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The Spurs and Rockets meet in Houston Friday and these teams will be battling one another for their postseason positioning in this one.

These two teams met on Wednesday and San Antonio came away with a 110-98 home victory as a 6.5-point favorite. The Spurs picked up their ninth straight win-and-cover in that game and the Rockets loss snapped a three-game SU winning streak. In three meetings between these teams this season, the Spurs are 2-1 both SU and ATS but it has been the home team that has won-and-covered in every game. Over the past three seasons, the Rockets are 6-5 SU and 7-4 ATS versus the Spurs. Houston is also 4-1 both SU and ATS when hosting San Antonio over the past three seasons. San Antonio is 13-3 ATS after covering in eight or more of its past 10 games over the past two seasons. The team is also 14-4 ATS after eight or more consecutive wins over the past two seasons. Houston, however, is 11-2 ATS after a loss by 10 points or more this season and 32-16 ATS when revenging a loss where an opponent scored 110 points or more over the past three seasons. SG Marco Belinelli (Groin) and C Tiago Splitter (Calf) are questionable for the Spurs and the Rockets are without PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back) and PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist) for the season.

The Spurs are the hottest team in the league and PG Tony Parker (14.5 PPG, 4.9 APG) had one of his best games of the season against the Rockets on Wednesday. Parker had been the lone player on this team that wasnt playing up to his potential and he poured in 27 points in 26 minutes against Houston in that game. With Patrick Beverley out for the Rockets, Parker should be able to dominate whoever is guarding him on Friday. SF Kawhi Leonard (16.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.3 SPG) continues to play at a high level offensively and is now averaging 23.0 PPG over his past four contests. He has also come away with 14 steals over the past three games and should see some time guarding James Harden in this one. PF Tim Duncan (13.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.0 BPG) has been a monster defensively over the past two games, averaging 9.5 RPG and 4.0 BPG in just 25.5 MPG in those contests. Duncan is, however, averaging just 9.0 PPG in those contests and has taken just 5.4 shots per game over the past five contests. The Spurs are going to need to start getting Duncan some touches towards the end of the season, as they do not want him to be rusty when the postseason comes around. Hell need to be really active defensively on Friday if he spends some time guarding Dwight Howard.

The Rockets were unable to beat this same Spurs team on Wednesday and SG James Harden (27.6 PPG, 6.9 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG) had an inefficient shooting game, finishing with 22 points (6-for-15 FG) in 35 minutes. Harden will need to be better in this game or his team will not have much of a chance of beating San Antonio. C Dwight Howard (15.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG) is starting to look like himself recently, averaging 19.0 PPG and 9.5 RPG in 22.5 MPG over the past two games. His minutes should start to increase moving forward and hell need to protect the rim against the Spurs on Friday. SF Trevor Ariza (12.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG) had 19 points against the Spurs on Wednedsay and shot the ball extremely well, going 5-for-6 from the outside. Ariza will need to knock down some outside shots in this one as well. SF Josh Smith (12.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG) will need to be on his game on Friday as well. Smith is a huge player off the bench for this team and can help on both ends of the floor. He had 13 points, five assists and three rebounds in 27 minutes of action on Wednesday and will need to make things difficult on whomever he is guarding in this rematch.

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New NBA Age Rule: It's Not Okay If It's A Three-Way

This is because Commissioner Silver believes it is okay for him to negotiate the new age rule as a three-way conversation among NBA team owners, the players union, and the leaders of college basketball.

Antitrust law, however, would likely disagree. Under antitrust law, the new NBA age rule would not be okay if its a three-way.

The new rule wont stay if its a three-way.

Put Mark Emmert in the middle and theres no leeway. The NBA cant collude with the NCAA.

The federal statute that prevents the NBA from entering into a three-way conversation over the leagues minimum age rule is Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act. That statute, in pertinent part, states that [e]very contract, combination or conspiracy, in the restraint of trade or commerce is declared to be illegal.

