1. #1
    Point Blank
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    PB (2/23): Weekend Edition: On to the NBA's Final Furlong


    Weekend Edition: On to the NBA’s Final Furlong…On understanding why the Raptors will sprint to the finish line…Do the markets respect how much of a baller Lonzo has been on defense…Zoning in on the Duke Defense Without Marvin Bagley…


    Point Blank – February 23, 2018


    The weekend ahead is filled with so many major talking points across the NBA and NCAA landscape that narrowing down the topics is not easy – the focus isn’t just on the day-to-day board right now, but also digging as deeply into the teams that will be making the post-season as well. I’ll bring that to the lead as a way of viewing a couple of the contenders, while also heading to the other end of the spectrum for some notions the markets may be missing with the Lakers.

    There is so much to sort through that I won’t lay out too many of the details for the Minnesota/Houston rematch, their recent meeting having been such a major talking point, but if you click the highlighted area it will help set the stage for that one. If nothing else, it should be entertaining.

    Naturally a long read means the Friday jukebox will be in play, and courtesy of reader “Money With No Cash” the call is an easy one – as he brought up memories of Robert Johnson yesterday it not only sets up today’s theme, but one that I will carry through March and the NCAA tournament. It will be a tribute to the Blues on Friday’s, connected with one of the blessings those of us in Las Vegas get to experience, whether we deserve it or not – on the Saturday night of the Final Four John Mayall will be playing live, just a few months before his 85th birthday. Yes, I will be there, even if the night-cap in San Antonio goes to overtime.

    For today let’s go to some classic Robert Johnson, played by a brilliant cast that includes Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II and Chris Stainton, live from San Diego a while back with “Little Queen of Spades”, a sweet long-play for a busy cycle ahead:


    I'm gonna' get me a gamblin' woman, if it's the last thing that I do
    …if it's the last thing that I do
    Well, a man don't need a woman, that he got to give all his money to

    That is a great one to file away for those days of whittling down a deep betting menu. Of course if you find a gamblin’ woman that reads PB each day, that might not be so bad.

    Now let’s get to work, noting once again that I will be far off of the communications grid for most of Friday, but will also be bringing something from the Saturday NCAA board “In the Sights…” when the board settles out tomorrow morning, posting that both back into the lead edition, and in the on-running thread.


    Item: The Raptors may have the best regular-season closing kick
    Sub-Item: It may be another matter entirely when the playoffs start

    It is a sprint to the finish across the NBA that I believe may offer some serious opportunities for the savvy handicapper, and one of the tickets we hope to cash is one that was talked about in the comments thread weeks ago – value on Toronto to win the Eastern Conference. That was based in large part on a belief that the Raptors would get the home court advantage, and while they are only two games ahead of the Celtics, I expect them to pull away.

    The issue with that ticket may become one of working with the equity, because there may be a difference between the regular-season Toronto team and what we will see in the playoffs, which makes it a prime discussion point. How good have the Raptors been so far? Let’s go to Adjusted Net PP100, which factors in difficulty of competition:

    HOU 8.32
    GS 8.20
    TOR 8.18
    BOS 3.41
    OKC 3.25

    You might not have expected to see that, but that is what those Future’s purchases were based on. Understanding why matters, however, because a key to the regular season – a superb showing from the bench corps – may not be nearly as big of a factor come playoff time.

    Toronto is loaded with depth not just in the number of usable pieces, but also in the fact that the second team can play together as a unit. The numbers are nothing short of spectacular, using Net PP100 as the measure:

    MPG PP100 +/-
    Wright 21.3 +9.0
    Siakam 20.0 +8.7
    VanVleet 18.8 +14.6
    Miles 18.4 +6.8
    Poetl 18.1 +10.0
    Powell 16.2 +.4

    It isn’t just about talent, it is also about chemistry. Let’s go to C.J. Miles: “You play better and harder with guys that you really enjoy being around. It’s a brotherhood, a friendship. When you’ve got guys that you lean on and would do anything for off the floor, it’s going to be the same thing on the floor. It’s not even a thought. It’s an instinct.”



