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Bookie busters: Some betting plays for college hoops, NBA and even soccer

Bookie busters: Some betting plays for college hoops, NBA and even soccer
The NCAA Tournament has some playable games, including Texas Tech. Getty Images

This weekend is packed with action with the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 matchups tipping off, along with NBA and soccer matches from the world's top leagues. Let's jump into some lines where we see some value and place some wagers.

NCAA Tournament

Friday

West Virginia  +5 O/U 152.5

Villanova

Texas Tech +2         O/U 137.5

Purdue

Syracuse   + 11.5 O/U 133.5

Duke

Clemson   +5 O/U 142.5

Kansas

Action

                    CASH | TICKETS

Villanova      71%   80%

Texas Tech   80%  53%

Syracuse       77%   54%

Kansas          58%   68%

Picks:

Villanova -5

Texas Tech +2

NBA

With under a five game separation between the 4th and 10th seeds in the Wild Western Conference, motivation and fatigue will be a key factor down the stretch.

Let's take a look at the Rockets and Blazers game for example.

The Blazers had their 13 game winning streak snapped, and the legs under the shots of the two Portland stars showed fatigue. The Dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined to go 0-12 from the 3-point line netting only 28 points while on the court for over 70 minutes.

On the opposite side, Houston's hottest tandem blew up the scoreboard accounting for 64 points, going 10-17 from behind the arch. The key is the pair managed to do this in less court time (64 minutes) but contributed in all facets of the game tacking on 14 rebounds and 13 assists

The game clearly meant more to a Blazer squad carrying a double-digit win streak as well as jousting for playoff position. Both Lillard and McCollum are playing career highs in minutes this season, and that is something we will monitor down the stretch. Heavy legs are bad news for a team that relies on their two stars two push the pace and knock down jump shots.

Harden, on the other hand, is averaging his lowest minutes per game in three years. This year he is down to 35.5 MPG, just two years ago in 2016 he was playing 38.1 MPG, almost three entire minutes more per game. Staying fresh down the stretch will be key.

Friday 3/22

Suns vs. Cavaliers

The Cavaliers need to close the season out strong to guarantee themselves homecourt in the first round. They currently have a 1.5 game cushion for homecourt, with the Pacers and Wizards proceeding within a few games putting the pressure on LeBron James crew. The only issue is there is only so much he can do, and the defensive efficiency of the Cavaliers has taken a hit. In the last ten games, Cleveland's defense ranks 25th in the NBA (112.5). During those ten games, they are 6-4, and the offense has been carrying the team. The Cavaliers are third in offensive efficiency during the time frame and are top 10 in Net Rating, Assist%, Ast/TO ratio, all while leading the league in True shooting percentage 60.8%.  So, you ask yourself, why haven't they had more success? Rebounding is your answer, and Cleveland has been horrible as of late. In the last ten games, they are 27th in offensive and 26th in defensive rebounding. How do these numbers help us handicap Friday night's matchup? These teams faced off March 13th, and Cleveland lit it up dropping 129 points in a 22-point blowout. When looking at the final score one would think the game was completely lopsided, but that wasn't the case. The Suns fell behind 20 points in the opening 12 minutes but were only outscored by 4, 6 and 0 in the following quarters. The Cavaliers offense had significant success vs. a Phoneix team that accommodates the league's fourth worse defense in their last ten contests. We like to use this sample size as some teams are mailing it in while others are fighting for their postseason lives. This sample gives us a better measure of where these teams heads are at down the stretch.

The Cavaliers need to win and LeBron has thrown the team on his back as of late. In the last meeting, he had a triple-double, and the Cavaliers scored 68 first-half points followed by 34 points in the 3rd. They would cruise to the finish line, only tallying 27 in the closing 12 minutes for a total of 129. I expect the same from Cleveland at home in a contest they would like to blow wide open and rest legs down the stretch. Phoenix is in offseason mode dropping nine straight, and this matchup will be no different.

