time, as only two of his wins here has come in the spring race.

In terms of March Madness favorites, Jeff Gordon circa 2006 would have been North Carolina, a perennial powerhouse who is usually near the front. You can’t compare Gordon to the Tar Heels, who missed the dance this year, as he is still competitive, but the driver who is listed at +600 hasn’t won here since sweeping the 2005 races for his sixth and seventh win here. You could argue that Gordon, who brought Johnson to owner Rick Hendrick and even co-owns the No.48 car that Johnson drives, taught his protégé too much and it’s now being used against him. But if you’re looking to pick Gordon at a track, it’s Martinsville, where he finished in the top five both times last year, and his seven wins here is the best among active drivers.

Denny Hamlin has joined Johnson and Gordon as the biggest threats here, as he led 296 laps in last year’s spring race before falling just behind Johnson, and he made good on his guarantee to win the fall race by leading 206 laps to get revenge on the No.48. Hamlin, who is also rated at +600, desperately needs something to happen this week as he is 19th in the standings, and he hasn’t finished higher than 17th this season.

A ticket at Martinsville is always worth the price per head, as it’s now the most physical track on the circuit, and you often have to literally move someone out of the way to make a pass. Hamlin may push the issue because of his early-season struggles, which leaves Johnson and Gordon. Johnson has been in the right place at the right time this season, but Gordon is hungry and hasn’t won since the first Texas race last year. He’s great Martinsville, both qualifying and during the race, and this is the place to take him. Go with Jeff Gordon, who won’t disappoint March Madness betting players like Kansas did.

Nascar OddsNASCAR bosses must be screaming at the idea of fighting with March Madness odds coverage for an audience after having their ratings fall in each of the first three races while battling the Olympics including the Canada-USA mens hockey gold medal game. That’s the reality however as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drives in to Virginia, and Martinsville Speedway for the sixth race of the season. The shortest track on the Cup schedule has an even shorter list of winners over the past few years. Only five different racers have captured the checkered flag at Martinsville since 2003, with three of them capturing 12 of 14 first place-finishes.

Online betting enthusiasts already know that two of those three price per head winners belong to Hendrick Motorsports including who else but four-time Sprint Series winner Jimmie Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon. The list of winners becomes even shorter when looking at the last seven races. The 48-car has won five of the last seven races at the half-mile paper clip the other two were won by Denny Hamlin including the most recent race there last October. Beyond Johnson, Gordon, and Hamlin, only Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart have sped to victory at the only original track still on the schedule, over the past seven years.

JJ48 has already accomplished something that no driver ever has in winning four-consecutive Sprint Cup Series titles since 2006, and is looking like the favorite to win again this year. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus have already captured the checkered flag at three of the first five races including last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, a track comparable to Martinsville in regards to contact, although not nearly as fast. Johnson is in the lead on the list of this year’s money list, and in third place in points, just 17 back of the lead.

Kevin Harvick currently leads the sportsbook Sprint Cup Series standings despite having not one a race this year. Harvick has placed in the top-10 in four of the first five races, but holds just a one point lead over Matt Kenseth, who has yet to finish outside of the top-10 this year. While Harvick placed ninth in points earned at Martinsville last season, Kenseth has driven to an average finish of 16.6 in 20 races. Both could fall down a spot after Johnson earned 365 points in two races combined at the 526-mile oval in 2010.

This race couldn’t come sooner for Hamlin, who has not finished in the top-10 in any of the first five races. Joe Gibbs Racing’s top dog was expected to contend with Johnson for the Cup title after an excellent 2009, but has struggled with his best finish coming back at the opener in Daytona where he placed 17th. Hamlin ranks 19th in the standings, but after registering the most points at Martinsville a season ago could benefit from driving on one of his favorite courses.

Still, Jimmie Johnson will be the favorite to win his fourth race of the season this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, in the midst of NCAA March Madness.

Sweet 16: Purdue vs. Duke Betting Odds Preview

Sweet Sixteen OddsWith Robbie Hummel injured, many experts predicted Purdue Odds to lose in round one to Siena. Once the Boilermakers got past that game, most expected them to succumb to a Texas A&M team that has been playing very well.

They have surprised most college basketball betting analysts, but they haven't surprised themselves.

When junior forward Robbie Hummel's season ended Feb. 24 with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, Purdue's chances of making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen odds seemed improbable.

Duke is 8- point favorite with a total of 129.5 at Sportsbook.com

If Purdue upsets Duke, it would set a school record with its 30th victory. Purdue is 5-2 without Hummel.

Coach Matt Painter said the Boilermakers have used the experts' skepticism to their advantage. Just like last year, when they played Washington.

Visit Sportsbook.com to bet on this game.

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

College Basketball Betting - Cornell vs. Kentucky Odds Preview

NCAA Basketball BettingAfter witnessing fellow top seed Kansas fall to Northern Iowa in the second round, Kentucky made sure there would be no chance that it would suffer a similar March Madness odds fate with a dominating 30-point win over Wake Forest. Now the Wildcats will tip off with ‘Cinderella’ story Cornell for a spot in the Elite Eight.

What: NCAA Basketball Betting

When: Thursday March 25, 2010

Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York

The Road To The Sweet 16: Cornell

After receiving Barack Obama’s anointment as his own personal sleeper choice for his March Madness picks, the Big Red have looked dominant in two NCAA national title tournament wins. Number 12 seeded Cornell capped fifth seed Temple 78-65 in the opening round, before blowing out fourth-seeded Wisconsin 87-69 to become the first Ivy League school to advance to the Sweet 16 in over 30 years. The Big Red have done more than just win, they have dominated winning their two games by a combined 32 points, including shooting over 60 percent from the field and over 50 percent from beyond the arc in the win over the Badgers. The tandem of guard Louis Dale and forward Ryan Wittman have reached 20-plus points in both wins, and Center Jeff Foote continues to play efficient basketball on the boards and as a down-low scoring presence.

