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Thursday, June 14, 2018

MLB Odds: Cubs-Cardinals on Sunday Night Baseball

The Route 66 Rivalry resumes this Sunday when the Chicago Cubs visit the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game set at Busch Stadium. ESPN has the coverage beginning at 8 PM ET, with southpaw Jose Quintana (4.09 ERA) taking the mound for the Cubs opposite rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty (2.96 ERA).

It’s been a good start to the 2018 campaign for both the Cubs (38-27, minus-2.88 betting units) and the Cardinals (36-29, minus-1.98 units), although they find themselves in the red at press time, trailing the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central. The Cubs have the best hitting in baseball thus far, but their pitching has been substandard; St. Louis is less polarized, with decent results on both sides of the equation.
Quintana has definitely gotten by with a little help from his friends. The North Siders are 9-4 in his 13 starts for 1.97 units in profit, but only because they’ve given him 6.31 runs of support per game. The Cards, on the other hand, are 4-4 behind Flaherty for a loss of 1.20 units, providing just 4.25 runs per game and driving the Under to a 5-2-1 record.

MLB Odds: Cubs Visit Cardinals in Route 66 Reunion

The Chicago Cubs (38-27, minus-2.88 betting units) visit the St. Louis Cardinals (36-29, minus-1.98 units) this week for a three-game series between these familiar NL Central rivals. ESPN will show the finale on Sunday Night Baseball beginning at 8 PM ET.

Jose Quintana (4.09 ERA) is expected to start for Chicago, while rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty (2.96 ERA) is due up for St. Louis. Despite the difference in ERA, the big-hitting Cubs are 9-4 behind Quintana for 1.97 units in earnings, while the Cards are 4-4 and 1.20 units in the red with Flaherty on the mound.

MLB Odds: Washington Visits Toronto for Interleague Series Opener

Following three consecutive series against American League East teams, the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the National League East-leading Washington Nationals to town this Friday. Both clubs have been inundated by injuries and have struggled with consistency of late, and both will look to get back on track during interleague play.

Toronto has struggled to find any kind of consistency over the past month and a half. While they started the season well, they’ve slumped to several games below .500 and sit 15.5 games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox at press time. Those struggles have been largely due to an ineffective and beat-up pitching staff. Toronto ranks 23rd in team ERA, and their starters rank last in registering quality starts (20). No team will win consistently with numbers like that.

Washington, on the other hand, has an embarrassment of riches at the pitching position, led by starter Max Scherzer. The defending National League Cy Young winner leads the league in strikeouts (142) and ranks fourth in ERA (2.00). He’s the clear Ace of a Nationals’ staff that ranks third in the Majors in ERA, but the Nats may open the series without Stephen Strasburg, who is currently on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET.

MLB Odds: Nats Face Jays in Interleague Play

The Toronto Blue Jays will look to get back in the win column against the visiting Washington Nationals during the first game of a three-game set in Rogers Centre. Toronto may be gaining a key piece to their team ahead of the series, with Josh Donaldson (calf) expected back. He’ll be a welcome addition both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Washington is in the midst of an AL East interleague swing which sees them visit the Yankees, Jays and host the Orioles in succession. They’ll look to prey on the injury-riddled Jays and continue to build their lead in the NL East. Friday’s opener kicks off at 7:07 PM ET.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

MLB Odds: Astros, A’s in All-AL West Affair

The Houston Astros (41-25, plus-0.78 betting units) are off to a flying start in their first-ever World Series defense. But the Astros find themselves in a dogfight for the AL West division, where four of the five teams have winning records as we near the halfway point of the regular season. That includes the Oakland Athletics (33-32, plus-1.39 units), who welcome Houston to the Coliseum for a three-game set wrapping up this Thursday afternoon; first pitch is 3:35 PM ET on the MLB Network.

Postseason hero Justin Verlander (1.45 ERA) is pitching the best baseball of his 14-year career, and he’s pencilled in to start Thursday’s finale. But heavy expectations have Verlander 2.30 units in the red on a team record of 9-5. The 2011 AL MVP has received just 3.93 runs per game in support, driving the Under to a 10-4 record. Houston’s average this year is 4.97 runs per game.

First-year starter Frankie Montas (1.25 ERA) is projected to throw for Oakland. The Dominican northpaw has pitched very well since getting called up from AAA-Nashville, winning all three of his starts for 3.10 units in profit while allowing just three earned runs in 21.2 innings of work.

