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JEFF ALLEN’S NBA FIRST HALF BUY, SELL and HOLDS

JEFF ALLEN’S NBA FIRST HALF BUY, SELL and HOLDS

With the NBA headed into the All-Star Break and 60% of the season completed, World Champion Handicapper Jeff Allen shares some personal observations on the first half and on how to make money in the second half.

BUY

The Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks showed significant improvement last year under Jason Kidd finishing 41-41 and making the playoffs. New additions, chemistry issues, Kidd’s hip replacement and a front-loaded early road schedule have the Bucks sitting at 22-32 and six games out of the logjam for the one of the final four playoff spots in the East. That said, the team has been playing better of late and will play 19 of their final 28 games at home where they are 15-7 straight up. The Bucks have dug themselves a deep hole but this is a team with talent and can play and we fully expect them to make a playoff run and be a solid “bet on” team over the next 60 days.

The Utah Jazz: The Jazz closed last year with a flourish and were solid money-makers over the second half of last year. They were far and away the best defensive team in last year’s second half and it showed, especially in the way we keep score. Injuries have slowed Utah’s progress but the Jazz are now health and 8-2 over their last 10 to finally get to the .500 mark. The return of big man Rudy Gobert (10.3, 10.5) was huge and the team runs so much better with Rodney Hood starting over either Burke/Birks. The Jazz do not have enough yet to challenge for a Western Conference first round playoff home court but they’ll be a tough out from the 5-6 slot and will be looking to bet this team and the under when top spots are found.

SELL

The Miami Heat: The Heat are 29-24 after the first half but in fact have been one of the more disappointing teams in the NBA in our eyes. Miami has had one of the easier schedules early with a bunch of home games front loaded but didn’t cash in the way they should have with Bosh and Wade healthy the entire way. Not sure that Flash will be able to hold up completely over the stretch run and the play of Dragic, Whiteside and Deng has been pedestrian at best. Erik Spoelstra is not much of a coach and his equity with Pat Riley is running short. Spoelstra is basically a hip Lawrence Franks and unless this team makes a move before the trade deadline will be a go against team at the window and could possible miss the playoffs.

The Golden State Warriors: No, we are not losing are minds. Sure the Warriors are off to the best start in NBA history but if you play on betting them the final 30 games, think twice. The days of betting Golden State in the first quarter and half in the blind and laying 15-18 points for a game are over. That’s been evidenced by their play over the past ten games that has seen play on cruise control at the end of both halves. The team has been allergic to playing defense and really appear to be fat and happy …. maybe even bored.  The Warriors are just 7-6-1 ATS over their L14 and unless they return from the break re-energized or with a new sense of purpose,  be careful betting the over inflated numbers that you’ll see the rest of the way.

HOLD

The Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC is in the unusual position of basically playing out the string until the playoffs. Barring a catastrophic injury or some type of melt down, this team is locked into the three spot in the West and as such will be the gatekeeper in the West. With Kevin Durant in his walk year, the collar is starting to tighten around OKC’s window of opportunity to win a championship as currently comprised. The Thunder will continue to win games at about the same .741 (40-14) clip that they’ve started the year but keep in mind that this team is 20-32-2 ATS for the year and has been a very poor situational play in most scenarios. OKC is another team  that could “rent” a player for the rest of the year, possibly a big physical paint player of the Kendrick Perkins (but better) mode. We’ll
wait and see on Oklahoma City  and possibly look to play their overly inflated totals under when the team is at home and with rest.

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