The Road To The Sweet 16: Kentucky

On the subject of domination, Kentucky has left nothing to chance on its quest to the Sweet 16, dropping both of its opponents by a combined 59-point total. The Wildcats destroyed East Tennessee State 100-71, before breezing past Wake Forest 90-60. Arguably the nation’s best player, guard John Wall has for the most part allowed his teammates to take the spotlight while contributing with an efficient team-first attitude that led to him scoring just 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the win over the Demon Deacons. Fellow guard Darius Miller scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while two other players, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe each reached double-digit point totals in their second game of NCAA March Madness.

Who Will Advance To The Elite Eight: Cornell vs Kentucky

The Big Red have enjoyed a magical run through the Ivy League conference and in to the NCAA March Madness tournament’s Sweet 16, but may be overmatched against the top seed in the East bracket. Arguably the nation’s best player, Kentucky guard John Wall has not needed to be at his best in a pair of blow out wins to open the tournament, which makes the Wildcats an even scarier opponent to face. Even if Wall was not in the line up Cornell would have problems finding a way to trade baskets with the likes of DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson. Look for Kentucky to cover the spread and advance to the Elite Eight where it will tip off with the winner of the price per head contest between Washington and West Virginia.

BSN Sports Pick: Kentucky

College Basketball OddsNo. 6 Xavier Musketeers vs No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats

Thursday, March 25th – 9:37 PM ET

Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, UT

West Region

March Madness Odds: Kansas State -4.5

There are many sports betting enthusiasts who have been ensconced in college basketball betting for the last week. The NCAA Tournament started on Thursday and after a weekend of crazy upsets, we’re left with 16 teams of the sweet variety.

Two teams that were semi-expected to still be there - Xavier and Kansas State – will meet up in the West Region for a berth in the Elite Eight.

Xavier knocked off Minnesota rather easily in the first round but then had a close shave in a 71-68 win over Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have been rolling as they had a 20-point win over North Texas in the opening round followed by a 12-point win over BYU in round two.

Speaking of that matchup against BYU, this should be a similar matchup for the Wildcats as they are dealing with a similar opponent.

The Cougars were led by Jimmer Fredette, who scored a whopping 34 points in the first round but couldn’t come close to that in the second round. With Wildcats guard Jacob Pullen on him, Fredette managed just four field goald.

The same can’t happen to Xavier or they won’t even be in this contest. The Musketeers are led by guard Jordan Crawford, who has scored 55 points in the first two games of this tournament. He needs to have another big game for the Musketeers to pull the upset and if the lock down defense wins, so will Kansas State.

The Musketeers are not a team with a ton of depth, so they rely on their leaders more than most teams. They also don’t play a signature brand of defense, so they will need to fill it up regularly to win this game.

If that’s the key matchup for the Wildcats on defense, the key matchup when their on offense will be the perimeter. Against BYU, Pullen and guard Denis Clemente feasted. Pullen had 34 points, including seven three-pointers, and he could have another big game as Xavier doesn’t cover the perimeter very well.

The Musketeers have been to the Sweet Sixteen for three straight years but this is as far as they’ll get this year as the Wildcats will send them packing.

Sportsbook Reviews Pick: Kansas State -4.5

NBA Betting – Flailing Heat Host Bobcats

NBA OddsThe main attraction nowadays is NCAA basketball betting but the NBA action is also very exciting. The playoffs are rapidly approaching in the NBA and teams needing to make some ground are getting desperate.

Two of those such teams will meet up on Saturday night as the Charlotte Bobcats will travel to Miami to face the Heat. The Bobcats have moved up the standings recently by winning seven of their last 10 games and appear in line to make their first playoff berth in franchise history.

Meanwhile, the Heat, who used to have expectations of doing a lot more than just qualifying for the playoffs, have had them lowered as they are simply not good enough to compete in the East any more.

That concern may be in the back of Dwyane Wade’s mind as he gets set to test out the free agency market in the summer – or decide to stay in Miami.

The Heat had a nice hot stretch to start the month of March, winning six of seven to start the month, but have since lost two straight.

They know find themselves one game behind the Bobcats in the standings, but they should be able to make up that ground on Saturday.

Charlotte Bobcats @ Miami Heat

Bodog Odds: Heat -4

There are plenty of one-game playoffs going on in the march madness betting ranks and the Bobcats and Heat will play one out for the sixth seed in the East.

It’s a big difference between the two spots as the seven seed will play the Orlando Magic while the six seed will face the Atlanta Hawks.

This will be the last time these two teams square off and the Heat will be looking to get their first win in the season series so far. The Bobcats have swept it so far (3-0) while holding the Heat to just 80 points per game.

The problem for the Heat is that the Bobcats are just a smart defensive team. They know how to shutdown Dwayne Wade and keep everyone else in check.

Even so, the Heat won’t get swept in this series as Wade has been on fire this month. In March, he leads the NBA in scoring and he will find a way to put his team on his back and carry them to an important win.

Sportsbook Pick: Heat

NBA OddsOnline betting players have been stunned by Milwaukee’s emergence in the Eastern Conference, and even though they probably won’t get homecourt advantage, they’re hanging on to the fifth seed very tight. The Bucks will be out west this weekend and on Saturday, they’ll head to Denver, who will be rested and waiting.

