Sports Betting Picks

2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks – Michigan State at Virginia

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Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers
Date and Time:
Friday 3/28/14 at 9:55pm on TBS

Game Line: Michigan State -1.5 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 126.5
Friday Sweet 16 Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers Analysis:  Michigan State basketball hasn’t changed their teams name, but they haven’t been mentioned the last couple weeks without “finally healthy” right before it.  It is true, the Spartans are finally healthy and are playing like the team that started the season at 18-1 and spent three weeks at the top of the Top 25.  The finally healthy and fourth-seeded Spartans (28-8) meet top-seeded Virginia (30-6) on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The winner will face the winner of the Connecticut-Iowa State game on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. The Cavaliers haven’t had any health issues to speak of and they certainly haven’t spent much time sulking over losses. Since Jan. 18, they are 18-1, closing the season the way the Spartans started it. They won their first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 1981 and swept to their first ACC tournament championship in 38 years. Michigan State has always been known for its toughness and rebounding ability under Izzo, who had led the Spartans to six Final Fours, including the 2000 national championship. This team, Izzo’s sixth to reach the round of 16 in the last seven years, comes in averaging 76.6 points per game, about 10 points better than Virginia.  The Cavaliers, who would set a school record with a 31st win and are making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1995, lead the nation in defense, allowing 55.5 points per game, about 11 less than Michigan State. These will be the first NCAA tournament games played in Madison Square Garden since 1961.  This game will be decided by the team that gets to play their style on both ends of the floor.  Virginia will try to use the entire shot clock, play great defense and limit Michigan State’s chances on the offensive glass while Michigan State will try to push the ball in transition and get a few easy scores before the Virginia defense has a chance to get set.  Michigan State has experience playing against elite defensive teams and will come ready for a grinder of a game.  If Michigan State is going to lose in this tournament it is going to be against an offensive power, not a defensive one.
Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State -1.5 and under 126.5
Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers Game Prediction: 63-59 Michigan State
What to expect in this NCAA Tournament match up: The media says that which ever team will get to play their style of game will win this one, but we don’t think that is true.  Michigan State has no problem playing to Virginia’s style and they have the clutch scorers to create their own shot in Adrien Payne and Gary Harris, regarless of how tight the Virginia defense is.  On the other side, Virginia doesn’t have the offensive weapons to score late in the shot clock or late in the game to help them win in crunch time.  Michigan State is vulnerable to a team that likes to score in the 80′s, not a team that holds opposing teams in the 50′s.

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2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks – Tennessee at Michigan

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Tennessee Volunteers at Michigan Wolverines
Date and Time:
Friday 3/28/14 at 7:15pm on CBS

Game Line: Michigan -2 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 134
Friday Sweet 16 Tennessee Volunteers at Michigan Wolverines Analysis:  Three years ago, Martin left surging Missouri State to take over a Tennessee program reeling from an NCAA investigation.  Despite showing steady improvement, Martin’s job appeared to be in jeopardy as recently as mid February.  Fans wondered how long Martin’s rebuilding project would take, if Martin was the right guy to complete the task and if the Volunteers had the right players to make any sort of NCAA tournament noise if they even got in.  But, Martin, a cancer survivor, proved the doubters wrong. He rallied his team for three straight victories, winning by margins of 13, 19 and 20 points, and earning a chance to advance to the Elite Eight.  But Friday night’s challenge may be the Volunteers’ toughest since their March 15 loss to SEC champion Florida. Beating the 11th-seeded Volunteers would send Michigan into a Sunday contest against either eighth-seeded Kentucky or fourth-seeded Louisville, the last two national champs. Coach John Beilein knows it won’t be easy.  Michigan has relied primarily this season on a strong offense, which finished second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (47.5), third in scoring (74.0) and has three double-digit scorers including Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas who averages 17.4 points per game.  The Volunteers, however, have limited foes to 61.4 points, 41 percent shooting and have held 11 straight opponents to fewer than 70 points. Five of those teams couldn’t even top 50.  If Martin’s team can duplicate that effort Friday, the Volunteers would play in a regional championship for only the second time in school history.  Tennessee will need their big guys and defense to stand out and hold the Michigan perimeter shooters if they’re going to win this game.  However, Michigan’s three pointers have been dropping all tournament long and there’s no reason to think they will slow down in Indianapolis.  Tennessee doesn’t have the offensive weapons to win a game that creeps into the 70s and that’s where this one will end up.
Tennessee Volunteers at Michigan Wolverines NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan -2 and over 134
Tennessee Volunteers at Michigan Wolverines Game Prediction: 76-69 Michigan
What to expect in this NCAA Tournament match up: This will be a game of runs, as Tennessee’s defense will shut down the Michigan offense in spurts.  Tennessee will surely win the battle of the boards and that will keep them in the game throughout but Michigan’s tournament experience and experience in close games will help them down the stretch.  Michigan is one of the best teams in the country and limiting fouls and turnovers and that will prove to be the difference late in the game.

