Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
The Warriors are the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 115.9 ppg, but rather amazingly their past 10 games have gone ‘under’ the total – the totals have fallen a combined 109 points under in that stretch, or a not-close 10.9 points per game. Certainly part of that is the sportsbooks inflating those Golden State totals and the injury to Kevin Durant. However, the Warriors are also an excellent defensive team. They are tied with San Antonio for the top defensive efficiency in the NBA, and in that 10-game run the Warriors are first in efficiency in allowing 97.5 points per 100 possessions. Led by MVP favorite James Harden, the Rockets lead the NBA in offensive efficiency since the All-Star break at 116.1 points per 100 possessions. They are a close second to the Warriors in scoring on the season. Houston opened as a slight dog for this game but is now a 1.5-point favorite. It’s only the second time this season the Warriors have been underdogs. The total opened at 237 and is currently 234. Houston has lost its past five regular-season home meetings with the Warriors but did win in Oakland earlier this year. Teddy & Pauly’s “play of the day” is Houston at -1.5
No. 8 CSU Bakersfield vs. No. 6 Georgia Tech
This is the first NIT semifinal from MSG on Tuesday with the Yellow Jackets of the ACC as small favorites. CSU-Bakersfield, which doesn’t exactly have a rich basketball history, is the first No. 8 seed to make it to the semifinals. It won road games at California, Colorado State, and UT-Arlington. The Roadrunners, who won the WAC regular-season title, have been killing it from beyond the 3-point arc in the NIT in averaging 10 per game and shooting 50.8 percent, both much better than the regular season. The Yellow Jackets, led by first-year coach Josh Pastner, are one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking third in blocked shot percentage and sixth in overall defensive efficiency.
No. 4 TCU vs. No. 4 Central Florida
These two programs are led by first-year coaches who have worked wonders in turning things around. Jamie Dixon left Pitt for his alma mater TCU, where he was a fine player, and nearly got the Horned Frogs an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They upset Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament. TCU took a big leap in scoring this year by sharing the ball more. UCF, of the American Athletic Conference, is led by former Stanford coach and Duke All-American guard Johnny Dawkins. The Knights are a fabulous defensive team because they have a rim protector like no other in 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall, who has 88 blocked shots this season. He is a sophomore as is leading scorer B.J. Taylor, so the future is bright in Orlando. TCU is a 2.5-point favorite.
The Las Vegas Raiders
NFL owners voted 31-1 on Monday – only Dolphins owner Stephen Ross against – to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, although that won’t happen before 2019. So the Raiders will have lame-duck status in Oakland for at least the next two seasons as they wait for their new stadium in the desert to be ready in 2020. The NFL used to be 100 percent anti-gambling and stayed as far from Las Vegas as possible. Now an NFL team there brings many questions. For example, will the league ask the Vegas sportsbooks to take Raiders games off the board? Per Nevada Gaming Control regulations, a governing body may request that the state's sportsbooks be prohibited from accepting or paying bets on "any event, regardless of where it is held, involving a professional team whose home field, a court, or base is in Nevada or any event played in Nevada involving a professional team." That could mean even Raiders away games and the playoffs. When will Vegas get a Super Bowl? Many believe that will happen in 2022. Times are changing in the NFL when it comes to gambling.