While the Buckeyes late game heroics enabled me to cover 3 out 4 last night, it’s tough to feel lucky when you know the book doesn’t apologize for their backend covers. My so-called good/overweight friend Damian Cougar has already complained this morning about the one game I lost last night, but he’s just bitter because Crispy Cream has announced they’re closing more stores this year. But enough about the Coug, the NBA looks like San Fran during the gold-rush tonight and I’ve got plenty of Rocker Boxes and Gold Pans for ya to use. I may be crazier than Maurice Clarett on the Goose, but I think I’ve found 5 winners in the NBA and one more in college. Let’s roll fellas, but please remember…this is for news and news matter only!...www.insideplays.com
TORONTO RAPTORS (-2) @ MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Surprise, surprise, the young Raptors are in the mix for the Atlantic Division title. With a new GM, big-time off-season trades, and plenty of newcomers from overseas, the Raptors have taken some time to gel but already look deeper and bigger upfront than most teams in the East. The Raptors struggled last night in New Jersey, but should have a much easier time in Milwaukee with three of the Bucks top 4 scores probably out tonight (Redd-out, Mo Williams-doubtful, Villanueva-doubtful). In addition, I love investing on young energetic teams the night after a divisional loss…Oh yeah, and I’ve got a feeling Chris Bosh is going to go off tonight…Raptors by 5-11 points
CHICAGO BULLS @ WASHINGTONG WIZARDS (-3.5)
Paxson, Skiles, & Co. are 5-11 on the road this year, while the Wiz are 13-3 and won their last 6 at home. Arenus, Butler, & Jamison have been unstoppable over the last month and should enjoy seeing a banged-up and poor shooting Hinrich and his undersized backcourt mates visiting the Capital (Duhon & Gordon). The Wizards have been a high-scoring machine this season, and I just don’t see how the Bullies, losers of 3 of 4, can keep up…Wizards by 6-12 points
INDIANA PACERS (-3) @ BOSTON CELTICS
You have to think that Al Harrington and Jermaine O’Neal will be too much for the Paul Pierce’less Celtics. The Pacers have the squad to do some damage in the East and finally look to have turned the corner winning 6 out of their last 9. Also, I just think Rick Carlisle is a much better coach than Doc Rivers and the Pacers actually have a better record on the road than the Celts do at home…Pacers by 5-11 points
SAN ANTONIO SPURTS (-5) @ DENVER NUGGETS
The Nuggets have lost 5 of 6 and every night seem to be getting a new guy thrown into the A.I. mix. Tonight, J.R. Smith returns from suspension but nearly a third of the roster is either listed as probably or questionable on the injury report. As for the Spurs, they just got Tony Parker back from injury and were able to rest many of their starters last night against the Blazers. With the Suns and Mavs continuing to win and the extra hype of seeing Iverson in baby blue & gold, I expect Duncan and the boys to come in with some passion tonight and blow-out George Karl’s playground crew…Spurs by 8-14 points.
ORLANDO MAGIC @ GOLDEN ST. WARRIORS (-2.5)
Golden St. has quietly become one of the toughest places to play in the NBA (14-5) and once Don Nelson’s crew starts running tonight…I have a feeling Grant Hill and Turkoglu will struggle to keep up with the Warriors high-flyers (Ellis, Pietrus, & Barnes). In addition, I don’t think Jameer Nelson has the body to keep Baron Davis’s ass-out of the paint, and the Warriors are finally starting to look healthy up-front (Troy Murphy & Ike Diogu) to handle the short frontcourt bench of the Magic…Warriors by 5-11 points.
BUTLER BULLDOGS (-5) @ ILLINOIS-CHICAGO FLAMES
The once Cinderella Bulldogs have quietly gained respect nationally, as seen in their #12 ranking in the polls…and thanks to victories this season against Indiana, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, & Tennessee. As for the Flames, they’ve lost 4 out of 5 including their last game at home by 8 to Illinois St., and are without their head coach who has been sidelined indefinitely for heath reasons…Bulldogs by 8-14 points
GREG GAMBLE’S HOOP TOTALS- NBA 45-25 ATS ; NCAA 14-11 ATS