MLB Odds: A’s a Tough Out Versus Astros

The Houston Astros (41-25, plus-0.78 betting units) continue their World Series defense this week with a three-game road series versus the Oakland Athletics (33-32, plus-1.39 units). Thursday’s finale begins at 3:35 PM ET on the MLB Network.

Justin Verlander (1.45 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Astros opposite rookie northpaw Frankie Montas (1.25 ERA), who has won all three of his starts for Oakland since getting the call from AAA-Nashville. Houston is 9-5 behind Verlander thus far for a deficit of 2.30 units; they’ve given him just 3.93 runs per game in support, down from 4.97 runs overall.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

MLB Odds: Jays on the Rebound in Tampa

Injuries have spoiled a strong start to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays campaign. But they’ve won four games in a row to improve their record to 30-35 (minus-6.95 betting units), a half-game better than the team they’ll face on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays (29-35, minus-5.82 units). First pitch at the Trop is 1:10 PM ET on Sportsnet.

Toronto’s projected starter, JA Happ (3.71 ERA), has been one of the brighter spots for the Jays this year. They’re 9-4 in his 13 starts thus far, collecting 3.67 units while driving the Over to a 7-4-2 record. Happ has benefitted from 6.46 runs per game in support, but he’s also pitched four quality starts in his last five outings, including seven innings of two-hit ball in Friday’s 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles (+166 away).

The Rays, who have lost nine of their last 10 heading into this three-game series, have yet to pencil in a starter at press time. They’re relying on a patchwork rotation after recent injuries to Chris Archer (abdomen) and Jake Faria (oblique); Tampa is also thin at shortstop with Adeiny Hechavarria and Daniel Robertson both suffering hamstring injuries.

MLB Odds: Happ on the Mound Versus Rays

The Toronto Blue Jays (30-35, minus-6.95 betting units) take a four-game winning streak into this week’s series against the Tampa Bay Rays (29-35, minus-5.82 units), who have lost nine of their last 10. Wednesday’s finale begins at 1:10 PM ET on Sportsnet.

JA Happ (3.71 ERA) is expected to start for Toronto, and he’s pitched very well this year, earning Toronto 3.67 units on a team record of 9-4 while receiving 6.46 runs per game in support. The Rays, who have suffered multiple injuries to their rotation, have yet to name a starter for Wednesday’s game.

MLB Odds: Yankees Host Nationals on Tuesday in the Big Apple

Tuesday night in New York, two potential World Series contenders will meet for the first game of a quick two-game series. The New York Yankees (+500 World Series favorites) and the Washington Nationals (+800) get underway at 7:05 PM ET.

Washington pitcher Tanner Roark (3-6, 3.56 ERA) picked up the win in an 11-2 rout of Tampa Bay at home in his last start. Roark allowed a pair of runs on six hits over six innings, striking out four and walking one. It was the first win since April 30 for Roark, who will face the Yankees for the first time. The 31-year-old righthander is 1-3 in seven home games (six starts) with a 3.29 ERA.

New York pitcher CC Sabathia (3-1, 3.59 ERA) took the win in a 7-2 romp in Toronto in his latest outing, scattering two runs on three hits over seven innings. Sabathia also struck out six and walked one. Despite his strong performance, he did allow two homeruns. The 37-year-old southpaw is 2-1 in three starts against the Nationals in his career with an ERA of 2.25. Sabathia is also 1-0 in six home starts in 2018 with a 3.07 ERA.

The two teams have split their last 10 meetings, the last of which came back in June 2015. Six of the games have come in Under the posted total.

MLB Odds: Yankees Host Nationals for Two-Game Set

The Washington Nationals got off to a slow start this season, but they’ve picked up their game as of late. They will head to the Big Apple Tuesday night to kick off a two-game series with the New York Yankees.

The Nationals will have Tanner Roark on the mound. He just picked up his first win since April 30. The Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia, who has won two of his three career starts against the Nationals. Meanwhile, this is the first time ever that Roark will face the Yankees. These two teams last met in June 2015.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Belmont Stakes Odds: More Mud for Justify?

With the 10-horse field set for Saturday’s running of the 2018 Belmont Stakes, Triple Crown contender Justify is holding firm atop the horse racing futures market as the 4/5 favorite. Hofburg remains the second favorite at 9/2, just as he was on the Morning Line, while Bravazo has improved from 8/1 to 15/2. NBC will be at Belmont Park starting at 4 p.m. Eastern; post time is scheduled for 6:37 p.m.