Bucks vs Nuggets odds – Saturday, March 20, 9:00 PM ET

The Bucks had a six-game winning streak snapped in Los Angeles on Wednesday when they fell 101-93 to the Clippers, and Brandon Jennings led the way with 21 points and five assists, although he had five of Milwaukee’s 13 turnovers. Andrew Bogut had another solid game in the post with 18 points, 11 boards and four blocks, and he really has come into his own this season. The former No.1 pick has always been good defensively and on the boards, but he’s showing an ability to put the ball in the hoop this year, and having a point guard like Jennings has to help. Chances are Bogut won’t be looking at how to bet March Madness this year, as his Utah Utes won’t be dancing, but we’re sure Bogut will take a playoff trip instead.

The Nuggets recovered from a disappointing loss in Houston with a 97-87 win over Washington on Tuesday, and Carmelo Anthony followed up a 45-point performance against the Rockets with another 29 points on the Wizards. Anthony also added 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who shot 50.7% from the floor, although they were terrible from the three-point line, going 3-of-18. J.R. Smith provided a spark off the bench with 17 points for the Nuggets, who had coach George Karl back on the bench after he missed four games due to his cancer treatments.

You would probably get better odds in a super casino than on Milwaukee to beat the Nuggets in Denver, as they’ve lost three in a row and eight of their last 10 trips to the high altitude of the Pepsi Center. The Bucks beat the Nuggets 108-102 on Remembrance Day in Milwaukee, with Jennings and Anthony scoring 32 points apiece for their respective teams. The Bucks outrebounded the Nuggets 46-37 and held Denver to 39.8% from the field, but it’s doubtful they’ll be able to do that in Denver, especially as they’ll be coming off a game in Sacramento on Friday night, while the Nuggets will be waiting after hosting New Orleans on Thursday night. The altitude will start to wear on the Bucks in the second half, while the Nuggets will use it to their advantage. Go with the Denver Nuggets on Friday before you head to your March Madness bracket contest.

Nascar OddsWhile everyone will be making their March Madness picks this weekend, there’s another type of madness to watch out for when the Sprint Cup series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Food City 500, the first of two races to take place on the half-mile wrestling ring that is Bristol. Here are five drivers to watch for, providing they can stay out of trouble, which isn’t always easy here.

NASCAR Betting – Sunday, March 21, 2:00 PM ET

Kyle Busch (+600)

The younger Busch brother won last year’s spring race at Bristol, leading 378 laps along the way. That makes two wins in this event for Kyle, although he still has to catch up to brother Kurt, who has won four spring races here. Busch has yet to break the top 10 this year as he sits 15th in the standings, and he’ll be on a mission this week.

Denny Hamlin (+700)

Busch’s teammate finished second to him here last year, and Hamlin is one of the best short-track racers in NASCAR. Hamlin has had some bad luck this year, coming into this race in 22nd place, but he has a finishing average of 9.0 in four spring races, and he’s finished in the top 10 five times in eight overall trips to Bristol.

Kevin Harvick (+1000)

The points leader is one of three drivers, along with Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, to finish in the top 10 in all four races after a ninth-place run at Bristol, and he won this race back in 2005. Harvick has seven top-10s in nine spring races at Bristol, but he finished 30th in last year’s event. He’ll be one to consider in your sportsbook.

Kurt Busch (+1200)

Kurt romped to the win at Atlanta last week, and he is one of two active drivers, along with Jeff Gordon, to win this race four times. He just missed the top 10 in last year’s event, coming in 11th, so look for him to find his way to the front.

Juan Pablo Montoya (+2000)

This is your value pick, and we can guarantee that watching Montoya carve his way through Bristol will be worth the price per head. Montoya’s road-course experience has made him a master of using the breaks, which you do more at Bristol than any other oval except maybe Martinsville, and his ninth-place run last year was his first in three Bristol spring races. However, his aggressive style may also get him in trouble.

Pick: Kevin Harvick is the play here this week, as he’s running as well as anyone in the series, and he’s comfortable at Bristol. He would definitely be a No.1 seed if this were odds on March Madness.

Nascar OddsOnline betting players watched Kevin Harvick go through the worst year of his career last year, and there were rumors of the driver they sarcastically call “Happy” being ready to leave Richard Childress Racing, where he’s been since replacing Dale Earnhardt in 2001. But Harvick is on a roll to start the 2010 season, and the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is the perfect place for him to officially signal his return to the title chase.

NASCAR Betting – Sunday, March 21, 2:00 PM ET

Harvick isn’t the favorite for this race because that honor goes to Kyle Busch at +600, and with good reason: the younger Busch brother has won this race in two of the last three years, and he swept the Bristol races last year. Busch routed the field last year, leading 378 laps along the way, and he’ll need some good memories as he has yet to notch a top-10 this year. But sportsbook players shouldn’t worry about Busch, as he can rattle off a winning streak faster than anyone in the series.

Busch’s teammate at JGR, Denny Hamlin, is right behind him at +700, and that’s fitting because he finished second to Busch in this race last year. Hamlin also needs something good to happen, as he’s struggled badly this year after being tipped as the next challenger to Jimmie Johnson’s throne. With some bad luck, Hamlin is 22nd in the standings right now and with Martinsville, one of his best tracks, coming up next week, Hamlin would like to get on a roll.

Kurt Busch will also be a factor at +1200 after winning last week at Atlanta, but at the spring race at Bristol, the No.2 driver has been doing his best Jekyll and Hyde impression. In nine spring races, Busch has four wins (every year between 2002 and 2006, except for 2005), but those are his only top-10s. He just missed last year, coming in 11th, so he’ll be looking for a return.

