Bucks vs. Nets NBA Playoffs Game 1 Picks: Offense is the Best Defense for Brooklyn

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets is congratulated by teammates Kevin Durant #7 and James Harden #13. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets is congratulated by teammates Kevin Durant #7 and James Harden #13. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

This Saturday the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Brooklyn Nets to open what should be a very entertaining second round series. Here’s a complete preview, including updated betting odds and NBA picks.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets

Saturday, June 05, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at Barclays Center

The Nets opened as 4-point favorites at Bet365 and over at FiveThirtyEight, they also have the Nets at -4. This leaves no 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. Here we are not getting enough.

FiveThirtyEight gives the Nets a 66 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -194. For support, we turn to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin’s projections; he has the Nets at -0.41 using his Rating numbers, and at -1.81 using his eigenvector analysis. Is there some room to grab potential betting value with the Bucks +4.5 at Unibet?

[Read more...]

Avalanche vs. Golden Knights Game 3 Free Picks and Odds Breakdown

Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Colorado Avalanche  on June 2, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.   Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Colorado Avalanche on June 2, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Golden Knights are in desperation mode after dropping both games in Colorado but they will get a taste of home-cookin’ on Friday night as they return to the T-Mobile Arena. Let’s analyze this Friday night matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!

 

Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights

 

Friday, June 4, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena

 

After getting blown out in Game 1, the Knights responded with a solid effort that came up just short in dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to the Avalanche on Wednesday night. Vegas got goals from Alec Martinez (power play) and Reilly Smith to even things up and then skated through a scoreless third period.

 

But despite a 41-25 advantage in shots, the game ultimately hinged on a controversial penalty called on Reilly Smith in overtime that saw the Avs bury the biscuit for the game-winner. They now take a 2-0 series lead heading into Sin City for a Game 3 showdown.

 

“Just a soft call,” Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said. “I can’t even blame the refs. Because they’re fighting the embellishment of grabbing your face, or falling down or dropping your stick every period. I can’t even blame the referee on it. They fooled them on it.”

 

Vegas netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury, was back between the pipes after getting a breather in Game 1, which resulted in a 7-1 destruction of the Knights with Robin Lehner in the net. Curiously, the Vegas goaltending tandem had been alternated religiously by head coach Peter DeBoer down the home stretch of the season. However, once the bell rang for the postseason, it was MAF charged with full-time duty, relegating Lehner to the bench throughout Vegas’s seven-game death struggle with the Wild.

 

Rocky Mountain High

 

There is no hotter team in the league than the sizzling Colorado Avalanche, having won 11 straight and 14 of their last 15 contests. They picked the opportune time to become the NHL’s most ferocious juggernaut and it is not surprising that, according to the NHL odds, they have been installed as an average -258 favorite throughout their 11-game winning streak.

 

Brandon Saad and Tyson Jost scored during regulation in Game 2 but it was Mikko Rantanen who lit the lamp on the power play in overtime to send the Avs into Game 3 with a 2-0 series edge. And as jubilant as Rantanen was about getting the game-winner, he aptly gave credit to his Vezina finalist teammate, Phillip Grubauer, who was once again an ironman tending the twine in stopping 39 of 41 shots.

 

“Not our best game, but still found a way,” Rantanen said. “That’s what we’ve been doing the whole year. Sometimes we haven’t been feeling it and Grubi’s been awesome and stealing some wins for us — like today. That’s what you need if you want to win the Cup.”

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

 

It is hard to stop a freight train and that’s exactly how I would feel betting against the Avalanche. What reason is there really to jump ship? Vegas played their hearts out in Game 2 and still came up empty. How do they respond after leaving it all on the ice on Wednesday night after being humiliated the game before? And now they have to trudge home down 2-0 to the best club in hockey?

 

What’s more, is that the oddsmakers are giving us plenty of incentive to get down on the Avs at a price that we haven’t seen this low in forever. SugarHouse is dealing Colorado as -112 road chalk in their early lines which is just about a pick’em.

 

Look, I am not unaware that these teams split their season series, 4-4, but the postseason is a different animal and right now the best team just happens to have the best goalie on the planet patrolling the crease for them as well. That’s a combination I am not going to ignore and neither should you. If you want a few more reasons to get down on the Avs then take a peek at these betting trends.

 

  • - Avalanche are 5-0 in their last five games as a road favorite.
  • - Avalanche are 5-0 in their last five road games.
  • - Golden Knights are 1-4 in their last five playoff games as an underdog.
  • - Golden Knights are 1-5 in their last six games as an underdog.