    And they not only out-class the reserves of most opponents, but their energy can also help to wear opposing starters down. From Dwane Casey: “That’s one good thing about that second unit — boy, they get in there, the ball starts humming, the bodies start moving. They can make a million mistakes, but they make them hard. And that’s something that’s too their credit.”

    But at playoff time rotations shrink. Can this group get nearly as many minutes when they may be facing opposing starters, and not their bench casts? A regular season power rating that has gone significantly up because of the Raptors depth may be brought back down a bit, although there is one genuine plus that does need to be factored in.

    An issue in the recent Toronto playoff failures has been Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan already being worn down because of the heavy workloads they have to carry to establish the playoff seeding. It has been a different story this season on the minutes-per-game counts:

    2016 2017 2018
    Lowry 37.0 37.4 32.1
    DeRozan 35.9 35.4 34.0

    And should the gap grow vs. Boston for that #1 seed, Casey has the opportunity to back off the throttle even more on his key cogs down the stretch. That will be something to watch, and along those lines let’s re-visit a talking point established here yesterday


    Item: About Last Night, and grading the Warriors defense

    One of the items Steve Kerr talked openly about was having Golden State’s analytics guy Sammy Gelfand doing extra work to literally break down why the defense had been breaking down. From Kerr: ''Sammy Gelfand did not get an All-Star break.” And what did Gelfand show him? “We're just not trying hard enough.''

    Last night the Warriors allowed 127 points on 109.9 PP100 in out-lasting the Clippers, which had to frustrate Kerr not just because of how poor the defense was, but also the minutes impact it led to for his key cogs:

    Game 4th Q
    Curry 37:08 6:50
    Durant 38:07 9:35
    Green 37:09 9:36
    Thompson 36:08 9:41

    That is not the ideal way to keep legs fresh for the long grind ahead. The question the savvy handicapper needs to answer is whether this is a team holding back on defense, and one that can ramp back up when the playoffs begin, or if this is the collective fatigue of having played so many games over the past 3+ seasons, especially with those four key players not getting much of an All-Star break at all.


    Item: As Lonzo returns, will the Lakers “D” return also

    I have been following the Lakers closely during the All Star break, something most folks would be loathe to do with a team that won’t be in the post-season, because I sense a headache for the markets ahead, possibly as early as tonight – the return of Lonzo Ball. I expect to see him against Dallas although the minutes may be limited, which tempers the handicap a bit.

    There are two key components here. First is the fact that Ball’s defense has been remarkably better than the perceptions coming in, and I am not sure those perceptions have changed. Then there is the matter of the Lakers collectively letting go of the rope on defense prior to the All Star break, an 0-3 road trip in which they allowed a horrific 124.1 PP100, two of those opponents reaching the highest scoring output of the season.

    It means there is a whole lot of awful LAL defense in the databases, yet also some good stuff as well if you know where to look, and as reader ”Benjy21” added to yesterday’s thread, the Luke Walton commitment to “We want to be a Top 10 defensive team these last 25 games.”

    Can that happen? There is length and athleticism in the rotation should be players go hard, except when Isaiah Thomas is on the court, and of course Walton now faces the challenge of getting Thomas to guard someone (it has been a 122.8 PP100 on defense in the 60 minutes Thomas has worn a Purple & Gold uniform).

    But let’s get back to Ball, and in particular perceptions. How about starting with the simple defensive impact of when he has been On and Off the court (once again PP100 defense):

    Ball On 102.1
    Ball Off 108.4



    The Lakers have played 19-16 to the Under when Ball has been in the lineup, 13-8 to the Over when he has not, which shows a but of the market aspect. But now let’s have some real fun.

