Mavericks vs. Nets NBA Preview

Mavericks vs. Nets NBA Preview

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks look to get back on track when they visit Kyrie Irving and the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets

Saturday, February 27, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at Barclays Center

The Nets opened as 3.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at -5. This leaves a 1.5-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. We need at least two points between the projections and the lines before we lay any serious wood, so the ATS is worth a look. FiveThirtyEight gives the Nets a 69 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -223.

USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Nets at -4.12 using his Rating numbers, and at TBD using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the at BetMGM.

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Trail Blazers vs. Lakers NBA Preview

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP


The Portland Trail Blazers enter this contest with the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers with a couple of things in common. They are both missing key players and they both have been struggling as a result. Now both teams are trying to right the proverbial ships and get their seasons back on track before things get too bad, too fast.


Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Friday, February 26, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center


Can The Trail Blazers Score Enough To Win?

The Trail Blazers have been a mess without Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum. Their defense, which was suspect enough to begin with, has been non-existent over the last few weeks. Yet Portland, has not folded, they have fought. Damian Lillard has led this team with his typical brand of leadership and defiance.

The Trail Blazers have not quit on Head Coach Terry Stotts, and I do not expect them to be a push over on Friday night in Los Angeles. The formula for Portland to win is quite simple. They have to have their shots falling, because they cannot stop their opponents, they must outscore them.

And yet, the Trail Blazers have fallen on hard times recently. They have dropped three in a row to the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. They were blown out by the Suns, but otherwise have played close in the other two losses. They are a tough out no matter who is on the floor, as long as Lillard is one of the players suiting up in a Portland uniform.


Can Dennis Schroder Be A Spark Plug For The Lakers?

The Lakers are missing Anthony Davis to be sure. That statement may well be a candidate for the understatement of 2021 thus far. They have lost their last four games and have had incredible trouble scoring the basketball. Prior to these recent games, the Oklahoma City Thunder took them to overtime twice consecutively. LeBron James is doing typical LeBron things, but at age 36 he is also playing a massive amount of minutes.

The Anthony Davis injury has been bad enough, but the recent COVID-19 sidelining of Dennis Schroder has been incredibly harmful to this Lakers team. It has impacted their defense, their depth and of course their scoring ability. The Lakers are not a team overloaded with shooting. We’ve seen that over the last two seasons. Shooting can go cold for Los Angeles and it has indeed gone cold over the last few games.

They have lost four in a row and need Schroder back sooner than later. He has officially been listed as probable for this game. That is a big boost for the Lakers’ chances against the Trail Blazers on Friday night.


Betting Analysis

This is a tricky game to handicap because both teams are hungry and maybe desperate for a win. The Lakers got destroyed by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night and are now closer to the playoff bubble than the number one seed in the Western Conference. There are problems in Lakerland. And Portland is needing to get things right as well.

The Trail Blazers have fought valiantly in the absence of their second and third best players. Each game is key. The Lakers do not have great scoring ability with Anthony Davis out and that is what Portland needs to win. Because their defense is so porous they need to take advantage of these opportunities. This game seems to benefit Portland. And yet…the Lakers are still the Lakers. LeBron is still LeBron. The return of Dennis Schroder is key here

and it seems he will play. Schroder will aid in the Lakers defense and take some of the load off of LeBron James. I will back the defending champs to come out angry and take care of business as they get a bit healthier.



NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -5.5 (-110) at BetMGM


Bruins vs. Rangers NHL Preview

Anthony Bitetto #22 and Libor Hajek #25 of the New York Rangers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Anthony Bitetto #22 and Libor Hajek #25 of the New York Rangers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP



A pair of Original Six rivals face-off on Friday night when the Bruins travel to the Big Apple to meet the Rangers. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!


Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers

Friday, February 26, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at Madison Square Garden

After dropping four consecutive games, the Rangers came up big against two upper-tier divisional rivals when they defeated the Flyers, 3-2, in a shootout, and followed that with a convincing 4-1 win over the Capitals. However, the euphoria was short-lived as a rematch with the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday night saw their modest winning-streak halted in a 4-3 loss.

The Rangers are now 6-8-3 on the season and the loss to Philadelphia was just another near-miss New York has had this season. Of their 11 losses (including the three in extra frames), a staggering eight of those contests have been come by a goal or less. The Blueshirts’ biggest issue has been their offense not firing this season, averaging just 2.47 goals per game which ranks them 25th in the league.

