Stephen Nover Stephen Nover

I have had only two losing season in pro football in my handicapping career. I have the best sources in the business thanks to more than 25 years as a sportswriter, handicapper and analyst.

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Everybody has their different styles. My style is studying each game closely. I handicap the games 10 days in advance, making detailed notes that I check to update. Then when the lines come out, I'm ready to pick and choose my spots.

I'm not a shot-gunner. I'll pick my spots. This fits my comfort zone and bankroll. I incorporate matchup analysis, statistics, history but most of all situational aspects into my NBA 'capping. That's why handicapping the games so far in advance is crucial for me. I don't want to miss any potential situational edge.

This system has worked out well for me. I don't beat the NBA every year. But I've had far more winning seasons than losing ones. My long-term record is 209-165-10 on my last 384 games for 56 percent. My short term record is 11-6-1 on my last 18 plays, which all were in the playoffs and included finishing 5-0.

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Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Mar 31, 2015
Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets
199 un-105
  at  5DIMES
Play Type: Top Premium

Frank Vogel is one of the more underrated coaches in the NBA. The Pacers have always been strong defensively under Vogel. They rank fifth this season in giving up the fewest points per game and are fourth in defensive field goal percentage.
But when these teams met just 10 days ago at Indianapolis the Nets won, 123-111, by making 61.3 percent of their shots from the floor. That was the highest percentage the Pacers have ever allowed at home during their history, which goes back to their crazy American Basketball Association days.
Vogel has stressed nothing but defense since the Pacers last played two days ago. This should be an intense matchup anyways with the final playoff spot in the East on the line along with a tiebreaker between the teams.
These are two defensive clubs whose offenses have been overachieving lately. I see a correction happening in this matchup.
The Nets have scored 107 and 106 points, respectively, during their last two games going against the Lakers and Cavaliers. The Lakers rank third-from-last in defense. The Nets ambushed the Cavaliers, who were at the end of a three-game road trip and had just beat physical Memphis by 22 points.  
During their previous two games, though, the Nets put up 91 points each against the Hornets and Celtics, two Eastern Conference clubs similar to the Pacers fighting for a playoff spot. That's more indicative of Brooklyn's offense. The Nets rank 23rd offensively, are a below average free throw shooting team and rank 28th in 3-point percentage.
The Pacers have broken triple digits in their last five games. I don't see that continuing. They rank 24th offensively. Prior to their triple digit streak, they had failed to reach 99 points in nine of their last 12 games.
Indiana could catch a break, too, and not face Deron Williams. He's ill and missed Monday's practice.

Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Mar 31, 2015
Stanford vs. Old Dominion
138 un-110
  at  5DIMES
Play Type: Top Premium

This is too high of a total with Old Dominion involved even with the new shot clock rule in place. The Monarchs play at an extremely slow pace and are very strong defensively. Only seven teams in the country gave up fewer points per game than Old Dominion, which has held foes to 56.8 points a game.  
Only Murray State, which ranked eighth in the nation in scoring, has been able to break the 60-point barrier against Old Dominion during the Monarchs' last nine games. The Racers scored 69 against Old Dominion in the quarterfinals of the NIT, which was 10 points below their season average.
Stanford averages less than 69 points a game when playing on a neutral floor. The Cardinal aren't going to get as many touches as they normally do because of Old Dominion's slow-down style, which can frustrate opponents.
Stanford isn't as strong defensively as Old Dominion. But that's offset by the Monarchs' weak offense that averages 65.1 points per contest. That averages shrinks to 57.5 on neutral courts. Old Dominion is neither a good shooting team from the field nor free throw line.
Point guard Trey Freeman is Old Dominion's best player and key. He scored 25 points against Murray State despite playing on a tender ankle that he recently sprained in practice. This is what Freeman said after the Monarchs edged Murray State this past Wednesday. "My foot hurt after the game. It was swollen up and everything was tight." So there is no guarantee Freeman will be 100 percent.
Since this is a semifinal matchup of the NIT the game is being held at Madison Square Garden. This is a large venue that can be very distracting for shooting especially for teams not having experienced it before. Both teams also are going to feel the pressure of performing in the Big Apple.
Stanford has to come cross-country while the Monarchs have played their last three games at their small gym. Neither team is going to be helped offensively by playing at this venue.

Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Mar 31, 2015
Stanford vs. Old Dominion
Play Type: Premium

I want the Pac-12 team going for me here at this short point spread range against Old Dominion of Conference USA. The Monarchs joined Conference USA just two years ago making the jump from the Colonial Athletic Association.
This was a strong year in the Pac 12. Stanford has faced stiffer competition and has the much superior offense.
Old Dominion averages nearly eight points fewer per game than Stanford. The Monarchs do not shoot well from the floor nor foul line. Their best player by far is point guard Trey Freeman, who is dealing with a sore ankle and likely won't be 100 percent.
The Monarchs have played their last three games at home inside their small, compact gym. Now they have to make the adjustment to spacious and intimidating Madison Square Garden. Stanford is more experienced with higher profile games. The Cardinal should be able to handle the pressure better than the Monarchs mentally and physically.
Stanford led the Pac-12 in fewest turnovers per game at 10.7. If Old Dominion can't be disruptive defensively the Monarchs are in deep trouble because they have no offense to fall back on.
Old Dominion has been living on borrowed time winning its last two NIT games by a combined four points, including nipping Murray State at the buzzer on a 30-foot 3-pointer. Now the Monarchs step up in class. Expect their luck to run out.



Sports gaming writer for Las Vegas Review-Journal 1984-1997. Professional handicapper since 1999. Author of three books - Las Vegas Sportsbeat, Sportsgaming Beat, Winning Fantasy Football. Taught sports betting at UNLV. Former co-host of the Sunday Night Stardust Line sports gaming radio show. Was part-time oddsmaker and analyst for Roxy Roxborough. Recognized NFL expert with 18 of 20 winning seasons.