There's light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train bearing down on me to run me over. There's no question that January was a bad way to start the new year, but there are some very good signs. The week just completed was going to have to be a monster one to salvage anything from the chaos the first 4 weeks of the month had wrought. I didn't get that, but it was still a winning week at 6-4 (5-3 in the NBA and 1-1 in college hoops). I know it doesn't sound like much, but the thing I'm keyed in on here is the fact that I've cashed 5 of my last 6 tickets in the NBA and 6 of 8 after throwing the college hoops in from yesterday.
So, with the month not being anywhere near up to par finishing up at 26-28 (5-1 with college football, 2-4 in the NFL, 17-22 in the NBA and 2-1 with college hoops), I'm not at all dismayed to wave goodbye to it and put it in the rear view mirror. It does, however, look and feel like the worm is turning in my favor, so let's dig in and get to work here on the first day of our new month.
THE NFL (12-14 ATS, 6-4 TOTALS and 2-4 BUTTA last month)
Ravens (+4) vs. 49ers - There's a lot of ways to break this game down to try and find an edge for either team. The Niners have that big, bruising O-Line that can wear a defense down. The Ravens D is going to have to worry about 2 runners on each snap. There's nobody in that Niners secondary that can keep up with Ravens WR Smith. But I happen to think that neither team is going to be able to get away from the other, and when it's that close, it's going to fall to the kickers. The Niners guy has had the yips most of the season, while the Ravens rookie toe has hit everything in sight. There's also an emotional factor to this game that I think has to be minimally factored in here: With this group, the Niners can, and probably will, be in this game again, possibly multiple times over the next several years. For the Ravens, the window closes after the clock ticks to 0:00 tonight. Because of that I think the Ravens leave it all on the field, and I actually think they win this game. Though I won't be playing either, I also like the OVER (48) for the game as well.
Certainly, the Super Bowl will have everyone's attention for most of the day, but I see other better opportunities in our other active formats today.
COLLEGE HOOPS (10-9 ATS/11-8 SU/14-5 TOTALS yesterday, 16-11/17-10/19-8 for the week and 21-14/22-13/23-12 for the month)
BUTTA (1-1 yesterday and for the week and 2-1 for the month)
VILLANOVA (-6 1/2, O136) 77, Providence 62 - Don't worry about the TOTAL. I only want the side here.
ALL THE REST
1. Wisconsin (-1 1/2, U126) 62, ILLINOIS 57
2. MINNESOTA (-9 1/2, U136 1/2) 73, Iowa 63
THE NBA (8-1 last night, 30-23 for the week and 129-128 for the month)
SU WINNERS (8-1 last night, 34-17 for the week and 145-104 for the month)
CELTICS, PISTONS and Heat
TOTALS (6-3 last night, 30-23 for the week and 142-115 for the month)
All 3 of today's games look like UNDERS - Clippers/CELTICS (184), Lakers/PISTONS (201 1/2) and Heat/RAPTORS (195 1/2)
BUTTA (1-0 last night, 5-3 for the week and 17-22 for the month)
Heat (-200) over RAPTORS - The Dinos look to be in real trouble here. The Heat were embarrassed by the Pacers on Friday night, while Toronto is fresh off humiliating the Clips. It definitely, considering the talent level of both squads, doesn't add up that recent history will repeat itself 2 days later. I probably ought to go ahead and lay the Heat (-4 1/2), but my projection doesn't allow for much wiggle room. Heat 96, RAPTORS 90
ALL THE REST
1. Clippers (-1) over CELTICS - This number has swung to the Clips after opening Celts (-1), and I'm willing to at least agree with the move even though it means going against my own numbers. After seeing what I saw on Friday night in Toronto, I can't make the move though. I figure it will be a surly bunch of Clippers sailing into Boston today with the memory of that 25-point blowout loss against the Raptors in Toronto and ready to make amends for it. And even though the Celts have whacked their last 2 terribly inferior opponents, this is a huge step up in class for a team with even fewer bullets in their gun with Sullinger now lost for the season with Rondo. The projection says it's a Celtics win today. I say no way. CELTICS 89, Clippers 79
2. PISTONS (+3) vs. Lakers - You would think the Lakers should run all over the Pistons, but it sure doesn't look like it according to the numbers I have here. I don't know that I buy the huge spread in the projection, but the way the Lakers have performed on the road so far this season, it's anybody's guess. PISTONS 103, Lakers 86
The day doesn't need any more hype. Have a glorious time with the big game, be careful out there and I'll see you tomorrow after all the dust settles.