Another Texas Champion?

Tony Salinas: Another Texas Champion?

Last year the Dallas Mavericks shocked the NBA by winning the World Championship even though they weren't seen as a clear favorite in ANY of the four series they would win on the way to glory. They were possibly the most underrated champion EVER when you look at pointspread performance.

  • Dallas went 5-0-1 against the Vegas spread in their first round victory over Portland. That's one push, and FIVE covers for people betting on the Dallas Mavericks. It's easy to forget now. But, Portland was a popular pick to take out the Mavericks in that series.

  • Dallas went 4-0 against the Vegas line when they swept the shellshocked Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. This may have been one of the worst oddsmaking jobs I've ever seen given how well the Mavs matched up with the Lakers in terms of personnel. Dallas covered by 8, 19, 4, and 34 points in their four games. They were never favored by more than two points in a series they won by 56 points on the scoreboard!

  • Dallas went 3-2 against the Vegas line when they beat Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals four games to one. Their first non-cover of the whole playoffs came in Game Two of this series. That means they were 10-0-1 ATS before anyone lost a bet.

  • Dallas went 3-2-1 against the Vegas line when they shocked Miami in the NBA Finals.

Add it all up, and you've got 15-4-2 against the Vegas line in playoff games for the Mavericks. If you assume that the market price determines how you're rated...then Dallas was the most underrated champion that I've ever seen in terms of that long a run. Sure, we've had big underdogs jump up and win one big game in the world of sports. Dallas didn't get respect for well over a month but kept right on winning!

Move to this year, and we have a similar story for another Texas team. This time, it's the San Antonio Spurs who were underrated...and here I'm talking about the regular season. The Spurs were 42-20-4 against the spread in their 66 games in 2012, making it past the 67% threshold.

Who said that pointspreads were the great equalizer?! Oddsmakers didn't equalize much of anything this year with the Spurs. Remember that San Antonio tanked a few games to rest their starters. Imagine what their cover record was in games they were trying!

It would be less of a surprise if San Antonio were to go the distance because they're the #1 seed and had the best won-lost record in the NBA since the All-Star Break. But, if you're talking about pointspread performance, the Spurs could definitely be a team that lets you GET THE BEST OF IT in certain spots.

Does that mean I'll be laying double digits at home with them vs. Utah Sunday and Wednesday? Well, you regulars know I prefer double digit dogs to double digit favorites. I can't say that I'd endorse the Spurs when they're properly being priced. But, I could definitely back the Spurs in the following situations:

  • On the road vs. anybody at a cheap price or as a small dog

  • At home as affordable favorites in the second round and beyond

  • In any back-to-back spot (those are on the table for the second round) because this bench is so good

  • In any bounce-back spot off a loss

One caveat here is that Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan have to be healthy. If any of those guys get hurt (particularly Ginobili), then I'll quickly be looking to fade the Spurs at high prices or against a physical team like Memphis in the second round. Ginobili tried to play hurt last year, and the team was bullied by Memphis. HEALTHY, the Spurs are definitely capable of GETTING THE BEST OF IT this year against Vegas prices on a round by round basis.

I had mentioned last time that I'd outline the TONY SALINAS BOUNCE BACK THEORY in my next article. I've pushed that back a few days because it's obvious who you take in Game Two with that approach. The theory (which I use as a guideline but don't always follow to the letter) says to take the Game One loser in Game Two. Simple enough. It's what happens in GAME THREE that usually throws people for a loop. I'll definitely be back before anyone plays a Game Three to remind you about that.

I've been handicapping NBA playoff games since before many of you were even born. I'm looking forward to this week's matchups because I think oddsmakers have misread many of these teams. You can purchase the exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself at Vegas sportsbooks right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about my HIGH ROLLER service, call my office at 1-888-536-8880. I can't talk to you personally during the playoffs because I'm camped out at my favorite sportsbooks. One of my representatives will be happy to help you out.

Last year too many bettors took the worst of it with their money....and too many oddsmakers took the worst of it with their reputations...because they couldn't recognize an underrated team when they saw one. I expect the same thing to happen this year (thought it might not be the Spurs!). Make sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT through the whole NBA Playoffs with TONY SALINAS!


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