Justify might get some help from above in his quest to complete the Triple Crown. The Bob Baffert-trained chestnut colt has already taken down the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in sloppy conditions, and Saturday’s Belmont forecast at press time is looking more and more like rain. Justify will also break from post No. 1, which has produced more Belmont champions by far – 23 of them – than any other post position.

Among the other notable contenders for Saturday’s race: Vino Rosso, who has slipped from 8/1 on the Morning Line to 9/1; Tenfold, now available at 10/1 after opening at 12/1, and Blended Citizen, down from 15/1 to 20/1. Gronkowski (25/1), Noble Indy (33/1), Restoring Hope (33/1) and Free Drop Billy (66/1) round out the field.

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Chasing Triple Crown Glory

Will this be the soggiest Triple Crown in thoroughbred racing history? With rain increasingly likely for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, Justify is in fine shape as the 4/5 favorite, after taking down both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness on muddy tracks. Hofburg is next at 9/2.

Justify also drew the inside rail on Tuesday, which is actually a plus in this 1.5-mile race. More Belmont champions (23 in all) have broken from post No. 1 than any other position. NBC’s extended Belmont coverage begins at 4 p.m. Eastern, with post time scheduled for 6:37 p.m.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

NHL Odds: Golden Knights at Brink in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Finals

The Vegas Golden Knights were on a run for the ages at the outset of the Stanley Cup Finals, but four games into the series, and the NHL’s Cinderella team is now faced with elimination for the first time in the playoffs. Will they rebound or succumb to the powers of Ovi and the Capitals?

It seems as though all of Vegas’ magic has dried up. Through four games against the Washington Capitals, the Golden Knights haven’t had a bit of puck luck. They’ve hit countless posts, missed wide open goals and the likely playoff MVP, Marc-Andre Fleury has looked pedestrian at best. But this is a team that has surprised the hockey world all season; maybe this is another surprise in the making.

The Capitals would disagree. They’ve been every bit the complete team that the hockey world has been waiting for. Team Captain, Alex Ovechkin, has never looked better. He’s played a defensively-responsible game all series, while continuing to score clutch goals. He leads the team in goals with 14 to go along with 12 assists. With Ovi and Caps’ goaltender, Braden Holtby, at the top of their games, it appears as though Washington has solved the mystery of the Vegas Golden Knights. Game 5 is this Thursday at 8 PM ET and Lord Stanley’s Cup will be in attendance.

NHL Odds: Kuznetsov Carries the Caps

After suffering an apparent arm injury that resulted in Evgeny Kuznetsov leaving Game 2, the alarm bells rang in Washington. But the team’s leading point producer returned for Game 3 and showed everyone he was just fine, scoring a goal and an assist. The first line center has elevated his game at the most important time of the year and has his club one win away from the Cup.

The Golden Knights haven’t been able to respond to the play of Capitals’ first line. The once lethal combination of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson have been invisible against the Caps. If Vegas has any hope of extending this series, that trio will need to come to play on Thursday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NHL Odds: Capitals One Win From the Cup

The Washington Capitals have yet to win the Stanley Cup since joining the NHL in 1974, but they can change all that on Thursday when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Cup Final, starting at 8 PM ET on NBC. The Capitals take a 3-1 lead into T-Mobile Arena after beating Vegas 6-2 Monday night as –120 home favorites.

After starting the year as +20000 outsiders on the Stanley Cup futures market, the expansion Golden Knights were –130 favorites to beat Washington in this series, and they appeared well on their way after taking Game 1. But the Caps have been the better team ever since. Braden Holtby has allowed just five goals during this three-game winning streak, after getting shelled 6-4 in the opener.

Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t necessarily fallen apart for Vegas, who gave up three power play goals in Monday’s loss. However, Fleury isn’t playing at nearly the same high level he was earlier in the postseason. He was the –135 favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy before Game 1, but has seen his playoff save percentage plummet from .947 during the first three rounds to .845 against the Capitals.

NHL Odds: Capitals Put Vegas on the Brink

We knew someone was going to win the Stanley Cup for the first time. Will that someone be the Washington Capitals? They’ll take a 3-1 series lead into Thursday’s Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final versus the Vegas Golden Knights; NBC’s broadcast from T-Mobile Arena begins at 8 PM ET.

The Capitals put Vegas on the brink of elimination Monday night with a convincing 6-2 victory in Game 4, cashing in as –120 home favorites. Marc-Andre Fleury has a .845 save percentage over these past four games after opening the Final as the –135 Conn Smythe favorite.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Still Favoured Over the Field

Will Justify complete the Triple Crown this Saturday? He remains the 4/5 favourite at press time to win the 2018 Belmont Stakes; Hofburg is holding steady at 4/1, while Bravazo has improved from 8/1 to 7/1. Post time at Belmont Park is 6:37 PM ET, with NBC providing extended coverage beginning at 4 PM.

After winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in wet conditions, it looks like Justify will get his day in the sun. The rain at Belmont Park is expected to end sometime after Tuesday’s post position draw (5:30 PM ET) and not return for a couple of weeks. Justify has been working out at Churchill Downs, where the weather is hot and sunny at press time. He’s scheduled to leave for New York on Wednesday.

Rounding out the Belmont Stakes futures market are Vino Rosso (9/1), Tenfold (10/1), Blended Citizen (12/1), Gronkowski (25/1), Noble Indy (33/1) and Free Drop Billy (50/1). Restoring Hope and Seahenge are also expected to be in the field when the draw is made on Tuesday. Restoring Hope and Justify are both trained by Bob Baffert, who led American Pharoah to Triple Crown glory in 2015.

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Holding Strong

As he prepares to travel to New York on Wednesday, Justify remains the 4/5 favourite to win Saturday’s running of the Belmont Stakes – and complete the 13th Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. Hofburg (4/1) and Bravazo (7/1) are his closest competitors.

This year’s Belmont Stakes post position draw will be held on Tuesday (5:30 PM ET) instead of the usual Wednesday. NBC will cover Saturday’s race starting at 4 PM ET, with post time scheduled for 6:37 PM. While up to 16 horses are allowed to compete, only 11 are expected to compete this year.

NBA Odds: Cavaliers Face Must-Win in Game 3

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a close contest in Game 1 and then were blown out in Game 2. If they have any hopes of getting back into this series, they’ll have to win Game 3 at home and get on the board. Game time is 9 PM ET.

The Cavs blew a great opportunity to win Game 1 at the end and then couldn’t find a way to get a grip of Game 2. Although they were competitive – cutting the lead down to five points in the third quarter – they trailed by double digits for most of the fourth and rested their starters by the end.

For the Warriors, they had no problems at the offensive end, scoring 122 points while shooting 57.3% from the field. They were outrebounded, coughed up more turnovers and shot worse from the free throw line, yet won by 19. That’s a scary thought. The Cavs’ defense needs to step up, as life was too easy for guys like Kevin Durant (10-of-14), JaVale McGee (six-of-six), Shaun Livingston (five-of-five) and Klay Thompson (eight-of-13). And Steph Curry hit an NBA Finals record nine three-pointers. If the Cavs don’t find any answers defensively, this could be a quick series.

NBA Odds: Cavaliers Defense Must Step Up in Game 3

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ defense was strong in Game 1, holding the Golden State Warriors to 29 points or fewer in all four quarters. That defense was much worse in Game 2, giving up at least 31 in three of the four quarters.

The Cavs must be better as the series now shifts to Cleveland. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant combined for 79 points on 55% shooting from the field. The good news for the Cavaliers is that they’re 8-1 at home this postseason, so they’ll have a good shot at turning things around.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Improves as Field Narrows

As expected, Justify’s road to the Triple Crown has gotten that much easier. With Audible, Good Magic and My Boy Jack all out of the running, Justify has improved from even money to 4/5 on the Belmont Stakes futures market at press time. Hofburg is the new second favorite, moving up from 7/1 to 4/1.

Justify has yet to lose a race in his short career, running his record to 5-0 with victories at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. And his chances of completing the Triple Crown only got better when Audible (third in the Derby), Good Magic (second in the Derby, fourth at the Preakness) and My Boy Jack (fifth at the Derby) were all taken out of Belmont contention. Audible and My Boy Jack, both of whom share co-owners with Justify, were originally pointed at Belmont Park after skipping the Preakness.
Given the many parallels between Justify and American Pharoah, the previous Triple Crown winner from 2015, we could easily see history made again at the Run for the Carnations. The post position draw is June 6, with the race itself on June 9. NBC has extended television coverage beginning at 4 PM ET.

Belmont Stakes Odds: Is Justify the Next American Pharoah?

With the potential field around him narrowing, Justify has moved from even money to 4/5 on the 2018 Belmont Stakes futures market. Hofburg is second at 4/1 after Audible, Good Magic and My Boy Jack were officially pulled from contention.

