Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
NHL Betting Pick: Wild -135 odds (February 21st 2017)
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The Minnesota Wild will host the Chicago Blackhaws in a Central Division showdown Tuesday night. The Wild are sitting top of the division, seven points ahead of the Hawks in second, and they’re 11-2 in their last 13 vs. Central Division foes. They had won six straight head-to-head meetings with the Blackhawks prior to a 4-3 OT setback here at Xcel Energy Center on Feb. 8, and I like them to reestablish their dominance in the series tonight.
The Blackhawks have played seven of their last eight games on the road, and I think they’ll come out flat here as they play their third game in four nights. The Wild meanwhile are playing on two days rest (they’re 4-0 in their last four games playing on 2 days rest) and my money is on the home team in this contest.
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Miami Florida vs. Virginia Cavaliers
College Basketball Prediction: Virginia -9.5 points (February 20th 2017)
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The set-up: The 18-8 Miami Hurricanes will be in Charlottesville Monday night for a game with the 18-8 Virginia Cavaliers. Both teams are 8-6 in ACC games, although the Cavs have arrived at that record by losing three consecutive games, while the Hurricanes have won two straight and four of their last five.
Miami: The Hurricanes lost both starting guards (McClellan and Rodriguez) from last year’s 27-win Sweet 16 team and now have to deal with second-leading scorer Ja’Quan Newton (15.0), who will miss his third straight game for violating team rules. However, it should be noted that the ‘Canes have won the last two games without Newton. Senior forward Kamari Murphy (6.8 & 7.6) scored a career-high 15 on Saturday and told reporters. “With guys out, our guys’ motto in the locker room has been to ‘find a way.’ Everybody’s stepping up.” Starting in the frontcourt along with the 6-8 Murphy are the 6-7 Lawrence (7.2 & 3.9) and 6-10 center Izundu (4.8 & 3.2). Newton’s a key cog in the backcourt but the duo of senior Reed (15.7 & 4.5) and freshman Brown (11.4-6.2-3.5) still allows Miami to compete well.
Virginia: How quickly a team’s fortunes can change in the world of sports. Virginia was up 14 points at the half against rival Virginia Tech back on Feb. 12 and a win would have left the Cavs tied for first place in the ACC. However, Va Tech rallied to win that game 80-78 (2 OTs) plus Virginia followed that collapse with losses to Duke and North Carolina. Suddenly, Tony Bennett and his team are three games out of first place and in the middle of its first three-game losing streak in six years! Virginia is a great defensive team (55.8 PPG allowed is a nation’s-best) but the lack of any productive scorers other than PG London Perrantes (12.6-3.2-3.8) has clearly caught up to them. Perrantes is the lone Cavalier to average in double digits on the season and is averaging 15.2 PPG over his last six. However, when a team scores just 55 points on 36.8% shooting (including 25.0% on threes) like it did against Duke and follows with 41 points on 27.8% shooting (including just 2 of 20 on threes) like it did against North Carolina, defense is not enough to win!
The pick: The good news for Virginia fans is that Bennett’s team should draw confidence from the fact that the Cavaliers have won four of the last five meetings between the two schools, including a 73-68 victory in the ACC semifinals last year. Virginia is currently ranked No. 14 but that won’t be the case when Monday’s new poll isrelea sed. Bennett’s team enters Monday scrambling and desperate for a win. My bet says the Cavs do just that.
Stanford vs. California
Basketball Betting Prediction: Stanford +3.5 (February 17th 2017)
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The Cardinal come into this game having lost 5 of their last 6, but note that 4 of the 5 losses came on the road. Stanford did have an impressive 81-75 win at home over Utah during this stretch as a mere 2-point dog. Much like the case with Cal here, the betting public was all over the Utes in that game. I see a similar outcome here. While Stanford is just 8-4 at home this year, Maples Pavilion is no easy place to play. Just ask the Golden Bears. Cal is 3-16 in their last 19 trips to Stanford. I also don’t love the spot for the Bears in this one, as this is their 3rd straight on the road and they are fresh off a crushing loss at Arizona. I just don’t see Cal being sharp here and I expect a big effort from Stanford on their home floor. Give me the Cardinal +3.5!
Check out Larry Ness’ California vs. Stanford pick here
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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt -3.5 (February 16th 2017)
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The Vanderbilt Commodores are getting zero respect from the books now following their worst loss of the season, a 20-point blowout at lowly Missouri. Now they return home with a chip on their shoulder as only 3.5-point favorites here against a rebuilding Texas A&M squad. The Commodores already rolled the Aggies 68-54 as 4.5-point road dogs in their first meeting this season on January 31st. That was a rare road win in this series as the home team had won the previous four meetings. And the Aggies have only two true road wins all season. The Aggies are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog of 0.5-6.5. The Commodores are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Edmonton Oilers
NHL Betting Pick: Under 5.5 goals (February 16th 2017)
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The Flyers go into Edmonton having scored just four goals in their last five games and in their L/11 games have potted more than two goals just twice. Meanwhile, the host Oilers despite of a 5 goal output last time out vs lowly Arizona, had scored just 6 goals in their previous 5 games. With both teams struggling to bury the biscuit with consistency, and both playing their 3rd tilt in in 5 nights, and now on tired legs a lower scoring low energy game becomes a high possibility. I know these teams took part in a high scoring affair, on Dec 8 , as Philly took a 6-5 decision, but this time around, Im betting things will be different.
EDMONTON is 8-1 UNDER in home games revenging a loss where opponent scored 5 or more goals with a combined average of 4.8 ppg going on the scoreboard. PHILADELPHIA is 6-0 UNDER in February games this season with a combined average of 3 ppg going on the scoreboard.PHILADELPHIA is 6-0 UNDER against good offensive teams – 29 or more shots on goal, convert 17% or better of their pp opportunities- 2nd half of the season this season.
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Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls
NBA Betting Prediction: Toronto -7 (February 14th 2017)
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The Raptors have been struggling but isn’t wasn’t too long ago that the team seemed capable of challenging the Cavs for the East’s No. 1 seed. However, the Raptors limp into Chicago losers of 10 of their last 14 games. They have currently fallen four games back of the Celtics in the Atlantic Division and overall in the East, are tied with the Hawks at 32-23, for the conference’s fourth-best record (Toronto would lose the tie-breaker right now, meaning the Raptors would be the East’s no. 5 seed!).
The Bulls own their fare share of woes too, dealing with significant nagging injuries to their two-best players in Butler (24.5-6.4-4.9) and Wade (19.1), along with also having role players Nikola Mirotic (9.0 & 5.1) and Paul Zipser (4.1 & 2.3) listed as day-to-day as well. Butler has sat out four of the last five games with heel and head contusion issues, with head coach Fred Hoiberg telling reporters after Sunday’s loss that he isn’t certain if shutting Butler down for games this week against the Raptors and Boston Celtics is the solution. As for Wade (wrist), he’s missed two of the last three games.
The good news is that Chicago actually owns 10 straight wins over Toronto but are the Bulls in any shape to take on this high-scoring team (Raptors average 109.1 PPG to rank 5th) right now? The Bulls dropped the final three games of their recently completed six-game road trip by margins of 31, 18 and 28 points! The Toronto backcourt of DeRozan (27.9) and Lowry (22.8-4.7-7.0) is an All Star duo but other than center Valanciunas (12.4 & 9.9), steady contributions by the remaining roster have been few and far between.
The Raptors watched (helplessly?) as they squandered a 16-point fourth quarter lead in a 1012-101 home loss Sunday to the Pistons but a strong bounce-back against the injury-riddled Bulls is in the cards. Lay it with the road favorite.