2015-04-18

DALLAS MAVERICKS (50-32) at HOUSTON ROCKETS (56-36)



The Mavericks and Rockets meet in Houston for Game 1 of their first round matchup.



The Mavericks won four of their last five regular season games SU, defeating the Blazers 114-98 as 6-point home favorites in their final game. Dallas has covered in three of its past four games and has shot 45percent or better from the field in four of its past five contests. The Rockets, meanwhile, won 117-91 as 11.5-point home favorites against Utah in their season finale. Houston enters the playoffs after winning three straight games SU and 10 of its past 13 as well. The Rockets also held their opponents to just 90.5 PPG in their last two regular season games. The Rockets and Mavs met four times this season and Houston won-and-covered in three of those games. Over the past three seasons, the two teams have split wins both SU and ATS but the Rockets are 4-2 both SU and ATS when hosting the Mavericks. Dallas is 14-3 ATS in road games in April over the past three seasons but does face a Houston team that is 12-3 ATS in home games when playing with two days of rest over the past two seasons. PG Devin Harris (Toe) is probable for this game and SF Chandler Parsons (Knee) is questionable for the Mavericks. PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back) is out for the season for the Rockets and PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist) is not likely to return this series.



The Mavericks acquired PG Rajon Rondo (8.9 PPG, 7.9 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG) partly because of his ability to perform at a high level in the playoffs and now is when he must get himself going. Rondo struggled with the Mavericks during the regular season but he can erase that with some solid play in the postseason. The Rockets are weak at the point guard position with Patrick Beverley out and Rondo must take advantage of that. PF Dirk Nowitzki (17.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG) averaged 14.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG on 39.6percent shooting from the field in four meetings with the Rockets this season. Nowitzki must shoot the ball well in this series if the Mavericks are going to upset Houston. C Tyson Chandler (10.3 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG) is going to need to hold his own against Dwight Howard in this series. Chandler is a monster on the glass and can really protect the rim, but stopping Howard will not be easy. Another guy who must hold his own in his one-on-one matchup is SG Monta Ellis (18.9 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.9 SPG). Ellis averaged 20.3 PPG in four games against James Harden and the Rockets this season and he must play like that in this series. SF Chandler Parsons (15.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG) would be a big loss if he does not play on Saturday. He is an excellent two-way player and the Mavericks need his athleticism on the floor.



The Rockets finished the season off strong and will now look to carry over their success into the playoffs. SG James Harden (27.4 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG) played at an MVP level throughout the year and ended the season with a triple-double against Utah. Harden will need to use his strength to bully Monta Ellis in this series and if he is not able to get to the free-throw line then the Rockets could be in trouble. C Dwight Howard (15.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG) must also be healthy for the team to win this series. Howard played 24.5 MPG in the last four games he played in the regular season and will need to be able to play more in the playoffs. He should be able to move Tyson Chandler with his strength when he gets in the post and he must be ready to rebound at a high level. SF Trevor Ariza (12.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG) will need to knock down some outside shots in this series. He was solid from behind the arc this season (35percent 3PT) and also plays very good defense. If he catches fire then it will take a lot of pressure off of Harden and Howard. PF Josh Smith (12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG) will need to have a big series for Houston. He averaged 15.4 PPG in the last five games of the regular season and must keep that up and also play well defensively.




2015-04-16

NEW OWNER OF PINNACLE SPORTS IDENTIFIED (Update)



After weeks of reticence that sparked a storm of speculation, the identity of the new owner of Pinnacle Sports has been confirmed by the operations manager, Paris Smith, who revealed that Magnus Hedman is the head honcho.

Swedish entrepreneur Hedman is perhaps better known as the founder of Malta-based business-to-business sports betting risk management and sports betting odds supplier Touchbet Ltd.

InfoPowa readers will recall that Pinnacle Sports announced its acquisition by an unidentified entity back in February this year, and that it was switching to a regulated markets strategy. It has since acquired a Malta licence.

Hedman's preference for staying out of the public eye has sparked speculation that he is the mystery buyer of spread betting firm Sporting Index, which previous owners HG Capital confirmed it had sold to an unidentified buyer for GBP 40 million in March this year (see previous InfoPowa report).

Whilst there has been no official company confirmation that this is the case, Sky News recently reported the Hedman was the buyer.




2015-04-16

NEW ONLINE GAMBLING PLATFORM LAUNCHES



GECO Gaming has announced that it is ready to welcome game developers and operators to its new online gambling platform, now that it has secured UK Gambling Commission and Alderney licensing.

We have clear blue skies ahead of us, said CEO Mark Paling this week, We are welcoming on board both game developers and operators..initial connections are complete, with many more in progress and in the pipeline.

We are also making GECO available to dozens more Operators by linking up with RGS aggregators, VirtueFusion, Openbet and NYX, while accessing multiple Bingo networks like Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo through Daub Alderney.

GECO Gaming Ltd.Is an open content delivery platform offering an RGS solution with proprietary game design studios in the UK and Australia. The GECO platform specialises in aggregating third party gaming content in Flash and HTML5.




2015-04-16

MARCH IMPROVEMENTS IN NEW JERSEY ONLINE GAMBLING



The latest figures from the New Jersey regulator show that the nascent online gambling industry in the Garden State enjoyed an improved March with overall revenues reaching $13.16 million. The corresponding period a year ago delivered revenues of $11.87million.

Online casino operations recorded revenues of $10.9 million, well up on the same period in 2014 when revenues were $8.66 million.

Unfortunately, the optimism generated by the improved numbers was diluted by the fact that online poker again disappointed at $2.2 million, a decline from the $3.21 million achieved a year ago.

Borgata-Party again headed the operator leader board with overall revenbues of around $4 million, chased by Caesars-888, Golden Nugget-Betfair, Tropicana-Virgin, and finally newcomer Resorts-NYX, which appears to have good potential.




2015-04-16

TOP POKER PRO GETS INTO THE TWITCH TREND



International professional player and poker celebrity Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu took to Twitter this week to express his delight at the first successful screening of his new Twitch livestream channel, a project on which he received technical assistance from pioneer poker Twitcher Jason Somerville (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The Kid had plenty to be pleased about - within an hour of his first Twitch broadcast his channel had recorded 4,200 viewers - an order of magnitude greater than that of other Twitch streams online at the same time.

That is all the more remarkable considering it was not a major competition or event; Negreanu was using Twitch to stream from his Las Vegas home, and he confined his action to play-money, followed by a lively question-and-answer session that included exchanges on nosebleed stakes poker and personalities.

Clearly Negreanu's high profile as an entertaining and outspoken poker personality has pulling power, and judging from his tweets The Kid has more in store:

"Thanks again to @jaimestaples for helping me set up @twitch and @JasonSomerville for making this platform cool. That was fun! More to come," he posted.

He has a way to go before he can boast the same Twitch audiences as Somerville, however - the poker pro who really brought Twitch to the attention of the poker community regularly attracts audiences of up to 90,000!

Negreanu is in good company; other high profile professional players are already experimenting with Twitch, including Felix Schneiders and Bertrand ElkY Grospellier.