But on the flip side, the goaltending, and defense in general, has been better than most as evidenced by their 2.65 goals allowed average, placing them ninth in the league in that category. However, when you are allowing more goals than you’re scoring, then you will be a sub .500 team and that’s what we are seeing this season with the Rangers thus far.


Bruins Stunned by Isles

Until a few weeks ago, the Bruins were the hottest club in the league but that has changed considerably after dropping three of their last four, including Thursday night’s 7-2 loss to the Islanders. It looked like another competitive game with New York, to whom the B’s had lost on February 13th, until the third period when the Islanders shattered a 2-2 tie with five goals in the final stanza.

Jaroslav Halak got the start between the pipes for Boston and he had not yielded any third-period goals in his six previous outings but Thursday night saw a sudden end to that flawless streak. Left-winger Nick Ritchie was objective about the setback: “Tonight was hopefully a one-off. We just fell apart and kind of stopped playing, and that’s what happens in this league. There’s a lot of good teams.”

The Bruins have been outscored 14-6 over their last three losses but they are still among the stingiest teams in the league, allowing 2.53 goals per game which places them seventh in the league. However, their penalty-killing unit trails only Colorado, extinguishing 88.1 percent of its opponents’ opportunities while the power play unit is connecting on 28.8 percent of its chances, ranking it sixth in that category.


Wanna Make a Bet?

The NHL odds at all of the best online books are dealing the Bruins between -165 and -182 favorites. But I’m not sure I understand the logic behind that steep number. The Bruins just played last night and are on the second leg of back-to-back games. They were clearly gassed in the third period when they got blown out and must now do it all over again against a Rangers team that has been competitive in virtually every game they have played this season.

Unless something unforeseen occurs between now and the time the puck drops, Tuukka Rask will be tending the twine for the Bruins but he has not been as bullet-proof as in years past. The 33-year-old veteran checks in with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage, decent but not elite numbers.

If you blindly adhere to trends then you must take note of Boston winning the last six meetings between these teams. However, the price we are being asked to lay on the Bruins, a team playing back-to-back road games, is geared towards getting the squares to send it in. We will flip the script and grab all that delicious juice and bet the Rangers will see the puck fall its way tonight and give them a well-deserved victory.

Free NHL Pick: Rangers +155 at BetMGM

Iowa vs. Michigan NCAA Basketball Preview

Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines puts up two points over the defense. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images/AFP

Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines puts up two points over the defense. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images/AFP

There are eight ranked teams in action on Thursday’s college basketball odds card, but just one game pitting top 25 squads and the matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan Wolverines definitely grabs the top line on the marquee.


Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

at Crisler Center

Michigan comes in ranked No. 3 in the land while Iowa holds down the 9/12 slots in the AP and coaches rankings, respectively. The Wolverines are atop the Big Ten standings, clinging to a 1-game entering play on Thursday. Just two games behind are the Hawkeyes who face one of the toughest schedule draws in the country with consecutive road games against top 5 teams, a trip to Columbus to meet the Ohio State Buckeyes following this one on Saturday.

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Pelicans vs. Bucks NBA Preview

D.J. Augustin #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball.  Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

D.J. Augustin #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP


The Milwaukee Bucks are on a winning streak, but are they good enough to beat the New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA odds this Thursday?

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Milwaukee Bucks

at Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee


The vultures were circling for Mike Budenholzer. The head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks is not the most popular person in the Cream City – certainly not after the Bucks lost back-to-back games at home to the Toronto Raptors, bringing up painful memories of their crushing defeat in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. But then a funny thing happened: The Bucks won their next three games. Granted, it was against three double-digit road dogs, but Milwaukee covered all three to improve to 19-13 SU and 16-16 ATS. Budenholzer’s job appears safe for now.

Stan Van Gundy has even more job security with the New Orleans Pelicans (14-17 SU, 13-18 ATS). This is Year One for Van Gundy’s rebuilding project in the Big Easy, and while there’s plenty of work to be done, he’s got one of the most promising young lineups in the Association. The Pelicans look like the right choice for Thursday’s matchup with Milwaukee after opening as 9-point road dogs on the NBA odds board at bet365. But there may be a better choice for your hard-earned money.

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