Play

Cavaliers 1st half -7.5

Cavaliers Team total 1st Quarter over 30.5

Cavaliers Team Total Over 120.5

Over 228

(Projected spread)

Jazz +3.5 vs. Spurs Under 194.5

San Antonio is on an 8-1 under streak, scoring less than 98 points in 5 of the last 7 games. The Jazz have held opponents under 99 points in 11 of the last 13 games and are listed as a -3.5 underdogs.

Play Under 195

Nuggets vs Wizards Over 219

International Soccer

Friday 3/22 11:00AM

Brazil vs. Russia Over 2.5    

In a meaningless friendly fixture, look for both teams to play wide open soccer. The World Cup is being held in Russia this summer and leaving an exciting performance vs. one of the worlds elite is the perfect prescription for local fans to get behind their team leading up to the Cup. Imagine what a victory vs. Brazil can do for a teams morale. The Brazilians, on the contrary, will be looking to get past this match with minimal injuries, while always putting on the same offensive display as usual. Last time they were involved in friendly of the same nature, they played a thrilling 3-3 match vs. Spain in a game where defense was minimal, and both sides wanted to put on a show.  Look for the same Friday.

Play Over 2.5 goals

Official Plays

Villanova -5

Texas Tech +2

(Projected spread)

Cavaliers 1st half -8

Cavaliers Team total 1st Quarter over 30.5

Cavaliers Team Total Over 120.5

Over 228

Jazz vs. Spurs Under 194.5

Nuggets vs. Wizards Over 219

Brazil vs. Russia Over 2.5    

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

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Suns defeat Rockets, 110-105. Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Phoenix All-Star Devin Booker and Houston rookie Cam Whitmore got into a minor scuffle midway through the fourth quarter Thursday night and both players were called for a technical foul.

With a couple big blocks on the ensuing possession, Suns center Jusuf Nurkic was there to back his star teammate.

Booker scored 35 points, Kevin Durant added 24 and the Suns held off the Rockets 110-105, with the teams set to meet again in Phoenix on Saturday night.

Nurkic had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks before fouling out. His biggest moment came in the fourth, when he stuffed Whitmore twice on the possession following the scuffle, drawing huge roars from the Phoenix crowd.

“Very important — that's the team sticking together,” Booker said. “That goes a long way. That's what you need when things get tough, it gets to the thick of things and the energy is high. You want to know you have people on your team that are built like that.”

Booker scored 20 points in the first quarter to help give the Suns an 18-point lead they would never relinquish. He has scored at least 20 points in an NBA-high six quarters this season.

Three-time All-Star Bradley Beal missed his fifth straight game because of a hamstring injury.

The Suns took an 86-75 lead into the final quarter. Houston cut the advantage to six midway through the fourth, but Booker responded immediately with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine.

That led to the brief skirmish between Booker and Whitmore. Tempers stayed hot over the next few minutes — Houston's Alperen Sengun fouled out and then got two quick technicals, earning an ejection.

Booker hit both of the technical free throws, Nurkic followed with his two free throws from Sengun's foul, and that pushed the Suns' lead to 99-84. The Rockets would cut the lead to four with 16.9 seconds left, but Royce O'Neale hit two free throws to end the threat.

Jalen Green led Houston with 34 points. Fred VanVleet added 21. The Rockets connected on just 11 of 45 3-pointers and shot 33.3% from the field overall, which was their worst percentage of the season.

“It wasn't one of our better nights as far as guys getting open looks and making the extra pass,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “We had a few guys who had it going, but a few guys who were struggling.”

Phoenix has won seven of its past 10 — and nine in a row at home — as it tries to stay in the top six of the Western Conference playoff race and avoid the play-in tournament. The sliding Rockets have lost eight of 10.

“We're getting confident in this building,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said.

Booker's big first quarter pushed the Suns to a 33-17 lead. The four-time All-Star made 8 of 10 shots from the field, including a 33-foot 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Phoenix settled for a 64-53 halftime lead. Booker had 26 points before the break while Green led Houston with 21.

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