03/06/2013 - (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - What would you rather have? Analysts and fans micro- focusing on mundane, soul-draining considerations, like whether LeBron James should compete in next year's NBA Slam Dunk contest, or truly great basketball games?
For example, what took place in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 27 is what sports are supposed to be about. Competition, exhilaration and fun. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry put on a show with 54 points, including 11 3-pointers.
On the other side, the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony dropped 35 points, J.R. Smith had 26 off the bench and, lost in all of this, Tyson Chandler pulled down 28 rebounds.
What they did in basketball terms is like pulling a rabbit out of a burning hat, wrapped it in Egyptian linen, sprinkled crushed lavender dust on it and made it float through the air. Somewhere Penn and Teller are clapping their hands and yelling "Bravo."
The fact the Warriors lost is irrelevant, or at least for the night it is. For Warriors fans -- who are double-checking playoff seeding every 48 hours -- each game is something to consider. Or for Knicks fans -- trying to beat Indiana for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference -- each win gets them closer to potentially their best postseason in this century.
So, yes, of course, for them, it was an exciting game. However, for the rest of us, it was must-see TV. It ended up being one of those rare occasions when the game is just a game, and then, somehow, more than just a game.
It was one of those best-case scenario moments where there are no politics, no talking heads pontificating senselessly, no bizarro writers in old shoes and oversized pants criticizing a player's postgame wardrobe. This was just sports fed intravenously right into the blood stream. It's not about reconnecting to your childhood or appreciating sports for its lessons on teamwork and dedication. It's about stripping it down to its building blocks. Fans need games like that every once in a while to be reminded why we love this.
Sports have always separated into two categories: A distraction from the daily grizzle of everyday life, where the stresses of work, school and family can be compartmentalized for a few hours and you can disappear into another world, or a vehicle to discuss and expound upon serious issues that, bogged by the monotony of heavily insular language, would otherwise go ignored due to the magnitude of the subject.
It's a powerful way to take a bite out of issues like gun control or socio- economics and bring it down to a level where understanding these things doesn't require a doctorate. I'm still trying to figure out a way to discuss the sequester without the dryness so prominent in the suit and tie networks.
But when sports are dominated by 40-yard dash soap operas, sex scandals and small-mindedness, it can lose its exuberance. There's no escaping and there are no lessons learned. It's just an onslaught of bile that eventually leaves you jaded and corrupted. You can argue who is at fault here, but really, we're all culpable in different ways. Journalists, writers, producers, editors, businessmen, consumers and fans, we're in this together.
Some of you are going to read this and lament about the downside of idealizing. You have that right. It doesn't matter since much isn't likely to change anytime soon. There's always going to be more of "them" than there are of "us" and the professional haters out there will always have their audience.
However, when these moments do happen, we have to appreciate them. Take a step back and breathe deeply. The Feb. 27 game was awesome, and even Knicks players commented on how great Curry played. There was no name-calling and no fake- drama moments to sizzle the tabloids. Just entertainment, straight, with no chaser needed.
This story is courtesy of "The Shadow League." For more sports stories, go to www.theshadowleague.com
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El Duque expected to throw Tuesday
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets pitcher Orlando Hernandez, sidelined at spring training because of arthritis in his neck, is expected to resume throwing on Tuesday.
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El Duque's health is a major issue for the Mets, who won the NL East in 2007 and came within one victory of the World Series. Their aging and unsettled rotation is a big question mark this year.
MySportsbook.com has the Mets as -110 favorites to repeat as NL East champions odds.
Hernandez went 11-11 with a 4.66 ERA last season, including 9-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 20 starts after the Mets acquired him from Arizona in late May. But he missed the playoffs because of a torn calf muscle.
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In any football or basketball game (the main sports that use point spreads) there are two teams playing against each other.
Those teams, though, are rarely exactly evenly matched – meaning that typically one team has a better chance than the other to win the game. If bettors were allowed to bet on who was simply going to win the game, smart ones would obviously bet on the better team (likely winning more than 50% of the time in the process).
If winning were that easy the Las Vegas and online sportsbooks would stop taking any bets! This is where the point spread comes in: the basic function of the point spread is to balance the likelihood of each team “winning” by adjusting the final score by the point spread. After this adjustment is made you get the Against The Spread result (ATS result for short).
Let’s look at Super Bowl XXXIX, New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Most people believed the defending champ Patriots to be the better team – so if betting were simply based upon which team would win the game, an uneven majority of people would have wagered on New England. But, by using the point spread, the bookmakers adjusted the terms of the bet, evening the proposition so about half the people believed the Pats to be the smart bet, while the other half considered Philly to be the smart bet.
New England Patriots -7 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The better team, called the Favorite, is expected to win the game and must “give” or “lay” points to the weaker team. The favorite is listed with a minus sign and the number of points they are favored by (e.g., New England -7)
In the case of our example, New England must not only win the game, but they must win by more than 7 points for Pats bettors to have a winning ATS result. An Eagles bettor wins his bet either if:
There was also the possibility that the final score could land exactly on the spread number (for example, the Pats winning 28-21 when -7), which is called a “push” or “no action” and a refund is then issued to bettors of both teams.
The same game with the same point spread can be considered from the weaker team’s perspective: The Underdog (Philly in the case of our example) is not expected to win the game and online football betting thus receives or “gets” points given by the stronger team. When a game is stated from the underdog’s perspective the team is listed with a plus sign and the number of points they are underdogs by:
Philadelphia Eagles +7 vs. New England Patriots
Keep in mind that Philadelphia +7 and New England -7 is the same point spread on the same game, simply stated differently. The first is from the underdog’s perspective; the later is from the favorite’s.
Not a must, but for some a mathematical approach is insightful. You can determine the ATS winner by either:
Let’s look at the actual result of Super Bowl XXXIX: New England 24 Philadelphia 21
The favorite, New England, won the game but not by more than the point spread they were favored by (7), so the ATS result was a LOSS for Pats bettors.
Looking at it from the underdog’s perspective, Philly did not win the game, but they lost by less than the point spread (7), so the ATS result was a WIN for Eagle bettors.
Mathematically considered, 24 for the favorite Pats minus 7 equals 17, which is less than the 20 the Eagles scored, so the underdog Eagles win the ATS result (or you could figure 20 plus 7 equals 27 for the Eagles, which is more than 24 for the Pats).
Emily’s boyfriend understood the point spread and wagered $100 on the Eagles at +7. The Eagles may not have gotten a Super Bowl ring, but since they won the ATS result Emily’s boyfriend cashed his bet – giving him money to take her out to a nice dinner.
And now hopefully you understand how to read point spreads, putting you one step closer to joining the fun of sports betting.