GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 PIGSKIN Picks: 65-44 ats...60%
NFL 25-19 - NCAA 20-15 - Teasers 20-10 - Lovely Ladies 69-0
GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 HARDWOOD Picks: 40-34 ats…54%
NBA 24-24 - NCAA 10-8 - Teasers 6-2 - Church League 69-0
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (+2) @ UTAH JAZZ
Having only played twice since last Wednesday and coming off an embarrassing loss in Hollywood Sunday, I expect Popovich’s trio of superstars to look sharp from the onset tonight. On the Salt Lake City side, all the injuries have started to take a toll on Jerry Sloan’s undermanned roster and forced an already hobbled Deron Williams (back/ankle), Paul Millsap (knee), AK-47 (foot), Okur (aging, tall, white-dude) to play way too many minutes thus far.
Speaking of AK-47 (questionable), it’s possible he might be headed to season-ending surgery in the next couple days, so don’t be surprised if the atmosphere in Utah is extra dire if he’s sitting in street-clothes. Overall, the Jazz have lost five of their last seven, are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs, and were absolutely murdered in Denver Sunday by a Melo-less Nuggets squad 117-97.
As for a specific match-up tonight, with Boozer out, Millsap undersized, AK-47 running on one foot, and Okur not what you’d call a defensive specialist, how do you think Timmy D is gonna look after only playing 27 minutes against the Lakers? Especially with C Matt Bonner (45-3pt%), SG Roger Mason Jr. (45-3pt%), Bruce Bowen (45-3pt%), & Michael Finley (38-3pt%) to space the floor to prevent the Jazz from doubling, I expect the Demon Deacon to dominate the paint to the tune of 30 & 15. Throw-in the slashing creativity of Manu & Tony Longoria against the injury-ravaged frontcourt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs won by double-digits tonight…SPURS BY 6-12 POINTS
PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (+1) @ WISCONSIN BADGERS
I know during the Bo Ryan Era you rarely collected much dinero if you invested against the Badgers at home, but just like those latest pictures of Jessica “I ate Tony Romo” Simpson, things no longer look as sexy in Madison. Wisconsin has lost four-straight, including two heartbreakers in OT, and just doesn’t have the offensive fire-power to keep-up with the top-tier teams in the Big Ten. Leading scorer Marcus Landry (13 ppg, 4 rpg) would be a roll player on just about every ranked team in the country, while 6-0 Jr. G Trevon Hughes (12 ppg, 42-fg%) is another example of a Ryan-Era overachiever.
On the flipside, after a two game slide just after X-Mas, the Boilermakers have easily looked like the best team in conference and were extremely sharp this past weekend winning at Minnesota 70-62…and yes, that’s the same Gopher squad that won at Wisconsin in OT two weeks ago. And the game prior to that for Coach Painter, Purdue beat the Badgers in West Lafayette by double digits.
As for a Greggy G Gambling Theory, while early in the year even elite teams struggle in conference road games, as the season progresses, those same teams usually find the right mojo away from home…even though the spread represents all the money Vegas won early in the year on the home-dogs. If that confused you, just trust me, the Boilermakers have too much speed, size, and confidence to let the methodical approach from the Badgers screw with Coach Painter’s relentless attack…BOILERMAKERS BY 5-10 POINTS
TEXAS LONGHORNS @ BAYLOR BEARS (pick)
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TEXAS LONGHORNS @ BAYLOR BEARS (pick)
Led by four veteran guards all capable of scoring 20 points on any given night, the Bears have a unique swagger when casting the rock in front of the home crowd (11-1). While they struggled against Blake Griffin in Oklahoma this past weekend (just like everybody else) and are susceptible to dominate big-men, the Longhorns sometimes don’t have the discipline to pound the ball inside. Especially with A.J. Abrams ready to cast from anywhere, I expect Baylor’s guard-oriented attack to somewhat trick the Texas guard into an unnecessary shooting match.
Of course I’m scared the aggressive Texas frontcourt (Damion James, Gary Johnson, Dexter Pittman) will control the glass tonight, but surprisingly, the Baylor guards have done a decent job of getting their opponents bigs in foul-trouble and corralling the abundance of long rebounds unique to their style of play. Throw-in the gutsy and foul-proof play of 6-9 Sr. Kevin Rodgers (12 ppg, 8 rpg, 52-fg%), a couple veteran 7-footers for Coach Drew to throw out for a few minutes (Mamadou Diene & Josh Loomers), and the emergence of 6-7 string-bean Quincy Ace (7 ppg, 5 rpg, 73-fg%), and I actually don’t expect the Longhorns to dominate underneath as much as you’d expect. And considering Baylor only lost by a couple last year in Waco with D.J. Augustin running the show, I expect a different outcome from this confident bunch tonight.…BAYLOR BY A COUPLE