I will start this off by saying that this is a very interesting time, not only in sports but also in the world that we live in. This uniqueness has put us in a position that we have never been in and we should be able to use it to our advantage when it comes to playing against Vegas and the book makers.
With these upcoming games at least the opening games you might as well throw the records and statistics out the window because they are basically warm up games leading into the Playoff. A way to shake the rust off, so to speak. For a few bubble teams these games are very important and will determine if they are going to advance into the playoff or not, with one of these teams being none other than the Zion Williamson led New Orleans Pelicans.
As I have already said in my previous article that I have a future play on NOLA to make the 2020 NBA Playoff and right now they are 3.5 games out of the 8th spot along with The Portland Trailblazers. I think a lot of this upcoming season will be story line and perception driven or let me rephrase…whoever will be able to draw the most money with no live gate and all the money being generated by the networks and advertisers.
Like I said earlier if we are going to have to throw records and stats out the window at least for the first couple of games then all we have as sports handicappers and gamblers is to turn to Vegas and see what they have to say.
After I saw the schedules release at the end of June I wanted to make it a point to see where the book makers opened these lines at. I capped NOLA as a one to two possession underdog when I saw the schedule before Vegas dropped the line. Both of these opening lines are generic, cause let’s be honest who really knows what is going to happen? This is how you get one point opening spreads and 220 totals, it is because not even the guys making the odds know what is going to happen, these are the hard facts.
Utah originally opened as a one point favorite but big money promptly flipped them to the underdog within hours. We are calling this The Zion Effect, because how else could you have the 10th seeded team as a 2 point favorite over the 4th seeded team in the West as of the publishing of this article? It is called public perception and letting the media see what you want them to see.
Do you honestly think it was a coincidence that Zion and Lebron are playing on back to back games after a four month layoff? I was born at night but it wasn’t last night, everything is set up to one degree or another and it is our job as sports handicappers to read between the lines and find the break in the numbers in order to get a win.
As of right now 28% of the betting public is on the Jazz which has ticked down a bit since the opening lines. We don’t have a huge sample size in betting tickets to go off of just yet so for the past few days the percentages have been stable for the most part, as we get closer to tip off I expect these numbers to move based off what the general public is being told, like for example if a key player is ruled out. This will play havoc with the lines and create steam moves on one side or the other.
What is interesting about this game is that Utah is capturing around 50% of the money line tickets but they are only pulling around 12% of the money. This is heavy sharp money on the now favorite Pelicans, a team that is 1-2 straight up and 2-1 verses the spread this year against Utah, and their only spread loss coming as a one possession loss. Needless to say every game these guys have played against each other have been on the nuts and they are evenly matched…if you wanna go back through and bang numbers that only system and computer handicappers will pay attention to.
The total here I think is going to hover right around the opening number unless something like I said before, a player or players are ruled out. This game is trending under and I tend to agree giving the layoff and the rust these guys might have, but I like the Pels to come out firing in Orlando and with that total hovering around 220 we can catch them on the first quarter team total at around 27-28 points and first half around 55 points for one of the best 3 point shooting teams in the league.
Here are the nuts and bolts, there are 12 pre game bets that we can make in this game. We don’t have to pick a side, all we have to do is find the play that wins and in order to find that winning play we have to be able to find the break in the numbers and where we can move odds into our favor as much as possible.
*Jack Robinson is the Senior Content Writer at PicksCity.com and Contributing Writer for Inside The Thunder at SI.com who carries a tracked record on all sports and all plays from April of 2018 at 972-788-55 a 55.2% winning percentage via sportsaction.com