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2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks – Baylor at Wisconsin

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Baylor Bears at Wisconsin Badgers
Date and Time:
Thursday 3/27/14 at 7:47pm on TBS

Game Line: Wisconsin -3.5 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 136.5
Thursday Sweet 16 Baylor Bears at Wisconsin Badgers Analysis:  Baylor and Wisconsin have never played against one another and the unpredictable Bears seem to have little in common with the disciplined Badgers at a glance.  The Badgers are in the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years, while the Bears have made it three times in the last five. Those are remarkable runs of consistency for any program, let alone two teams without huge national profiles and the resulting recruiting advantages.  Past postseason success is fine, but the coaches know it could fade in the face of Baylor’s baffling zone defense or Wisconsin’s famed intensity.   The Bears should admire the tenacity displayed all winter by Wisconsin, which beat five of its seven Top 25 opponents while playing one of the NCAA’s toughest schedules.  They should also note that the Badgers’ reputation as a walk it up team is woefully inaccurate.  They’re averaging 73.5 points per game this season, much more than they typically do and only two points behind Baylor. Wisconsin is similarly impressed by Baylor’s athleticism and offensive balance. While knocking off Nebraska and third-seeded Creighton last weekend, Baylor also deployed a matchup zone that flummoxed both opponents and limited Creighton star Doug McDermott.  Few teams in recent seasons have been better in March than Baylor, which has won 17 of its 20 postseason games over the last six years.  With two more wins, the Bears essentially would play the Final Four at home in Arlington, Texas, about 100 miles from their Waco campus.  Wisconsin also is trying not to look beyond its Sweet 16 game, but the Badgers clearly would love to book Ryan’s trip to his first Final Four.  Bo Ryan has never been to the final four, despite great success at Wisconsin, but this team has something his previous doesn’t and that’s scoring.  They’ve played great defense for a decade now, but this year they can score with anyone.  They’re the more talented team in this match up and have been all season long.  They will score against whatever defense Baylor brings to the table and force this game to go over while making their free throws in the closing minutes to force it to go over.
Baylor Bears at Wisconsin Badgers NCAA Basketball Picks: Wisconsin -3.5 and over 136.5
Baylor Bears at Wisconsin Badgers Game Prediction: 76-69 Wisconsin
What to expect in this NCAA Tournament match up: While Wisconsin’s defense will do their part as they always do, it will be their offense on display in this match up.  Frank Kaminsky will have a big game and multiple Badgers will be in double digits as the Badgers score early and often against an over hyped Bears defense.  Baylor will score their fair share, as they always do but they won’t have the defense to keep this game close for 40 minutes.  Wisconsin pulls away late in the game and forces this game over in our strongest selection of the day.

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2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks – San Diego State at Arizona

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San Diego State Aztecs at Arizona Wildcats
Date and Time:
Thursday 3/27/14 at 10:17pm on TBS

Game Line: Arizona -7.5 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 121.5
Thursday Sweet 16 San Diego State Aztecs at Arizona Wildcats Analysis:  Arizona and San Diego State are back on familiar ground in the Sweet 16 of the tournament.  San Diego State lost a heartbreaker to future National Champion Connecticut as a two seed while Arizona has been to the Sweet 16 three times in four years.  This time around, one of them will be going home early.  Thursday night’s semifinal is a rematch between the two teams that played on November 14, albeit a lifetime ago in college basketball.  The Wildcats won on the road 69-60 after leading by 14 in the first half and then withstanding an Aztec rally that cut the deficit to four.  Nick Johnson had 23 points and Aaron Gordon added 16 for Arizona, who went on to win 20 straight and remain ranked first for eight straight weeks.  Arizona wants to reach the final four for the first time under coach Sean Miller who has gotten the Arizona program to an elite level.  San Diego State coach Steve Fisher is transforming their program as well, they reached the Sweet 16 for the first time just a few years ago and hadn’t won a tournament game in their 40 years of Division I ball before he took over.  Defense will be at a premium in the matchup, with both teams holding opponents under 40 percent shooting. The Wildcats lead the nation in defensive efficiency, allowing 87.2 points per 100 possessions, while San Diego State allows 90.3 points. The Aztecs are stingy beyond the arc, limiting opponents to 28 percent from 3-point range while doubling the number of steals by their opponents.  Offensively, both teams are dead even, allowing only 56.6 points per game. Arizona is coming off a 23-point win over Gonzaga. The Wildcats scored 31 points off the Zags’ 21 turnovers, including 15 steals. SDSU had a combined 17 turnovers in its first two NCAA wins.  Both schools figure to be well represented in the red-clad stands. San Diego State fans have a 90-mile trip up the freeway, while Arizona boosters have packed the West Regional in recent years.  Having the extra few days to prepare will help the smaller San Diego State team and they will play feisty defense, limiting Arizona’s possessions and keeping this a low scoring game. 
San Diego State Aztecs at Arizona WildcatsNCAA Basketball Picks: San Diego State +7.5 and under 121.5
San Diego State Aztecs at Arizona Wildcats Game Prediction: 60-55 Arizona
What to expect in this NCAA Tournament match up:  Arizona outclasses San Diego State in talent, but the fact that they really only play six guys will hurt them late in the game and let the Aztecs get back into the game for a backdoor cover.  Their legnth and intensity on defense will wear Arizona down and if they can get the Wildcats into foul trouble late they will make this game interesting in the last few minutes.  This will be a defensive grinder with both teams using as much of the shot clock as possible and limiting their opponents chances.

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2014 Masters Future Picks and Odds

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2014 Masters Odds, Predictions and Analysis

2014 Masters Favorites

Odds from BetOnline:
Tiger Woods – 8/1
Rory McIlroy – 8/1
Adam Scott – 8/1
Phil Mickelson – 12/1
Jason Day 15/1

Value Pick: Adam Scott 8/1
Adam Scott’s Best World Series Line: 8/1 (from BetOnline)
Why Adam Scott can win the Masters: Adam Scott is defending the green jacket after winning the 2013 Masters.  While Las Vegas might make Tiger Woods the favorite, at 75% health, playing in the hills after going this long without winning a major, it is hard to believe he has the best chance to win.  Rory McIlroy has not been playing his best golf so far in 2014 so it is hard to pick him ahead of Adam Scott who already has three top ten finishes in five events this season.  His putter hurt him on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was incontention heading into the back nine before shooting +2 in the closing nine.  He has been the most consistent golfer on this list, Mickelson, Woods and Rory are really only there becuase they’re big draws for Vegas.  Tiger and Jason Day are both fighting injuries and who knows how well they’ll play.  It would be much smarter to take a Justin Rose at 25/1 than a Tiger Woods at 8/1 at this point in Tiger’s career.