    While defensive metrics for the NBA are still in their early stages, if we go to Real +/- defense for point guards, of those playing at least 24 minutes per game, only Ben Simmons rates above Ball. Take that with a few grains of salt, because of the limitations of the tracking method. But how about Defensive Win Shares across all players, from the folks at Basketball Reference:

    Roberson OKC .58
    Smart BOS .58
    Embiid PHI .56
    Gobert UTA .56
    Simmons PHI .56
    Tatum BOS .56
    Brown BOS .55
    Covington PHI .54
    Horford BOS .53
    Mbah a Moute HOU .52
    Ball LAL .52

    You didn’t expect anything like that, did you? And the markets don’t seem to add much weight at all to his returned this evening – when the Lakers played the Mavericks in Dallas two weeks ago the total closed at 213; now I see 224 available.

    I can’t put that 224 into pocket because there is uncertainty about how much Ball will play, and also how fast the LAL pace will be with all hands on deck (Walton may be tempted to push it). But it is something I will begin to track closely, much like the tracking of a unique setting on the NCAA hardwoods…


    Item: What happens to the Duke defense when Marvin Bagley returns

    The Duke defense has been a talking point a few times here this season, Mike Krzyzewski struggling to get his talented freshmen to play with effort and technique on that end, to the point at which he often switched to a zone, something that he despises. Then came a combination of events, Bagley suffering a knee injury, and Trevon Duvall being kept out of the starting lineup for a game, that shook things up, and it has happened in a major way.



    Let’s look at the PPP (points per possession) allowed in the four games without Bagley:

    Ga Tech 0.99
    Va Tech 0.90
    Clemson 0.86
    Louisville 0.79

    That is the kind of defense the Blue Devils can win with at tournament time, and as Louisville HC David Padgett lamented after getting drubbed 82-56 on Wednesday: “In a short period of time, they’ve turned the zone into a major defensive weapon.”


    But now Bagley’s return looms, perhaps as early as Saturday’s game vs. Syracuse. That one goes under the microscope in particular because when Bagley has played Duke has been the nation’s best offensive rebounding team, and that is the prime weakness of the Orange and their 2-3 zone. The long-term question is what happens to that defensive chemistry?

    Has Duke indeed become a zone team now, which can make the re-assimilation of Bagley a bit easier? Even then, does he still throw that zone out of sync? There is a lot to see here because the Blue Devils have the most talented team in the nation, which means I may be watching them still in action on the same night I head off to see John Mayall. And of course there is the market issue – the last three Duke games have played Under by a combined 75.5 vs. the closing number, but by an even bigger margin vs. the openers (the last two games have brought substantial Under traffic, and as noted in the threads I have been among those jockeying for that position).

    In the Sights, Saturday NCAA…

    One of the prime handicapping notions at this stage of a season is the timeless notion of “Two Teams Heading in Opposite Directions”, cases in which season-long results anchor down the power ratings and prevent the current form from being priced properly. That will lead to #538 Virginia Tech (1:00 Eastern) going into pocket vs. Louisville in Blacksburg this afternoon.

    The Hokies got off to a poor start defensively on their first pass through ACC play, including a 94-86 loss to these Cardinals in the first go-round, and for Buzz Williams it reached rock bottom in an 84-75 home loss to Miami on February 3. Williams used that as a moment to take the engine apart and rebuild it piece by piece, a major focus put on defense, and also on getting more time from the bench players to bring more effort on that end. It has led to a 4-1 SU and ATS run since then, and a far different mood around the team.

    From Williams, when asked about those defensive changes: “I think for sure that’s been the narrative. It will change the way I coach the rest of my career, however long that is. These guys have accepted the change. That’s hard to do at this level. That’s hard to do with teenagers. That’s hard to do with guys that already have very distinct roles established, many of which have had a role similar to what they’ve had for a long period of time.”




    “To function with less grace, which is what’s happened since the Miami game, and to be willing to accept that…What’s happened, I don’t think you see it very often. That is the narrative, their willingness to accept that. Because everything changed.”


    One of the notions I write about often is how success also enables a buy-in going forward, so let’s go to some of the players as well, first Devin Wilson on how the bench play has been such a spark: “It’s amazing for us. You see when they come in, they have so much energy. They’re itching to come in. You can see their foot tapping on the sideline, they want to get in so bad. When they get their chance, they try to make the most of it.”

