NBA Home Court Not Strong

'GETTING THE BEST OF IT'
With handicapping legend Tony Salinas

LAYING POINTS ON HOME TEAMS
IS A BAD EARLY SEASON STRATEGY

There are some nights when I'm watching all the NBA games on the big screen TV's here in Las Vegas that I don't think home court advantage is worth much of anything any more.

It's supposed to be worth about three points. I can remember back when it used to be worth more like four or five in the run-and-gun days a couple of decades ago. Right now, it may actually be closer to ZERO than you might believe.

Look back over the last week at all the games won by road underdogs. It happens so often now that nobody even acts surprised. There were a few other games were road dogs didn't win outright, but they took a game right down to the wire. Remember when Orlando and Miami were scaring everyone so much that you couldn't bet a road dog against them? How did they do at home last week?

Here's what I think is happening:

*Crowds are smaller than they used to be because of the down economy, meaning many arenas are pretty dead most of the time.

*All the arenas look alike anyway, so there's nothing to distract visiting players because every game feels the same.

*The best teams are pacing themselves for the long haul. Oddsmakers give the best teams a lot of credit at home, but the powers aren't playing up to the pointspreads.

*Most teams run the same sets on offense and face the same defensive rotations every night. That means the cover comes down to whoever's shots happen to fall. Home court doesn't influence that the way it used to.

*Even the worst teams have somebody who can score. That's all it takes with some of these high spreads.

*You heard that 'tarnished' ref tell everyone that officials are encouraged to keep games from getting out of hand. That may play a role as well. There are definitely some refs that favor road teams. And, there are definitely refs who are protecting the scorers when they drive inside. Bad teams can score enough in the fourth quarter to hang within the number as a result.

About the only times I'd consider laying points at home would be:

*If the visitor is playing on night two of a back-to-back, or in their fourth road game in five nights. But, even THEN, you're seeing some of the road dogs show up and cover.

*If the visitor has an injury or two to key players that I don't think are properly being reflected in the line.

*If the home team has revenge from a recent meeting, and the line is at four points or below.

Otherwise, when in doubt...take the dog. If you don't have an opinion, think about the dog. If you like a dog already, consider making it a bigger play because it's probably a stronger play than you're giving it credit for. I'm talking about road dogs, home dogs, hot dogs, corndogs, hound dogs, and seeing-eye dogs. Home court may not mean much...but so many of these games are truly virtual coin flips that you should just throw home court out of the mix and take the points. Orlando barely beat New Jersey on the road over the weekend. It's not because New Jersey had a strong home court. Orlando just kind of showed up and went through the motions.

I know a lot of you don't like betting basketball until football is over. Some of you don't like betting the NBA until March Madness is over. To me, that's just plain DUMB. If money is sitting on the table, why wait until January or March to go pick it up?!

You can sign up for my HIGH ROLLER basketball service here at the website. Game day selections can also be purchased a few hours before the early games tipoff. If you'd like to put basketball and football together in a two-sport combo, call my office at 1-888-536-8880.

It's going to be a very busy next few days in college and pro basketball. Football is barely taking a breather with so many weekday games on the card coming up as well. Don't sit around on your couch deciding if you should do something about it. Start GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!

'GETTING THE BEST OF IT' is an ongoing series presented by VegasSportsMasters.com and legendary high roller TONY SALINAS. For more information on TONY'S handicapping packages, call 1-888-536-8880.

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