2014 Masters Dark Horses

Odds from BetOnline:

Dustin Johnson 18/1
Bubba Watson 18/1
Justin Rose – 25/1
Henrik Stenson – 25/1
Charl Schwartzel – 30/1

Value Pick: Dustin Johnson 18/1
Dustin Johnson best Masters Line: 18/1 (from BetOnline)
Why Dustin Johnson can win the Masters: Simply put, Dustin Johnson has been the best PGA golfer in 2014.  He’s played in six events with five top ten finishes, including a win and back to back second places heading into the Masters.  He has always been known as a long hitter but this year his short game and putter have been working for him too.  He’s second on tour in birdies, putts per hole, driving distance and greens in regulation.  In pure golf ability, at this point in the game where Vegas insists on keeping Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy as the favorites in every major, there’s some real value in a lot of the guys that fall into this category.  It is hard to believe Carl Schwartzel, who has two top tens this year and a green jacket, checks in at 30/1.  It seems this would be a much smarter bet than one of golf’s big names.




2014 Masters Longshots

Odds from BetOnline:
Matt Kuchar – 30/1
Luke Donald – 35/1
Lee Westwood – 35/1
Sergio Garcia – 35/1
Brandt Snedeker – 40/1
Keegan Bradley – 40/1
Jason Dufner – 40/1
Jordan Spieth – 40/1

Value Pick: Jordan Spieth – 40/1
Jordan Spieth’s Best Masters Line: 40/1 (from BetOnline)
Why Jordan Spieth can win the Masters: Jordan Spieth is quietly moving up both the PGA money list and the odds list each week.  He has finished in the top ten at Pebble Beach and at the WGC match play event already this season.  He’s one of the best putters on the tour at just 1.71 putts per hole, an important statistic if you’re going to be successful at Augusta.  He was ranked 800 in the world just two years ago before winning rookie of the year in 2013 and before this season started he set a goal to win a major.  He is being undervalued here as an unknown with just three major appearances under his belt but at just 20 years old he has the game to compete with some of the big names in golf.  Dufner and Bradley have proven they typically struggle at Augusta, Sergio hasn’t won a major in years and Brandt Snedeker has just one top ten finish this season, so at 40/1 Spieth is a solid dark horse who should be in contention on Sunday.



2014 Masters Very Longshots

Odds from BetOnline:

Louis Oosthuizen – 50/1
Hunter Mahan – 50/1
Graeme McDowell – 50/1
Rickie Fowler – 50/1
Webb Simpson – 60/1
Ian Poulter – 60/1
Angel Cabrera – 60/1
Thorbjorn Olesen – 60/1
Bill Haas – 60/1
Jimmy Walker – 60/1
Patrick Reed – 60/1
Nick Watney – 70/1
Jim Furyk – 80/1
Ernie Els – 80/1

Value Pick: Patrick Reed – 60/1
Patrick Reed’s Best Masters Line: 60/1 (from BetOnline)
Why Patrick Reed can win the Masters: Out of this list of golfers in contention to win the 2014 Masters, Patrick Reed might be the easiest guy to root for.  He is relatively unknown, bursting onto the scene this season with a win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and finishing in the top 20 in all but three events he has played in 2014.  With three PGA wins his last 14 tournaments he has climbed to number 20 in the world, and he puts himself in the top five.  He joins McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson as the only golfers to have three PGA wins before their 24th birthday.  He wears a red shirt on Sunday to mimic Tiger Woods, believes he is a shoe in for the Ryder Cup team and is overflowing with confidence.  If you’re looking for someone to root in over the weekend at 60/1 or better, Patrick Reed is a young up and coming golfer with as good of a chance to win as anyone else on this list and the recent success to back it up.  In today’s PGA there’s no telling who will win on any given weekend which makes it much easier to risk your money on players who are 20/1 or better, versus taking the chalky favorites who haven’t won a major in years.

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2014 World Series Future Picks and Odds

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2014 World Series Odds, Championship Predictions and Analysis

With Spring Training underway and the Opening Day right around the corner, it is time to look at which teams have the most value to win the 2014 World Series.

2014 World Series Favorites

Odds from 5Dimes:
Los Angeles Dodgers Odds – 6.75/1
Detroit Tigers Odds – 8.75/1
Washington Nationals Odds – 10/1
St. Louis Cardinals Odds – 11/1
New York Yankees Odds – 12/1
Boston Red Sox Odds – 13/1

Value Pick: New York Yankees 12/1
New York Yankees’s Best World Series Line: 13/1 (from JustBet)
Why the Yankees can win the Championship: The 2014 version of the New York Yankees has a much brighter outlook than the 2013 team.  They started by adding Masahiro Tanaka, a Japanese star who was sensational oversees with a 24-0 record and a 1.27 ERA.  If he can produce behind C.C. Sabathia and Huroki Kuroda at the top the Yankees will have one of the strongest rotations in the AL East.  At the back end they will have to replace the greatest closer of all time in Mariano Riveria.  David Robertson was the Yankees set up man and we think he will fill in nicely at the back end of the Yankees rotation.  As far as offense is concerned, the Yankees looked at the list of top free agents this winter and basically said “we want them all.”  Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran now slot into a lineup that already held Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alfonzo Soriano.  On paper they look stacked, but how will they fair once the season starts?  If key players like Jeter and Teixeira can stay healthy, a big if, they will be much improved.  In looking at the list of 2014 World Series favorites, the Yankees made the most moves to improve their team and if they can stay healthy will finish with the top spot in the American League and have a great chance to make a deep playoff run.


