Baseball picksJune 12, 2018

Tuesday New York Mets at Atlanta Braves MLB Preview

 Tuesday New York Mets at Atlanta Braves MLB PreviewMLB Tuesday Preview

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Tuesday, June 12, 7:30 p.m. (ET) ESPN

Moneyline: New York +134/Atlanta -144

Total Line: 8.5 

New York at Atlanta Game Matchup Overview 

The Mets (28-34) snapped an extended eight-game losing streak with Sunday’s 2-0 victory in the final game of their weekend Subway Series against the New York Yankees as heavy +242 road underdogs. This was just their third victory over their last 16 games. The total stayed UNDER  closing seven-run line in that game and it has stayed UNDER in their last six games.

New York will start this quick two-game series with Zack Wheeler as its starter. The right hander is 2-4 on the year through 11 previous outings and his ERA stands at 4.57 with a 1.38 WHIP. He has failed to get the decision in his last three starts, but he held Baltimore scoreless for seven innings on just three hits his last time out. The Mets have lost their last seven games with Wheeler on the mound.

Atlanta enjoyed a day off after dropping two of three games on the road to the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. This followed a 2-1 series road loss to San Diego last week. The Braves are still tied with Washington for the lead in the NL East at 37-28 and they return home for this brief division clash with a 16-12 record at home this season. The total went OVER closing line in all three games against the Dodgers and in five of Atlanta’s last six games.

The Braves will turn to Mike Foltynewicz as their starter for Tuesday night. He lost his last start against San Diego last Wednesday after giving up two earned runs on five hits in five innings pitched. The right hander’s overall body of work this season has been solid with an ERA of 2.31 complementing a 1.19 WHIP. His record stands at 5-4.



Baseball picksMay 4, 2018

Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Friday Matchup

Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Friday MatchupThe 2018 MLB Schedule action heats up this weekend with a solid list of series taking to the diamond as the first weekend of May has arrived. One of those series will take place out West, as the Houston Astros make the trip to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. For these two teams they enter this key Interleague contest sitting in first place in the American League West and the National League West.

On paper this is an intriguing matchup between two first place teams that should deliver a ton of excitement for fans as well as a chance for sports bettors to cash in.  The first game of the series will get rolling at 9:40pm as the Astros send Gerrit Cole to the mound while the Diamondbacks counter with Kris Medlan. Here is a quick look at the pitcher’s matchup for Friday Night.

Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros  

The Astros made a big decision to acquire Cole during the offseason and he hasn’t disappointed through his first six starts. Over that stretch, Cole has pitched to a 1.73 earned run average while allowing less than two earned runs in five of six starts (3 earned run in last outing). Cole has been overpowering for opponents striking out 61 batters over just 41.2 innings of work. Over the last three seasons, Cole has a 1-2 record against the Diamondbacks pitching to a 2.39 earned run average over 26.1 innings of work.

Kris Medlen, Arizona Diamondbacks

After failing to land a MLB deal this offseason, the 32 year old veteran inked a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. Despite some struggles at the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate, he will be making his first start of the season against a very good Astros team as he fills in for Robbie Ray who is currently dealing with an oblique strain. Medlen who showed promise during the 2013 season has battled through multiple Tommy John surgery’s over the past few years. Over the limited past three seasons, Medlen is 1-0 against the Astros in only one start while yielding two runs over five innings striking out seven.

As these two red hot teams will look for some strong pitching performances the teams will also rely on their high-powered offenses to back those starters. Here is a quick look at a few of the key offensive weapons for each team.

Houston Astros Offensive Weapons

Carlos Correa – Correa is slowly becoming one of the games top stars while slowly developing an all around approach at the plate. Through the start of the 2018 MLB season, Correa is off to another strong start hitting .307 over 114 at bats with nine doubles, five home runs and 22 runs batted in. Over the last three seasons, Correa has dominated Diamondback pitching hitting .359 over 39 at bats with two triples and four home runs.

Jose Altuve – Along with Correa, Altuve might be one of the games top faces as he continues to dominate night in and out. For Altuve, he enters Thursday batting .331 with two home runs to go with 15 runs batted in. Much of that success has come over his last seven games as he has at leat one hit in each contest (one double, two home runs and five runs batted in). The MVP has also produced against the Diamondbacks over the past few seasons picking up 21 hits over 61 at bats (five doubles, two triples and one home run).

Arizona Diamondbacks Offensive Weapons

Paul Goldschmidt – The Diamondbacks All-Star first baseman has gotten off to a slow start in 2018 while watching his team get off a hot start. Through his first 31 games, Goldschmidt has hit just .250 over 108 at bats. That said the Diamondbacks first baseman has seven doubles, two triples and four home runs over 108 at bats this season.

A.J. Pollock – While all eyes are on Goldschmidt, Pollock is putting together possible one of the best seasons in all of the Majors. The Diamondbacks outfielder is hitting .304 to start the season with 10 home runs to go with 25 runs batted in. Pollock is also a threat on the base path picking up seven stolen bases to start the season.

