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Basketball Movers and Shakers

   by ASA - 02/28/2009

Each week I will be looking at some key factors in college and the NBA that may make affect the line. Sometimes you might be able to catch an edge if the odds makers have not yet caught up with these developments.

Arkansas-Little Rock: Arkansas-Little Rock head coach Steve Shields recently dismissed leading scorer Steven Moore from the team for actions in a February 19th loss to Western Kentucky. Moore averaged 13.6 points per game and was leading his team in assists prior to his dismissal. For a team that only averages 67 points per game, losing their most consistent scorer will hurt them heading into the conference tournament. In their first game since dismissing Moore, the Trojans defeated North Texas 58-54. In that game, Arkansas-LR shot just 37% field goals, including 12.5% from 3-point range with 16 turnovers and just 8 assists (the only reason the Trojans won that game is that North Texas actually managed to put up poorer statistics). Arkansas-LR wraps up their regular season against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday before starting the Sun Belt conference tournament. Not only was Moore their leading scorer, he was a Senior leader. Already in their last two games the oddsmakers have adjusted the Trojans lines by 2 full points so you may see that trend continue into the post-season tournaments.

Purdue Boilermakers: Robbie Hummel is back, getting significant playing time for Purdue, and there might be some line value with the Boilermakers as they wrap up their regular season in the upcoming week. Hummel’s return in the last 4 games marks significant improvements in the Boilermakers overall play. They shot 45.8% in a win @Iowa, 57.1% in a win over Michigan State, 48.1% in a win over Indiana, and 45.8% in a loss @Michigan. Hummel is Purdue’s 3rd leading scorer and leading rebounder and he has gotten healthy just in time for Purdue to make some noise in the Big Ten. Keep an eye on the lines of the Boilermakers’ games as they wrap up the season with two home games coming up against Ohio State and Northwestern before ending @Michigan State. You might be able to find some line value with Purdue as Hummels’ return is worth more than the few points the oddsmakers adjust for.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Ben Wallace went down with a broken leg against the Rockets on Thursday night and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Wallace is a big money, big name, former all-star, so majority belief is that this is a huge blow to the Cavs; but we don’t expect Wallace’s injury to have that much impact against Cleveland or the lines. Cleveland has the #1 overall defense in the NBA and is #2 in opponent’s field goal percentage. The Cavs have enough bench depth to get by without Big Ben. Wallace leads Cleveland with 1.9 blocks per game, and his defensive presence will be missed, but not enough to affect the Cavs overall success. Wallace’s minutes, rebounds, blocks, and points have been on steady decline every season since 2003-04 and he has minimal impact on offense. Cleveland has a somewhat grueling schedule coming up, playing seven of their next nine games on the road; but we don’t expect Ben Wallace’s absence to affect the lines of any of the games on Cleveland’s upcoming schedule.

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