2014 World Series Dark Horses

Odds from 5Dimes:
Texas Rangers Odds –
Atlanta Braves Odds – 16/1
Tampa Bay Rays Odds – 17/1
Oakland Athletics Odds – 19/1
Los Angeles Angels Odds – 20/1

Value Pick: Atlanta Braves 16/1
Atlanta Braves Best World Series Line: 65/1 (from JustBet)
Why the Braves can win the World Series: With the AL West a virtual coinflip between Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays clearly behind Texas and Boston in the AL East, choosing a dark horse team for the 2014 MLB World Series was easy.  Two of the Atlanta Braves three highest paid players last season were B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla.  Upton hit .184 with a pathetic .557 OPS and was benched for the playoffs. Uggla hit .179 and was dropped from the playoff roster altogether.  If either one or both of these players can get back to the way they played before last season the Braves have a great chance to win their division.  The Washington Nationals have been underachieving for years and the Braves have one of the most well rounded teams in the National League.  The Braves have five quality starters but no clear ace, they have no players with a chance to hit 50 HR’s but they have 6 or 7 who can hit 20.  This has been the Braves mantra for the last twenty years and while they would have a hard time if they were to see the LA Dodgers in the NL Championship, at 16/1 it’s hard not to back an Atlanta team that’s sure to be in the playoffs.

2013-2014 World Series Longshots

Odds from 5Dimes:
Cincinnat Reds Odds – 22/1
Pittsburgh Pirates Odds – 30/1
San Francisco Giants Odds – 30/1
Seattle Mariners Odds – 35/1
Toronto Blue Jays Odds – 38/1

Value Pick: San Francisco Giants – 30/1
San Francisco Giants Best World Series Line: 30/1 (from 5Dimes)
Why the Giants can win the World Series:  Last season the Giants didn’t just regress, they crashed head first.  They fell 18 games from the 2012 season and 131 runs of differential.  With Tim Hudson replacing Barry Zito in the Giants’ rotation, the outlook in 2014 already looks significantly brighter.  It’s no secret that Zito had a tough season and was one of the most overpaid pitchers in baseball.  There’s also reason to assume that Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum will come back with better seasons in 2014.  Cain had his worst season in 2013, but a 1.61 ERA in September indicates he may be set for a return to the norm.  The Giants historically haven’t had a great offense, at least for the last several years, and 2014 doesn’t look much different.  They lack a true power hitter, with the possible exceltion of Matt Morse who they signed in the off season.  Pablo Sandoval lost 20 pounds this off season and is capable of producing big numbers, despite failing to do so in his last two seasons.  Another breakout candidate is first basemen Brandon Belt, who hasn’t played a full season but started to fulfill his potential after the All-Star break last season.  The Giants also have one of the best bullpens in baseball, which has been a mainstay for this team since winning the 2010 World Series.  Sergio Romo, Jean Machi and Sandy Rosario aren’t household names but they are high end bullpen pitchers, this is the least of the Giants problems this year.  This team is full of players who failed to meet expectations in 2013 and if a few of them can improve this season they will compete for a Wild Card spot and anything can happen in the MLB Playoffs if you get there. 


Complete 2014 Odds to win the World Series from 5Dimes:
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Los Angeles Dodgers  +675
Detroit Tigers   +875
Washington Nationals   +1050
St. Louis Cardinals   +1100
New York Yankees   +1250
Boston Red Sox   +1300
Texas Rangers   +1500
Atlanta Braves   +1600
Tampa Bay Rays   +1700
Oakland Athletics   +1900
Los Angeles Angels   +2000
Cincinnati Reds   +2200
Pittsburgh Pirates   +3000
San Francisco Giants   +3000
Seattle Mariners   +3500
Toronto Blue Jays   +3800
Baltimore Orioles   +4000
Kansas City Royals   +4000
Cleveland Indians   +4500
Philadelphia Phillies   +4500
Arizona Diamondbacks   +5000
Milwaukee Brewers   +7000
San Diego Padres   +7000
Colorado Rockies   +7500
Chicago White Sox   +8500
Chicago Cubs   +9000
New York Mets   +9000
Minnesota Twins   +12500
Miami Marlins   +13500
Houston Astros   +47500
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2014 NBA Free Picks – Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers 3/6/14

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Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
Date and Time: Thursday 3/6/14 at 10:30pm on TNT
Game Line: Los Angeles Clippers -10.5 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 225.5
Thursday Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Analysis:  The Clippers are on a five game winning streak for the third time this season but they’ve never won a sixth.  They will try to set a new season best for victories Thursday night when they suit up as the visitor against their intercity rival Lakers at the Staples Center.  Over the course of their five game winning streak the Clippers have been one of the most dominating teams in the league, averaging 112.2 points per game and getting scoring from different players in each game.  Most recently, forward Matt Barns scored a season high 28 points in a 104-96 win over Phoenix on Tuesday. Barnes, who was seventh on the team in scoring, sparked a big third quarter run going 7-7 from the field and helping the Clippers rally from 11 down at halftime.  With their top two shooting guards missing in J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford injured the last two games the Clippers have continued to score.  Darren Collison, typically a point guard, has started the last two games with Chris Paul in the back court.  Collison has averaged 14 points per game and shooting over 50% from the floor and from three point range.  Newly acquired Danny Granger, a former All-Star, could also see more time after going scoreless in under four minutes in his Clippers debut Tuesday. Granger averaged over 20 points for Indiana in three straight seasons, but injuries have hampered him since 2012.  A victory would not only give the Clippers their longest win streak of the season, but also continue their dominance over their fellow Staples Center tenants. The Clippers have won five of the last six in the series, including a 123-87 victory Jan. 10 that was the Lakers’ most lopsided loss of the season. The Lakers’ defense has struggled all season, allowing a Western Conference high 106.9 points per game. Over the last six games, they’ve been especially bad with opponents averaging 115.7 in those contests.  This doesn’t bode well against one of the premiere offenses in the league.
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Picks: Los Angeles Clippers -10.5 and under 225.5
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Game Prediction: 116-99 LA Clippers
What to expect this 2014 Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers NBA match up:
Simply put, this game features one of the leagues best offenses against one of the leagues worst defenses.  On top of that, the Lakers have dominated the Clippers for so long that the Clipper organization is taking every opportunity they can get to humiliate their intercity rivals.  They will put on a show similiar to the one they put on back in January when they beat the Lakers by 25 in a game that they lead by 40 and could have won by 50 if they wanted to.  These two teams are not in the same league right now and the Clippers have the motivation to turn this one into another blow out.