    And point guard Justin Robinson assessing the process: “I think we keep progressing each day, on and off the court. I think our chemistry on the court and off the court is really building. It’s us trusting each other and trusting the guys coming off the bench, trusting the guys at the end of the game.”

    I don’t see that energy from a Louisville team limping to the finish line. The Cardinals have been dealing with awkward off-court news all season, which got magnified this past week, and they did not put up a lot of fight in dropping those step-up games vs. North Carolina and Duke by 43 points, allowing 1.21 PPP and losing the boards by 22. I expect Tech to out-hustle the visitors in this one, and their confidence can build enough of a margin to cover the fair market price that is out there (a shopper can get to -3).


    In the Sights, Saturday NBA…


    In detailing Lonzo Ball’s surprising defensive show as a main topic this weekend you will also notice something when the Top 10 players in defensive win shares were listed – that Philadelphia trio of Robert Covington, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were all there. It has been a major part of their success this season, and a truly under-rated aspect has been their defense. That will lead to #501 Orlando Team Total Under (5:05 Eastern), with 103.5 available in the morning trading.

    First note how good the defense has been, the 76ers now up to #3 for the entire season in allowing 102.2 PP100, but note that when it has been Covington/Embiid/Simmons on the court that falls to 96.0. they really have been that good, except for Thursday’s 116-115 win at Chicago. The way Embiid put that one into perspective helps set this up:

    ''We stole that win. We didn't play well. Offensively, I thought, we were moving the ball when we needed, but defensively I thought we sucked.''

    The 76ers have held eight straight opponents on this court to 102 points or less, and I believe Brett Brown will want to manage tempo as well in this one, with a series of major road games coming up against the Wizards (tomorrow), Heat (Tuesday) and Cavaliers (Thursday). The Magic don’t bring anything special that would alter that flow.


    If you want to know when PB is ready to go each day, as well as following along for some of the most important Sports Betting news as it unfolds, make @Vegaspointblank a part of your routine.
    Last edited by Point Blank; 02-24-18 at 09:10 AM.

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  2. #2
    Point Blank
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    As noted above, it will be the usual Friday mode for the next two weeks, which will have me far off of the communications grid for most of the day, but naturally I won't be leaving the desk come tourney time. I will try to get to all questions as they queue up, but can not promise anything for tonight's early tipoffs.

    Also note that there will be something from the Saturday NCAA board "In the Sights..." tomorrow morning as the board settles out; I will post it both back into the original edition, and also in the In-Running thread as well.

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  3. #3
    hotcross
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    Request for Point Blank - NHL hockey article

    idea for title -

    Phaneuf is Phaneuf for the LA Kings

    thanks in advance!
    175 pts

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  4. #4
    darkghost
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    Our unofficial commander in chief put in a large ML play on Ohio St -130 @ Indiana. Before I jump in with both feet, I'd like your thoughts on that game. What's your range for a buy on either side?

    And I appreciate the hard work you put in daily. Your passion for sports betting is evident in the detailed write ups that you provide.

    SBR Founder Join Date: 9/19/2005


  5. #5
    pappahoops
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    David:

    If the zone actually helps assimilate the return of Bagely, the Cuse faithful, as well as the rest of the NCAA fans not known as Blue Devils will be disappointed from here on out. At 6-1 NCAA Championship odds the Dukies are worth a parlay or two as National Champions. I just don't see better talent, best momentum going, and without question the best head basketball Coach in the history of the college game, and top 3 in the history of the game.

    But on to tonight. Manhattan has me intrigued for tonight game as a 7 point road dog. Seems to me a preponderance of Road Dogs winning the first half in the late season games. That being said, Iona is 0-4 ATS as the home favorite in its last 4 starts at home, as Manhattan is 3-2 as the road dog in conference play.

  6. #6
    coolwHip807
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    This might be a really dumb question, but I'm curious has there ever been a Men's NCAA BBall Champion that did not have a 6+ game win streak in the regular season the year they won?

