The Breakfast Spread: Warriors End Rockets’ Streak, Conference Tournaments Continue
The Golden State Warriors bounced back to end Houston’s nine-game win streak, thanks to 81 combined points between Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Demarcus Cousins. Thursday hoops tip off early, as the quarter-final rounds of conference tournaments begin. Later tonight, the Thunder travel to Indiana to play their second game of a back-to-back. Here is a sports betting recap from Wednesday and a lookahead to Thursday.
Rockets Streak Comes to an End
The Golden State Warriors started the week off by losing to the last place team in the Western Conference. Wednesday night, they would beat the hottest team in the league, the Houston Rockets, 106-104.
Traveling to Houston, the Warriors were underdogs for the first time since Dec. 7 when they beat the Milwaukee Bucks 105-95 on the road. Like Dec. 7, oddsmakers opened the line Warriors +2, but this time, public money would move it to +4 by tip-off. Surprising no one, the public hopped all over the Rockets, who had won their previous nine games.. To add to the temptation, Kevin Durant was ruled out of Wednesday’s game due to an ankle injury sustained Monday.
The two-point win, is only the fourth time Warriors backers have covered in the last 15 games.
Though the Warriors have the best record in the West, the defending champions’ play has been rather lackadaisical for much of the season. To oddsmakers’ pleasure, the Warriors have been one of the worst teams to bet on this season.
Before the game, Steph Curry said the Warriors wanted to make a statement. That they did.
Curry and Klay Thompson combined for a total of 54 points, but the biggest difference from Monday to Wednesday was Demarcus Cousins, who recorded season-highs in both points and assists.
Cousins had 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in just 32 minutes of play, reminding everyone exactly why the Warriors brought the big man to Golden State in the first place.
The Warriors return to the court to take on rivals Oklahoma City Thunder this Saturday. The biggest question is if Durant will be ready to play against his former team.
Second Night of Back-to-Back for Thunder
Before the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Warriors, they must first make a trip to Indiana tonight.
PointsBet opened the Indiana Pacers as one-point favorites (Over/Under 221).
The Pacers come off a less-than-stellar 103-97 home victory against the New York Knicks. Myles Turner in particular has struggled lately, shooting less than 45% in each of his last nine games.
Oklahoma City come off a come-from-behind win led by Russell Westbrook’s 31 points as the Thunder beat the Brooklyn Nets 108-96 Tuesday.
Westbrook was having one of his worst shooting seasons of his career, but has recently turned it around in his last 20 games.
Westbrook’s turnaround comes at just the right time, as Paul George tries to recover from a shoulder injury that kept him shooting below 33% in six straight games leading up to last night’s victory.
Though Westbrook is playing at an elite level, George’s shoulder is still concerning, especially on the second night of a back-to-back for the Thunder. Breakfast Pick: Pacers -1.
Prop Shop: Paul George Over/Under 27.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook)
As mentioned above, George has struggled offensively since sitting out three games at the beginning of the month. Some have speculated that George is playing with a partially torn rotator cuff, which would explain his abysmal shooting performances.
George was better last night, scoring 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting, but he was seen icing his shoulder on the sideline. George certainly wants to play well against his former team, but 27.5 points is too high for a player who has only exceeded 25 points in one of his last seven games. Breakfast Pick: George Under 27.5 points.
ACC Tournament Continues
We get another early day of college basketball as conference tournament quarter-finals tip off at noon and continue through the day.
North Carolina State and No. 2 Virginia meet up at 12:30 p.m. ET for the ACC Tournament.
Wednesday, NC State prevailed in a 59-58 comeback victory against Clemson where they were 2.5-point underdogs and trailed by as many as 16 points at halftime. NC State will need another good showing against Virginia to add to their tournament resume if they want to be part of next week’s madness.
While UVA is 11-point favorites, Wolfpack fans are optimistic. In their last meeting, NC State took Virginia to overtime, but came up short 65-66.
Virginia hasn’t lost since Feb. 9, when Duke, still with Zion Williamson, beat them 81-71. The Cavaliers have lost just two games this season, both to Duke.
It won’t be easy playing two games in a row, and with ~80% of early money on both Virginia and the Under, the public doesn’t seem to have much faith in the Wolfpack.
With their backs up against the wall, I like NC State to build off their momentum from yesterday and play Virginia close, much like they did in late January. Breakfast Lean: NC State +11.
Zion Williamson is expected to return to play in Duke’s opening tournament game against Syracuse tonight at 9 p.m.
Williamson, who was recently named ACC player of the year, hasn’t played since his left shoe famously shredded in the early seconds of his first rivalry game with North Carolina. Williamson suffered a right knee sprain as a result, and Duke has proceeded with extreme caution ever since. I think I speak for most college basketball fans in rooting for a UNC-Duke semi-finals matchup tomorrow so we can finally watch Williamson go head-to-head with the Tar Heels.
Though Williamson is expected to play, oddsmakers have yet to put a line on the board for tonight’s game.
Stat of the Day
The 106-104 win over Houston was Golden State’s 25th game with 25 assists through 3 quarters (most in the NBA).
The Players Championship
With The Players Championship teeing off at 7:40 a.m. ET this morning, golf balls will be in the water on hole No. 17 by lunch. Tiger Woods and Jason Day both return to the field after missing the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week. Woods (+2000) remains one of the favorites to win The Players despite citing a neck injury last week. While bettors have not shied away from backing Woods, Day’s WD last week has done some spooking. Day, who is notorious for injuries and illnesses, has fallen to +3300 around the industry.
There have been big moves in the NFL. What have they done to the NFL futures market? Thomas Casale has the full report.
Looking for college hoops podcasts? Here’s your playlist for the big dance.
Casale looks at conference tournament odds and picks.
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