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2014 NBA Free Picks – Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs 3/6/14

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Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
Date and Time: Thursday 3/6/14 at 8:00pm on TNT
Game Line: San Antonio Spurs -2 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 208.5
Thursday Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Analysis:  LeBron James said he was too tired following one of his greatest games to do much of anything in the second half of Miami’s game with Houston the next night.  The Heat hope their leader will be more well rested for a match up against the San Antonio Spurs who are coming off of one of their more balanced performances of the season.  The heat visit the Spurs on Thursday night for their second meeting since Miami beat San Antonio in seven games in last season’s NBA finals.  James followed his career best 61 point performance Monday against Charlotte, a Heat record, with 22 points in a 106-103 loss road loss to the Rockets on Tuesday that ended Miami’s winning streak at eight.  The four time MVP, who acknowledged before the game that he was “extremely tired,” had only three points after halftime and appeared to drag at times in the second half. He was 1 for 7 over the final two quarters and spent the first half of the fourth on the bench.  The Heat didn’t need any kind of big performance from James in the first meeting with the Spurs, who trailed by as many as 29 in a 113-101 loss in Miami on January 26.  Starters Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter all missed the first match up against Miami because of injuries but all three will suit up this time around.  Green and Leonard were key in a 122-101 victory at Cleveland on Tuesday. Green scored 24 points and Leonard added 18 as the Spurs won their fourth straight. The Spurs also had 39 assists on 43 field goals, 24 on 25 in the second half and ended up winning in a route.  The fluid offensive night for San Antonio featured six players in double figures with Duncan and Parker not being two of them, combining for 14 points.  If the Spurs see that kind of well rounded team effort they will be very hard to beat at home, even against a Miami team that can beat anyone on any given night.  The Heat are too top heavy right now and the balance that San Antonio gets from all five starters and their bench will wear down Miami and they will cover the small spread.
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Picks: San Antonio -2 and under 208.5
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Game Prediction: 102-96 San Antonio
What to expect this 2014 Miami at San Antonio NBA match up:
When these two teams met back in January San Antonio was injured, on a long road trip and didn’t seem too mentaly invested in their game with the Heat.  This time around the tables are turned, Miami is in the middle of a long road trip, they are the more injured team and they have to get up to play a road game in San Antonio.  This bodes well for the Spurs, who should come into this game looking for revenge.  While Miami will get the bulk of their points from Wade, Chalmers and LeBron, San Antonio’s balance and scoring from all positions will be the difference as San Antonio pulls away late in the fourth quarter and Miami ends up on a rare two game losing skid.

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2013-2014 NBA Championship Future Picks and Odds

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2013-2014 NBA Finals Odds, Championship Predictions and Analysis

With the All-Star break behind us and less than half of the season remaining it is time to look at which teams have the most value to win the 2014 NBA Championship. 

2013-2014 NBA Championship Favorites

Odds from 5Dimes:
Miami Heat Odds – 2.4/1
Indiana Pacers Odds –  3/1
Oklahoma City Thunder Odds – 4/1
San Antonio Spurs Odds – 11/1
Los Angeles Clippers Odds – 12/1

Value Pick: San Antonio Spurs 12/1
San Antonio’s Best NBA Championship Line: 12/1 (from JustBet)
Why the Spurs can win the Championship: It seems like a long time ago, but the Spurs were in the NBA Championship last year.  While their record might not be nearly as impressive this season, we know coach Greg Popovich will have his star players well rested and ready to make another deep playoff run.  There’s no better coach in the league at making changes during a series and making sure his team is prepared from night to night throughout the playoffs.  The Spurs’ Championship odds will probably continue to drop as the team loses a few games they should win late in the season.  Not to worry, San Antonio is known for giving players like Tony Parker and Tim Duncan extra days off as the season comes to an end so their older talent will be ready for a deep playoff run.  A potential matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Championship round would have all NBA fans excited.  It’s hard to pass on a Spurs team that has been there before, with more depth and more quality players at all positions than most of the teams on this list.  They’re the most well rounded, have a distinct coaching advantage and can compete with any team in the league over a seven game series.  At 12/1 they are a bargain to get back to the NBA Finals.  There is little value in Miami or Indiana, who will surely face off in the Eastern Conference finals but that series is a toss up and it is very hard to predict which of the two will win, making their betting edge minimal.  The Spurs wouldn’t have much of a problem with the LA Clippers in a Western Conference matchup, but if they were to meet the Thunder in the Conference Finals there would be great opportunities to hedge your bet if you were to take San Antonio at 12/1 now.  They could get as high as 15/1 or better if they drop a few games in the standings as the season comes to an end, like we think they will.


