Suns vs. Lakers NBA Preview

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

The Lakers need to win games before the playoffs approach. They’re running out of time. Can they upset the best team in the NBA, at home, against the Suns?

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Sunday, May 9, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center

The Lakers are reeling right now. But while LeBron James is out with an ankle injury, and Dennis Schroder also missing time, the Lakers have returned Anthony Davis. Los Angeles is hoping he can save this team through their final push for the playoffs.

It’s not going to be easy against the Suns.

At this point, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be a game time decision but it looks like everyone else will play for the Lakers against the Suns. At 37-30 on the season, they’re going to need to pile up wins to make the playoffs.

The Lakers have the 24th best points per 100 possessions in the league as they’re scoring 110.4 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers have an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent and turn the ball over 15.4 percent of the time, which is 28th in the league.

This team is average on the glass and gets to the foul line at a high rate of 19.7 percent, but without James holding the ball, that number has since dipped. The Lakers will be led by Anthony Davis, who is averaging 21.3 points per game and will likely need to average more points down the stretch.

Davis scored 36 points in the Lakers last game against the Blazers, with 12 rebounds and five assists and only three turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as Caruso and Caldwell-Pope were the only other big contributors in the point column.

Defensively, the Lakers are second in the league, allowing 107.9 points per 100 possessions. They’ve held opponents to 52.9 percent effective field goal percentage and force turnovers 15.3 percent of the time. The Lakers are better on the defensive glass and don’t send opponents to the foul line at a high rate.

The Suns, on the other hand, have 117.3 points per 100 possessions as a team and shoot an effective field goal percentage of 56.6 percent. On top of that, they’ve got a turnover percentage of 12.8 percent, which is really low, thanks to Chris Paul running the show.

This team doesn’t get to the line at a high rate and aren’t the best rebounders offensively but the high shooting percentage has been good enough. The Suns are led by Devin Booker who average 25.6 points per game. But this team has plenty of scoring options between Booker, Paul and DeAndre Ayton, who just scored 26 points in their win against the Knicks.

Phoenix has not just been good on offense. They’re dedicated on defense, which is why they’re 48-19 and don’t even have 20 losses on the season. They’re holding opponents to 111 points per 100 possessions and an effective field goal percentage of 53.6 percent. Teams are scoring just 107.4 points per game against the Suns while the Suns average 114.8 points per game on the season. That’s a huge margin for the Suns and another reason why they’re having a special season.

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Trail Blazers vs. Celtics NBA Preview

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates. Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images/AFP

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates. Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images/AFP

The Celtics are coming off a 32-point comeback against the Spurs. Will they have enough in themselves to pick up another win against the Blazers?

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics

Sunday, May 2, 2021 – 7:30pm EST at TD Garden

If you bet on the Celtics in their game against the Spurs to finish April, you have quite the finish to your month of April.Jayson Tatum led the Celtics from 32 down to win against the Spurs in overtime, where Tatum scored 60 points in the game. The Celtics are now 34-30 and will get another home game. It’s their fourth home game in a row and they’ve gone 2-1 in those games.

The Celtics are scoring 114.4 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 54.5 percent. They’re turning the ball over 14.2 percent of the time and effectively rebounding the ball on the offensive end at 27.6 percent of the time.

The Celtics are obviously led by Tatum, who is now averaging 26.4 points per game this season. Tatum also has 7.5 rebounds per game and 4.4 assists per game. Jaylen Brown has chipped in with 24.8 points per game and 5.9 rebounds.

Defensively, Boston has been average, just like their offense. They’re holding opponents to 112.4 points per possession and a 54.2 percent effective field goal percentage. The Celtics will force 14.4 percent of turnovers but struggle a bit on the defensive glass, allowing over 25 percent of offensive rebounds.

They’ll take on a Portland squad that is hungry. The Blazers have now won three straight games against the Pacers, Grizzlies, and Nets all on the road. The road trip continues against Boston here.

The Blazers are scoring 118 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 54. They’re really been able to limit turnovers at 11.4 percent of the season and bring down 26.6 percent of offensive rebound opportunities.

Damian Lillard has led the team in scoring with 28.3 points per game with CJ McCollum right behind him with 22.9 points per game. They addition of Norman Powell from the Raptors has been very nice as he’s added 16.8 points per game and has become the third scoring option for this team.

