GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Friday, November 04, 2005


It was about a year ago that Petey and I went to go see the Timberwolves play the Sonics at the Target Center. Things were quite a bit different then. Petey lived in Minnesota. Flip Saunders was still the head coach of the Timberwolves. Nate McMillan was still the coach of the Sonics. Dwane Casey was assistant coach of the Sonics. I thought the Wolves would be good and the Sonics would suck.

A year later things have changed. The Sonics are supposed to be good (at least somewhat) and the Wolves are supposed to suck. I was hoping the Wolves would go in there and do something similar. A blowout would have been nice, but I would have settled for a win.

It was a bit frustrating to watch because it seemed as though there were lots of opportunities to take control of the game. We had a nice cushion near the end of the first half, but sloppy passing lead to tons of easy baskets fro the Sonics. Then, the Wolves went into their 4th-quarter-KG-is-out collapse.

The ESPN commentators kept talking about how Casey wants to reduce KG's minutes this year to take some of the load off, but I really how he doesn't do it. For starters, KG's 38.0 mpg were his lowest since the 98-99 season. Second, he's never shown any sort of fatigue late in the season and has missed three total games in 6 seasons, so injuries clearly aren't a problem for him.

I'm not exactly sure what the point of limiting his minutes would be unless he's already thrown in the towel for this season and is trying to keep KG fresh for next season.

11/5 Picks

I had a decent enough day, and it would have been even better had Ray Allen just beaten the Wolves in regulation with his shot at the buzzer. Instead, it took a garbage basket by Wally to turn my bet into a push. So that makes one loss and one push that I would have won had the game ended at the end of regulation in the first week of the season.

Lines are looking better today, but I'm holding off on a couple picks for now, so I'll probably be back in the afternoon with more.

SA(-2) over Dallas ($22/$20)
Utah(+2) over Phoenix ($20.40/$20)
Phoenix/Utah under 198 ($20.60/$20)
Atlanta(+7) over Portland ($21/$20)

SA is just looking completely unstoppable right now, and Dallas is still overrated. The next time that Atlanta might be this little of an underdog is when Portland comes to play in Atlanta.

Yesterday: 3-2-1 +$40
YTD: 6-6-1 +$13.99


Adding more bets.

Wolves(+5) over Clippers ($20/$20.20)

I think the Wolves are highly underrated by the public right now. It's true that they're not as good as they were 2 years ago, but they're not as bad as they were last season either. For this reason, there will probably be a lot of good bets on the Wolves until the public figures this out, which is good news for me as a bettor and a Wolves fan.

Indiana(-10) over Philadelphia ($21.20/$20)

You wouldn't think that a team with AI and CWebb could be this bad, but it appears that they are. Philly's been getting smacked around by everyone this season. On top of this, they're on the back end of a back-to-back while Indiana is well rested. You might not see me give this many points again all season.

Chicago(+5) over NJ ($20.60/$20)
Chicago(ML) over NJ ($20/$40.60)

I think that this game should be close to even. If anything, Chicago should be a slight favorite. They're on the road but well rested and NJ played last night.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It's been a long wait...

...but Shaq finally got injured.

It seems like it was only a few days ago when I said:
"Walker is total crap and Shaq is older and for some reason decided he needed to put on more muscle. The good thing about this for the Heat is that once he gets hurt, they won't even notice Walker taking so many shots."

The day of Shaq's injury finally came today when he landed on Ron Artest's foot an rolled his ankle. Not sure how long he'll be out, but if you asked Reggie Miller, he'd say something like this:

"That looks like a monther. And when I say 'monther', I mean it looks like he'll be out at least a month."

My only regret is that I didn't bet more on the Miami Under line.

Today's Bets

The line's are looking pretty slim today, and I can't get at the only one I liked because Pinny seems to be down. I'll be back some time tomorrow with at least one play (hopefully).

Yesterday: 1-1 +$8.00
YTD: 3-4 -$26.01

Edit 1:

Ok, here they are. I accidentally messed up and bet the Charlotte line twice. Oops. It's not that I think that my edge is just that big. I actually thing it's the smallest of my edges.

Charlotte(+8.5) over Philly ($42.20/$40)
Charlotte/Philly over 195.5 ($21/$20)
Memphis/Orlando over 181 ($20/$20.80)

Edit 2:


Washington/New York Over 197 ($20/$20.20)
New Jersey/Toronto Under 195.5 ($22/$20)

Edit 3:


Minnesota(+5) over Seattle ($22/$20)

The spread for this game was originally +3.5, but has moved up enough to the point that I think it's profitable.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not A Bad Start

but not a great one either.

Had the game ended after the third quarter, I would have been much happier with the Wolves performance. Even when they got way behind, I noticed that every single shot they took was either in the paint or a wide open jumper. If we could continue doing this, I knew that the shots would eventually start falling and that we'd probably win the game.

