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March Madness Bracket
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ORLANDO MAGIC (13-4) at CHICAGO BULLS (9-6)
Sportsbook.com using Chicago -2 & Apuestas Deportivas Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US Online NFL Betting 194 (Line & total both unchanged)
The Magic are feeling good having won eight of the past nine games as they head to Chicago for the first of three Eastern Conference road games. Orlando welcomed back the return of Vince Carter, who missed three consecutive games with a knee injury, as he dropped 13 points in the 90-79 win over Detroit Tuesday night. Jameer Nelson, averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.8 APG, will have a tough defensive matchup against the fresh-legged Derrick Rose. Rose has played beautifully in the past six contests (DNP against Denver, sore neck), with 30.5 PPG to raise his season scoring average to 26.6 (third in NBA). Rose is also eighth in the league in assists with 8.2 APG.
Orlando is 4-2 SU on the road but has not been making bettors happy with a 0-6 ATS road record. Tired legs could be an issue for the Magic Wednesday night in Chicago, where the Bulls are 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS) and have three days of rest under their belt. After a two-week, seven-game road trip (4-3 SU, 6-1 ATS), the Bulls return to United Center where they are 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS). Chicago ended its road trip (due to the circus in town) with a 96-85 win in Sacramento. Wednesday’s matchup will be a fun one in the paint as the second-highest rebounder, Joakim Noah (13.2 RPG) faces the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and fourth-best rebounder, Dwight Howard (12.1 RPG).
85% of action at Sportsbook.com is behind the underdog Magic, in spite of the fact that the Bulls have covered five straight.
Orlando crushed the Bulls by 20 in the last meeting in Chicago, but the series is an even 2-2 (SU and ATS) in Chicago over the past three seasons. Even though the Magic have won five of the last seven overall, the well-rested Bulls look good to win one at home.
Play On - Home teams (CHICAGO) - after successfully covering the spread in 4 or more consecutive games, in a game involving two good teams (60% to 75%). (30-10 over the last 5 seasons.) (75%, +19 units. Rating = 2*).
NBA: Dallas at Orlando (8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
NBA Friday finds two games on ESPN, with the first one matching the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic. The new-look Mavericks aren’t commanding a whole lot of respect from oddsmakers, as they’ve been installed as 6-point dogs on the road for this one, according to Sportsbook.com.
Carron Butler isn’t off to a great start with the Dallas Mavericks, but he could be in line for a big game his next time out against one of his favorite opponents. The Southwest Division-leading Mavericks have split two games with their new players, with Butler shooting 31.3 percent (10 for 32) and averaging 14.0 points.
The veteran swingman, though, has excelled this season against Orlando (37-18, 26-25-4 ATS), averaging 27.0 points in two wins for Washington. He scored 31 points and hit a 19-foot jumper with 0.5 seconds left to cap a rally from 21 down in a 92-91 win Feb. 10 in his last visit to Orlando.
The Southeast Division-leading Magic remember that shot well. “He played for the Wizards, not Dallas so the Wizards beat us,” guard Vince Carter said. “Right now, it’s our next opponent and that’s just who’s in our way.”
Haywood could be the bigger factor Friday as he’ll try to contain Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, who averaged 21.5 points and 15.0 rebounds going up against the former Wizards big man this season. Haywood, though, was also fairly productive with averages of 11.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in those games.
Dallas used strong defense against the league’s highest-scoring team to win 107-97 at home over Phoenix on Wednesday, unfortunately they are just 28-44 ATS after a win by 10 points or more over the last three seasons.
Orlando opened a three-game homestand with a 116-91 rout of Detroit on Wednesday. Howard had 33 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks in the Magic’s eighth win in 10 games. Orlando has had consecutive slow defense starts and they are 8-2 ATS after allowing 55 points or more in the first half in two straight games.
They finish this home stretch against two contenders, facing league-leading Cleveland on Sunday. The Mavericks and Cavaliers have both made major moves before the trade deadline, but Orlando is seemingly content with its roster.
“We wanna win a championship,” Howard said. “We can’t focus in on what other teams are doing. We have to focus in on what we’re doing to get better.” Part of what Howard and teammates have done IS win and they are 73-46 ATS having won two of their last three contests since 2007-08 campaign.
The Mavs have won five of six against the Magic (3-3 ATS), taking three straight in Orlando, all covers. Nowitzki is averaging 26.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in those games for Dallas, which is trying to avoid its first three-game road slide. They are 13-5 OVER after scoring 105 points or more this season. Though not as dreadful as the Mavs, the Magic haven’t exactly had a lucky rabbit’s foot, with a 5-11 ATS mark when coming off a cover.
Sportsbook.com has the Mavericks receiving six-points with total of 201.5. Here is where it gets weird. Are you ready for this; Dallas hasn’t covered back to back games since Nov. 25-27, a span of 11 chances with no success.
This is the ESPN Friday night opener at 8:00 Eastern and Orlando is 10-1 UNDER on Friday nights this season. The StatFox Power Line shows Orlando by 11.
NBA: Two NBA Televised Betting Choices Friday
The Cleveland Cavaliers suddenly find themselves on a two-game losing streak against Western Conference opponents after winning their previous 13, but both of those came away from Quicken Loans Arena. The Portland Trailblazers know rather well they’re much tougher to beat at home. Cleveland plays as a 9-point favorite at Sportsbook.com for Friday’s contest and ¾ of bettors have been willing to lay the points thus far according to the BETTING TRENDS page. Read on for a preview of this game and the nightcap on ESPN, Orlando at Phoenix.