  7. #7
    Keepongaming
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    I'm so sorry to say that John Mayall, a few years back put on the most uninspired, arrogant, pompous performance I have ever seen...well Van Morrison gave him a run for the money. If Mayall had only a fraction of the humility and grace that BB King had in his waning years...but then if if and buts were beer and nuts... My friend and I have had the conversation, "How much would you pay to see Zeppelin live?" (Neither of us ever had; was a freshman when Bonham died). And while, yes, we'd pay top dollar for it, it MIGHT be better to have imagined it, then to have actually seen it.

  8. #8
    bjs2025
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keepongaming View Post
    I'm so sorry to say that John Mayall, a few years back put on the most uninspired, arrogant, pompous performance I have ever seen...well Van Morrison gave him a run for the money. If Mayall had only a fraction of the humility and grace that BB King had in his waning years...but then if if and buts were beer and nuts... My friend and I have had the conversation, "How much would you pay to see Zeppelin live?" (Neither of us ever had; was a freshman when Bonham died). And while, yes, we'd pay top dollar for it, it MIGHT be better to have imagined it, then to have actually seen it.
    Let's say its 1973 so most of Zeppelin's substantial stuff has been released. You're 10 rows back...what song would you flip shit over if they opened with it?

  9. #9
    Keepongaming
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    What a great question...Not what song, but what opening song. So I'll have to save When the Levee Breaks for later in the set. Let's open with "How Many More Times" by three quarters of a length over "Misty Mountain Hop".

  10. #10
    bjs2025
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keepongaming View Post
    What a great question...Not what song, but what opening song. So I'll have to save When the Levee Breaks for later in the set. Let's open with "How Many More Times" by three quarters of a length over "Misty Mountain Hop".
    DUDE. How Many More Times is one of my all time favorites...I couldn't even imagine that riff out of nowhere when you're expecting some lame crowd pleaser like Black Dog....that would be amazing.
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  11. #11
    Keepongaming
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    I think I'm in love!
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  12. #12

  13. #13
    doby1765
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolwHip807 View Post
    This might be a really dumb question, but I'm curious has there ever been a Men's NCAA BBall Champion that did not have a 6+ game win streak in the regular season the year they won?
    Didnít look anything up, but 2 that come to mind as possibilities are Jimmy Vís NC State team or Kemba Walkerís Uconn team.

  14. #14
    The Gooch
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    "Of course if you find a gambliní woman that reads PB each day, that might not be so bad."

    Dave I found such a woman, or at least a close approximation. She did not appreciate the artistry of your process. Married at Mandalay Bay, sight of the most violent mass shooting in US history. Fine Wedding though. I was running good back then.



  15. #15
    ikid2groove415
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    Clippers have a lot guys that score !! Jerry West already doing a great job - not easy to stop them

  16. #16
    The Gooch
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    In play tonight: Ohio St + Northern Kentucky. The Houston Rockets have dominated the T-wolves on an epic level 11-1 ATS. Is there any reason to believe they don't cover 8 tonight? I stepped in front of the train last time.

  17. #17
    The Gooch
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    Quote Originally Posted by doby1765 View Post
    Didn’t look anything up, but 2 that come to mind as possibilities are Jimmy V’s NC State team or Kemba Walker’s Uconn team.
    I like this query. I would say more than 2 if the first two entries are correct. 85 Nova is likely in that group.