Well, that did happen, and by the end of the third quarter the Wolves had opened up 13 point lead.

And then with KG on the bench, the Wolves began what was a common theme last year. They started letting up a little bit and got a little sloppy--letting the Blazers back into it. Then KG came back in a settled things down a bit until the end. At the end, the Wolves play because very sloppy and they almost blew it.

Luckily the Wolves prevailed and will hopefully learn from the experience.

Despite our late game struggles, I found a lot of things to like about the game. Richie Frahm is apparently the new Fred Zoidberg. It's good to know we kept an extra one in the take, just in case the original was diagnosed with a heart condition and would miss at least the entire season.

Also, it's nice to actually have an exciting new rookie to watch. McCants didn't have a great night tonight, but I thought he played relatively well. He also had a good preseason which leads me to believe that we'll see good things from him in the future, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's starting by Christmas. In addition, he's playing the position previously held by Sprewell. I got so sick of having to watch a disgruntled veteran with a not-so-secret loathing for the team. In his place, we get the opposite. Although McCants may not be fully developed yet, it's fun to watch a player who's young and has some upside.

Today's Picks

Pheonix (Moneyline) over LAL ($20/$30)
Phx/LAL under 203.5 ($22/$20)

I had a bit of deja vu tonight when the Lakers/Nuggets game went to OT. Yet despite this, I still managed to make my under. Pheonix got to 108 last game, but it took two OTs to get there and LA never made it to 100, despite an OT in their first game. This leads me to feel pretty good about betting another under (I swear, I actually do bet overs sometimes). I also liked the Pheonix Moneyline. The Lakers are on the tail end of a back-to-back with the first one going to overtime. I have LA as slight favorites, but I like the odds I'm getting to bet Phoenix.

Yesterday: 2-1 +$20.19
YTD: 2-3 -$34.01


Well, my NBA betting career is off to a pretty craptacular start. The Spurs game played out much like I expected. It was very sloppy at first, but there seemed to be a lot of scoring anyway and they made it just past the over.

Next came the Dallas/Phoenix game. Had this ended at regulation, the score would have been 35 points under the total. If it had ended after one overtime, I would have made it by 13 points. In addition, Phoenix blew substantial leads in both regulation and overtime that would have given Dallas one of the 29 losses I need from them this year.

Of course, the worst thing of all happened after the games, when I realized that the system I was going to try to use to predict the scoring outputs of each team in early season games just wasn't going to work. I plugged in the Miami/Memphis game and got Memphis as a 32 point favorite! The first sign your system might be broken is when one of the top teams is favored to lose by 32 points. While it wouldn't surprise me if Memphis were a favorite, these numbers were obviously wrong.

The problem is that the data set I was using is just too small, and the method didn't really take into account things like team chemistry (which are generally harder to model mathematically anyway). I had planned to use these numbers and merge them with the actual numbers over the first 20 games of the season. Instead, I'm going to work them in over the first 10 games, although I might just readjust them and go for another 10 games.

In any case, I tried to use the numbers I had to come up with to get more accurate and reasonable estimates of what to expect. These numbers should at least give me a reliable jumping off point to make reasonable bets for a while.

And oh yeah...


I feel like I should give some analysis at this point, but I don't exactly know what to expect. Portland looks to be pretty horendous, so I sort of expect a win.

Since I don't really know exactly what to say, so I'll take some time to reply to what SBG said.

If there's one thing I learned about basketball this offseason, it's that being a great man defender in the NBA is vastly overrated (this is covered in some depth in Basketball On Paper). In lower levels of basketball, having guards who can play great defense (especially point guards) is an incredibly valuable asset to have. They can spearhead the defense and get steals that lead to easy points. However, by the time you get to the NBA, the ball handlers are simply too good for this to be effective.

The problem with being a strong man defender is that the offense always has the initiative, so they somewhat counteract your good man defense by essentially ignoring you. If you look at a lot of players who are known as defensive specialists, none of them really show good on court/off court numbers. For example:

Bruce Bowen
Doug Christie
Trenton Hassell

All of these players had their teams outscored while they were on the court last year.

Given the choice between someone who is a good defender but average offensively and someone who is average defensively and good offensively, I'll take the good offensive player any day. If a players is good defensively but not offensively, then he's not really adding anything on either end of the court. If he's not adding anything, then he's basically useless. The good offensive player is at least helping you to outscore your opponent on one end of the court.

For this reason, I'm perfectly fine with Wally being a go-to guy on our team, as long as he can defend adequately and stay within himself. He needs to shoot when he's open and not try to drive past 37 people to get to the basket. If he can do that, we'll all remember why he was an all-star some years ago.

