Yankees vs. Rays MLB Preview

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo #25 of the Tampa Bay Rays. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images/AFP

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo #25 of the Tampa Bay Rays. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images/AFP

 

The reigning, defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays open up their home schedule against division rival, New York Yankees on Friday afternoon in St. Petersburg.

 

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Friday, April 09, 2021 – 03:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

Can The Rays Stop The Bleeding?

The Tampa Bay Rays are ice cold at the moment in this young season. They have lost four in a row to the Red Sox and Marlins. What is most concerning is that in those four losses they have surrendered… wait for it… thirty eight runs. That is a staggering failure of pitching for a team that usually prides itself on being able to cobble together games by any means necessary. Now they have to open their 2021 home schedule against the potent lineup of the New York Yankees.

The Rays will send veteran lefty Rich Hill to the mound in this one on Friday afternoon. Now, I will grant you that Rich Hill is not the kind of pitcher that has shut down stuff, nor does he throw particularly hard, especially at this point in his career. However, sometimes guys with that slow, accurate stuff can be off putting for a power lineup like the Yankees. Hill may be just the kind of wily veteran to pull the Rays out of their slump.

 

Can The Yankees Capitalize on Tampa’s Slow Start?

While the Rays are off to a painfully slow start, the Yankees haven’t exactly set the world on fire either. The Yankees are 3-3 on the year and coming off a loss to the Orioles. Their bats have done the job more often than not, but they are still susceptible to a bad day on the mound. Today they will send former American League Cy Young winner, Corey Kiuber to the mound. Kiuber looked good in his debut in pinstripes, but it is still a fair question to wonder how much he has left in the tank. He’s been through quite a bit over the last few years.

The Yankees bats will have to deal with Rich Hill who on paper doesn’t seem like the toughest matchups, but sometimes dealing with a veteran who knows his way around a lineup and is crafty and accurate, can be a problem. Additionally the Rays manager Kevin Cash, won’t let Hill get in a heap of trouble. He deploys his bullpen as well as any manager in the big leagues.

 

Betting Analysis

The Rays are as cold as ice right now and that provides some value. Additionally the names on the pitching matchup provide value as well. Many bettors will see Kluber vs. Hill and immediately side with Corey Kluber. The dude has been through a lot lately and may not necessarily be the guy he was a few years ago. Rich Hill is someone who is more than capable and could throw this Yankees lineup a bit off kilter.

The Rays are too good of a team to stay down for long. They get to finally return home and play in front of their fans for the first time in a long time. They’re hanging an American League Championship banner. They have a guy on the mound who I think could be a problem for the Yankees and are facing a pitcher that could be susceptible to their own potent lineup. I think the situation Tampa Bay has been in provides value here today.

 

MLB Pick: Rays ML (+120) at BetMGM

 

Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics MLB Preview

 

Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California.   Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics

Friday, April 2, 2021 – 09:40 PM EDT at O.co Coliseum

 

The Oakland Athletics are playing host to their American League West rival, Houston Astros as they open the 2021 season against one another. After the Astros took game one of the series 8-1, Oakland looks to bounce back.

 

Can Oakland Bounce Back After a Rough Opening Day?

 

The Athletics got absolutely rocked by the Astros potent offense. Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman all had big days at the plate. Additionally, the Athletics could not do much right themselves at the dish, struggling to scratch across one run on six hits. Now the A’s get a chance to bounce back against their hated rival and there won’t be Zack Greinke standing on the mound. Rather they will get a chance to get even against Cristian Javier.

 

We all saw Oakland last year and the kind of team they are. They are a very good team that will grind out wins throughout the course of the season. They are a resilient bunch and I don’t think the Opening Day loss is going to linger at all. I expect the Athletics to come out on Friday evening and look for the opportunity to get back to even and get their win back from the hated Houston Astros.

 

 

Will The Astros Pitching Hold Up?

 

The Astros offense looked absolutely fantastic in their dominant Opening Day win over these Athletics. Zack Greinke was amazing and the bats were alive from the start. Now tonight is going to be a bit different because they will face Jesus Luzardo who has dominated the Astros in limited action against them. The Astros also may find some motivation because of the loud, audible chants of “cheaters” by the Oakland faithful. This team likely knows they will face that all year, but it has to provide some incentive to give the home team the business in front of those heckling fans.

 

 

Betting Analysis:

 

I think this is a short line and it makes sense right. The Astros came out and lit up the A’s in their opener. But let’s not discount this Athletics team. They are a very good team and they are tough outs at the plate. Further, tonight they have the distinct pitching advantage. Luzardo has dominated the Astros and Cristian Javier has not exactly been amazing. I think this is a prime bounce back spot for the home team. People will overreact early in the season to one or two games and this is the prime example.

