GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS - 36-25 ATS...58%
NFL: 12-11 - NCAA: 13-8 - Teasers: 11-6 – Hotties 841-0
GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 HARDWOOD PICKS – 4-3 ATS…57%
After a 2-0 ATS evening and an NBA trade with more flavor than Snow Bunnies in bikinis, the cocktails flowed like the Salmon of Capistrano as I perused my late night sources to continue the magical start to the week. And considering we have a lil Tuesday Night College Football action to parlay with our NBA & Presidential ATS, I’m guessing my friends at Eagle Liquors already know to save Greggy G a parking space in the loading zone…btw, what aisle are the 2-liters of Purple Passion available? But briefly on the A.I. for Chauncey swap, let me breakdown some knowledge on why these organizations made the deal:
1. J.R. Smith determines if Denver makes the Playoffs
If most casual fans still see shooting guard J.R. Smith (or as his friends call him “Young-Rich”) as simply an immature “Me-First” streetballer, they haven’t been watching Nugget hoops like they should. While still possessing the ability to be a knucklehead, the 6-6 highflier has the quickness & strength to be threat on the wing even w/out his lethal 3pt stroke. Over the last two seasons, “Young-Rich” has averaged almost 13 ppg in 20 min. of work while shooting 40% from behind the arc & 45% from the floor.
As for the former Sixer, after years of punishment, an inability to guard apposing SGs, and not creating enough space for Carmelo to operate, it became apparent Iverson and his persona were more than expendable. Now, J.R. steps into the other wing-spot spacing the floor and providing Melo more room to operate. Oh yeah, and instead of the overachieving 2nd string point Anthony Carter forced to log starter minutes, George Karl has a veteran All-Star floor-general (ala Gary Payton & Sam I Am) getting his shooters the rock and providing another floor-spacer to enable Syracuse’s finest a chance to utilize his talents.
2. Money, Money, & Stuckey on the mind of Joe D
On the Motown side, while the immediate impact is not as great, the reasoning is surprisingly similar. Like J.R. Smith, Rodney Stuckey’s rapid-development behind Chauncey facilitated this trade. I guarantee if Joe D knew Stuckey was already this NBA-ready, he would never had signed the slowly-aging Billups to a long-term contract. With Rip & Tayshaun on the wings, the young combo of Jason Maxiel & Amir Johnson at PF, and Stuckey at the point, the Pistons only have to fill the void in the middle…and now, they have the money to do their shopping with A.I. & Sheed coming off the books.
To tell you truth, I actually think Stuckey ova Billups may provide a youthful spark to a somewhat stagnate group the last couple years. And while I struggle to see how Iverson will mesh with Mo-Town’s starters, if the organization has the balls and A.I. is willing to put his ego aside, talk about an upgraded-tattooed version of The Microwave off the bench…never mind, that makes too much sense to actually happen. Overall, I still see the Pistons has top-tier team in the East that will lose in the 2nd round of the Playoffs this year, but because of this move, they’ve become big-time players in the FA sweepstakes and reestablished themselves as a contender for year’s to come.
MIAMI (OH) REDHAWKS @ BUFFALO BULLS (-9)
Buffalo (4-4) has rebounded from a heartbreaking three-game losing streak to win their last two and pull even with Akron for the MAC East lead. Led by one of the hottest young coaches in the country, Turner Gill has the veteran Bulls brimming with confidence and convinced their early season disappointments have made them stronger. Sr. QB Drew Willy may not have David Klingler numbers, but he’s commanded the offense efficiently and limited his mistakes this season (15 TD, 4 INT, 63%). Considering he has a future Sunday Funday RB behind him in 6-2, 215 lbs Jr. James Starks and a playmaker like WR Naaman Roosevelt (51 rec, 695 yrds, 6 TD) on the outside, the balanced attack should have no trouble with the lousy defense of the (2-6) Redhawks…who just allowed Kent State to score 54 points in a 33 point home-loss last week! While Starks has been banged-up at times this season, he looked 100% last week rushing for 185 yards & 2 TDs against a decent Ohio Bobcats squad. Probably the most impressive aspect of the Bulls offense this season was their ability to keep pace at Missouri (losing 21-27 late in the 3rd) without Starks, before wearing down late.
As for the Redhawks offense, the high-hopes for Jr. QB Daniel Raudabaugh were officially squashed three weeks ago as he was benched for redshirt Fr. Clay Belton (54% 2 TD, 3 INT). While the 6-5 Belton has the tools to become a player in the MAC, last week he threw two costly interceptions in their blow-out to Kent St. so expect him to look tentative on the road tonight, especially with the ESPN Tuesday Night atmosphere. The only playmaker Miami (OH) has sported of late is another freshman who took over just a couple weeks ago in J.R. Taylor. While he’s rushed for 240 yards at 6.5 clip the last two weeks, considering he didn’t touch the pigskin until the six-game of the season, I’m not the least big worried he’ll keep the Redhawks within double-digits tonight.
Final Score: REDHAWKS 17 BULLS 34
Alrighty, enought pigskin, it's time for some NBA ATS Luv
BOSTON CELTICS @ HOUSTON ROCKETS (-2)
First off, unlike the NFL, the defending champs can’t lose a playoff spot in the first four weeks of a season. After playing into late June followed by plenty of celebrating and marketing opportunities, no matter how the Celts spin-it, their off-season was anything but routine. While KG always seems to bring the energy and Paulie is claiming he changed his diet this off-season, watching the Three Amigos get blown-out by Indiana Saturday proves their not the same dominating a team of last year early on. Especially, with Kendrick Perkins looking slower & still favoring his shoulder and Doc missing his nasty vet off the bench (The Posenator), the aging superstars actually need to produce more than they did last year.
As for the Rockets, considering nobody is injured yet, this team is as scary as they come and an absolute nightmare matched-up for Boston. Yao Ming is destroying teams on the block (22 ppg, 11 rpg, 52%) and shouldn’t have trouble against Perkins. On the wing, in my opinion this isn’t even an argument as I’d take Ron-Ron & T-Mac ova Paulie & Shuttlesworth any day. Throw-in the annoying and aggressive play of Scola & Landry at PF (19 ppg, 11 rpg), the motivation of playing the Champs, & the home-court advantage, and the only way I can see the Celts pulling this off is if Rajon Rondo starts raining in 3s…and you & I both know that’s not even a possibility…Rockets by 6-11 points