On the flip side, if someone is a horrendous defender, the opposition can pick on him mercilessly, so it's very important that he is at least adequate on defense.

The exception to this rule comes at the center position. At high levels of basketball, getting good defense out of this position becomes much more important for two reasons. First, he's generally guarding the area of the court that's closest to the basket. In that sense, he's kind of like a goalie, and who cares if you goalie has a jump shot? Second, he's the most frequently used player when it comes to help defense. Because of this, it's much harder for the offense to simply ignore him.

It's running late so I'll come back with more thoughts on Marko et al. after I get a chance to see them.

Today's picks:
Washington(-2) over Toronto (20/20.19)
Atlanta/GS under 203.5 (20/20.56)
LAL/Den under 204 (20.40/20)

YTD 0-2 for -$54.20

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's Like Christmas In November!

Ah yes, the NBA season will finally kick off tomorrow. Undoubtedly, I'm going to have to subscribe to NBA League Pass this season so that I can watch anything I want whenever I want.

Thanks for the advice Todd. I'll try and get around to changing the comment system as soon as I get a chance. This whole spam thing is ridiculously annoying. I encourage everyone who visits my site to not click on any of the links they put down there.

The only bad thing about the beginning of the season is that I didn't quite get a chance to finish my capping system, so it will be somewhat incomplete for the first couple weeks. The reason I haven't posted anything about my season win bets was because I was going to try and finish the system before making any. Since it's not quite done, I restricted myself somewhat. Anyway, here's what I ended up with. When reading my picks you'll see two numbers separated by a slash. The one before the slash is how much I'm betting and the one after is how much I'll win if I win the bet.

Dallas Mavericks Under 53.5 Wins ($57.50/$50)

Every year I think that it will be the year that the Mavs finally tank. Well, this year is no different. Despite picking up Christy, I don't think their defense will really improve. Basically, the other teams will just ignore him on offense and exploit the weaker defensive players through isolation. Since Christy isn't a good offensive player, I can actually see him being a detriment to the team.

Miami Heat Under 58.5 Wins ($57.50/$50)

Most sites have them at 57.5, but VIP had them one higher for just a tad more juice than normal. I think either is a good bet, and as I've been saying, I think Miami will be an overrated team this season. Walker is total crap and Shaq is older and for some reason decided he needed to put on more muscle. The good thing about this for the Heat is that once he gets hurt, they won't even notice Walker taking so many shots.

Atlanta Hawks Over 21.5 Wins ($50/$55)

Sure they're still terrible, but for the love of God, they only need 22 wins! The Wolves could win that many games playing 4 men for the entire season! But seriously, a lot of things have to go wrong for a team to lose that many games. They managed to snag Johnson in the offseason and have some talented looking rookies.

Chicago Bulls Over 43.5 Wins($50/$60)

This is a team that won 47 games a year ago, and I expect them to do even better this season. My guess is that there are a lot of people who started betting the under once Curry got traded and brought the price down considerably. In honesty though, the trade seems like a very good one for the Bulls, and I expect Sweetney to be an ample replacement.

There are a few others that I considered betting but didn't. The most notable of this one is Utah. I had been planning on betting them for a long time, but the price went from -110 to around -135. There still might be some value there, but I decided it's not enough to invest my money for an entire season. The reason I like the over so much was that AK-47 was hurt for much of the season last year and he really is just that good. Arroyo also had a bit of Sprewell disease last year, and so he won't be around to bring them down. The problem as I see it is that they should make the over easily if AK stays healthy, but may have some problems if he gets injured again. So my bet would basically be on whether or not he would stay healthy for long enough to get them there.

The other possible good bet is Cleveland over 48.5, but the price on this one also got jacked up when I wasn't looking. They had a great offseason and will be one of the top teams in the NBA this year.

Alright, here are my bets for tomorrow. I generally like to make my bets before I go to bed if possible, but I'll also make some the next day if I find a line that has moved. Sometimes I'll post a write up and sometimes I'll just post my bets, but I'll do my best to keep them up to date and get them up there quickly! I also tend to line shop a bit, so you might not be able to always find a line as good as the one I'm betting. Don't worry too much about this. Usually I find a line I like and then go hunting for the best line, so even a slightly worse line is (hopefully) +EV.

My bets are going to start out small here, but will hopefully increase as the season goes on. I don't have much of a system as to exactly how much I bet, but I will generally bet higher if I find a nice line that I like.

Denver/SA under 189.5 (33/30)
I fully expected to see a number around 180 here, and my spreadsheet backed me up. It's the first game of the season and neither team should be quite in offensive sync yet. Don't be surprised if neither team gets to 90.

Dallas/Phoenix under 215 (21.20/20)
Are you kidding me? 215? Do the line makers even realize that Phoenix doesn't have Johnson or Stoudemire playing tomorrow?