Enes Kanter has been the best rebounder on this team and will go up against the Celtics’ Tristian Thompson. Portland has been awful defensively, which is why they don’t have a higher win percentage. They’re allowing 117 points per 100 possessions and teams are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 55.4 percent. They’re not forcing a high amount of turnovers and have struggled rebounding on defense, being in the bottom 10 in every category I just listed.

Portland scores 115.1 points a night and allows 115.5 per game. They’re also shooting just 44.8 percent from the field and bring down 44.5 rebounds per game. Boston, on the other hand, is scoring 112.6 points per game but have shown better defense, holding opponents to 111.5 points. The Celtics are also shooting at a higher percentage from the field at 46.6 percent but don’t get to the line as often as the Blazers do.

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Red Sox vs. Mets MLB Preview

Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets and Edwin Diaz #39 celebrate. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets and Edwin Diaz #39 celebrate. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

The Mets offense hasn’t been great this season but will the nicer weather and being at home change their fortunes against the Red Sox?

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Mets

Tuesday, April 27, 2020 – 7:10 PM EDTat  Citi Field

Probable Pitchers:

Red Sox: Garrett Richards (0-2, 6.48 ERA)

Mets: David Peterson (1-2, 6.75 ERA)

The Red Sox offense has been one of the bigger surprises to start the season. They sit at 14-9 on the year and thanks to some clutch hitting, especially on the road, they’re in first place in the AL East. On the other hand, the Mets have been dealt with plenty of cancellations, postponements and lots of poor weather, playing in the rain, cold, and even the snow. The weather looks nice today and that should bode well for both teams. The Mets will send out David Peterson who has a 6.75 ERA on the season.

Dating back to last year, Peterson has struck out 8.29 batters per nine innings but has walked four per nine innings. The lefty has faced the Phillies twice and Cubs once this season. He’s had one solid performance but two of those three games, he’s left without even going five innings, allowing 12 runs in two games and one against the Phillies at home. Peterson is allowing a .349 wOBA against lefties this season and an ISO of .275 against righties this season. The Red Sox lineup features it all with lefties like Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers and righties like JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts. This team will have five righties in the lineup against Peterson and two other lefties that can have some success against lefties to begin with.

On the other hand, Garrett Richards will take the hill for the Red Sox. He’s been awful since coming to Boston this season. Richards has allowed 14 runs and 12 earned runs in 16.2 innings through four starts with 18 hits and 13 walks. He has only struck out 12 batters and has more walks than strikeouts through four starts. Dating back to last year, he has struck out 7.68 batters per nine innings and allowed nearly four walks per nine innings as well. Righties are hitting a wOBA of .381 while lefties are hitting a wOBA of .339 against Richards this season.

The Mets hitting hasn’t been tremendous but on paper it looks tremendous. At home, against Richards, in nicer weather, expectations are a bit higher for this offense now. They’ll have five lefties in the lineup including Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Dom Smith, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil. If you looked at career stats, things would look bright for the Mets. If you look at stats this season, things aren’t as bright. Only Nimmo has been consistently able to get on base at a high rate against righties this season. JD Davis also has a high wOBA against righties but has only had 28 plate appearances due to an injury earlier in the season on a hit by pitch. Also, Pete Alonso is hitting righties at a higher rate than lefties to start the season.

Since joining the MLB, that’s always been the case but his strikeout numbers are high and his walk numbers are low. Prediction Peterson struck out 10 in his last start at Citi Field against the Phillies. He’s got solid strikeout stuff but will go up against a tough Red Sox offense. On the other hand, the Mets lineup has been dreadful to start the year but we’re going to assume that the offense picks it back up in better weather, at home. Let’s take Over 8.5 in this match-up. If it’s a 4-4 game, we’re winning this one.

MLB Bet: Over 8.5 (-110) at Bet 365

 

Suns vs. Nets NBA Preview

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

With Kevin Durant returning to action, will the Nets be able to score enough to hold off a hot Suns team?

Phoenix Suns vs. Brooklyn Nets

Sunday, April 25, 2021 – 3:30pm EDT at Barclays Center

The Phoenix Suns have been the biggest surprise of the season. They’re sitting at 42-17 on the year and are currently second in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz. As of today, the Brooklyn Nets are in first place in the Eastern Conference, up a game above the 76ers.

Both of these teams will make the playoffs and are legitimate contenders to win it all. The Suns are scoring 116.4 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 56.5 percent. On top of that, they’ve limited turnovers behind Chris Paul. The areas where this team will need to improve is gaining second chance points and getting to the foul line more.