  18. #18
    The Gooch
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    2017-18 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    114. Feb 13, 2018 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 126 - 108 Rockets won 4 74 - 40
    113. Jan 18, 2018 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 116 - 98 Rockets won 3 73 - 40
    2016-17 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    112. Apr 12, 2017 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 123 - 118 Rockets won 2 72 - 40
    111. Feb 25, 2017 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 142 - 130 Rockets won 1 71 - 40
    110. Jan 11, 2017 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves L 105 - 119 Timberwolves won 1 70 - 40
    109. Dec 17, 2016 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 111 - 109 OT Rockets won 8 70 - 39
    2015-16 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    108. Apr 11, 2016 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 129 - 105 Rockets won 7 69 - 39
    107. Mar 18, 2016 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 116 - 111 Rockets won 6 68 - 39
    106. Jan 13, 2016 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 107 - 104 Rockets won 5 67 - 39
    2014-15 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    105. Mar 27, 2015 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 120 - 110 Rockets won 4 66 - 39
    104. Feb 23, 2015 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 113 - 102 Rockets won 3 65 - 39
    103. Dec 5, 2014 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 114 - 112 OT Rockets won 2 64 - 39
    102. Nov 12, 2014 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 113 - 101 Rockets won 1 63 - 39
    2013-14 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    101. Apr 11, 2014 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves L 110 - 112 Timberwolves won 1 62 - 39
    100. Mar 20, 2014 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 129 - 106 Rockets won 4 62 - 38
    99. Feb 10, 2014 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 107 - 89 Rockets won 3 61 - 38
    98. Nov 23, 2013 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 112 - 101 Rockets won 2 60 - 38
    2012-13 Season Score Streak Head-to-Head
    97. Mar 15, 2013 Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves W 108 - 100 Rockets won 1 59 - 38
    96. Jan 19, 2013 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves L 79 - 92 Timberwolves won 1 58 - 38
    95. Dec 26, 2012 Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves W 87 - 84 Rockets won 1 58 - 37

  19. #19
    golfnutt67
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjs2025 View Post

    Let's say its 1973 so most of Zeppelin's substantial stuff has been released. You're 10 rows back...what song would you flip shit over if they opened with it?
    Quote Originally Posted by bjs2025 View Post
    DUDE. How Many More Times is one of my all time favorites...I couldn't even imagine that riff out of nowhere when you're expecting some lame crowd pleaser like Black Dog....that would be amazing.
    if its 73 i could easily see The Song Remains the Same as a great high energy opener....i love these as questions as well as each of your reactions...... Zep was one of my childhood favs and I remember seeing Jimmy Page and Robert Plant for the first time (unfortunately separate bands and it was magic mainly for the experience the playing was not what I had hoped, but years later I barley remember that aspect only fond memories if the event.

    You know a Zep tribute band just played Phoenix recently they are from LA called Zeppellin USA they are damn good and really brought back the memories...... went straight home from that show, and dusted off all the Page riffs I had learned as a youngster was a fun evening. If they come around your area go check em out as I think you would like them.......now the one song I would pay big to see them perform would have been "The Battle of Evermore" to me that is a masterpiece.

    And for Dave I would be all over that Mayhall show (very bummed to hear keepon's report) I know its a bummer to see your hero's grow old (Neil Young ask the greatest question ever is it better to burn out or fade away) if you get to roll the clock back for a few hours and get away from the stresses of life I think its a very important things for all of us to do......Also wanted to mention what a nice choice this particular Clapton tour was the most inspired I had seen him play in a long time...top notch Doyall and Derek really fired him up like he hadn't been in quite a few years the Derek and the Domino's tunes they did were so amazing......excellent choice as always Dave
    Last edited by golfnutt67; 02-23-18 at 09:08 PM.

  20. #20
    golfnutt67
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjs2025 View Post
    Love this...

  21. #21
    Keepongaming
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    Absolutely epic. Hey, is that telecaster that Jimmy is playing the legendary gift from Jeff Beck? Plant was so good. They all were so good. That video just cooked!

  22. #22
    pickNpray
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    Any of you guys listened to Greta Van Fleet? If not you should give them a listen, they are pretty good, And ďin the lightĒ would be a kick ass zep opener, but I donít believe Physical Graffiti was released until after 1973....

  23. #23
    straface23
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    Oregon -2 has to be a play today right? Would Arizona let Ayton play given the wiretap situation? They already lost Trier

  24. #24
    Lago
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    Dave,

    You've covered St. Johns and Chris Mullin some earlier. They opened this morning at -1.5 vs seton hall. These seem to be two teams goin in different directions. Seton Hall has lost 4/5 while the johnnies have won 4/5. Do the markets have this one right at -1.5? Or do you get chimes on the johnnies?