Keep an eye on Greg Biffle’s sportsbook odds at +1600, as the No.16 driver is one of three drivers, with Harvick and Roush-Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth, to finish in the top 10 in all four races so far this year. He has five top-10s in seven spring races at Bristol, and although he finished 39th last year, he did bounce back nicely to finish fourth in the summer race.

Still, we’re going with Harvick at +1000, as he broke Kurt Busch’s hold on this race with a win in 2005, and he has a 9.2 finishing average in nine spring races, which includes seven top-10s. He didn’t crack the top 30 in either race last year, but that will change. Take Kevin Harvick before checking out your college basketball odds.

March Madness Betting without UCLA,North Carolina and Indiana

College Basketball Betting LinesStarts March Madness, that in future editions can be more crazy than ever are considering raising the box 64 teams to 96 - with gallons of Kansas with the team to beat. The Jayhawks are at least leading in the polls Americans about what college are favorites to win the NCAA betting title.

In Sports Illustrated, for example, 48% of Internet users are opting for Kansas. The quartet followed seeded Kentucky (25%), Syracuse (15%, which, despite losing in the Big East tournament, won the battle for his career in regular season) and Duke (12%). The last morning they played Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Winthrop to complete the final table of 64 betting teams.

Are those, though lacking in Arizona. The Wildcats have remained outside the box after 25 years there. The Tar Heels of North Carolina, reigning champions, were not included in the final panel by the selection committee for the NCAA Odds, reiterating its decision "for the role of teams throughout the regular season. Bruins (UCLA), Hoosiers (Indiana) and Huskies (Connecticut) will not. It is the first time since 1966 that the big five are not in the big party. "Well, what a party!"

Here are the NCAA Tournament Odds for 2010 March Madness.

* Kansas 7/4

* Kentucky 7/2

* Syracuse 7/1

* Duke 7/1

* Ohio State 12/1

* West Virginia 10/1

* Kansas State 20/1

* Villanova 18/1

* Georgetown 20/1

* New Mexico 35/1

* Pittsburgh 50/1

* Baylor 30/1

* Maryland 30/1

* Wisconsin 40/1

* Vanderbilt 80/1

* Purdue 60/1

* Michigan State 25/1

* Temple 60/1

* Butler 75/1

* Texas A&M 100/1

* Tennessee 50/1

* Marquette 80/1

* Xavier 80/1

* Notre Dame 80/1

* Oklahoma State 100/1

* Clemson 150/1

* BYU 100/1

* Richmond 300/1

* UNLV 250/1

* Texas 100/1

* Gonzaga 100/1

* California 100/1

* Northern Iowa 250/1

* Wake Forest 150/1

* Florida State 200/1

* Louisville 80/1

* Georgia Tech 100/1

* Missouri 100/1

* Florida 125/1

* St Marys CA 300/1

* San Diego State 250/1

* Washington 150/1

* Minnesota 200/1

* Old Dominion 300/1

* New Mexico State 300/1

* Cornell 300/1

* UTEP 200/1

* Utah State 350/1

* Houston 250/1

* Wofford 1000/1

* Murray State 350/1

* Siena 300/1

* Ohio 250/1

* Montana 1000/1

* Oakland 500/1

* Sam Houston 500/1

* UC Santa Barbara 750/1

* Morgan State 1000/1

* North Texas 750/1

* Robert Morris 1000/1

* Lehigh 1000/1

* Eastern Tennessee State 1000/1

* Vermont 750/1

* Arkansas Pine Bluff 1000/1

* Winthrop 1000/1

Sports Betting at the Sportsbook

NCAA Basketball Betting – The best of the first-round matchups

College Basketball Betting Lines2010 March Madness odds are the first sign of spring, and with the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, there’ll be a lot of action in your online sportsbook. Here’s a peek at the best matchups to watch during the first two days (roughly 24 hours of basketball).

Houston vs Maryland odds – Friday, 9:40 PM ET

The No.4 Terrapins are favored by nine points in this Midwest region matchup against No.13 Houston, who upset UTEP in the Conference USA championship game for their first trip to the big dance in 18 years. This will be an explosive clash between top individual players as Maryland’s Greivis Vazquez will go against Houston’s Aubrey Coleman, so it’ll be a matter of which supporting cast steps up more.

Florida vs BYU odds – Thursday, 12:20 PM ET

The No.7 Cougars are a 4.5-point favorite in this West region clash against the No.10 Gators, who are back in the Tournament for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. BYU is powered by Jimmer Fredette, who scored 75 points in two games during the MWC tournament. The Gators are balanced and tough defensively, and they have a great coach in Billy Donovan. This has upset written all over it, especially when you consider that the Cougars have gone out in the first round of the dance three straight years and haven’t won a Tournament game since 1993.

Washington vs Marquette odds – Thursday, 7:20 PM ET

NCAA March Madness odds have No.6 Marquette as a 2-point favorite in this East region contest between two teams that went out in the second round of last year’s big dance, and the Golden Eagles are a much better team than the one that was belted by Georgetown in the Big East semifinals. No.11 Washington won the Pac-10 tournament to get here, and they’ve gotten hot at the right time of year with seven straight wins. This could turn out to be the best game of the whole first round.

Siena vs Purdue odds – Friday, 2:30 PM ET

No.4 Purdue is a 4-point favorite in this South region contest, but some are calling for Siena to be favored after winning their third MAAC tournament in a row. The Boilermakers were rolled by Minnesota in the Big Ten semifinals, scoring 11 points in the first half. Purdue lost their leader, Robbie Hummel, to an ACL injury and he was the glue that kept this team together, and they looked all out of sorts against Minnesota. Siena, led by Alex Franklin, is balanced and they’re very disciplined, ranking first in fouls with 12.2 turnovers. Don’t be afraid to take the Saints’ March Madness odds.

