Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.
It’s tough to look past your Opening Day opponents, with an offseason of preparation leading up to that series. But in the case of the Los Angeles Angels, a current three-game interleague matchup with the Cincinnati Reds doesn’t hold nearly as much weight as a road trip to Arlington to face the division rival Texas Rangers this weekend.
Not only are the Halos trying to avoid another slow start to the season – going 8-15 in April 2012 – but they’re also out to establish their dominance in the division after getting rolled by Oakland and finishing third in the AL West last year. On top of that, newly-acquired outfielder Josh Hamilton will make his return to Texas after jumping ship to L.A. this winter. The Reds hold great value at home versus an Angels club with bigger fish to fry.
The New York Rangers are in danger of sliding out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, entering the week with just one win in its last five games and a 3-7 mark in its last 10 overall. The eighth-placed Rangers have a home date against the Winnipeg Jets before a huge home-and-home set against the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday and Friday.
That two-game set with the star-studded Pens could leave New York open for a big letdown versus the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday. Carolina is just one point back of N.Y. in the standings entering this week and has three of its next four games at home, including Saturday’s tilt with the Rangers. The Canes will be out to avenge a 2-1 shootout loss in New York two weeks ago.
The Dallas Mavericks are quietly climbing the Western Conference standings thanks to a 4-1 record in their last five games entering this week. The Mavs are just a game and a half behind the eighth-place Utah Jazz and ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers, who Dallas kicks off a busy week against. The Mavericks travel to the Staples Center Tuesday, opening a four-game, six-night road run that takes them to L.A., Denver, Sacramento, and Portland.
The toughest task on this stretch is making the move from sea-level Los Angeles to the thin air of Denver Thursday – a classic spot bet opportunity. The games at Sacramento and Portland are no cake walks either. The Kings are playing their best basketball of the season and the Rose Garden is still one of the NBA’s toughest venues.