2013-2014 NBA Championship Dark Horses

Odds from 5Dimes:
Portland Trailblazers 20/1

Houston Rockets 24/1
Golden State Warriors 25/1
Brooklyn Nets 55/1
Memphis Grizzlies 70/1

Value Pick: Brooklyn Nets 55/1
Brooklyn’s Best NBA Championship Line: 65/1 (from JustBet)
Why the Nets can win the Championship: In the Western Conference virtually every team that makes the playoffs will qualify as a darkhorse to win the Championship, but in the Eastern Conference a showdown between Indiana and Miami feels inevitable.  The Nets are the only team with the playoff experience and talent to push Indiana or Miami deep into a series.  They have one thing that Indiana and Miami don’t, an elite level point guard in Deron Williams.  He has had a bad year by his standards but much of that can be attributed to the regime change in Brooklyn.  In a seven game grinder of a series, he could give the Nets an advantage.   If Kevin Garnett can get healthy and the Nets can go on a run before the playoffs start they can win a series or two and justify betting on them at such long odds.  They certainly have the talent to contend in a weak Eastern Conference and their chances to win the East are much better than the other Western Conference darkhorse teams that can win or lose against any other Western Conference playoff team.  If you’re considering betting on the Nets to win the Championship, do so soon, as they should continue to improve as the season progresses and their odds to win might drop.  If there’s one team in the Eastern Conference that can put up a fight against a Miami or Indiana, Brooklyn is it.

2013-2014 NBA Championship Longshots

Odds from 5Dimes:
Dallas Mavericks 80/1

Chicago Bulls 100/1
Toronto Raptors 120/1
New York Knicks 125/1
Phoenix Suns 125/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 140/1

Value Pick: Toronto Raptors 120/1
Toronto Raptors Best NBA Championship Line: 120/1 (from 5Dimes)
Why the Raptors can win the NBA Championship: In the NBA more than any other sport it is very tough to justify picking a longshot to win the Championship.  In professional basketball, more often than not, the cream rises to the top and the best teams are left standing at the end of the season.  Is Toronto as good as Miami or Indiana in the East?  Probably not, but they are third in the Eastern Conference Standings, have a winning record, and have been improving steadily as the season has progressed.  DeMar DeRozan is emerging as a talent in the league and they should only get stronger once Amir Johnson and Landry Fields are healthy.  Toronto is also the fourth best team in the NBA in points allowed per game.  If defense wins championships, this should bode well for the Raptors when the playoffs come around.  If you’re going to give the third best team in the East a 120/1 chance to win the championship there’s going to be some value in taking them and hoping they can win a series or two to create hedging opportunities once they square off against an Indiana or a Miami.  Out of all of the teams on the longshot list, the Raptors are seeded the highest and will surely find themselves in the playoffs in the East, while teams like Minnesota, Dallas and New York might not even make the playoffs.

Complete 2014 Odds to win the NBA Finals from 5Dimes:
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Miami Heat +240
Indiana Pacers +310
Oklahoma City Thunder +400
San Antonio Spurs +1100
Los Angeles Clippers  +1250
Portland Trail Blazers  +2000
Houston Rockets  +2400
Golden State Warriors   +2500
Brooklyn Nets   +5500
Memphis Grizzlies   +7000
Dallas Mavericks   +8000
Chicago Bulls   +10000
Toronto Raptors   +12000
New York Knicks   +12500
Phoenix Suns   +12500
Minnesota Timberwolves   +14000
Atlanta Hawks   +15000
Denver Nuggets   +17000
Washington Wizards   +17000
Detroit Pistons   +17500
Cleveland Cavaliers   +40000
New Orleans Pelicans   +50000
Charlotte Bobcats   +60000
Boston Celtics   +65000
Los Angeles Lakers   +75000
Philadelphia 76ers   +100000
Sacramento Kings   +500000
Orlando Magic   +600000
Utah Jazz   +750000
Milwaukee Bucks   +800000
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Super Bowl XLVIII Pick and Prediction – Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks 2/2/14

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2013-2014 Super Bowl XLVII Picks
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 2/2/14
6:25pm on FOX

Game Line: Denver Broncos -2 (from G)
Over/Under: 47
2013-2014 Super Bowl Analysis:  Here we are, another NFL season just about in the books and the best two teams from start to finish this season will meet up in one of the most compelling Super Bowl match ups ever.  The Denver Broncos have been favorites in every game they’ve played this season and nothing is changing at Met Life Stadium in Super Bowl XLVIII.  Peyton Manning leading one of the most potent offensive attacks in the history of the league to take on Seattle and one of the best defenses in the history of the league.  The matchup between the Broncos passing attack and the Seahawks defensive secondary has been driven home by the media and we think that Seattle definitely has an edge in that department.  The Seahawks linebackers will take away all of the short crossing routes that Manning loves to throw and he doesn’t have the arm to beat a safety of Earl Thomas’ caliber anymore.  If Denver thinks they’re going to beat Seattle by throwing the ball 35 or more times this will be a game Seattle can win.  The Bronco offense will need a strong showing from Knowshown Moreno to keep the Seattle linebackers in check and allow Manning to throw the ball if they’re going to have success.  On the other side of the ball, Denver knows they need to stop running back Marshawn Lynch from running up the middle and make quarterback Russell Wilson beat them.  If Wilson can escape the pocket and make plays on the perimeter it will open things up for Lynch up the middle.  There will be no shortage of 3-4 yard runs from Lynch which should keep the Denver offense on the sidelines and if they can find the endzone on a few long, time consuming drives they will come out of this game with a victory.  Before the AFC and NFC Championship games Seattle was listed as a three point favorite against Denver as a possible Super Bowl match up and we didn’t see anything in the Championship round that would warrant a change in favorites for this game.  Seattle has a +3 turnover margin in the playoffs and has won the turnover battle in both of their games.  Denver has a -2 turnover differential and hasn’t forced one in the playoffs at all.  The team that has won the Super Bowl has been even or won the game almost 80% of the time so if Richard Sherman and company can get to Manning once or twice, this will be their game to lose.  Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. 
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks Free NFL Picks:  Seattle +2 and over 47
 Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks Game Prediction: 26-24 Seattle Seahawks
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: Peyton Manning had more completions than Russell Wilson did pass attemts this season, but the Broncos offense knows they will need to adopt a little of the Seattle style run attack if they’re going to win this game.  The Seattle secondary is the only one in the league, maybe in recent memory, that can stop the Bronco passing attack.  Their corners and line backers will take away the short dink and dunk passes that Manning made a living on this season and Manning doesn’t have the arm stregnth to beat a safetly like Earl Thomas with the deep ball.  On the other side of the ball, Seattle should bounce Russell Wilson outside of the pocket early in the game with short, easy passes and run options on the outside.  This will help Marshawn Lynch get going later in the second half and limit the Denver offense to only a few possessions in the second half.  When great offenses square off against great defenses in a game of this magnitude, we will roll with the defensive team every time.