 

Free NHL Pick: Avalanche -112 at SugarHouse

Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers NBA Playoffs Game 6 Preview and Best Bet

 

Austin Rivers #25 of the Denver Nuggets shoots against CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

Austin Rivers #25 of the Denver Nuggets shoots against CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Damian Lillard hype train makes the Denver Nuggets a solid NBA pick when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers for Thursday’s Game 6.

 

Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Thursday, June 03, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at Moda Center

 

Tuesday’s game between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers was one for the ages. It was a close-fought contest, as you might expect between the Nos. 3 and 6 seeds in the Western Conference; in the end, the Nuggets needed two overtimes to put Portland away 147-140 as 2-point home faves on the NBA lines, taking a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Nobody was talking about Denver after their victory, though. The post-game media coverage was all about Damian Lillard, who forced both overtimes with a pair of classic “Dame Time” threes. Lillard definitely has a nose for the spotlight, but as long as the betting public is focused on his shooting and nothing else, the Nuggets will continue to be the right NBA pick for this series – including Thursday’s Game 6, where they’re getting five points on the road at SBK’s online sportsbook.

 

Indefensible There’s a lot to like about Lillard and the Blazers. They went on an epic late-season run to make the Western playoffs, thanks in no small part to the return of starting center Jusuf Nurkic from the injured list, and the acquisition of two-way wing Norman Powell at the trade deadline. Lillard, though, is the engine that makes Portland hum; he’s one of the most gifted scorers in the game, providing 28.9 points per 36 minutes while dishing out 7.6 dimes. It’s the other end where Lillard’s flaws show up – if anyone cares to look. Defense is very hard to pin down with metrics, but Basketball Reference is trying anyway with their Defensive Box Plus/Minus stats, where Lillard posted a minus-1.6 DBPM during the regular season. So did Carmelo Anthony, another one-dimensional volume scorer and a proto-Lillard both on and off the court. Lillard’s backcourt partner, C.J. McCollum, was a minus-1.5. Reserve center Enes Kanter (minus-1.5 DBPM) and back-up guard Anfernee Simons (minus-1.8 DBPM) were also negative contributors on defense according to the analytics.

 

The Truth Hurts Casual basketball fans hate analytics, of course. And that hatred seems to boil over when it comes to certain NBA stars like Lillard and Anthony. On the flip side, nobody wants to give Nikola Jokic his props. Denver’s do-everything big is almost certainly going to win this year’s regular-season MVP award, but at press time, Bovada’s NBA odds have Jokic priced at +2500 to win Finals MVP. Compare and contrast to LeBron James, who’s available at +1000 even though his hobbled Los Angeles Lakers are down 3-2 to the Phoenix Suns in their Western quarterfinal. For that matter, look at what back-up point guard Facundo Campazzo (plus-1.0 DBPM) has been able to do for Denver since replacing the injured Jamal Murray (minus-1.0 DBPM) in the starting

lineup. Campazzo isn’t nearly the offensive creator that Murray is, but with Jokic in the middle, he doesn’t have to be. All this boring defense from boring players who don’t saturate TV and social media with their personae? It might not make the headlines, but it has Denver up 3-2 SU and ATS in this series. No sense in betting otherwise.

 

Pick: Nuggets +5 (–108) at SBK

UFC in Vegas 28 Pick’ Em Part 2: Fight Card Preview, Predictions & Best Bet

Miguel Baeza (C) of the United States is interviewed.  Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP

Miguel Baeza (C) of the United States is interviewed. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP

We’re back with part 2 of our UFC Fight Night predictions. The UFC in Vegas 28: Jarizinho Roenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai main card UFC Odds are available. Read on for our complete betting guide and preview next weekend’s favourite matchups, including updated odds and our free expert betting predictions.

UFC in Vegas 28 Co-Main Event Prediction

Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura

UFC Heavyweight Bout

Saturday, June 05, 2021 – 11:05 PM EDT at Apex Centre

This weekend’s main card fights are stacked with heavyweight, middleweight, and welterweight big-boys of the UFC roster. The co-main event will be no different as heavyweight contenders Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura will lead us into the main event of the evening.

Marcin Tybura is riding the first four-fight win streak of his UFC career; with a mixture of high and low-level opposition, it has been hard to gauge his worth, but he can no longer deny his willingness to win a fight.