The Suns have four players in double figures including Devin Booker who is averaging 25.1 points per game in 33.6 minutes per game. Chris Paul has chipped in with 16 points per game along with 8.8 assists and is averaging 31.7 points per game.

The Suns have done well offensively but it’s the defense that’s helped them reach the top of the Western Conference. They’re holding teams to 110 points per 100 possessions and also holding opponents to a 53.1 percent effective field goal percentage. While they’re average at forcing turnovers, they’ve done well limiting second chances on the glass with DeAndre Ayton who grabs 10.7 rebounds per game and 7.4 of them coming on the defensive end.

The Nets offense has been hard to guard and they still haven’t been at full strength all season long. It looks as though Kevin Durant will make his return to the hardwood against the Suns but make sure he’s in before placing bets. In the NBA, there’s so much chaos and late scratches, you have to be careful.

The Nets are averaging 118.9 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 57.9 percent, which is best in the league. They’re getting to the line at a rapid pace and have been able to limit turnovers.

The Nets will have Kevin Durant back, most likely, and he’s averaged 27.3 points per game. Kyrie Irving has added 27.1 points per game as well. So you’re basically looking at half the points for the Nets coming from those two scorers.

The Nets have had their issues on defense despite terrific offense. They’re allowing 113.9 points per 100 possessions and rarely force turnovers with just 12.8 percent per game. The Nets don’t get to the line often and aren’t getting a high rebound percentage on the offensive end. The Nets are 6-4 in their last 10 while the Suns are 7-3 in their last 10.

The Suns have been a dominant defense all season long but the Nets continue to find more ways to get to the bucket and score points. It’s really difficult to stop a solid offense and with Durant back, I’d imagine that’s going to be something the Suns will struggle with after all.

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Dodgers vs. Mariners MLB Preview

Dustin May #85 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.   Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Dustin May #85 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Seattle Mariners

Monday, April 19, 2021 – 10:10 PM EST at Petco Park

 

Probable Pitchers:

  • Dodgers: Dustin May (1-0, 1.74 ERA)
  • Mariners: Justus Sheffield (0-1, 4.91 ERA)

 

The Dodgers are 13-3 on the season and that was expected. But what wasn’t expected was the Mariners getting off to a hot start, as they’re currently 10-6 on the season. Dustin May will take the hill for the Dodgers for his third start of the season.

He’s thrown 10.1 innings and allowed two runs and nine hits while striking out 14 and walking three. In his last start against the Rockies, he couldn’t make it through five innings after allowing seven hits and a walk. However, he also struck out six batters in that game and struck out eight in his first start of the season against the A’s.

May has been getting a high ground ball rate and limits hard contact to 28.4 percent dating back to last year. The Mariners’ offense has had limited success against righties this season.

While they’re keeping ground balls low, they’re striking out a high amount of the time and have seven batters with a wOBA of .326 or lower against righties this season. After striking out around seven batters per nine innings last season, May has made it a mission to increase his strikeouts per nine innings and already has 14 in 10.1 innings this season.

On the other hand, Justus Sheffield will take the mound for the Mariners after going 11 innings this season, allowing eight runs (six earned) and 11 hits (2 HR’s) in two games.

Sheffield has gotten more ground balls than flyouts in these first two games of the season but has struggled with balls in play, allowing a .312 BABIP dating back to last year.

This season, Sheffield has an XFIP of 5.10 and is allowing plenty of hard contacts. The Dodgers are really good at working walks against lefties this season and Sheffield is dishing out over three per nine innings. Uncharacteristically, the Dodgers only have two players that have high base hit numbers against lefties including Justin Turner and Chris Taylor, who hit a two-run homer yesterday.

If the Dodgers can work walks and limit strikeouts, the Dodgers should be able to score runs against Sheffield.

 

Prediction

 

I’ve been intrigued with Dustin May and his strikeout numbers to start the season. He’s really looked to increase them this season and it’s showing early.

The Mariners are filled with power bats who hit righties hard, but only when they make contact. There are six batters in the projected lineup for the Mariners that have a high strikeout rate against righties.

As long as May can go five innings or more, there’s a very high chance he’ll be able to get six strikeouts in this game.

 

MLB Pick: Dustin May Over 5.5 K’s (+100) at Bet 365