LeBron James has had a triple-double the last two times the Cavaliers hosted Portland, and he’ll try to help Cleveland avoid a rare three-game skid Friday night as it seeks a seventh straight home win both overall and against the Trail Blazers.
The Cavaliers (15-7, 11-11 ATS) won their final eight games against Western opponents in 2008-09 and their first five this season, but that streak was snapped Tuesday in a 111-109 overtime loss in Memphis.
Twenty-one turnovers plagued Cleveland against the Grizzlies, and they were a problem again Wednesday in Houston. The Cavaliers gave it away 20 times against the Rockets in a 95-85 loss.
Cleveland hasn’t lost three straight since March 22-29, 2008 and is 17-3 ATS off a road loss over the last two seasons.
James is averaging a career-high 3.8 turnovers, though he’s also dish out a career-best 8.2 assists per game, and Cleveland is at its best when he’s getting his teammates involved. The Cavaliers are 9-2 when he has at least nine assists and 7-1 when he attempts 17 shots or fewer. Cleveland has covered 17 of their last 24 Friday night assignments.
The production of point guard Mo Williams, Cleveland’s second-leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, has also been consequential to the Cavaliers’ success. Cleveland is 11-2 if Williams hits 40 percent of his shots and 13-3 when he scores 12 points or more.
Williams averaged 22.5 points as the Cavaliers swept Portland (14-9, 11-12 ATS) last season - pouring in 33 in a 104-98 win at the Rose Garden on Jan. 21 - but James has been Cleveland’s catalyst against the Blazers at home. The reigning MVP has averaged 27.7 points in leading the Cavaliers to a 6-0 record during his career when Portland visits, finishing with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 97-92 overtime victory March 19.
Three of James’ 25 career triple-doubles have come against the Blazers. With Portland sporting a 6-5 road record (spread mark is the same), the Cavs are 14-4 ATS at home vs. a team with a positive visitors record.
Portland, meanwhile, has had to lean even more on its multitalented All-Star recently with its lineup depleted by injury. Brandon Roy had averaged 25.0 points during that rough patch, but another big effort against the Pacers paid off. The 2007 rookie of the year had 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists in lifting Portland to a 102-91 win and they are 26-13 ATS off a double digit victory.
Like the Cavaliers’ success when James involves his teammates more, the Blazers don’t typically thrive on Roy’s big games - they’re 3-5 when he scores 25 points or more.
Roy has averaged 19.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting in his career against Cleveland.
Sportsbook.com has Cleveland as nine-point favorites with total of 184 and they are 23-12 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 to 12 points since last season. Portland is 3-9 and 4-8 ATS in last 12 visits near the shores of Lake Erie and is 14-3 UNDER in road games on Friday nights over the last three seasons.
This ESPN game starts at 8:00 Eastern and is immediately followed by Orlando heading into the Arizona desert.
After a fruitless road trip, the Phoenix Suns probably can’t wait for their next game at U.S. Airways Center. Awaiting the NBA’s only unbeaten home team, however, is one of the league’s best road squads. The Suns will attempt to keep their perfect record intact Friday night with their eighth consecutive home win against the Orlando Magic, who will try to put a second-half collapse behind them.
Following a 14-3 start, fatigue appears to have set in for Phoenix, who has played a league-high 15 road games. The Suns (15-7, 12-10 ATS) have gone from averaging 112.0 points during their hot start to 98.6 while losing four of five this month — all away from home.
Orlando (17-5, 13-9 ATS) scored 60 in the first half Thursday night vs. Utah and led by as many as 18, but saw its advantage cut to eight at halftime and allowed the Jazz to start the second half on a 14-3 run. “Once we gave them confidence, gave them an opportunity to really get rolling, it was tough to stop that machine,” swingman Vince Carter said.
The Magic never recovered from there in a 120-111 defeat, their first away from home since Nov. 8. They had also previously won 23 straight dating back to last season when scoring at least 100, including a 122-100 home win over Phoenix on Nov. 4.
Carter, who scored a season-high 34 Thursday, has helped the defending Eastern Conference champions to a 10-3 (8-5 ATS) road record this season. Playing in 11 games away from home, Carter has averaged 21.7 points. Orlando is outstanding 18-5 ATS off a road loss over the last two seasons.
He leads the Magic with 20.1 points, just ahead of Howard (18.4). Carter also has scored an average of 25.6 points in 10 career games at U.S. Airways Center.
Amare Stoudemire, meanwhile, has led the Suns to a 7-0 (4-3 ATS) mark at home with 22.4 points on 61.7 percent shooting, but he also appears to be dealing with fatigue lately with one 20-point performance in his last seven contests overall.
Along with its third straight win in the series, Orlando is searching for its first victory in Phoenix since Nov. 14, 2001 (0-7 SU & 5-2 ATS) and they are 1.5-point road underdogs with total of 215.5. The Magic are 10-1 ATS after playing three consecutive road games 14-4 ATS after scoring 60 points or more in the first half last contest. The Suns haven’t fared as well against quality road clubs with 2-6 ATS mark if they have win percentage of .600 or higher.
The total figures to be a dichotomy with these two teams and Orlando is 17-7 UNDER versus offensive teams scoring 103 or more points a game, while Phoenix is 21-4 OVER at home after playing consecutive road games. Yet it is interesting to find the Suns are 7-0 UNDER after allowing 100 points or more three straight games this season.
The StatFox Power Lines show Cleveland by 6, Phoenix by 1