Here is a quick look at the rest of the pitching matchups for the weekend series between the Astros and Diamondbacks.

Saturday May 5th, 2018

Houston – Charlie Morton (4-0, 1.72 ERA)

Arizona – Zack Greinke (3-2, 4.50 ERA)

Sunday May 6th, 2018

Houston – Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.13 ERA)

Arizona – Matt Koch (1-0, 2.37 ERA)

 

 



Basketball picksApril 27, 2018

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Game 7 Matchup

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Game 7 MatchupThe final night of the season has arrived for either the Milwaukee Bucks or Boston Celtics as they square off in a pivotal Game 7 matchup on Saturday Night. While this is one of two matchups for fans and sports bettors to look forward to on Saturday Night, it might be the more intriguing matchup based on the importance of this contest.

As you look at this contest, this series has gone the home team has taken care of business in all six of the meetings. The series started out in Boston, as the Celtics rolled to a 113-107 win to open the series before picking up game two 120-106. The success continued in Game 5 after losing back to back contests in Milwaukee, the Celtics returned home to extend their lead 3-2

Now the big question on Saturday Night is can Giannis Antetokounmpo step up for the Bucks on the road. Meanwhile for the Celtics can they get another big time performance from Al Horford, as the team dominated the glass at home in Game 5?

 Here are the keys to the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics Game 7 matchup on Saturday April 28th, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Milwaukee Bucks – Win the Glass

For the Bucks they have the talent to run with any team in the NBA and the stars to take over a game in crunch time. That said for the Bucks to win this contest on Saturday Night they will need to take control of the glass from the opening tip while limiting the Celtics second chance opportunities while opening up some for themselves. In each of the previous three meetings in Boston, the Bucks were out rebounded on the offensive side of the glass while allowing more overall rebounds in two of three contests (in the third contest each team had 38).

Boston Celtics – Shut Down the Greek Freak

It could be the easiest of the game plans to design but for the Celtics to win this contest they will need to do everything they can to shut down Antetkounmpo. If this allows Malcom Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton to have better looks, that is fine. If the Greek Freak gets rolling, this could be the time for him to turn in an MVP performance while carrying his team to a much needed road win to roll on to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Matchup

Celtics (-4.5) – O/U 195.5

Saturday April 28th, 2018

TD Garden 

Milwaukee Bucks Betting Trends 

Entering their key Game 7 matchup against the Celtics on Saturday Night, the Bucks have been subpar on the road against the spread for sports bettors this year making them a difficult sports pick covering in just 22 of their 44 road contests this season. Those road struggles include all three contests against the Celtics this season while failing to cover in four straight at TD Garden.

Boston Celtics Betting Trends

The contest heads back to Boston, as the Celtics will look to continue their success at TD Garden. On the year, the Celtics posted a 30-14 mark at home including the playoffs while covering the spread in 25 of those 44 contests. Along with that success the Celtics have dominated in contests with just one days rest covering the spread in 10 of those last 14 contests.

Head to Head Trends

All signs point to the Celtics in this contest as the home team has covered the spread in five of their last six matchups while the favorite has covered in five of their last six overall meetings. One key trend has been the fact these two teams have covered the over in 10 of their last 13 meetings at TD Garden.



Basketball picksApril 3, 2018

NBA Tuesday Preview Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Tuesday Preview Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland CavaliersNBA Tuesday Preview

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers 

Tuesday, April 3, 7 p.m. (ET)

NBA Pointspread: Cleveland -2

Total Line: 225.5

Toronto at Cleveland Game Matchup Overview

Toronto gave up some ground to Boston in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with Saturday’s 110-99 loss to the Celtics as a 4.5-point home favorite. This was the Raptors’ fourth straight-up loss in its last seven games and they have failed to cover against the spread in their last eight outings. The total has gone OVER or ended as a PUSH in six of those eight games. Toronto is still 9-2 SU in its last 11 road games with a 7-4 record ATS.

DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 34 points while going 12-for-19 from the field on Saturday night, but it was not enough to keep the game close against Boston down the stretch. The Raptors were outscored 28-15 in that final quarter. Going 8-for-35 from three-point range did not help the cause. DeRozan continues to lead Toronto in scoring with an average 23.4 points per game as part of the team’s 112.3-point scoring average that is third-highest in the NBA.

Cleveland beat the Raptors 132-129 on March 21 as a two-point home underdog. This was part of a current SU 8-1 run that includes Sunday’s 98-87 victory against Dallas as a 10.5-point home favorite. The Cavaliers have gone 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall with the total staying UNDER in five of their last six outings. They are 6-0 both SU and ATS in their last six home games and the total has stayed UNDER in four of those six games at home.

The Cavaliers outscored Dallas 25-10 in the fourth quarter to pull away from a tight three quarters of play. LeBron James was held to 16 points, but he dished out 12 assists to go with 13 rebounds to post the triple-double. Kevin Love added 13 points and 13 rebounds to the winning cause. Cleveland (47-30) remains a half game ahead of Philadelphia for the third seed in the East.



