Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
NHL Betting Pick: Columbus -170 odds (January 19th 2017)
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The set-up: The 23-15-4 Ottawa Senators are on the road to take on the 30-9-4 Columbus blue Jackets on Thursday night. Ottawa opened a three-game road trip with a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday and will be looking for its fourth win in five games.Columbus saw its 16-game run end with a shutout loss to the Washington Capitals back on Jan. 5 and has alternated wins and losses over its last six games.
Ottawa: The Senators have won five of their last seven games with Columbus but Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf realizes this is not the same Blue Jackets team that has reached the playoffs only twice in franchise history. “They’re at the top of the standings for a reason,” he said. “They play hard, they play with speed, they play with structure.” The Senators have rediscovered their offense during the recent surge that’s come after a four-game skid from Dec. 27 to Jan. 7. Ottawa has 17 goals over the last four games, with 15 coming in the three wins. “We’ve asked our players to improve since Christmas at driving the net and paying the price around the net and we certainly did that with the goals that we had,” Senators head coach Guy Boucher said of the power surge.
Columbus: Jenner and Dubinsky scored 35 seconds apart late in the first period to erase a one-goal deficit and Columbus went on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday. Jenner, a 30-goal scorer in 2015-16, has only nine in 43 games. However, he’s scored in each of his last three games and has three in his last three games versus Ottawa. With Jenner starting to come around, a more welcome sight for Columbus was goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s return after missing three games because of an illness. He finished with 24 saves for his league-leading 27th win. If the Blue Jackets are indeed for real and plan to make a deep playoff run, they will lean on Bobrovsky to lead the way. Bobrovsky may have the inside track to win his second Vezina Trophy (27-6-2 on the season with a 1.97 GAA & .932 save percentage) and if so, his outstanding play at Nationwide Arena might be the key. He has won his last nine home games, allowing only 12 goals for a 1.33 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. Overall at home, he is 16-3-0 with a 1.79 GAA, .940 save percentage.
The pick: Bobrovsky’s back between the pipes and Columbus has won 10 of its last 11 games at Nationwide Arena to improve to 17-4-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents 3.77-to-2.09 GPG. The Blue Jackets are the play.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards
NBA Point Spread Pick: Wizards -3 (January 18th 2017)
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The set-up: The 25-18 Memphis Grizzlies have their work cut out for them when they visit Washington tonight, as the 21-19 Wizards have won their last 12 games at Verizon Center.
Memphis: The Grizzlies suffered a 108-104 home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night and have dropped two of three and six of their last 11 games, with all but one of those setbacks coming on the road. Veteran power forward Zach Randolph held his own in Chicago and recorded 15 points and 16 rebounds off the bench to mark his fourth double-double in the last five games. Randolph (13.8 & 5.2 on the season) has lobbied for more playing time alongside center Marc Gasol (19.4-6.1-4.2) and is thriving in extended minutes while posting 17 points and 11.8 rebounds in an average of 29 minutes in the last five contests. That inside duo joins PG Conley (19.0-3.7-5.2) as the team’s lone double digit scorers.
Washington: Meanwhile, all five Washington starters score in double digits. The backcourt duo of Wall (22.9-4.5-10.1) and Beal (22.5) lead the way, while up front, forwards Porter (14.0 & 6.4) and Morris (13.4 & 6.3) surround center Gortat (11.4 & 11.6). The Wizards stumbled badly out of the gate at 2-8 but the team is 15-7 since Dec. 5 (12 straight home wins began on Dec. 8).
The pick: The Wizards are 11-1 ATS during their 12-game home winning streak, so why buck them here?
Indiana Pacers vs. Sacramento Kings
NBA Betting Pick: Sacramento -1 (January 18th 2017)
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Sacramento had hoped that a two-week homestand of seven games would help solidify the team as a playoff contender in the Western Conference with six games completed, the Kings have managed just ONE victory! That lone win came 100-94 over the Pistons, who squandered an 18-point third quarter lead. It’s safe to say, things haven’t gone as planned this homestand for the Kings. Tonight, it’s a game against the 21-19 Indiana Pacers, then the Kings head out on the road for an EIGHT-game road trip over 12 days!
The Pacers begin a three-game Western Conference trip with this contest and have struggled to close games this season. Away from Indiana, the Pacers are just plain have trouble winning, sporting a 5-14 SU record, also going 5-14 ATS (more on that, later). The Pacers come in having won six of their past seven and can move three games above .500 for the first time with a victory, but FIVE of those seven games were played at Indiana. SF Paul George (22.0-6.1-3.3), center Turner (15.6 -7.7) and PG Jeff Teague (15.6-4.1-8.0) are the pacesetters for an Indiana offense that has shot at least 50 percent in five of its past six games.
The poor homestand has been disappointing to both players and coaches, and the repeated miscues and breakdowns have been alarming. “We’re not a good team right now — plain and simple,” small forward Matt Barnes told reporters. “We have what it takes but we’re undisciplined. We’re not consistent and we lose our focus too much.” However, the Kings are still just one game out of the West’s final playoff spot. Also, Indiana’s woes on the road are real, as the team has failed to cover in ANY of its 14 SU losses on the road this season! Kings head out on the road off a win.
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