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    Jeff’s Sports Bets!

    (Welcome to the latest edition of a new weekly feature for Fox Valley Magazine, Jeff’s Sports Bets. Local punter Jeff gives his methodology and picks each Friday for NBA and, eventually, MLB games. And maybe a little March Madness thrown in. If you’re unfamiliar with betting, check out the introductory article, where Jeff begins by defining terms and discussing his process. Enjoy!)

    Bank After Fourth Week: DOWN $176.25

    I’m not so sure I’m enjoying the irony of Friday’s being my worst betting days, but the entire point of this column is to provide you with the tools to come up with a betting system that suits your specific mindset.

    I generally avoid uncorrelated parlays, but they might be your sweet spot. Player props require too much research for my taste, but if you religiously watch the games and do the math the books have a difficult time keeping up with them. Team futures don’t interest me, but some bettors make great money trading them just like stocks.

    Because their absolute lack of defense makes the games more predictable, I’ve had some reasonable success on in-game German basketball bets. Betting on Korean baseball overs and unders is also somewhat predictable. You can stream Korean baseball every morning free of charge right here.

    As far as my recent NBA and NHL betting goes, you’re only seeing the briefest of snippets. The big picture is I’m currently on a torrid winning streak winning $740 on $25 bets since March 30. Having FINALLY learned my lesson, I will refuse to allow that success to “con” me into abandoning a system I’ve worked so hard to create.

    If there’s enough interest, perhaps my longsuffering editor would be willing to expand the column to a shorter daily picks version.

    So, let’s review last Friday’s not-the-best-results.

    Mavericks 103 – Wizards (H) 135

    Yikes! The Mavs boast the seventh-best NBA defense while the Wizards rank 25th and this kind of absurd upset can still happen. Welcome to sports betting folks! A loss.

    Raptors 102 – Magic (H) 89

    A win as Toronto covered the ten-point spread and a little more. Sitting squarely at 46-33-1 ATS this season, the Raptors have been a money-making machine this season.

    Celtics (H) 128 – Pacers 123

    Apparent the lack of John Williams was a critical factor as Boston didn’t nearly cover the 15-point spread. And where exactly was Boston’s number one NBA defense? Ah well. It’s a loss.

    Bucks (H) 119 – Clippers 153

    Yikes part 2! I can’t remember the last time the Bucks lost by 34 points at home, but they just did just that. They inexplicably decided to rest their best players that evening, but that doesn’t nearly explain this kind of blowout. And please tell me why Coach Budenholzer would rest his key players when the Bucks had a real shot at unseating the Eastern Conference number one playoff seed? Now they’re two games behind Miami with just two games to go. Regardless, it’s a BIG loss.

    Spurs (H) 130 – vs. Trail Blazers 111

    The surging Spurs didn’t beat that 15-point spread by much, but betting against the hapless Trail Blazers has worked out quite well in the second half of the season. It’s a win.

    Nuggets (H) 130 – Timberwolves 136

    It may not have worked out this time, but I’d take the sixth seed Western Conference Nuggets at home by 2.5 points against the seventh seed Timberwolves every time. But this time it’s a loss.

    And lastly, LeBron suited up last Friday, so we passed on the Pelicans – Lakers game.

    So that’s two wins at $45.46 and four losses at -$100 for a net loss of $54.54. On to this Friday’s games!

    Now that I’ve outlined my betting system for a little more than a month, I’m going to focus on just the stats that put me over the 53 percent chance of winning a bet. Also, since this is the last Friday in the NBA regular season, we have to be cognizant of teams already locked into playoff positions resting their best players.

    With that new caveat in mind, here goes:

    Bucks -5 vs. Pistons (H)

    This short line shows some real respect for Detroit’s capacity to cover the spread in the second half, but it also gives us a great “price” on the current NBA East’s second seed. With the Bucks a scant half game ahead of the third place Celtics, they won’t be resting anyone this evening.