Based on this statutory language, courts have long prohibited any sports league with market power from unilaterally implementing a league-wide age requirement. For instance, in the early 1970s California federal courts struck down an NBA rule that had attempted to require high school basketball players to wait four full years after their graduation before entering the league.
Over time, courts have come to recognize the need for a narrow exemption from Section One of the Sherman Act to protect collectively bargained agreements between employers and their unions if reached through the proper workings of collective bargaining. Many courts have further limited this exemption from antitrust law to aspects of those agreements that primarily affect only the parties to the collective bargaining relationship.

Many of todays sports leagues age requirements seem to fall under this exemption.

Nevertheless, the three-way negotiation proposed by Adam Silver to the NCAA and its players union does not fit as neatly into the non-statutory labor exemption. Reason being, there is no labor law duty for the NCAA to negotiate with the NBA players over terms for entering the NBA.

To the contrary, the NCAA is a potential competitor of the NBA for the limited purposes of securing the services of college-age athletes. Thus, the NCAAs involvement in a bargaining negotiation with the NBA over a new league age rule seems a lot more like an illegal market allocation than a permissible form of labor cooperation.

Indeed, even under antitrust law, the suggestion of a three-way is generally a bad idea.


Marc Edelman is an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New Yorks Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, where he has published more than 25 law review articles on sports law matters. His most recent articles include A Short Treatise on Amateurism and Antitrust Law and The Future of Amateurism after Antitrust Scrutiny.

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Reviewing the NBA Draft Betting Options

The annual NBA Draft is Thursday night, and with the drafts in every sport having become a major production of late, there is sometimes information overload. Still, with coverage in excess on a variety of sites across the web and so many experts offering their own “Mock drafts” beforehand, you can usually have a good idea of who will get picked and when going in. Of course, this can lead to betting profits. Let’s take a look at a number of the various betting options is showing for Thursday to see if we can’t pick out some line mistakes.
Now, I don’t proclaim to be an expert in the area of draft position, with potential and actual on-the-court production in college often viewed as two different things. Plus, I really know very little about the foreign players that infuse themselves into the draft each summer. Therefore, for the sake of this exercise, I will follow the lead of five different mock drafts I was able to find on the internet on Wednesday. These are popular sites that I refer to regularly to get accurate, updated news, stats, and more.
Let’s get right to the options:
Gordon Hayward - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): -250
No (Picked 15th or Later): +175
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: In the five mock drafts, Heyward was picked no higher than 12th and off the lottery board in three of them. I believe coming from Butler will hinder his stock a bit from picking time. NO at +175 for me.
Patrick Patterson - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): -170
No (Picked 15th or Later): +130
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Patterson was projected as a lottery selection in four of the five mock drafts, averaging about 13th. However, I don’t think he was all that productive in college and while nicely-sized at 6’-8”, isn’t a very good rebounder. NO once again.
James Anderson - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): +130
No (Picked 15th or Later): -180
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I gotta trust the experts on this one. Only one of the mocks had him as a lottery guy, while he slipped to the bottom of the first round in two others. Despite his ability to score, I don’ see anyone taking a chance on him early.
Damion James - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): +200
No (Picked 15th or Later): -300
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: For whatever the reason, the four-year college players don’t get anywhere near the respect as those that skip school early. James has a big athletic body but his career just wasn’t quite scintillating enough. NO.
Eric Bledsoe - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): +200
No (Picked 15th or Later): -300
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Did you watch this guy struggle in the tournament shooting the ball? He’s only 6-1 and his offensive skills are limited. NO.
Avery Bradley - Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th): -135
No (Picked 15th or Later): -105
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I’m somewhat surprised to see the odds on this one, as while Bradley has gotten favorable reviews of late, most projections show him going to Miami at #18. Gotta take a chance on NO at -105.
Wesley Johnson - Over/Under Draft Position
Over 4.5 (+200)
Under 4.5 (-300)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Johnson is a very athletic, prototype NBA small forward. His average draft position in the five mocks was 3.8 and in none of them did he drop below 4th. I’ll say he goes to the Nets at #3.
DeMarcus Cousins - Over/Under Draft Position
Over 4.5 (-250)
Under 4.5 (+175)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I don’t quite understand why Demarcus Cousins is rated below Derrick Favors on almost every draft board I see, but he is. I’m not going to fight it. I believe it comes down to the two at #4 with the T-Wolves and they go with Favors. OVER 4.5.
Luke Harangody - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes -150
No +110
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: If the draft were based upon college production, Harangody would be a Top 5 pick. Unfortunately for him it’s not, and he is now on the fence for even getting selected. Still, I think his ability to score in a variety of ways, including getting to the line, will be the difference in hearing his name called. YES.

