We have the usual Thursday material looking at the line moves in all the sports and we have some dramatic action happening in quite a few contests today. Take a minute to review all the betting trends and our free picks (Slight leans no longer graded), to see what we are thinking. See you back on tomorrow for weekend edition.
NBA – (851) CHARLOTTE at (852) ORLANDO 7:05 ET FSSE, FSFL
Something has to give in the division matchup as Orlando cannot score and Charlotte is not playing defense. The line has moved in favor of more points, up from 191.5 to 194. In 2016, the Magic are averaging a mere 88.6 PPG, which is nearly 10 less than current average of 98.3, in losing eight nine. Not that the Hornets were a good defensive team (15th in PPG allowed), but they have even worse is allowing 110.5 PPG in last their last four outings. I’m inclined to think Orlando will do better at home tonight against Charlotte’s defense and the Magic is 13-4 OVER at home after failing to cover the spread in two of their last three.
Betting Trend – 96% backing Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Play Over
NBA – (865) INDIANA at (866) GOLDEN STATE 10:35 ET ESPN
In these clubs last meeting, they blew by the total of 215, with Golden State winning in the Hoosier State 131-123. Oddsmakers went right back to same starting point of 215, but that that been blown up all the way to 218. In theory, you could make a case for either outcome based on how both teams have been playing. In Indiana’s last five games, the total score has been 115.6. In the Warriors past five outings, the total has finished at 118.3 total points. With Golden State back home after a three-game road trip, my preference is on the opening number and know the Warriors are 15-4 UNDER at home off a road win by 10 points or more.
Betting Trend – 89% backing Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Play Under
CBB – (875) ST. PETER’S at (876) IONA 7:00 ET
Not really sure why Iona was lifted two points to -8 against St. Peter’s. The Gaels have suffered injuries, lost two straight and covered one game since Dec. 20th (1-7-1 ATS). The Peacocks on the other hand are on a 4-1 SU and ATS move and won and covered three in a row. St. Peter’s is 6-2 ATS on the road and 7-1 ATS as underdogs this season. Iona is the better offensive team, yet annually are weak on defense, which gives the Peacocks a shot.
Betting Trend – 60% backing St. Peter’s
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean St. Peter’s
CBB – (527) OKLAHOMA at (528) BAYLOR 12:00 ET ESPN
The Big 12 is brutal and coaches are trying to sell players on keeping on even keel, because placing too much emphasis on one game can lead to a defeat in the next. Oklahoma made it to the top of the rankings this week and in first contest lost at Iowa State. Baylor is off a double OT victory over Kansas State. Sooners find a way with three-point shooting.
Anticipated Line – Pick to Oklahoma by 2 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Oklahoma (at these numbers)
CBB – (595) ARIZONA at (596) CALIFORNIA 8:30 ET ESPN
Pac-12 is highly competitive this season and at 3-3, California really needs a victory on their home floor, as the lost all three road conference clashes. Arizona stymied Stanford on Thursday and has played with more urgency since being swept in L.A. and I like the determination they have shown lately.
Anticipated Line – Arizona by 1-3 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Arizona wins
CBB – (661) MARYLAND at (662) MICHIGAN STATE 6:30 ET ESPN
For the first time since the 2006-07 season, Michigan State has lost three consecutive games and has no easy answers or quick fixes. The Spartans have lost confidence and are not playing with usual vigor and faces a Maryland squad with five double digit scorers. Michigan State will have desperation in their favor and is playing at home, but I would not want to handing out points with Sparty.
Anticipated Line – Michigan State by 4-6 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Maryland
NBA – (511) CHICAGO at (512) CLEVELAND 8:35 ET ABC
ABC hopes to match prime time success they achieved when they brought college football to Saturday night prime time with NBA action. Cleveland has won and covered twice since Golden State debacle, still, LeBron James looks a little lost. The Cavs are 16-2 and 9-9 ATS at home. Chicago also was just drilled by the Warriors this week and has scheduling disadvantage, having played at Boston on Friday. The Bulls are 2-4 SU and ATS without rest this season, but did beat Cavaliers in season opener 97-95 as four-point home favorites, though Kyrie Irving did not play in the that contest.
