NBA Betting Previews from Sportsbook.com

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NBA: Chicago and Denver Need W's on TNT

The NBA teams that reside in the Windy City and Rocky Mountains are feeling the pinch with seven days left in the regular season. The Bulls simply hope to qualify for the postseason, while Denver hopes to end a recent skid that has seen it drop from comfortably in 2nd in the West to possibly losing home court advantage in the first round.  Both teams play in separate halves of a TNT Thursday night doubleheader against conference frontrunners that have become indifferent to winning or losing at this point. Sportsbook.com has priced the games accordingly.

The Chicago Bulls were once comfortably in the playoff picture, second in the Central Division and marching merrily along as a young team on the rise. But even in the Eastern Conference, 10-game losing streaks can really impact your position in the standings (unless you're New Jersey) and the Bulls season imploded like another Illinois political scandal.

Chicago (37-40, 39-36-2 ATS) fell below motoring Milwaukee in the division and all the way out of the top eight slots in the East, trailing Toronto by one game, despite coming back to win six of last nine SU and ATS.

Chicago desperately wants to sign Dwayne Wade as max free agent, which is why they traded John Salmons to the Bucks, taking on the expiring contracts of Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander. While this vision might work towards the future, it did nothing for Chicago in the present.

Since the Feb. 18 trade, Da Bulls are 10-14 and 13-11 ATS with Salmons up the road on I-94 in Sudsville. Milwaukee, now with a consistent NBA guard who can score in the backcourt, is 19-6, 18-5-2 ATS since that fateful day.

Chicago has to face Cleveland (61-17, 38-38-2 ATS) next, just the best and deepest team in the NBA. The one edge the Bulls could have is the Cavaliers have set the cruise control and are resting various players until the regular season is finished.

Cleveland tried to help Chicago, taking down Toronto 113-101 as 5.5-points favorites, but the wully-Bullies couldn't handle a depleted Bucks squad and lost by five at United Center. The Cavs are 24-11-1 ATS after a double digit triumph, while Chicago is 6-0 ATS after a SU defeat.

The Bulls have covered four of last five in Chi-Town against LeBron and the fellas and this Central showdown is on TNT which starts a bit after 8:00 Eastern.

Nuggets not playing tasty basketball

Denver (50-27, 33-39-5 ATS) has gone from sole possession division leader and second seed in the West to fifth in the conference. The Nuggets have had their fair share of frightful opponents, yet that doesn't explain their 5-6 record and frigid 1-9-1 ATS spread mark in last 11 contests.

The single common denominator is the absence of George Karl who last attended a game on March 16. While Karl is above average coach, he's not thought of as elite, nonetheless his voice it seems is the one Denver players responds to.

According to the Denver Post, Karl has lost 25 pounds, has difficulty speaking and may need to be fed through a tube for up to six more months, that doesn't sound like person that could be returning to the bench anytime in the near future sadly.

That leaves it up to the team leaders like Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to be role models and max their abilities for the Nuggets to be victorious.

Denver hosts the Los Angeles Lakers (55-22, 32-43-2 ATS) after facing Oklahoma City last night. The Nuggets are 32-6 at the Pepsi Center (18-19-1 ATS), winning by 9.6 points per game, which is the third best home record in the NBA. The Lakers are 22-16 (16-22-1 ATS) on the road and Denver is 7-0 ATS against clubs with winning visitor's record and Sportsbook.com has them as two-point favorites with total of 203.5.

One extra large negative for Carmelo's crew is recent 1-7-1 ATS mark when playing with no rest and they are 8-2 UNDER, as offense has been stalling with Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson on the sidelines.

To move back up in the standings, Denver needs this contest which starts at approximately 10:35 Eastern and the other three remaining games on the schedule to improve conference position for the playoffs.

Head over to Sportsbook.com now to bet on both of these NBA games.

MLB: AL West clubs seek split to start season

This season Seattle and Los Angeles are considered prime rivals for the American League West crown but each has lost two of three to start a new campaign and needs a victory today to gain a split to begin the year.  The Mariners play Thursday afternoon, the Angels are at night. Sportsbook.com houses the wagering action for these as well as the other nine games on the Major League Baseball betting board.

Sleepless in Seattle

The Mariners made several off-season moves designed to close the gap between themselves and the Angels. Though one-run wins or losses are considered random events by baseball math experts, since they are changeable from year to year for every team, that doesn't make them any easier to swallow.

Seattle, after winning the first contest over division partner Oakland, has lost 2-1 and 6-5 the last two evenings, in the latter blowing a lead late in the game.

The M's will turn to Doug Fister for the first time in 2010. As a rookie, he was 3-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 11 games, 10 which of he was a starter. Fister is a big man at 6'8, but is not overpowering, being more a pitch to contact hurler. Look for Oakland to load up with as many left-handed bats as they can against the right-hander, since he surrendered a home run every 15 at bats against them in 2009. Seattle failed to win in Fister's last four road starts.

Oakland counters with one of their young studs, 22-year old Brett Anderson. The lefty set an Oakland rookie record with 150 strikeouts and led the team in both strikeouts and wins with 11. He was roughed up a bit in the spring, but part of that was trying to add a changeup into his pitching arsenal. Dating back to last season, the A's are 9-3 off a win.

For this 3:35 Eastern matinee, Sportsbook.com has Oakland as -160 money line favorite with total Ov8, however the Athletics are 6-17 at home having won two of their last three games and are 6-1 OVER in Game Four of a series.

Seattle will look to balance the win/loss ledger, but are 9-23 as road underdog of +150 or less and 2-7 vs. left-handed starters. The Mariners are 29-15 UNDER in day games.

Angels need a prayer

Los Angeles has lost Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero from their everyday lineup and while it is way too early to make judgment call, the Angels have dropped the last two contests to the Twins, totaling five runs.

The Angels hope the bats awaken against Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey, whose fastball is in the 88-89 range, which he throws easily on both sides of the plate. He mixes in a tight curveball and late-breaking slider. L.A. will look to attack early, since they are 41-15 in double revenge situations.

The Halos will have two different debuts Thursday at 10:05 Eastern, Hideki Matsui in leftfield for the first time since June 15, 2008 and Joel Pineiro making his initial start with Angels cap.

"Every first start of every year is exciting," Pineiro said. "You want to get out there and get that first one out of the way and get in the normal rotation. It's just a matter of executing, hitting your spots and making your pitches. You've got to get ahead in the count and expand from there. I want to attack their weaknesses with my strengths.

That might be easier said than done for Pineiro, who is 2-6 with a 4.32 ERA against Minnesota, facing players that are dialed in.

Justin Morneau and J.J. Hardy are coming off long balls in back to back games, leading a Twins club that is 14-5 following a victory. Minnesota is a +115 road dog and has won six of seven outright when at +110 to +150 price.

L.A. is the favorite for a fourth time in the series despite a pair of defeats is 9-3 as home chalk. Normally the Big A is a positive place for the Angels when the Twins visit, sporting a 24-11 record.

With dime lines on most MLB games, it is no wonder MLB bettors profit on baseball more so than any other sport at Sportsbook.com.


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