Jon Scheyer - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes -200
No +150
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Again…this draft is not about what you did in college, it’s about what you can do as a pro. Scheyer is the perfect backup point guard and if Travis Deiner can make it in the NBA for many seasons, Scheyer certainly can. YES.
DaSean Butler - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes -150
No +110
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: It’s unbelievable that a guy of Butler’s stature at West Virginia and in the Big East can be on the bubble for getting drafted but he is small for a forward, not a great shooter, and injured his knee at the Final Four. A NO on this wager.
Sherron Collins - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes -160
No +120
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Very small but a good shooter and there may not be a better floor general out there. Collins will be drafted.
Scottie Reynolds - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes +175
No -250
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: As big-time as Reynolds was at Villanova over the years, his shooting stroke is somewhat unorthodox and he could be coming in a year that is deep in point guards. I’ll say NO.

Samardo Samuels - Will He be a Draft Pick (1st or 2nd Round)
Yes -140
No +100
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Samuels’ college recruitment and entire career at Louisville was built around the term potential. At 6-8, 245 lbs., Samuels still boasts that potential. The draft is about potential. He gets picked.
Player to get Drafted First
DeMarcus Cousins -200
Greg Monroe +150
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I can’t see anyone passing on Cousins’ power game in favor of Monroe’s more finesse game. Cousins has a NBA body right now.
Player to get Drafted First
Al-Farouq Aminu -400
Gordon Hayward +250
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Besides fighting the stigma of being the “slow, white guy”, Heyward is up against a guy that is being described as one of the best athletes in the draft and young as well. If you’re willing to pay the -400, this should be a lock with Aminu.
Player to get Drafted First
Cole Aldrich +130
Ed Davis -180
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I’ve seen draft boards projecting Ed Davis as high as #7 to the Pistons. I’ve not seen anything showing Aldrich as a top 10. This seems to be a second straight prop where oddsmakers are putting the higher potential black player against the more consistent but not as explosive white guy. Davis is the man.
Player to get Drafted First
Patrick Patterson -300
Eric Bledsoe +200
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: This would seem to be an easy one based upon the price, but Bledsoe came out as a freshman while Patterson had three years at Kentucky. Both have their limitations, but I believe Bledsoe can become a better shooter. Patterson’s size limits him somewhat as a “tweener”. I’d be hesitant about laying the -300.
Player to get Drafted First
Damion James -120
Solomon Alabi -120
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Good prop here…James is the experienced and somewhat polished player who can step in right away. Alabi is the 7-1 player who could blossom later. If James gets beyond pick #20, Alabi is the winner on this prop, otherwise its James.
Total ACC Players drafted in the 1st Round
Over 4.5 (-130)
Under 4.5 (+100)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: This prop all hinges on where Gani Lawal or Greivis Vazquez get picked. There’s a good chance one of the two goes in the first round. With Favors, Aminu, Davis, and Alabi certain locks, I’ll go with over 4.5 I guess.
Total BIG East Players drafted in the 1st Round
Over 4.5 (+150)
Under 4.5 (-200)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: In my opinon, Devin Ebanks of West Virginia is a stretch for the first round and he would be the fourth Big East player chosen behind Johnson, Monroe and Dominique Jones. Under 4.5.
Total Kentucky Players drafted in the Lottery (Picked 1st to 14th)
Over 2.5 (-150)
Under 2.5 (+110)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Wall and Cousins are certified lottery players. I don’t believe Patterson or Bledso are. UNDER 2.5 with favorable +110 odds.
Total College Seniors drafted in the 1st Round
Over 2.5 (even)
Under 2.5 (-140)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: This really is a sad state for college hoops when the best hope for the number of first round seniors to go is three. Vazquez of Maryland and Pondexter of Washington are likely #2 and #3. I don’t think they both go. UNDER 2.5.
Total Duke Players drafted in the 1st and 2nd Round
Over 1.5 (even)
Under 1.5 (-140)
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Wow…another interesting prop that highlights a problem in college basketball. Two of the main players from the national championship game might not get drafted. I think Scheyer does, Kyle Singler doesn’t. UNDER.
Quincy Pondexter - When Will He be Drafted
1st Round -200
2nd Round or NOT Drafted +150
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Averaged nearly 20 PPG at Washington and seems to be long enough and a good enough shooter to make himself a name as a scorer in the NBA. Seems worth a first rounder to me.
Lazar Hayward - When Will He be Drafted
1st Round +250
2nd Round or NOT Drafted -400
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Hayward was on the first round projections of just one of the five experts. His stock has shot up a bit of late with some impressive workouts, but I still believe GM’s will be confused as to where he will play at the pro level. Second round.
Dexter Pittman - When Will He be Drafted
1st Round +225
2nd Round or NOT Drafted -350
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Haven’t seen a single indicator showing Pittman in the first round, and I don’t think Texas will have three guys chosen in Round one.
Lance Stephenson - When Will He be Drafted
1st Round -140
2nd Round or NOT Drafted +100
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Having watched this guy a number of times at Cincinnati, I’m puzzled as to why his draft stock isn’t higher. He seems to have a game suited nicely for the pro level. I’ll say 1st round.
Stanley Robinson - When Will He be Drafted
1st Round +130
2nd Round or NOT Drafted -180
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: A guy with size but somewhat lazy. I don’t think teams at the bottom of the draft are looking for that type of player. They can afford to take flyers. Not a first rounder.
2010 NBA Draft - Derrick Favors - He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
Nets -150
Any Other Team +110
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I called for the Nets to take Wesley Johnson earlier so I’ll stick to that. Anyway, even if he does get drafted, trades are more and more common on draft night.
2010 NBA Draft - Wesley Johnson - He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
Twolves -115
Any Other Team -125
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Johnson to the Nets, thus ANY OTHER TEAM.
John Wall - He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
Wizards -1000
Any Other Team +550
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: I don’t see why not…However laying -1000 is too rich for my blood.
Evan Turner - He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
76ers -300
Any Other Team +200
StatFox Steve’s Analysis: Turner seems to be the consensus #2 pick and with his all-around offensive skills and solid defensive game, Philly would be crazy to trade him.