Anticipated Line – Cleveland by 7-9 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Cleveland
CBB – Sunday (529) PROVIDENCE at (530) VILLANOVA 12:30 ET FOX
Villanova is last unbeaten team in the Big East and will have to deal with pesky Providence club that is 4-0 SU and ATS on the road. Villanova is 10-0 and 6-3 ATS at home but may not have usual home court edge since this game was moved back a day because of winter storm, making travel problematic around Philadelphia.
Anticipated Line – Villanova by 13-15 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Providence
CBB – Sunday (843) PURDUE at (844) IOWA 1:00 ET BTN
Remember the last matchup? Purdue had a 19-point lead in the closing minutes of first half over Iowa as nine-point favorites and it sure looked like easy cover for Boilermakers. What happened next was unfathomable, as Hawkeyes went on 52-26 blitzkrieg and won going away. Now at home, where Iowa is 9-0 (4-2 ATS), they will take on a Purdue bunch hell bent on revenge and that is 3-1 SU and ATS on the road.
Anticipated Line – Iowa by 3-5 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Purdue
NFL – Sunday (311) NEW ENGLAND at (312) DENVER 3:05 ET CBS
From a numbers perspective, the interesting aspect of New England being favored by -3 is the closing number of the last meeting two months ago was the Patriots were favored by -2.5, with Brock Osweiler Denver’s starting quarterback, not Peyton Manning. This sums up what oddsmakers think of the 39-year old Manning these days. Early in the week, four of every five bets placed were on the Patriots and over 60 percent had New England juiced at -3 (-120) or were at -3.5. Don’t expect this to move much by game time.
The total opened at 44 and a couple books went up to 44.5, otherwise, the market started relatively quiet. Again, this could go to 45, with New England backers believing their team will move the ball and not settle for field goals like Pittsburgh last week, being more efficient in the red zone.
My initial reaction to see the money line split on Monday night was a surprise, because the public always goes fishing trying to hit a longer shot in this situation. However, that has since changed with the Pats at around 75 percent to win the game for wagers. Update – Some books known for taking more square action have moved the Patriots up to -3.5 and this could be line come Sunday, though enough sharps will grab the free hook. About 25 percent of books checked are now at 45, with the rest still at 44.5.
Betting Trend – 75% backing New England and 59% on Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Denver and Under
NFL – Sunday (313) ARIZONA at (314) CAROLINA 6:40 ET FOX
When Carolina was slaying Seattle 31-0 at halftime, a couple of the offshore sportsbooks known for putting out early lines had the Panthers at -4 over Arizona, yet, by the end the game were at -3 like everyone else. Unless a mountain of money comes in on one side, extremely difficult to see this number moving. Three out of every four bets placed were on Cam Newton’s club and why wouldn’t they be since they have won 11 consecutive home games, beating the spread eight times (8-2-1 ATS). Nonetheless, the reason the line is not expected to move is Arizona has won seven of eight away from home, covering six times, winning by 14 points a game.
Of course this has led to more traditional money line approach and two-thirds of bettors are backing the Cardinals, which is expected and could go higher by Sunday, as Arizona looks to be the equal of Carolina and the Panthers keep playing poorly in the second half.
The actual biggest line move has been on the total, which is up a point to 48. These are the two highest scoring teams in the NFL at over 31 points a game, who have the ability to create “chunk” plays to set up quick scores. Hard to argue with Carolina at 8-1 OVER and 8-0 OVER versus winning teams. Update – No movement on Carolina as home favorite and do not look for any. Roughly half the books are back down to 47.5 and that could change again once we know condition of field after snow in Charlotte.
Betting Trend – 71% backing Carolina and 57% on Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Carolina covers and Under