 

MLB Pick: Athletics ML (-135) at BetMGM

Hawks vs. Warriors NBA Preview

 

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks uses Clint Capela #15 as for a screen. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks uses Clint Capela #15 as for a screen. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

The Atlanta Hawks shook some things up at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, moving Rajon Rondo to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for former Sixth Man of the Year, and Georgia native, Lou Wiliams. Now they visit the short-handed Warriors and try to grab a win on the road.

 

Atlanta Hawk vs. Golden State Warriors

Friday, March 12th, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Chase Center

Can Atlanta Bounce Back After A Rough Couple Games?

The Hawks got off to a very hot start under new Head Coach Nate McMillan. They were playing with purpose, they were focused and the rifts that had previously been apparent seemed to have disappeared. But then after beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, they proceeded to lose their last two games against the Clippers and Sacramento Kings in a nail-biter. Now they travel to San Francisco to take on the Warriors.

The Hawks are better with McMillan at the helm. I don’t think there’s any question about that. I also really like the trade for Lou Williams. As much as Rondo brings to a team in terms of leadership, defense, and the ability to run the point, Williams is instant offense off the bench, which is something Atlanta has really struggled with this season. He will be a valuable contributor. The question is whether he will be available for this game. As of this writing, no decision has been made or announced. Therefore, we have to plan on Williams not being available for the Hawks and if we get him, it’s an extra bonus.

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Mavericks vs. Trail Blazers NBA Preview

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers has the ball knocked loose on a drive against Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks. Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images/AFP

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers has the ball knocked loose on a drive against Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks. Kim Klement – Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

Friday night in Portland we have a matchup of two really solid team in the Western Conference. The Mavericks visit the resurgent Portland Trail Blazers as each team tries to solidify their standing in the Western Conference playoff picture.

 

Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Friday, March 19, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Moda Center

How Good Is Portland Now That They Are Getting Healthier?

The short answer is they look very good. Now we have to temper these expectations a bit because the last two games were against the New Orleans Pelicans, which provide a limited litmus test. However, having C.J. McCollum back in the lineup is such a game changer for the Blazers it is hard to overstate the importance.

It gives Damian Lillard his proverbial Scottie Pippen back on the floor. It alleviates some of the pressure from Lillard, which he has borne with great aplomb, but it is unsustainable long term. Having C.J. McCollum back gives Portland a chance.

Now, if we’re being honest, he doesn’t help their defense a ton, but at this point there’s very little that would. The Blazers don’t play a lot of defense, but rather, they will try to simply outscore you. And to be fair to them, they are such a talented offensive team, that they can do that on a lot of nights. They will try to do it against a Dallas team that is not super defensive oriented, but will have a distinct size advantage on the Trail Blazers.

 

Can the Dallas Mavericks Slow Down Damian Lillard?

For everything I just said about C.J. McCollum above, and it’s all true, this Portland team runs on Damian Lillard. When Dame has an off night, it’s almost impossible for them to win. When Dame throws forty in someone’s grill, it’s almost impossible for them to lose.

Which means Luka Doncic will have to do his absolute best to slow down one of the league’s most underrated superstars. That is going to be a challenge, because Dallas is not exactly known for their stellar defense. Rather, it’s quite the opposite. Dallas’ defense is sieve like. They depend on outscoring people, the same way the Trail Blazers do to win. Dallas does have a noted size advantage over Portland, but Portland is going to lean heavily on their backcourt, which against puts this burden on Luka.

 

Betting Analysis

These are two very similar teams: Outside teams that are capable of making runs in the Western Conference playoffs if they get the right matchups and things break right for them. This game should be a fun one to watch. Neither team plays very good defense, rather they know they need to put up points to get the win.

That should lead to a very entertaining contest. I don’t know which of these will get the win because while Portland is hotter right now and has momentum, it’s also a tough scheduling spot with this being their third game in four nights. Rather I think the play is on the total in this one. Let’s watch and root for points, points, points.

 

NBA Pick: Over 228 (-110) at BetMGM

Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Free NBA Betting Pick

Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers competes in the 2021 NBA All-Star - Slam Dunk Contest. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Cassius Stanley of the Indiana Pacers competes in the 2021 NBA All-Star – Slam Dunk Contest. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Friday night kicks off the second half of the NBA season for the defending champion, Los Angeles Lakers and for the playoff hopeful Indiana Pacers in the City of Angels. Both teams entered the All-Star break struggling. The Lakers had gone 3-7 in their last ten contests, including heading into the break with two consecutive losses. The Pacers did not fare much better, having gone 4-6 in their prior ten games. It is important for both of these teams to start the second half of the season out on the right foot. That begins tonight.

Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Friday, March 12th, 2021 – 10:30 PM EST at Staples Center

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