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Free 2013 AFC Championship Picks – AFC Conference Title

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AFC Conference Championship Picks
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sunday, 1/19/14
3:00pm on CBS

Game Line: Denver Broncos -4.5 (from G)
Over/Under: 55
Sunday NFL Playoffs AFC Conference Championship Football Analysis:  In a season in which Peyton Manning beat Tom Brady’s single season touchdown record, it’s only fitting that these two would meet with the AFC crown on the line.  While the quarterbacks will share the spotlight all week long it will be the play in the trenches and running games that could play a major factor in who advanced to the Super Bowl.  This could be the final matchup between these two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and the stakes couldn’t be higher.  Brady has won 10 of 14 matchups against Peyton Manning’s teams including a 2-1 advantage in the post season, the home team has won all three games.  This duel is drawing comparisons to many of the great one on one iconic sports match ups of all time like Palmer-Nicklaus, Ali-Frazier and Bird-Magic.  However, the quarterback play won’t be the most important factor in deciding who advances to the Super Bowl.  New England’s new found power running game behind LeGarrette Blount, who only had two carries for 13 yards the last time these two teams met, should be more of a factor now that the Patriots are without tight end Rob Gronkowski.  He has posted 189 and 166 rushing yards in his last two games and the Patriots have really leaned on him without their big name play makers on the outside.  The emergence of a New England running game that also features Stevan Ridley has taken the pressure off Brady, who was sacked 40 times this year for his highest total since 2001. One of Brady’s best efforts this season came against Denver, as he completed 34 of 50 passes for 344 yards, three scores and no interceptions.  On the other side of the ball Knowshon Moreno had a career high 224 yards when these two teams met in November.  With both offenses wanting to keep the opposing quarterback off of the field, it could be the team that runs the ball more effectively that finds a way to win this game.  Peyton Manning is just 6-11 against Patriots coach Bill Belichick in his career, he knows what it takes to slow him down and we don’t see this week being any different.  The Patriots running game combined with a couple forced errors from Peyton Manning will make the difference in what should be a post season matchup for the ages.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Free NFL Picks: New England Patriots +4.5 and over 55
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Game Prediction:  31-27 New England
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: The New England Patriots have always known the recipe to slow down a Peyton Manning led team.  Mix up your defensive schemes, don’t baulk on all of his fake play call changes at the line of scrimmage, blitz often and keep him off balance.  On the other side of the ball it will be the running game that will carry the Patriots, not Tom Brady as in years past.  He doesn’t have the weapons he once had but using the run and a mix of hurry up offense to keep Denver’s defense off balance will allow for a few big plays and keep the Broncos guessing.  New England has the better defense and the better running game and that is what it takes to win a road playoff game.  Tom Brady will extract his revenge over the single season touchdown passing record and send his team back to the Super Bowl again in 2014.

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Free NFC Championship Picks – 2013 NFC Conference Title

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Free 2013 NFC Championship Game Picks
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Date and Time: Sunday, 1/19/14 at 6:30pm on FOX
Game Line: Seattle Seahawks -3 (from WagerWeb)
Over/Under: 39.5
Sunday NFC Championship Picks & Analysis:  The San Francisco 49ers are 8-0 and 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight games.  They will try to ride that momentum into one of the toughest buildings in the league Sunday visiting the Seattle Seahawks.  Seattle is a 3.5 point favorite and their recent home success against San Francisco probably warrants it.  Seattle is 8-2 against the spread in their last ten home games against the rival 49ers.  Seattle’s offense has been largely held in check lately, averaging just 20 points per game over their last five games.  That number is skewed because of conservative play calling late in games as they trust their defense to hold leads.  The “12th man” crowd, best in the NFL, clearly pays a major role in Seattle’s success in the playoffs.  They have won six straight home playoff games and the noise level caused a small earthquake in last week’s 23-15 win over New Orleans.  Kaepernick completed 50.0 percent of his passes for 371 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions in his two starts at Seattle. His 87 yards on nine carries highlighted San Francisco’s 29-3 loss there in Week 2.  His game is much improved with the addition of receiver Michael Crabtree, who has 30 receptions and 435 yards and a touchdown since making his season debut in December.  They’re going to need him to have an effective game with Anquan Boldin on the other side and tight end Vernon Davis, they have the depth to match up with the vaunted Seattle secondary.  On the other side of the ball, San Francisco’s defensive game plan should be simple; stop Marshawn Lynch.  If you can stop the Seattle running game and force Russell Wilson to throw the ball you can force a few mistakes and give your offense a short field, which they will need.  The problem is, every team in the league knows that is how you stop Seattle but nobody can do it and given the struggles of Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick in Seattle it is hard not to lay the small number on the Seahawks at home.
NFC Conference Title 49ers at Seahawks Free NFL Picks:  Seattle -3 and over 39.5
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Game Prediction: 24-17 Seattle Seahawks
What to expect in the 2013 NFC Championship Game: Which ever team can run the ball more effectively is going to win this game, and if you compare Wilson and Lynch’s numbers to Kaepernick and Gore’s against one another it isn’t even close.  This will be a hard hitting, grinder of a game with both teams consistantly trying to run the football with neither having much success.  Kaepernick will have little luck throwing the football against the Seattle secondary, which has been his kryptonite through his career.  The difference between a -3 and a -3.5 is a big one in this game as it should be low scoring with lots of field goals where a three point differencial is very possible.

