Villanova/North Carolina, NBA Playoff Positioning, Line Awareness and Your Own Due Diligence

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By Greg Dempson

Congratulations to Villanova in their victory vs. the North Carolina Tar Heels as the Wildcats came away with a 3 point win with just a tick on the clock. It’s the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. Monday’s game was a great conclusion to the College basketball season but….honestly…I’m pleased it’s over as I’m tired of the hype….especially the bubble word, which was used more times this past month than all the HGH accusations directed at Peyton Manning this past season. As for Manning, his clock struck midnight two years ago.…and finally the clock struck midnight on the 2015-2016 NCAA-B season with the Tar Heels being relegated to tobacco road.

Before the tournament started, as always, the NCAA committee was under the microscope, not only about the seeding of the four #1 seeds, (Oregon selected vs. Michigan State apparently was a travesty to some,) but the banter pertained to the various teams that didn’t win their way into the tourney with an automatic conference championship. The list of NIT, CBI, and CIT as well as the not so Vegas 16 have not’s is substantial, especially with regards to the major tournament as Monmouth, San Diego State, etcetera. (I’m sorry if you’re a St Marys, or St. Bonny fan, “Val” didn’t make the committees “appose-o” either.

It’s sports network overkill now as we have CBS-Sports, NBC, BIG-10, FOX1 and 2 plus all the ESPN channels and many more. What were these sports experts and any lists going to discuss to hype this tournament? I watched Dug Gottlieb talk about how he was going to find a way to go to Spokane with complete disgust. Likewise with former ESPN radio broadcaster, “Mr. Colin Herd.” He is so pompous and arrogant, it is hard for me to stomach and watch him on FS-1. Way back in the day he talked about the comparison between Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. As they say many times, “Play the tape.” Manning was Coke and Brady was Pepsi, according to Colin. How did that work out for you? About as well as your picks before your “Fab 5” and your notoriety at ESPN. Do those pre ESPN days ring a “Bell with you, Colin?”

The tournament was all about content, who deserves to be, “in or out?” After that argument was settled and as the not so mighty fell with moderate upsets along the way, Syracuse prevailed and they were a great example of a team that was ostracized by many for being included in the tournament to start with. They served notice that the committee were right, until they faced the Tar Heels and when the “Orange” metamorphosed into an orange Cinderella pumpkin, their clock finally struck midnight. When you get that far in the tournament, you’re not a glass slipper!


At this juncture of the NBA regular season, with a handful of games remaining, there are the “haves” as well as the “have not’s” and this has not gone unnoticed by the sports books. Yes there are teams looking over their shoulder and making a concerted effort for a better seeding to avoid playing the Warriors, Spurs, Cavaliers and so forth, in the first round while some are desperately trying to just make the post season as they’re on the playoff bubble with a schedule that is less than favorable.

New Orleans is in the “have not grouping.” If you keep accurate records as to opening and closing lines, a few weeks ago, as well as when Davis was or was not in the line-up, who is in and who is out recently is an obvious adjustment for the books. With their current line-up, it’s Pelican Brief for New Orleans, as their roster is missing many key components. Denver was a 7 point road favorite and lost straight up 101–95 at New Orleans. In their last game at Brooklyn, the Pelicans were getting +3/+2.5 points vs. a Nets team that wasn’t worthy of being a 3/2.5 point home favorite, but, the line was adjusted due to the sports books public perception about the inability of the Pelicans teams success, or lack thereof, when on the road, and missing key players. New Orleans is getting +3 tonight at Philadelphia, all I’m saying is simply this, don’t be duped.

Blackjack, Rested Players, Look-A-Heads and Sky Rocketing Line Movements by Sports Books in Order to “Protect Themselves”

Have you ever played blackjack and were sitting with a blackjack, only to have the house ask, “Would like to be paid even money before they, (the house,) continues the game and perhaps also get a blackjack? If you decline and the house does get a blackjack then you’d then push with your blackjack vs. taking even money. Anytime the house offers you anything, you are getting screwed, and I’m not talking about a Mustang at a ranch!. You already have a blackjack so the worst case scenario is you push and do not get paid. Do the math, you have a blackjack, the house does not, that’s why they offer you this “opportunity.” Insurance is important in some cases, it’s called a pre-nup!

Public Perception more often than not, equates to protection by the books.

I’m not one who believes in the conspiracy scenario, “the fix is in.” It’s good business sense more often than not for the books to adjust the odds without having due diligence in many cases.

Case in point, when the Raptors played at the Spurs last week, when the books were aware of the fact that Toronto didn’t have DeRozan or Lowery in their line-up, that line moved 4 or 4.5 points. The lines maker cannot accurately calibrate what line can come into play due to a teams’ bench strength. A sixth starter can come off the bench and shoot bricks of have a career game, the major concern of all the books is to adjust the line immediately and hope they have some degree of balance, and…more often than not, they will watch as the lemmings fall into the sea! Toronto covered that game without their two key players.

The same scenario applied to the Clippers when they played at Oklahoma last week. That number moved by more than a touchdown as OKC were laying more than two touchdowns, the end result was suspenseful…but only for the gamblers that had the Thunder in a muti-team money line parlay as Oklahoma came away with a straight up 2 point victory.

Spurs at Jazz

Let’s fast forward to tonight’s game between the Spurs and Jazz. San Antonio is currently at – 3 and they have owned Utah of late. They’re off tomorrow before playing at Golden State on Wednesday. If you’re watching sport center I’m sure you’ll hear about whether coach “Pop” is or isn’t resting the older legs of the team in that high altitude.

Sometimes it is all about what you don’t play when gambling, if this line moves to where the Jazz are pick or –1, I’ll know why, there’ll be a lack of “Pop” in the Spurs’ line-up.

Spurs at Warriors

As for the Warriors/Spurs game, just a heads up, if San Antonio can keep Golden State under a 100 points, you, (as well as Warrior opponents,) are a winner this season with one exception. Keep that in mind when considering on betting the total two nights from now! As always, check to see who coach “Pop” will have in the starting line-up, if you’re a NBA purist, I’m sure you remember the key scratches when they played a Miami a couple of years ago.