NCAA Basketball Betting OddsThe March Madness bracket contest are finally here! On Thursday the first round of play will commence and with it, heartache and torn up March Madness Brackets as well as the usual bragging and boasting that usually will fall to pieces the next day. Everyone will soon be sneaking around the office comparing brackets and you won’t be able to avoid the hysteria of March Madness not matter where you turn. As always, upsets are expected. Here’s the breakdown of the games with the biggest upset potential.

Sportsbook Review: Round 1 Upsets

#4 Purdue Boilermakers (27-5, 14-4 Big Ten) vs. #13 Siena Saints (27-6, 17-1 in MAAC)

  • This is an extremely interesting matchup as the Boilermakers are coming off an embarrassing defeat to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, 69-42. Purdue is without its best player, Robbie Hummel (Torn ACL) and has not been the same team since he went down.

  • Siena has been in the tournament the last couple of years and it is the same core group that is here now. It took overtime for Siena to take the MAAC title over a pesky Fairfield team; however Siena really wasn’t challenged this year in conference and was 10-5 out of conference. The Saints may be catching Purdue at the right time.

    Upset Pick: #13 Siena over #4 Purdue

# 7 Richmond Spiders (26-8, 13-3 in Atlantic 10) @ #10 St Mary’s Gaels (26-5, 11-3 in WCC)

  • Saint Mary’s is the West Coast Conference’s tournament winner and would have likely gotten in anyways as they had a tremendous season behind Senior center Omir Samhan who averaged 20.9 points and 11 rebounds a game. St Mary’s knocked off Gonzaga, 81-62 to win the WCC.

  • Richmond fell in the A-10 championship game to Temple 56-52. The Spiders have been solid all season long by the strong guard play of junior Kevin Anderson (17.8 points, 2.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds) and senior David Gonzalvez (14.5 points, 2.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds).

  • This game is going to be awesome; both teams seemed to get fair rankings as both the WCC and the A-10 were better this year than they ever have been. Richmond can play with anyone and showed incredible resiliency in coming up just short in a comeback attempt against Temple. St Mary’s avenged two of its losses on the season, to Gonzaga, by dominating them in the final. This game could come down to the wire, and both have the potential to make it to the sweet sixteen. St Mary’s is for real and will win this game.

    Upset Pick: # 10 St. Mary’s over # 7 Richmond

# 4 Vanderbilt Commodores (24-8, 12-4 in SEC) vs. #13 Murray State Racers (30-4, 17-1 in OVC)

  • Vanderbilt may be one of the true pretenders in this tournament. They’ve had some bad losses this year and the SEC, outside of Kentucky, Tennesee and Missiissippi State has been significantly overrated and probably the second best team in the SEC, Miss St., was not selected to the tournament. Vanderbilt was convincingly beaten by Miss St in the SEC semis, 62-52, and should have a much lower ranking.

  • Murray State won 30 games this year. I don’t care if it was the Ohio Valley Conference, it was still impressive. They also played out of conference games extremely tough and blew out most of their competition all season. I will take a team that blows everyone out in a small conference over an overrated team in an overrated conference any day,
  • Upset Pick # 13 Murray State over # 4 Vanderbilt

NCAA Basketball Betting: Take Murray State, St. Mary’s and Siena

NBA Betting Odds – Pistons’ road woes should continue in Atlanta

NBA OddsYou won’t get good NBA betting odds for Detroit heads to Atlanta on Saturday night, as the Pistons are terrible on the road, while the Hawks are excellent at home. The Pistons also have the added burden of a Friday night game, while the Hawks will be at home and waiting after a win against the team Detroit will face on Friday.

Pistons vs Hawks odds – Saturday, March 13, 7:00 PM ET

The Pistons (22-42 as of Friday) will host Washington on Friday, and on Wednesday, they were beaten 115-104 at home by Utah, which was the 10th straight time that the Pistons had lost to the Jazz. Six Detroit players reached double figures, paced by 19 points off the bench form Charlie Villeneuva, but the Pistons were outrebounded 44-33, and they shot 43.5% from the field, as opposed to 56.3% by the Jazz. The Pistons were only 5-of-26 from the three-point line, but they did go 25-of-27 at the foul line.

The Hawks (41-23) made their own trip to Washington on Thursday night, coming away with a 105-99 victory on the road over the Wizards. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to hit 29 points for the Hawks, who were only 15-of-25 at the charity stripe. Joe Johnson and Al Horford dropped 18 points each as the Hawks shot 51.9% from the field, and forced 20 turnovers to overcome a 42-29 deficit on the boards.

The Hawks will be favored at home in this contest, and we’re betting management in Atlanta aren’t sweating this game too much. The Hawks are 25-7 at home, while the Pistons are 9-20 on the road and have lost two straight in Atlanta. These two have met just once this year, with the Pistons pulling out a 94-88 win at home on November 29th, led by 23 points from Rodney Stuckey. The young point guard hasn’t been in the lineup since he collapsed against Cleveland on March 5th, which means more minutes for Will Bynum. Josh Smith led the Hawks with 23 points while super sub Crawford added 20 points off the pine, but Atlanta will need to be more aggressive against the Pistons. The Hawks went to the free-throw line just eight times, making seven of them, and they were outrebounded 53-29. Look for that to change in Atlanta on Saturday, where the Hawks are a much better team and they’ll look to go to the foul line. The Pistons will also have to travel on Friday night from Detroit to Atlanta, where the Hawks have been waiting since beating the Wizards on Thursday, so look for a fast start from them. Take the Hawks on Saturday night before checking out the odds on college basketball on Selection Sunday.