Basketball picksMarch 14, 2018

NBA Thursday Preview Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets

NBA Thursday Preview

Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets

Thursday, March 15, 8 p.m. (ET) NBA TV

NBA Betting Pointspread: Houston -11.5

Total Line: 227 

Los Angeles at Houston Game Matchup Overview

The Clippers are 37-29 and they continue to battle a trio of teams for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They have really helped their cause with a straight-up 7-3 record in their last 10 games. Tuesday’s 112-106 road victory against Chicago was their third win in a row SU, but they failed to cover as 7.5-point favorites. Los Angeles is now 2-5 against the spread in its last seven games with the total going OVER in four of those contests.

DeAndre Jordan (29 points) and Lou Williams (26 points) led the way against the Bulls. Los Angeles connected on 48.7 percent of its shots from the field, but it went a dismal 8-for-29 from three-point range. Williams remains the team’s leading scorer with 23.1 points per game and Jordan’s 18 rebounds on Tuesday eclipsed his team-high average of 15.3. The Clippers are ranked seventh in the league in points (109.4) and 12th in rebounds (44.0).

Houston has opened-up a two-game lead at the top of the standings in the West at a NBA-best 53-14. Its recent 17-game winning streak came to an end last Friday in a road loss to Toronto, but the new streak stands at two games both SU and ATS with back-to-back victories against Dallas at home and San Antonio on the road. The Rockets are 26-6 SU at home this season, but they are just 3-5 ATS in their last eight home games. The total has stayed UNDER  closing line in their last four games overall.

The combination of James Harden and Chris Paul has been almost unstoppable at times with role players such as Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza contributing heavily to Houston’s success this season. Harden continues to lead the NBA in scoring with 31.0 PPG and Paul is averaging 18.8 points and 8.1 assists a game. The Rockets are the second-highest scoring team in the league with an average of 113.7 points.



Basketball picksMarch 14, 2018

Spartans hoping for longer tournament run this season

SPARTANS HOPING FOR LONGER TOURNAMENT RUN THIS SEASON

It has been quite a season already for the Michigan State Spartans basketball program. The team entered the season with high expectations and many had them as the eventual national champions. The Spartans returned some of their key pieces from last season in forwards Miles Bridges and Nick Ward as well as guard Cassius Winston. Bridges had a chance to head to the NBA after a strong freshman year but decided to return to help MSU win a championship.

But along the way, a shadow was cast over their university and also their basketball program. In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, where Nassar worked with female gymnasts, ESPN offered up new allegations that involved members of the Spartan basketball program. This brought Head Coach Tom Izzo and the program under fire and created a distraction for the current players.

However, Izzo tried to keep his team focused and concentrating on basketball while he was forced to try and answer questions from probing reporters. The team rallied behind their long-time coach and for the most part continued to win while rumors about the program swirled all around them. Sure there were some bumps, such as escaping with an overtime win at home against Rutgers, and coming back from 27 points down against Northwestern to steal a win.

And there were a few losses along the way including an early season loss to Duke, a blowout loss to Ohio State and two losses to in-state rival Michigan. But other than those four games, the Spartans won every other game on their schedule to finish with a sparkling 29-4 overall record.

In the final AP Top 25 poll, MSU finished as the 5th ranked team in the country. Entering the NCAA tournament and it’s new seeding process, they were hoping for no lower that a No. 2 seed but ended up as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. The good news, however, is that they get to start the tournament at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, which will definitely give them a bit of a home court advantage for the first two games of the tournament.

The Spartans first round game will be against the Patriot League regular season and tournament champions in the Bucknell Bison. Bucknell has been on a roll coming into the tournament having won 8 straight games and 18 of their last 19. Granted, none of those wins were against ranked teams but being a mid-major program, that’s to be expected. The Bison finished with a 25-9 overall record with a 16-2 conference mark.

After a tough start to the year with losses in each of their first four games. Bucknell has turned things around and won their 7th regular season Patriot league title in the last 8 years. The team is led by senior forward Zach Thomas who averages 20.3 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. Senior guard Stephen Brown chips in with 14.9 points game and leads the team in assists averaging 4.3 per contest.

And before you count Bucknell out playing against a national power such as Michigan State in their own backyard there are a couple of things to remember. It was just two years ago when a highly rated Spartans team took on another mid-major in Middle Tennessee State in round one and lost. Also, back in 2005 as a No. 14 seed like they are this year, Bucknell shocked Kansas in round one pulling the upset and advancing over the No. 3 seed Jayhawks.

But the Spartans are heavily favored in this game and with a week and a half to get ready they should be well prepared. Izzo has a deep bench and is able to use his depth to his advantage. In addition to Bridges, Ward and Winston, the Spartans also feature freshman Jaren Jackson Jr., junior Matt McQuaid, sophomore Joshua Langford and senior guard Tum Tum Nairn.

To get a win, the Bison will need to try and jump on the Spartans early and hope the layoff from the Big Ten tournament affects them. They’ll also need to find a way to counter the size the Spartans have up front with Ward, Jackson and senior Gavin Schilling. And as we all know, in the NCAA tournament anything can happen, so stay tuned.



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