NBA: Milwaukee at Atlanta – Game 5

The first four games of the NBA first round playoff series between Milwaukee and Atlanta went decidedly to the home teams. The Hawks have to hope that pattern continues tonight, as they welcome the Bucks to town for a pivotal Game 5 contest. Oddsmakers at figure the home dominance will continue, installing the Hawks as 9-point favorites.

The Hawks believed they had reached a point in their growth process that they should be thought of as serious Eastern Conference contenders at the very least. Instead they look very much like the Atlanta team of two years ago, still searching for its true identity against a Milwaukee club that has their best player on the sidelines in a suit.

It’s definitely frustrating,” guard Joe Johnson said Tuesday after the Hawks practiced for the pivotal fifth game. “We come into this situation talking so much about what we’re going to do—this and that, this and that—yet we haven’t done nothing. We haven’t done nothing we set out to do.”

Atlanta is a miserable road playoff team but returns home where the comfort level is more to their liking. The Hawks are 36-7 and 27-16 ATS at Phillips Arena, winning by 8.6 points per contest. Atlanta has won 14 consecutive home games and is 7-2 ATS in its last nine.

Milwaukee is receiving different contributions, which has helped them overcome the loss of Andrew Bogut. Dan Gadzuric has given valuable minutes off the bench and Carlos Delfino buried six 3-pointers in Game 4 to help the Bucks square the series. They are 27-12 ATS coming off a home game this season. has Atlanta as nine-point favorites with total of 192 and they are 9-19 ATS revenging a straight up loss vs. opponent as a favorite. Milwaukee is far from solid sports betting wager with 2-8-1 ATS mark as playoff underdogs.

TNT has this Eastern conflict at 8:00 Eastern and the Hawks are 16-6 OVER as a home favorite of 6.5 to 12 points. The StatFox Power Rating gives a decisive edge to the visiting Bucks, indicating Atlanta should only be favored by 2-points.