Walt Harris can wrestle, but versus Tybura, I don’t expect him to approach this game plan. Tybura is quite the wrestler himself; just ask Greg Hardy, who fell victim to the Poilshmans heavy top game via a ground and pound stoppage.

Marcin Tybura is vital inside the clinch, he doesn’t use the position to protect himself or take a break, but he will utilize elbows, uppercuts and make the most of his cage work.

Walt Harris possesses some heavyhanded strikes, but as we have witnessed repeatedly, outside of the first round, his offence becomes stale. I believe that once Tybura can weather the storm during those first five minutes, all it would take is one takedown, and Harris will lose the fight because of his unfavourable gas tank.

When the heavyweights have thrown down, it’s an often occurrence we witness somebody go to sleep. So, instead of taking the risk and picking a side, I can appreciate the value being offered in the over/under betting market.

UFC Vegas 28 Best Bet: Fight doesn’t go the distance at -161 with William Hill (1.61u returns 1u profit)

[Read more...]

Angels vs. Giants MLB Preview and Odds Analysis

Alex Wood #57 of the San Francisco Giants on May 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.   Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Alex Wood #57 of the San Francisco Giants on May 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Los Angeles Angels vs. San Francisco Giants

 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 – 9:45 PM ET at Minute Maid Park

 

Probable Pitchers

Angels: Andrew Heaney (2-3, 5.24 ERA)

Giants: Alex Wood (5-2, 2.44 ERA)

 

Stakes of the Matchup

 

In arguably the biggest surprise this season, the San Francisco Giants are in first place in the NL West with a 34-20 record despite being projected to win around 75 games this season. They have built a competitive roster by having several overperforming veteran starting pitchers, and a decent lineup.

 

In an interleague matchup, they host a struggling Los Angeles Angels team. The Angels have a 24-30 record and are without their best player OF Mike Trout due to an injury. Additionally, they might be without Shohei Ohtani in their lineup as he is primarily a DH.

 

Even though about a third of the season has been played, the best way to evaluate if a team has played well is in their run differential. The Angels have a -43 run differential which is the 5th worst in baseball. On average they lose each game by .8 runs. Even though they have a 24-30 record, their Pythagorean expected record is 22-32.

 

Opposing the Houston Astros are the Los Angeles Dodgers who are in second place in the NL West. The Dodgers like the Astros are the best team in their division even though they do not have the best record.

 

The Giants are a different story, because their lineup averages 4.83 runs per game they have a great run differential. Currently, San Francisco has a +69 run differential which is the third best in the league. On average, the Giants win each game by 1.28 runs. That is why it should be no surprise that they are heavy favorites for Tuesday night’s game.

 

Pitching Matchup

 

Both teams are relying on starting pitchers tonight who have been surprises this season. For the Angels they are relying on Andrew Heaney who has been a disappointment, and for the Giants, they are relying on Alex Wood who has been a pleasant surprise.

 

Andrew Heaney is a hard pitcher to analyze this season. Heaney has a 2-3 record with a 5.24 ERA. However, Heaney also has a 3.76 xFIP, and a strikeout rate of 11.08 strikeouts per nine innings. He certainly is giving up many runs but based on more advanced metrics he should be allowing only a modest amount of runs per game.

 

Even though Heaney has been unlucky this season, he should have a tough time against San Francisco’s lineup. Former NL MVP C Buster Posey for example is having a strong season even though it looked like he was at the tail end of his career. Other Giants who are doing better than expected are 3B Evan Longoria, and SS Brandon Crawford.

 

Opposing Heaney is Alex Wood for the Giants. After lackluster 2020 and 2019 seasons, Wood is having the best year of his career. Currently Wood has a 5-2 record with a 2.44 ERA. Even when you look at his “nerd stats” he is having a good season as he has a 0.7 WAR, and a 2.92 xFIP. He should regress over the course of the season, but the Giants deserve to be favored with him on the mound.

 

Prediction

 

San Francisco is appropriately a -150 favorite, and as a result, neither team is worth betting on. However, with such a low run total, there is some value with the over.

 

The Angels lineup is hurt by the absence of Mike Trout and potentially the absence of Shoehi Ohtani. However, they still should score about four runs on a typical night. When you combine this with San Francisco’s lineup at least seven runs should be scored and maybe more. Most books have the total set at seven runs, but there is more value in getting the extra half run at DraftKings at -124.

 

MLB Pick: Over 6.5 Runs (-124) at DraftKings