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2014 Free College Basketball Picks – Baylor at Texas Tech 1/15/14

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Baylor Bears at Texas Tech Red Raiders
Date and Time:
Wednesday 1/15/14 at 9:00pm on ESPNU

Game Line: Baylor -4  (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 137
Wednesday  Baylor at Texas Tech College Basketball AnalysisBaylor travels to instate rival Texas Tech on Wednesday as the deepest team in all of college basketball.  They’re averaging 32 points per game from their bench which leads the country and the Big 12 by a large margin.  They beat you by wearing you down and playing physical down low with a constant rotation of big bodies.  Their bench outscored TCU 52-9 over a stretch in the second half of a game they won 88-62.  Brady Heslip is their sixth man, he leads the Big 12 in three point shooting percentage and averages 11.5 points per game, second on the team.  Their worst performance of the season came in their conference opener against Iowa State on January when they lost 82-72.  Texas Tech comes into this game having dropped three in a row and five of their last six, including two in a row by three points.  They lost 89-86 in overtime against West Virginia at home last week and at Texas 67-64 on Saturday.  Forward Jaye Crockett is their team leader averaging 18 points per game but missing a jumper that would’ve won the game against Texas.  Like they have most of their in state rivals lately, Baylor has dominated Texas Tech in recent years.  The Bears have won four in a row and 12 of the last 15 meetings in this series.  They’re 5-1 in Lubbock since 2008 and have won all of them by an average of 18 points.  All signs point to an easy Baylor win here but the small spread is fishy.  Baylor is a heavily bet, ranked, road favorite laying an unusually small number against a team that has lost their last three games.  These are the college basketball games where Las Vegas makes their money so we’re going to jump on the other side and home Texas Tech can keep it close. 
Baylor at Texas Tech NCAA Football Picks: Texas Tech Red Raiders +4 and over 137
Baylor at Texas Tech Game Prediction: 71-70 Baylor
What to expect in this College Basketball match up: All signs point to a very easy win for Baylor in this game.  They’re bigger, they have a huge rebounding advantage and they have a much deeper rotation.  Texas Tech, meanwhile, has had two heartbreaking losses in a row and isn’t on anybody’s radar.  With a small spread in this game Vegas is almost making you take Baylor and nearly everyone is but this is a big trap situation.  A ranked, well known, road favorite laying a surprisingly small number to a team that nobody is paying any attention to.  More often than not this will be a game where the home team puts together a decent showing and finds a way to cover, we’ll take a chance that Texas Tech will do that here.

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2014 NBA Free Picks – Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors 1/15/14

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Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
Date and Time: Wednesday 1/15/14 at 10:30pm on ESPN
Game Line: Golden State Warriors -7 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 212.5
Wednesday Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Analysis: The Golden State Warriors were one of the hottest teams in the league before having the last four days off.  They’re looking for their 12th win in their last 13 games on Wednesday night when the Denver Nuggets make their first trip to Golden State since George Karl’s last game as the Nuggets coach.  No team in the NBA has played more games to this point in the season that Golden State who sits at 25-14 and in the middle of the Western Conference playoff hunt.  They haven’t taken the court since a 99-97 win over Boston on Friday night.  They are also returning from a seven game East coast trip that spanned 11 games so the time off might not hurt them.  The big key to the Warriors success lately has been David Lee who has averaged 22.7 points on 68% shooting in his last seven games.  He will be an all star this year and already dominated Denver once this season with 28 points and 10 rebounds on December 23rd.  These two teams also met in the playoffs last year with that series ending in Game 6 at Oracle Arena, with the sixth seeded Warriors handing the Nuggets their ninth first round exit in 10 years. Karl was fired less than a week later despite being Coach of the Year.  However, all three of those games were at home. Denver has surrendered 114.0 points and 49.3 percent shooting in its last five road games, losing four and Golden State has yielded an average of 92.3 points during a four game home winning streak. If the Warriors can shake off the rust after a four day layoff they should have no problem winning and covering this number against a Denver team who doesn’t play defense on the road.
Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Picks: Golden State -7 and under 212.5
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat Game Prediction: 112-99 Golden State
What to expect this 2013 Indiana at Miami NBA match up:
  Randy Foye, who replaced Andre Iguodala in Denver’s starting line up, will be an important factor for the Nuggets.  He shot 0-5 in the first meeting between these two but has scored in double figures in nine in a row.  The point guard matchup between Ty Lawson and Steph Curry will be a good one to watch as both are the offensive leaders of their teams and both play very aggressive defensively.  Golden State has more weapons and has been playing much better on the defensive end of the floor lately while Denver has been just the opposite.   Golden State is going to score in 110’s in this game and there’s no way Denver will keep up.

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