UFC 262 Preview and Best Bets

Charles Oliveira of Brazil (L) attempts to grapple Clay Guida (R) in the first round in their lightweight bout during the UFC 225. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFP

Charles Oliveira of Brazil (L) attempts to grapple Clay Guida (R) in the first round in their lightweight bout during the UFC 225. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFP

 

The UFC 262: Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira main card UFC Odds are available. Read on for our complete betting guide and preview on this weekend’s favorite matchups, including updated odds and our free expert betting predictions.

 

Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira

UFC Lightweight Championship Bout

The former Bellator multiple time champion Michael Chandler has risen through the UFC rankings with just one fight for the UFC. We cannot be overly surprised with this outcome considering his extensive background in MMA and impressive resume. The former NCAA Division I All-American will be headhunting for another knockout victory, but this time with the highest of implications – UFC gold.

His opponent, Charles Oliveira, has turned a losing streak from 2015 into a seven-fight consecutive winning streak which is now placing the talented Brazilian in line for a lightweight championship. The sleek black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu owns more submission finishes than any other competitor on the UFC roster, something his opponent will be required to keep in mind during their five-round war.

Deciding on a straight-up winner for this contest is challenging; both men excel in all areas under opposite disciplines. Chandler has the wrestling chops with one-punch knockout power, whereas Oliveira owns the BJJ grappling and technical muay thai (ish) striking base.

All signs are pointing towards this fight ending inside the distance. And with some decent value on the under 2 and a ½ rounds, I can easily visualize this fight ending before the seven-and-a-half-minute mark.

UFC Best Bet: Under 2 and a half rounds at -141 with BetMGM 

 

Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Ferguson

Saturday, May 15, 2021 – 11:05 PM EDT at Toyota Center

Tony “El CuCuy” Ferguson, without a doubt, is a future Hall of Famer. A diverse skill set combined with an illustrious and hard to read style has pitted the American born lightweight contender as a true fan favorite. A decorated background in wrestling with an All-American label on two occasions, fighting has been with Ferguson since an early time in his life.

Beneil Dariush is tired of being underrated, and this stance has become apparent through his six-fight winning streak. This stance has awarded the Iranian native a high-profile contest on a UFC pay-per-view for the first time during his UFC tenure.

Critics often celebrate the dangerous submission game of Ferguson. Still, we should note that Dariush is an overly accomplished BJJ black belt with countless jiu-jitsu tournament wins under his MMA record. Ferguson is riding the first two-fight losing streak of his career, and yes, we can argue that he thrives with a crowded arena, but the decline has been evident. The wars Ferguson has been through are taking their tole; it’s a position to fade the beloved snap-jitsu enthusiast.

UFC Best Bet: Beneil Dariush at -165 with Unibet 

 

Rogerio Bontorin vs. Matt Schnell

Saturday, May 15, 2021 – 09:05 PM EDT at Toyota Center

Matt Schnell has undoubtedly lit up the flyweight division in recent years; a 5-1 record from his previous six UFC contests proves the doubters that Schnell is no rookie to the world of MMA. The most notable aspect of Schnell’s ability is the evolution he provides fight-to-fight; a questionable striking offence was put to bed once he stood and brawled with Tyson Nam during his previous outing.

Rogerio Bontorin is 2-2 since his UFC debut and made his way onto the scene through an impressive read naked choke on ‘Dana White’s Contender Series’. Great grappling, a mixture of clinch and wrestling work, has been put on display, and much like his opponent, the striking offence has been questioned.

Matt Schnell is calm, relaxed, and collected inside the octagon. The apparent downside to Schnell would be his chin; with a handful of significant losses via knockout, I worry if a firefight was to occur. With that said, Schnell has shown many improvements in his offensive striking and Bontorin not so much. An equal grappling presence but a favored striking offense for Schnell makes me believe that Louisiana’s own can get the job done this weekend.

UFC Best Bet: Matt Schnell to win at -152 with SBK

Yankees vs. Rays MLB Preview and Odds Analysis

Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by third base coach Phil Nevin #88

Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by third base coach Phil Nevin #88

 

This week’s series between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays is going to be highly consequential. With the Boston Red Sox in first place in the AL East with a 22-14 record, the Yankees and Rays are tied for second place and are only three games behind. That is part of the reason why Tuesday night’s game is nationally televised.

Despite being in second place, the Yankees are -112 favorites to win the AL East on DraftKings. The Rays have the second highest odds of +500. Despite winning the American league last season, and having a 40-20 regular season record, the betting markets do not respect the Devil Rays.

Each team has a different strength. The Rays have strong pitchers, but a weak lineup. The Yankees have a strong lineup, and unreliable starting pitchers outside of Gerrit Cole. The question for this week’s series is if having a better lineup is more important than having a better pitching staff.

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Tropicana Field

Probable Pitchers:

Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.41 ERA)

Rays: Luis Patino (1-0, 1.17 ERA)

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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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Blues vs. Golden Knights NHL Preview and Best Bet

Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The Blues are inching closer to clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, but the Knights are looking to maintain their hold on the No. 1 seed. Let’s analyze this Friday night divisional matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks.

 

St. Louis Blues vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Friday, May 07, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena

The Blues had reeled off four straight wins before falling, 4-3 in overtime, to the Stars on Saturday. They rebounded with a solid 3-1 victory over Anaheim on Monday before welcoming the Ducks again, two nights later, only to bow 3-2 in a shootout.

Mike Hoffman notched his 17th goal of the season when he drew first blood for the Blues on the power-play unit to put his team in front, 1-0, in the first period of Wednesday night’s tangle with the Ducks. But Anaheim would connect on the next two goals, putting St. Louis behind 2-1 before Kyle Clifford tallied for his fourth goal of the season early in the final period to even the score.