  25. #25
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by straface23 View Post
    Oregon -2 has to be a play today right? Would Arizona let Ayton play given the wiretap situation? They already lost Trier
    A good place here to start some catch-up action on the sports front, and then music can get intertwined in bits and pieces - I believe the more of that the better, with one of the on-going themes here being how important it is to find energy and creativity across outlets other than sports to make it easier for sporting judgments to be developed. And one of those judgments is to get some #680 Oregon into pocket because of where the markets could end up before this day is over; that setting being most volatile. -2 has already been accepted.

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  26. #26
    jjgold
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    looking at scores last 2 nights nothing going to form off break
    No defense and teams hurling 3's has made handicapping this league next to impossible
    Most people do not realize the more jump shots taking in a game means the game just won or lost off shooting percentages as opposed to inside play and drawing fouls which equates more to the better team winning.

    JUMP SHOOTING....BETTING THEN BECOMES RANDOM EVENTS

    Man I forgot more than everyone in this thread

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  27. #27
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lago View Post
    Dave,

    You've covered St. Johns and Chris Mullin some earlier. They opened this morning at -1.5 vs seton hall. These seem to be two teams goin in different directions. Seton Hall has lost 4/5 while the johnnies have won 4/5. Do the markets have this one right at -1.5? Or do you get chimes on the johnnies?
    St. John's works for me at -1 and smaller at -2, with a lesser home court built in because Madison Square Garden is close to being a neutral when these teams play. But one of the ramifications of having to stay over an extra day in Providence to finish that games means that it will be even more difficult to the Pirates to adjust to being without Desi Rodriguez, and the short turnaround time may get magnified because of distractions for Kevin Willard, who is also having to deal with the arms of the FBI investigation reaching towards his program

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  28. #28
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgold View Post
    looking at scores last 2 nights nothing going to form off break
    No defense and teams hurling 3's has made handicapping this league next to impossible
    Although "next to impossible" can be a good thing - the more scrambled a market gets, the more opportunity there can be for those that roll up their sleeves and find the methods behind the seeming madness. It is all a part of the pageant.

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  29. #29
    greedisgoood
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    Oregon has reopened at -3.5 where I look. The futures market will seemingly be flipped upside down??
    I love the uncertainty this scandal has created.

  30. #30
    benjy21
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    Hey Dave,

    I was interested in playing on Utah today against USC, and saw this a few minutes ago:

    NCAAB USC - Chimezie Metu, Disciplinary - is questionable Saturday (2/24) at Utah

    The Utes are playing with confidence and laying 3 at home seems like decent value. Thoughts?

  31. #31
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by greedisgoood View Post
    Oregon has reopened at -3.5 where I look. The futures market will seemingly be flipped upside down??
    I love the uncertainty this scandal has created.
    Just imagine the difficulty of what the U of A administration has to go through, in deciding whether Miller will coach and Ayton will play today, although someone did suggest a this morning that they could cynically treat it as a "free roll", since the prospects of having this season wiped off the record books may not be altered by a single game. But that level of tension cannot help but reverberate throughout the entire team.

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  32. #32
    jjgold
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    OK excellent point letís get them today


    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    Although "next to impossible" can be a good thing - the more scrambled a market gets, the more opportunity there can be for those that roll up their sleeves and find the methods behind the seeming madness. It is all a part of the pageant.

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  33. #33
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjy21 View Post
    Hey Dave,

    I was interested in playing on Utah today against USC, and saw this a few minutes ago:

    NCAAB USC - Chimezie Metu, Disciplinary - is questionable Saturday (2/24) at Utah

    The Utes are playing with confidence and laying 3 at home seems like decent value. Thoughts?
    I am not thrilled with the turnaround time for the Utes in that one, going from the Thursday night tip-off vs. UCLA into an early start today. As noted on Thursday one of the prime reasons for backing Utah was the terrific run PG Justin Bibbins has been on, and he had 17 points and 10 assists in that win. But Bibbins also went the full 40 minutes, and that might show today. With USC getting the bonus of having played on Wednesday, that one does not work for me at the price point, unless I can be the first in line if there is "Metu Out" information coming across.

