Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
NHL Betting Pick: Capitals -108 odds (February 18th 2016)
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The Capitals are the best team in the conference, and probably the entire NHL. The Islanders have been playing great lately but the top to bottom scoring depth coupled with the world class goal tending that Washington brings into this game may just be too much. The Caps also have the best road record in the league, and have won six of seven going into Thursday. On top of that, the Capitals have beaten the Islanders on seven of their last ten, and Alex Ovechkin has something like forty eight points in forty career games against New York. Meanwhile, the guys who get it done for the Isles have had a tough time putting pucks in against Washington, with Tavares pointless in three straight and Brock Nelson with only six in fifteen meetings. The Capitals are a legit cup contender and a big W in Brooklyn only further cements their status as the top dog.
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Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz
Basketball Betting Prediction: Wizards -115 odds (February 18th 2016)
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The Washington Wizards are in for a rough return from the All Star break. They’ll be forced to play three games in three nights due to rescheduling of previously postponed games, and I think they’ll put a lot of emphasis on this first game back. The Wizards entered the break off a 99-92 loss at Milwaukee last Thursday, but they’re 6-2 ATS in their last eight games playing on three or more days rest and 15-6 ATS in their last 21 games following a straight up loss. The Jazz have failed to cover the spread in nine of their last 14 on the road and they’re 2-5 ATS as a road underdog of three points or fewer this season. The Wizards have held the Jazz to an average of 86.3 points while taking down the last three in the series, and this looks like a good spot to back the Wizards to book another win as a short favorite.
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Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Betting Prediction: Cleveland -11.5 points (February 18th 2016)
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The Chicago Bulls are in shambles coming out of the All Star break. They’ve lost four straight, and six of their last seven, and the injuries are piling up. They won’t have leading scorer Jimmy Butler for at least three weeks, and they are rumored to be shopping Pau Gasol. I think they are going to get clobbered in Cleveland.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Home Cookin’ – The Cavs own the Eastern Conference’s best home record (22-4), and they’ve scored an average of 114 points in their last six home wins. Kyrie Irving was hot heading into the break, averaging 27 points on 55.8 percent shooting over his last eight games.
2. Coaching Philosophy – The Cavs were one of the slowest teams in the league under David Blatt, but they have been a different team with Tyronn Lue at the helm. They’ve won eight of 10, going over the total in seven of those games.
3. X-Factor – The Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
Selection: This is a play on the Cleveland Cavaliers (Free)
New York Rangers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Betting Pick: Rangers -111 odds (February 17th 2016)
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Two NHL heavyweights will square off tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the New York Rangers. Game time is set for 8 PM ET at Madison Square Garden where the Rangers are moneyline favorites (-111) with the total pegged at 5.5.
The Blackhawks (37-18-5, 27-33 PL)had scored four goals during a three-game losing skid before their offense erupted in a 7-2 rout of Toronto on Monday. Rookie Artemi Panarin scored and set up a goal versus the Maple Leafs and netted his first career NHL tally in Chicago’s 3-2 season-opening loss to New York on October 7. In Monday’s 7-2 wipeout of Toronto, Patrick Kane notched a four-point performance for the third time this season. Kane scored his team-leading 34th goal to go along with three assists raising his point total to nine (four goals, five assists) this month.
The Rangers (32-18-4, 26-30 PL) are 5-0-1 in their last six contests overall and 8-0-2 in the last 10 at Madison Square Garden to move into second place in the Metropolitan Division.
A pair of future Hall of Famers will be in net for their respective teams. New York will start Henrik Lundqvist while Corey Crawford will get the call for Chicago. Lundqvist made 32 saves in the season opener while Crawford turned aside 24 shots.
The road team is 4-1 in the last five meetings while the Blackhawks are 1-4 last five vs. the Rangers.
The UNDER is 20-3-6 in Chicago’s past 29 games against the Metropolitan Division and 4-0-1 in the past five series meetings. The OVER is 5-0 in the Rangers last five vs. the Central Division and 9-0-2 in the Rangers last 11 vs. Western Conference opponents.
Syracuse vs. Louisville
NCAA Betting Pick: Louisville -7.5 -110 odds (February 17th 2016)
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The perception here is that Louisville is done for after the recent news that they are not eligible for postseason play and that perception has grown after watching the Cardinals lose their last two games. The thing to keep in mind is those two losses came against Duke and Notre Dame, both on the road and they were competitive in both. The fact that Louisville is a 7.5-point favorite here against a Syracuse team that has won 5 straight and 8 of 9 overall raises a huge red flag for me, especially with the public coming in heavy on the Orange. Oddsmakers aren’t stupid and clearly they like Louisville to not only win this game, but win big. The Cardinals are a dominant 15-1 SU and 8-4 ATS at home this season and Syracuse comes in just 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 road games against a team that’s won more than 60% of their home games. Give me Louisville -7.5!
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Montreal Canadiens vs. Colorado Avalanche
Betting Prediction: Avalanche -123 odds (February 17th 2016)
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Montreal continues it’s horrific slide that unsurprisingly coincided with the injury to Carey Price. The last two games have been embarrassments and they’ve lost five in a row away from home and are 1-6-1 in their last eight. Montreal is eight points out of a playoff spot and coach Michel Terrien looks like he’ll be gone sooner rather than later. Colorado has found itself in the playoffs and looks to snap it’s own home game skid, Duchene and MacKinnon have each been flying lately, and if this team can find a little more structure, the wins would pile up. Both teams haven’t been playing great, but in watching the games, Colorado has looked better but for a few bounces and some crappy coaching. Montreal has looked sad, they’ve got no confidence in their goalie, their coach, or themselves. The team knows the coach is gone, and the crushing news that Price is shut down for the year have gutted this team. Colorado needs these two points much worse than the Canadiens, who need to seriously consider tanking for a top five pick.
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