Justify will try to duplicate American Pharoah’s 2015 Triple Crown sweep for trainer Bob Baffert; the two horses looked remarkably similar in their pre-Belmont workouts at Churchill Downs. NBC has the coverage on Saturday, June 9 starting early at 4 PM ET. The post position draw is June 6, with up to 16 horses allowed in the field.

NHL Odds: Caps-Knights in Game 2

Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights is this Wednesday at 8 PM ET on NBCSN. The Golden Knights came back on two separate occasions to win Monday’s opener 6-4 as –155 home favorites, easily going Over the posted total of 5.5 goals (Over +100). Odds for Wednesday’s game have another 5.5-goal total.

It looked like Washington was going to get the last laugh Monday night after Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury put the puck into his own net to give the Caps a 4-3 lead early in the third period. But Ryan Reaves quickly scored the equalizer, and Tomas Nosek put the Knights ahead for good with the game-winner and an empty-netter.
Both teams should be relatively healthy for Game 2. Washington had defenseman Brooks Orpik and RW Devante Smith-Pelly in the lineup on Monday after they were injured in Game 7 of the Eastern final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Golden Knights were –130 favorites to win this series heading into the opener; after starting their inaugural 2017-18 campaign as +20000 long shots, Vegas is now three wins away from making Stanley Cup history.

NHL Odds: Capitals-Lightning in Eastern Final Game 7

The Vegas Golden Knights have drawn first blood in the Stanley Cup Final. They’ll take a 1-0 series lead into Wednesday’s game against the visiting Washington Capitals, starting at 8 PM ET on NBCSN. Vegas is a 1.5-goal favourite on the spread and —155 on the moneyline after winning the opener 6-4 as –155 favorites.

Both sides appear to be healthy after a wild and wooly Game 1 that saw the lead change hands four different times. Defenseman Brooks Orpik and RW Devante Smith-Pelly were both able to suit up for Washington despite getting hurt in Game 7 of their Eastern final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

MLB Odds: Red Sox Visit Astros in Houston

The two top teams in the American League will go head-to-head in the first game of a four-game set this Thursday when the Boston Red Sox arrive in Texas to take on the Houston Astros. Both clubs have been stupendous through the first 50 games of the MLB schedule, so this early season matchup should prove to be a measuring stick for these World Series favourites.

Coming off of the franchise’s first World Series victory, the Houston Astros picked up where they left off. They sit at the top of the AL West and have proven that they can win against any opponent. That success has been predicated on the Astros’ top pitching rotation, which leads the Majors in ERA (2.58) and Quality Starts (40). Lance McCullers Jr. is set to take the mound for the Astros in the opening game against the Sox.

As great as the Astros have been to open the season, Boston has been even better. They own the best record in the MLB and have been lethal on the road (19-9). Despite being up against the defending champs, Boston will look to flex their muscles and challenge the Astros at home. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM ET, so don’t miss this exciting matchup.

MLB Odds: Betts and the Sox Take on the Defending Champs

Mookie Betts and the red-hot Boston Red Sox head to Houston this Thursday looking to continue their winning ways against their closest competitors in the American League. The two-time All-Star has been tearing the cover off of the ball this season and pitchers have seemingly had no answer for Betts. The Astros’ starters better be ready for this dynamo.

Lance McCullers Jr. is slated to start the opener against the Red Sox, and he’s riding a strong start to his season, going 6-3 with a 3.98 ERA and 68 strikeouts. In just his third year, McCullers has positioned himself well in an Astros’ rotation that’s filled with All-Stars. Thursday’s matchup should be an interesting one between the Red Sox’s dynamic offense and Houston’s dominant pitching.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Moving Up

Justify’s chances of winning the Triple Crown just got a little better. After opening at even money on the Belmont Stakes futures market, Justify has improved to 4/5 at press time – thanks in part to the absence of Audible and Good Magic, his two closest competitors. Hofburg is the new second favourite at 4/1, followed by Bravazo at 8/1.

While Good Magic was a long shot at best for the Belmont, there was some talk about Audible joining the field for June 9, but trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed on Friday that his horse would focus instead on the summer campaign. Also not slated to compete is My Boy Jack, who was originally pointed at the Belmont after skipping the Preakness Stakes. Both Audible and My Boy Jack share co-owners with Justify, who will try to become the 13th horse to complete the Triple Crown.
Pletcher does have two other horses listed as probable for June 9: Vino Rosso (9/1) and Noble Indy (33/1), both winners earlier this year on the Triple Crown trail. Tenfold (10/1), Blended Citizen (14/1), Gronkowski (33/1) and Free Drop Billy (50/1) are the other hopefuls on the Belmont futures market at press time.