NBA OddsSportsbook players are banking on Denver this season in the Western Conference, but their form away from home has to be worrying as they’re barely a .500 team on the road. The Nuggets began a road trip on Wednesday with a win, and after travelling to New Orleans on Friday, Denver will make their way to Memphis to face a Grizzlies team that will also be doing back-to-back duty.

Nuggets vs Grizzlies odds – Saturday, March 13, 8:00 PM ET

The Nuggets (43-21 as of Friday) kicked off their four-game road trip with a 110-102 win in Minnesota on Wednesday, getting 25 points from Chauncey Billups. Carmelo Anthony didn’t light up the scoreboard with 19 points, but he added six rebounds, five assists and five steals on the night in a well-rounded game. Six players reached double figures for the Nuggets, who held the Timberwolves to 38.9% from the field, and Denver turned the ball over only seven times.

The Grizzlies (34-31 as of Friday) will host New York on Friday night, and they should still buzzing from a huge 111-91 win in Boston over the Celtics on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies jumped out to a 27-12 lead after the first quarter and never took their foot off the gas for their first win in seven meetings with the Celtics. Rudy Gay poured in 28 points, while Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 20 points and 20 rebounds as the Grizzlies held a 48-29 edge on the glass. This was the seventh straight win on the road for the Grizzlies, who have been very streaky this year: remember, Memphis won 11 in a row at home earlier this year.

Betting services should have the Grizzlies as the favorites at home in this contest, even though the Nuggets have won eight of their last 10 against Memphis. A 102-96 victory for the Grizzlies on December 20th in Memphis snapped an eight-game losing skid to the Nuggets, who took the first meeting of the season by a 133-123 score in Denver on November 1st. Anthony has averaged an absurd 41.5 points against the Grizzlies, while Mayo’s 25.5 points paces Memphis. Even though both play back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday, you have to give the edge to the Grizzlies as they’ll playing both at home, while the Nuggets will coming from New Orleans. However, the Grizzlies are still a young team, and they’ve been known to hit a rough patch after a big win (they dropped five in a row after upsetting the Lakers back in February, and this will be a good test to see if their heads are back in it, especially after playing what should be a frantic up-and-down game on Friday against the Knicks. Take the Nuggets and Anthony, who can’t be happy about the NCAA basketball odds of his Syracuse Orangemen.

College Basketball Betting – Can Maryland stop Duke again?

March Madness OddsMarch Madness betting players were treated to a great game on March 3rd in College Park, where Maryland defeated Duke, and these two would go on to share the regular-season title in the ACC. The Terrapins and Blue Devils are on a collision course for another epic battle in the finals of the ACC tournament, which Duke has won eight times since 1999.

The Blue Devils and Terrapins are rated at -200 and +280, respectively, and everyone will be looking for another meeting between the favorites for the ACC Player of the Year award, Greivis Vazquez of Maryland, and Jon Scheyer of Duke. These senior guards are the undisputed leaders of their team, but the Terrapins lean on Vazquez much more heavily. Scheyer, who was the MVP in last year’s ACC tournament, has reliable backup in Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, and the Blue Devils are second only to Florida State in terms of points allowed.

Speaking of the Seminoles, who are listed at +680 according to US sportsbook odds (US sportsbook reviews), Florida State could be a big problem, literally. The Seminoles have Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton in the post, and this is a change from the rest of the conference who are heavy on their backcourt production. The Seminoles have problems with turnovers, and their guard play has taken a steep decline since Toney Douglas went to the NBA last year. Still, with their defense and an efficient offense that thrives on high-percentage shots, the Seminoles can’t be counted out.

Stay away from Wake Forest and North Carolina at +1200 and +1500, respectively, and no team has been more disappointing than the Tar Heels, who go from NCAA champions to possibly out of the postseason altogether, although they would stand a chance in the NIT if they get a couple of wins this week. These two are the worst defensive teams in the league, despite their talent, and that won’t fly in March.

Your best bets are the favorites, Duke and Maryland, to meet again in a rubber match as the Blue Devils thumped the Terrapins at home, but then fell 79-72 at Maryland in the last week of the season. The Blue Devils will have an edge in support as the tournament will be held in Greensboro, which is definitely closer to Duke than Maryland. Vazquez should get the Player of the Year award based on how much the Terrapins depend on him, but that may come back to bite them in this tournament as Scheyer and the Duke Blue Devils can get scoring from other players besides their star. Take Duke this week, and check out their 2010 March Madness odds.

College Basketball BettingMarch Madness betting players have had their eye on Kansas all season, and the Jayhawks have rarely disappointed, ended the season as the No.1 team in the country. The Jayhawks could probably clinch the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big 12 tourney, which they had won four years in a row before Missouri took the crown in 2009. They should start a new streak this weekend.

Kansas is the favorite at -300, and they recovered from their lone Big 12 loss at Oklahoma State to stomp Kansas State and Missouri in the final week of the season, and you may not find a team that is more well-rounded and suited to the rigors of the postseason than the Jayhawks. They have leadership with Sherron Collins, and a dependable big man in Cole Aldrich, and these two were on the 2008 team that beat Memphis in overtime to win the NCAA Tournament. However, the x-factor is freshman Xavier Henry, who picked up his game in the last month of the season.

