POST-SEASON RECORD TO DATE: 43-23 ATS
CONFIDENCE EFFICIENCY RATING (CER): 84/127 or .66
TOP CONFIDENCE PICKS THROUGH DAY 29: 18-9 ATS
One of the great things about gambling is that it keeps sporting events interesting long after the game is technically out of reach. Although this didn't apply in dramatic fashion at the end of the Indiana Pacers 106-99 victory over the New York Knicks, the line was -5.5 for Indiana making the waning seconds of the game much more excruciating to the Pacers backer than the Pacers fan. While most of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, decked out in its Blue Collar shirts and generic Midwest looks, was dancing and exchanging drunken high fives with less than six seconds left and Sam Young at the free throw line, I'm sure there were a handful, plus thousands across the country, holding their collective breath as J.R. Smith's 29 foot three pointer rimmed out just before the final buzzer.
Phew. Back on track at last. Thank you Rhianna - for wagering on the Pacers and keeping Mr. Smith out past the Indiana curfew. And thank you Gambling Gods for realizing our prophecies that Chris Bosh (AKA Lance Stephenson) would lead the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals
and that the oldest team in the league would ultimately have its jump shooting legs catch up with them. Nobody beats Father Time - Roy Hibbert's nickname - is the motto for this year's Pacers squad.
The Conference Semi-Finals are mercifully over, and after starting out a surreal 11-2 ATS, we finished the round at a respectable 13-9 ATS. On to the Conference Finals, which bring us a classic Team vs Young Superstars in the East and semi-classic Team vs Aging Veteran Former Multi-Champion Superstars in the West. Let's start there with Memphis and San Antonio and we'll get to the Eastern Conference in a couple of months when that series finally starts up.
Memphis Grizzlies (+4.5) over SAN ANTONIO SPURS: The Spurs and Grizzlies split their season series 2-2, with both teams holding serve at home. In their first visit to San Antonio the Grizzlies pushed the Spurs to overtime and lost and in their second match-up they were blown out by 20. No one can contend, however, that this is a different Grizzlies team than it was in January - not just the roster changes since the Rudy Gay trade, but the strength and confidence they've gleaned in the first two rounds of the playoffs by bumping off the much-heralded Los Angeles Clippers team and the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs got the banged-up, Kobe-less (and Nash-less, and Blake-less) L.A. Lakers in the first round, and then the overachieving Golden State Warriors in the second round against whom they struggled in their first two home games. Coach Popavich is one of the best in the business at making adjustments, and we have no doubt he will make when he has something to work with. This game, however, is the Grizzlies opportunity to steal a win (or at least a cover) and force the Spurs into said adjustment mode.
In the spirit of honesty, however, we have no statistical support for this pick. Memphis is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five trips to San Antonio - losing all five games. But there is no ATS in TEAM. Okay, there's a T, but we're rolling the dice anyway that Memphis has the athleticism, the interior offense/defense, and now the experience to compete in this game and this series. Don't you think Vegas knew we'd find those stats? If you want a safer alternative prop bet, however, the UNDER has hit in 6 of the last 8 meetings between these two teams.
Happy Betting. And remember, like the great and wise Mysterio once wrote, "If you're not winning, you're not reading The Spread Zone." We love that guy.
Vinny and Marco
This is just a quick hit from Kyle's Corner this morning. I'll get updated stats tomorrow, but going into yesterday's action, my hockey and baseball numbers were hovering right around 60%.
With the rush job this morning, I'm only suggesting which Hot Pitchers to back in today's baseball action:
ATL: Minor (5-2, 2.75 ERA)
TB: Moore (7-0, 2.44 ERA)
PIT: Locke (3-1, 3.15 ERA)
CHW: Peavy (5-1, 2.96 ERA)
CHC: Wood (4-2, 2.03 ERA)
DET: Fister (5-1, 3.06 ERA)
SEA: Hernandez (5-2, 1.53 ERA)
See you all tomorrow,