GAMBLING GUIDE

Bookie Busters: Some midweek plays on the NBA and soccer

Ronaldo and Real Madrid should be money makers. Photo by Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Although the Astros had an abysmal performance Friday night, Bookie Busters still found a way to profit for the weekend

5-3-1

MLB 0-2

Astros-1.5 LOSS

Astros Total Runs over 5  lOSS

NBA 3-0

New Orleans Team Total Over 115  WIN

New Orleans 1st half -6  WIN

New Orleans  First quarter -3  WIN

UFC 0-1

Joanna Jedrzejczyk -112  LOSS

Soccer 2-0-1

Manchester Utd vs. Manchester City

Over 2.5 goals  WIN

Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid

Under 3  WIN

Roma vs. Barcelona

Over 3 -118 PUSH

NBA

Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves

Wednesday night gives NBA enthusiast everything you want out of a season finale, one game for postseason life, an NBA scheduler 's dream!

Both teams come into this matchup with familiarity as they faced off less than a week ago in a Denver 100-96 victory. On that night, the Timberwolves played a sound first half going into the intermission with a 54-51 lead. In the closing half, they only put up 42 points while ending the night shooting 25% from 3-point range. Denver is finishing strong down the stretch, having reeled off eight wins in the last ten games. On this steak they have ranked top ten in both offensive efficiency (7th) and defensive efficiency (8th). Denver, is a team known for its offensive pace and the way the team runs out in transition. But on this streak, they have slowed down the pace considerably, ranking 20th on the five-game run. Slowing the pace down has allowed the Denver interior players to be in optimal positions to rebound and this had translated to the third best offensive rebound percentage in the NBA in the small time frame.

The Pick

In the matchup on April 4 in Denver, the Nuggets were favored by 4.5 points. Now the line has changed 7.5  points with home court flipping, and I don't know if it's justified with the current form of these two teams. Yes, Minnesota has won its last two games but the competition was subpar vs. teams in offseason mode (Lakers, Grizzlies). Before that, they lost to a couple of potential playoff teams in the Nuggets and Jazz. Dating back to March 11, the Timberwolves have been on an odd streak off winning two games and losing two games consecutively. As mentioned earlier, they just won their last two games, so I guess we know what comes next. Denver, welcome to the postseason.

Denver +3

Thunder vs. Grizzlies

Oklahoma City needs to better its seeding with a win as their playoff spot is already clinched. In their path, a poor Memphis team that is gasping for air to make it to the finish line of the NBA season. Memphis is bottom 5 in the NBA in first-half points (51) while owning a -4.1 point margin in opening halves. The Thunder, average 54.7 points in the first-halves and carry a top 5 margin of +2.8 in the opening 24 minutes of games.  Look for the Thunder to come out fast and make a statement at home, this game gets out of hand, quickly.

The Pick

Thunder First Half -7

Thunder Team Total Over

*Projected line

Soccer

Champions League

Real Madrid vs. Juventus

The deciding leg in a two-way tie that sits at 3-0, the home team has the benefit of playing against a team that will be desperate and will be missing their best player Dybala. With 20 goals in their last seven matches attached to the space they will have in this game will be enough to get them on the score sheet a few times. Real Madrid, with a comfortable win.

The Pick

Real Madrid Money line

Real Madrid -1

Real Madrid Team Total Over 2

Ronaldo to score a goal anytime

For any questions or comments reach me  @JerryBoknowz on twitter

 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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