Their biggest threat is Kansas State at +350, and Frank Martin may win the Big 12 Coach of the Year award for the job he’s done. The Wildcats have wildly overachieved this year, but losses at Kansas State and at home to lowly Iowa State isn’t a good look heading into the playoffs. A better bet would be Baylor at +500, as the Bears won seven of their last eight. They have a free-scoring pair of guards in LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter, and they have Ekpe Udoh in the middle. Udoh is fourth in the country in blocks, and he can score when he gets touches.

Stay away from Texas at +650 according to sportsbook odds, and the Longhorns were No.1 before a loss at Kansas State, and it was all downhill from there. The Longhorns have been bitten by inconsistent guard play, but they’re all freshmen. Avery Bradley, J’Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton have been all over the map over the second half of the season, which is a shame when Texas has Damion James, one of the premier post players in the country.

You’re looking for a matchup between Baylor and Kansas in the final, and the Jayhawks defeated the Bears 81-75 at home on January 20th. The Bears have the depth to rotate players on Dunn and Carter, while Udoh and Aldrich should battle to a stalemate in the post. However, the Bears don’t have an answer for Henry, who didn’t play well in the first meeting, and with his recent form he should be near the top of the list for the MVP award in this tournament. Take the Kansas Jayhawks’ odds on college basketball this weekend.

NBA Betting – Bulls aim to stop slide against Jazz

NBA bettingSportsbook players have no idea what to think of Chicago, a young team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference who is as streaky as it gets. The Bulls have lost four in a row, including three straight at home, ahead of their visit from Utah on Tuesday, and the Jazz will be going for their third consecutive win, but they’ve had troubles in the Windy City lately.

Jazz vs Bulls odds – Tuesday, March 9, 8:00 PM ET

The Jazz (40-22) followed up a big road win in Phoenix by thrashing the Clippers 107-85 at home on Saturday night, and they pulled away in the second half with a 21-point advantage after a slow start. Mehmet Okur dropped 24 against the Suns, and then poured in 27 points on the Clippers and if Okur is going, the Jazz are much tougher to defend as he can drag the opposing center out of the lane with his long-range shooting. Carlos Boozer had 17 points and 17 boards for the Jazz, who had six players in double figures, and they had just six turnovers to 19 for the Clippers.

The Bulls (31-31) came up short in a 122-116 loss at home to Dallas on Saturday, and even though they lost, Chicago can be encouraged that their offense scored 100 points or more in seven of the last 11 games. Derrick Rose has averaged 27.6 points over his last five games, and his 34 points against the Mavericks was his seventh straight game with 20 points or more. Brad Miller had 17 points, while Taj Gibson added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 52.2% from the field, but the Mavericks shot 56.3%. If the Bulls could get their offense and defense going at the same time, Chicago would be in the top four of the Eastern Conference: the Bulls are 17-4 when they score 100 points or more, but 7-21 when their opponents do the same.

US sportsbook odds (US sportsbook review) should have the Bulls should be the favorites at home, but you may have better luck in an internet super casino than betting on Chicago. These two have met just once this year, with the Jazz routing the Bulls 105-86 at home on November 26th. Boozer had 28 points in that contest, while Deron Williams had 21 for the Jazz, who shot 60.8% from the floor. Luol Deng dropped 26 points for the Bulls, who can’t let the Jazz shot that well again. Even though the Bulls’ offense is coming around, their defense has failed them as of late, and the Jazz have enough discipline to get the stops when they have to get them.

Best online sportsbook pick: Utah

Raptors vs Lakers oddSportsbook players know how dangerous the Los Angeles Lakers can be, but they could be more dangerous when they’re wounded. The Lakers have lost three in a row, and they’ll be out to avenge an earlier loss in Toronto when the Raptors head to Los Angeles on Tuesday to begin a four-game Western road trip.

Raptors vs Lakers odds – Tuesday, March 9, 10:30 PM ET

The Raptors (32-29) couldn’t give Chris Bosh a victorious return to the court on Sunday, as they fell 114-101 to Philadelphia at home. Bosh played 33 minutes, racking up 12 points and 12 boards, but he wasn’t as aggressive as usual as he was coming back from a sprained ankle and a stomach virus. Jarrett Jack had 20 points and nine assists to lead the Raptors, who were just 8-of-12 at the free-throw line, and none of those attempts came from Bosh, who is second in the league in that category. Once he gets his legs back underneath him, the Raptors should be in good shape.

The Lakers (46-18) weren’t in a good mood during or after their 96-94 loss in Orlando on Sunday, as Kobe Bryant was involved all day with Matt Barnes. Bryant scored a game-high 34 points for the Lakers, but he needed 30 shots to do it as Los Angeles shot a miserable 37.5% from the field. It’s definitely a stretch to say that the Lakers’ sportsbook odds would be better without Bryant, but the Lakers were 4-1 when Bryant sat out five games with an ankle injury, and they move the ball around. With Bryant in the lineup, he dominates the Lakers’ triangle offense, and the rest of the team are sometimes left standing around, watching him go one-on-five.

The Lakers will be the sportsbook favorites in this contest, and they’ve won seven straight at home over the Raptors. This is the second meeting of the season for these two, and the Raptors came away with a 106-105 win over the Lakers in Toronto on January 24th. Andrea Bargnani led six Raptors in double figures with 22 points, while Bosh added 18 points and 13 boards. Bryant just missed a triple-double with 27 points, 16 boards and nine assists, but he missed what would have been the game-winning shot, just as he did against the Magic on Sunday. The Lakers will be hungry to end their losing skid, and they’ll be hungrier to avenge that loss to the Raptors, who allowed the 76ers to shoot 55.6% from the field and are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They have a 10-19 mark away from home, and unless they can come up with their effort of the season, they’re not getting past an angry Lakers squad.