The overtime period was scoreless but Anaheim prevailed in the shootout round when Troy Terry tucked the biscuit behind Jordan Binnington to seal the deal for the Ducks. Speaking of Binnington, the 27-year-old veteran was awarded the second star of the game, turning aside 33 of 35 shots, and keeping the Blues in contention throughout.

St. Louis has five games remaining on their regular-season slate and are six points in front of the Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the division. However, Vegas will be a formidable opponent over these next two back-to-back games in Sin City and nothing is assured quite yet.

Statistically speaking, the Blues are ranked 13th in goals scored (2.94 GF/G), 21st in goals allowed (3.04 GA/G), 9th on the power play (22.8%), and 28th on the penalty kill, (76.4%).

 

Vegas Rolling into Postseason

The Golden Knights were the hottest team in the league, fashioning a 10-game winning streak before the Coyotes pulled off a 3-0 stunner in the desert. But Vegas regrouped the following evening with a 3-2 overtime victory over Arizona, only to drop a 6-5 slugfest with the Stars two nights later.

In their last performance on Wednesday, the Knights would avenge their loss to Minnesota and emerge with a 3-2 overtime decision. Chandler Stephenson would score his 13th goal in the first period while Reilly Smith evened the game with a late third-period power-play goal, his 10th tally of the season. But it was Alex Pietrangelo’s fifth goal of the year that copped the overtime victory with assists from Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Tuch. Marc-Andre Fleury earned the win with his 26 saves.

Statistically, the Knights are ranked 4th in goals scored (3.37 GF/G), 1st in goals allowed (2.23 GA/G), 21st on the power play (18.8%), and 2nd on the penalty kill (86.1%).

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

This will be the seventh of eight meetings between the clubs and they will face off again tomorrow night in a rematch at the T-Mobile Arena. Vegas holds a 4-2 series advantage but the last time these teams battled was nearly a month ago when the Blues notched a 3-1 win. Jordan Binnington came up huge in that game, stoning 50 of 51 shots by the visiting Knights. The victory also snapped what was a seven-game losing streak for St. Louis.

The early NHL odds on this one reveal the Knights as -159 home chalk, which is around what they were when they lost to the Blues on the road in their last meeting. Chances are we will see Robin Lehner between the pipes for the Knights considering head coach, Peter DeBoer, has been religiously alternating his goaltending tandem over the last six weeks and Fleury got the start in their last game on Wednesday night against Minnesota.

Both teams have something to play for in this one as the Golden Knights would like to lock up the No. 1 seed in the West while the Blues would just like an invitation to the postseason party. If the standings hold, the Blues would meet the Knights in Vegas a few weeks from now in the opening round of the playoffs

The price is fairly steep on Vegas at this point, but don’t delay, because this line could rise even higher on the home team. The Knights have a more explosive offense and, unless Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington can recreate his heroics from the last time these teams met, I don’t suspect anything but a Vegas win on Friday night.

Free NHL Pick: Knights -159 at SugarHouse

Lakers vs. Clippers NBA Preview and Free Pick

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images/AFP (

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images/AFP (

 

Even without LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have what it takes to beat the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA odds this Thursday.

 

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Thursday, May 06, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Staples Center

The 2019-20 season saw the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers battle for supremacy atop the NBA odds board – with the Lakers coming out as champions. This year, both L.A. teams have been overtaken by the Brooklyn Nets, who are +240 favorites on Bovada’s futures market at press time. But the Lakers (+375) and Clippers (+550) are still on the podium, and there’s a good chance one of them will end up meeting Brooklyn in the NBA Finals.

That’s if they can stay healthy. LeBron James (ankle) is expected to miss Thursday’s Lakers-Clippers matchup on TNT, and it remains to be seen whether Serge Ibaka (back) will be ready in time for this game. That hasn’t stopped the Clippers (44-22 SU, 36-29-1 ATS) from opening as 7.5-point “home” favorites at SBK; at that price, the Lakers (37-28 SU, 29-35-1 ATS) should be the right NBA pick.

 

One Out Of Two Ain’t Bad

Old-school handicappers used to pay their bills by following teams with injured superstars, counting on the betting public to lose their composure and push the NBA odds too far in the other direction. Betting markets are a bit tighter these days, but the Lakers did go 7-7 SU and 8-6 ATS between February 16 and March 20, when James was in the lineup and Anthony Davis was not.

The sneaker is on the other foot now. Davis returned from his strained left calf on April 22, and is finally starting to look like his old self again; James has played just twice since coming back from his high-ankle sprain, and is likely to miss the next two games as well. He was absent Monday when the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 93-89 as 4-point home dogs. So was Dennis Schroder (COVID-19 protocols), who’s also expected to miss Thursday’s contest. Given how much better Alex Caruso has performed at point guard compared to Schroder, that’s another positive for Laker bettors.

 

Gasol-Fueled

Adding to the injury woes in L.A., it looks like Talen Horton-Tucker (calf) might have to sit this one out, too – he’s listed as questionable at press time. But again, the Lakers have better options on the wing. Plus, they’ve finally decided to dust off Marc Gasol and put the veteran center back in the lineup; he was instrumental in their win over Denver, leading the team at plus-17 in his 17 minutes off the bench.

Ibaka, meanwhile, is one of the reasons the Clippers look a lot more like a title contender this year than last. But he hasn’t played since mid-March, and it’s starting to show; the Clippers are 2-3 SU and 0-5 ATS in their past five, including a 110-104 loss to those same Nuggets (+5.5 away) last Saturday. It only makes sense to kick them while they’re down. Bet accordingly, and enjoy the game.

NBA Pick: Lakers +7.5 (–102) at SBK