    Key stats:

    • The Bucks are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against Detroit
    • The Bucks are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games

    I’m surprised this spread isn’t double digits particularly as the Bucks will want to make a “statement” heading into the playoffs.

    Wizards -1 (H) vs. Knicks

    Despite the devastating loss of Bradley Beale, the Wizards have somehow managed to come alive in March, while the Knicks have been incredibly inconsistent. Does it make me nervous that the Knicks are 3-1 ATS in their last four road games? Yes! But that’s offset by the Wizards being 3-1 ATS in their last four home games. Put more simply, Washington should be able to eke out a one-point win at home.

    Key stats:

    • Key defensive players Rose, Randall, and Robinson are out for the Knicks
    • The Knicks are 2-4 ATS in their last six games

    That may not be a lot of data to go on, but again, our goal is to bet with 53 percent certainty and I firmly believe we get there on this one.

    Raptors (H) -11 vs Rockets

    This line was originally -14 in which case I wouldn’t have touched it. But with their fifth seed position still not guaranteed, Fred Van Vleet back in uniform for the Raptors, and Toronto playing at home, I’m willing to give it a shot.

    Key stats:

    • The 538 Blog picked the Raptors by 12.5
    • Toronto is 4-1 ATS in their last five games
    • The Rockets are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games
    • Houston is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games in Toronto

    So, it’s a bet!

    Heat (H) -1 vs. Hawks

    Like the Bucks – Pistons game, this game presents the rare opportunity to get the Heat at a bargain basement “price.” If the Heat wins tonight, the East first seed is theirs. If the Hawks win, they’re in the play-in tournament, so regardless, it’s gonna be a great game. But when we stack up Miami’s stellar season against Atlanta’s dismal road record, this one is a no-brainer.  

    Key stats:

    • Miami is 5-0 ATS in their last five games
    • Atlanta is 4-14 ATS on the road in their last 18 road games

    You might want to bet a little bigger on the Heat, too.

    Hornets +2 vs. Bulls (H)

    I know it’s hard to bet against the home team, but with Charlotte pumping it up and the Bulls fading at exactly the wrong time, I’ve gotta go with the Hornets. Now, add the reality that Charlotte cans still move up the playoff ladder while the Bulls are somewhat set with the sixth seed and you have a bet.

    Key stats:

    • The Hornets are 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 games.
    • The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record
    • The Bulls are 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games

    Mavericks -18 (H) vs. Trail Blazers

    As you know, we typically wouldn’t touch a two touchdown plus a field goal NBA spread, but with the injury decimated Trail Blazers losing nine straight against bad teams by an average of 18 points, this one’s an easy bet. Let’s not forget Portland’s dismal 10-30 road record, either.  

    Key stats:

    • None necessary for this one!

    Jazz (H) -2.5 vs. Suns

    Normally we’d never have the temerity to bet against the Suns as an underdog to the likes of the Jazz. But with Phoenix having locked up the number one NBA playoff spot and resting even healthy starters as a result, and with the Nuggets nipping at the Jazz’ fifth playoff seed heels, I’m willing to give Utah a shot. 

    Key stats:

    • The Jazz are 9-3-2 ATS in their last 14 home games
    • The Suns are 1-4 ATS in their last five games

    We will take a pass on the Lakers -5.5 (H) vs. Thunder game because we won’t know if LeBron and Anthony Davis will play until game time. The fact that both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs also makes it much more difficult to get over that 53 percent hump.

    So, this is it for the regular NBA season which ends on Sunday. We’ll continue with some playoff picks, but just as it is with March Madness, and particularly as the playoffs proceed, it gets much more difficult to accurately bet on NBA playoff games. So, we’ll see what happens.

    Meanwhile, we’ll be moving onto Major League Baseball and same-game correlated parlays which is both more difficult and easier than betting on spread sports. But we need to let the season get underway before we have the data to make our educated picks.

    See you next week!

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