NBA betting pick: Lakers

Spurs vs. Grizzlies NBA Betting Odds

NBA OddsNBA betting players figured Memphis would implode, and early in the season with the Allen Iverson move, it looked like they would. But the Grizzlies are just four games behind San Antonio as of Friday, and four games out of the final playoff spot. The Grizzlies will host a Spurs team that will be playing a back-to-back.

Spurs vs Grizzlies odds – Saturday, March 6, 8:00 PM ET

The Spurs (34-24 as of Friday) will be completing the second half of a home-and-home with New Orleans on Friday night, but part one resulted in a 106-92 win for the Spurs in San Antonio. George Hill led six Spurs in double figures with 23 points, while Tim Duncan added 22 points and nine rebounds. San Antonio shot 50.6% from the field as they improved to 21-10 at the AT&T Center this season, and now they are 24-6 when they score 100 points. DeJuan Blair’s numbers weren’t that great (eight points, six rebounds, four assists, two blocks in 26 minutes), but the Spurs were +18 when he was on the court, and the rookie is getting some good minutes for a coach who doesn’t normally play young guys.

The Grizzlies (32-30) shot 52.6% from the floor in a 105-96 win in Chicago on Thursday, and Zach Randolph slaughtered the Bulls’ interior defense, going for 31 points and 18 rebounds. O.J. Mayo had 20 points and nine rebounds, while Rudy Gay added 17 points and five steals for the Grizzlies, who had all five starters score at least 12 points, and they held a 46-31 edge on the glass. The Grizzlies committed 16 turnovers, which they’ll have to fix before the Spurs come to town.

Gambling software should favor the Grizzlies at home, where they are 18-13, and they beat the Spurs here by a score of 92-86 back on January 16th. These two have split a pair of meetings this season, with the home team winning each time. Duncan has averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, while Randolph has put up 21.0 points and 14.0 rebounds, and the winner of this battle in the post should pretty much decide the victorious team in this game. This will be the second back-to-back for the Spurs this week, and they’re not the youngest squad in the league any more. The Spurs are 3-5 in the second half of back-to-back games this year, and the Grizzlies will be eager to snap a seven-game losing streak at FedEx Forum, where they won 11 straight earlier this year. Take Randolph to put the Grizzlies on his shoulders and carry them to a much-needed win on Saturday.

NBA betting odds pick: Memphis

NBA BettingThis Saturday a potential playoff preview will take place in sunny Miami when Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat host Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta Hawks (39-21, 3rd in Eastern Conference) @ Miami Heat (31-31, 8th in Eastern Conference)

NBA Odds

Spread: Atlanta -1.5

Over/Under: 191.5

Money Line: Atlanta -135, Miami +110

Key Storylines

Bronze Medal: Michael Beasley

  • While Dwayne Wade was out with an injury, Michael Beasley stepped up and filled in admirably as the primary scoring option. Now with Wade back, Beasley hasn’t just been replaced as a scoring option, he has been benched in 4th quarters of the past three games. The reasoning has been Beasley’s poor defense and decisions with the ball. Udonis Haslem has taken his place as he is a better defender and foul shooter. It is hard to tell a guy to take over the offense and when Wade is back for him to go back to giving the ball up and play second-fiddle again.

  • Beasley, the second overall pick last year, will be a very good player in this league and has shown flashes of brilliance and extreme athleticism. His inability to be counted on late in games significantly hurts the Heat, especially against a team that is physical like Atlanta.
  • Advantage: Hawks

Silver Medal: Jamal Crawford

  • Jamal Crawford is the odds on favorite for NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Coming off the bench, Crawford is playing 30.8 minutes a game averaging 17.3 points (2nd on the team) and just fewer than three assists. Crawford is shooting 45% from the field and 37% from three point land.

  • Crawford will be big in this bout as he is the both the leader of the second unit and a lethal clutch performer at ends of games. The Gregg Popovich theory of starting one of the team’s best players on the bench (like he has done with Manu Ginobili for almost a decade) and have him come in when the other team’s starters are tired or out of the game, has worked wonders for Crawford this year. Miami does not have a strong second unit, in fact without Wade; they are below average in general. Wade will play most of the game, but look for Crawford to takeover in those periods while he rests.
  • Advantage: Hawks

Gold Medal: Dwayne Wade vs. Joe Johnson

  • Coming off a duel with Kobe Bryant in Miami where Wade and the Heat came away with a 114-11 OT victory. Wade had 27 points, 5 rebounds and 14 assists including a big assist to Quentin Richardson with Kobe guarding Wade in the final seconds to give the Heat a two point lead (Kobe tied it on a sick fade away J to go to OT). Wade is in a pantheon of stardom in the NBA that really only includes the likes of him, LeBron and Kobe with Durant and Dwight Howard at the doorstep.

  • One more step down the stoop is Joe Johnson. Johnson is a free agent at season’s end and is expected to get a lot of big money offers for his services. Johnson has averaged 21.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game this year and was named to the All-Star team. Johnson is a strong defender and an excellent shooter and is the main cog in the Hawks offense.

  • This battle will likely be close, but Wade is the better player. Johnson however, has a significantly better supporting cast and Wade may have trouble driving to the hole against the likes of Al Horford and Josh Smith. Even so, you have to like Wade over Johnson
  • Advantage: Heat

Prediction:

The Heat has beaten the Hawks twice this season by more than 15 points, with the Hawks having an early season 15 point victory of their own. I feel this game will be a bit closer, but with Wade leading the way at home, expect the Heat to win and take the season series.

Sportsbook Rating: Final: Heat 91 – Hawks 85

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