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  34. #34
    Point Blank
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    Now time to begin the Dribbling for Dollar$...


    In the Sights, Saturday NCAA…

    One of the prime handicapping notions at this stage of a season is the timeless notion of “Two Teams Heading in Opposite Directions”, cases in which season-long results anchor down the power ratings and prevent the current form from being priced properly. That will lead to #538 Virginia Tech (1:00 Eastern) going into pocket vs. Louisville in Blacksburg this afternoon.

    The Hokies got off to a poor start defensively on their first pass through ACC play, including a 94-86 loss to these Cardinals in the first go-round, and for Buzz Williams it reached rock bottom in an 84-75 home loss to Miami on February 3. Williams used that as a moment to take the engine apart and rebuild it piece by piece, a major focus put on defense, and also on getting more time from the bench players to bring more effort on that end. It has led to a 4-1 SU and ATS run since then, and a far different mood around the team.

    From Williams, when asked about those defensive changes: “I think for sure that’s been the narrative. It will change the way I coach the rest of my career, however long that is. These guys have accepted the change. That’s hard to do at this level. That’s hard to do with teenagers. That’s hard to do with guys that already have very distinct roles established, many of which have had a role similar to what they’ve had for a long period of time.”




    “To function with less grace, which is what’s happened since the Miami game, and to be willing to accept that…What’s happened, I don’t think you see it very often. That is the narrative, their willingness to accept that. Because everything changed.”


    One of the notions I write about often is how success also enables a buy-in going forward, so let’s go to some of the players as well, first Devin Wilson on how the bench play has been such a spark: “It’s amazing for us. You see when they come in, they have so much energy. They’re itching to come in. You can see their foot tapping on the sideline, they want to get in so bad. When they get their chance, they try to make the most of it.”

    And point guard Justin Robinson assessing the process: “I think we keep progressing each day, on and off the court. I think our chemistry on the court and off the court is really building. It’s us trusting each other and trusting the guys coming off the bench, trusting the guys at the end of the game.”

    I don’t see that energy from a Louisville team limping to the finish line. The Cardinals have been dealing with awkward off-court news all season, which got magnified this past week, and they did not put up a lot of fight in dropping those step-up games vs. North Carolina and Duke by 43 points, allowing 1.21 PPP and losing the boards by 22. I expect Tech to out-hustle the visitors in this one, and their confidence can build enough of a margin to cover the fair market price that is out there (a shopper can get to -3 now).
    Last edited by Point Blank; 02-24-18 at 09:10 AM.

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  35. #35
    Point Blank
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    And on the pro hardwoods:

    In the Sights, Saturday NBA…

    In detailing Lonzo Ball’s surprising defensive show as a main topic this weekend you will also notice something when the Top 10 players in defensive win shares were listed – that Philadelphia trio of Robert Covington, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were all there. It has been a major part of their success this season, and a truly under-rated aspect has been their defense. That will lead to #501 Orlando Team Total Under (5:05 Eastern), with 103.5 available in the morning trading.

    First note how good the defense has been, the 76ers now up to #3 for the entire season in allowing 102.2 PP100, but note that when it has been Covington/Embiid/Simmons on the court that falls to 96.0. they really have been that good, except for Thursday’s 116-115 win at Chicago. The way Embiid put that one into perspective helps set this up:

    ''We stole that win. We didn't play well. Offensively, I thought, we were moving the ball when we needed, but defensively I thought we sucked.''

    The 76ers have held eight straight opponents on this court to 102 points or less, and I believe Brett Brown will want to manage tempo as well in this one, with a series of major road games coming up against the Wizards (tomorrow), Heat (Tuesday) and Cavaliers (Thursday). The Magic don’t bring anything special that would alter that flow.

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