Belmont Stakes Odds: Justify Favoured Over the Field

With Audible and Good Magic both officially out of the running, Justify has improved from even money to 4/5 on the 2018 Belmont Stakes futures market. Hofburg is now the second favorite for June 9 at 4/1, followed by Bravazo (8/1), Vino Rosso (9/1) and Tenfold (10/1).

Justify is trying to become the 13th horse to complete the Triple Crown of North American Thoroughbred racing, after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. The Bob Baffert-trained chestnut colt has been galloping at Churchill Downs, along with Bravazo, Tenfold, Free Drop Billy (50/1) and Baffert stable-mate Restoring Hope (NL).

MLB Odds: Yankees Host Astros on Tuesday in New York

The Houston Astros are the reigning World Series champions, but the New York Yankees are the team that’s been garnering most of the attention. The two will square off on Tuesday at 7:05 PM ET in the second game of a three-game series.

Charlie Morton (7-0, 2.04) will start on Tuesday for Houston. He went six innings in an 8-2 win in Cleveland in his last start. He allowed a pair of runs on five hits, striking out five and walking three. The 34-year-old righty is 2-1 in three career starts against the Yankees with a 3.98 ERA. He was great in a 2-1 home win against the New York Yankees on April 30, allowing a run on two hits over 7.2 innings. Morton also struck out 10 and walked two.

CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.55) lasted just 4.1 innings in a 12-10 loss in Texas in his last outing, taking a no-decision. He was knocked for seven runs on six hits, striking out one and walking three. The 37-year-old southpaw is 2-1 in three starts against Houston, posting a career ERA of 4.15.

The Yankees are 6-4 SU in their last 10 meetings with the Astros, winning three of four at home in their first series of 2018. Six of the meetings have come in under the posted total.

MLB Odds: Astros Head to New York to Face Yankees

The New York Yankees won three of four in their first series with the Houston Astros this season. However, the Astros still have the upper hand after their win in the playoffs last season. The two teams meet on Tuesday at 7:05 PM ET.

The Astros will give the ball to Charlie Morton, who is tied for the American League lead in wins with seven. The Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia, who has been up and down this season. This will also be a clash of two of the best offenses in the American League. As of Sunday, the Yankees led the AL in runs scored; the Astros were third.

NHL Odds: Vegas Makes Stanley Cup in Inaugural Season

The Vegas Golden Knights are on a historic run that the National Hockey League has never seen before. They’ve set new records for an expansion team in nearly every category, and this week, they’ll set another by becoming the only expansion club in NHL history to play a game in the Stanley Cup Finals.

After eclipsing the Florida Panthers’ 83-point season in 1993-94, the 109-point Vegas Golden Knights have the best season by an NHL expansion team and seem to be a team possessed. Once the Stanley Cup Playoffs started, the Golden Knights hit another stride. They’ve lost only three out of 15 games , and that success has been primarily on the back of the three-time Cup winner goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The former Penguin and likely playoff MVP has been outstanding these playoffs; he’s put up a 1.68 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. He’s made big saves when the Knights have needed him, but more importantly, Fleury has been a model of consistency for his team.

With the two remaining Eastern Conference clubs collectively 0-4-0 against the Golden Knights in the regular season, Lord Stanley may be basking in the Nevada sun this summer. Don’t miss Game 1 of what is sure to be a fantastic final.

NHL Odds: Marchessault Leading the Way

After being made available by the Florida Panthers following last season, Jonathan Marchessault has been every bit the player General Manager George McPhee hoped he would be for the Vegas Golden Knights. The first line winger netted 27 goals during the regular season, and has only accelerated that pace in the postseason, potting 8 goals and 10 assists in 15 playoff games.

Entering Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Marchessault will be turned to on the biggest stage in hockey. Vegas has lost only three out of 15 games played during the playoffs and will enter similar territory against the remaining Eastern Conference clubs, who were a collective 0-4-0 against the Golden Knights during the regular season.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

NHL Odds: Lightning Host Caps for Eastern Supremacy

Who will face the Vegas Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup? We’ll find out when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Washington Capitals this Wednesday in Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Final. NBCSN has the coverage from Amalie Arena beginning at 8 PM ET; Tampa Bay is —1.5 on the spread.

Washington forced Game 7 by beating the Bolts 3-0 Monday night as –140 favorites on the Stanley Cup odds board, thanks to a power-play and an empty-net goal from TJ Oshie. It’s the first home win of the series for the Caps; on the puck line, they’re 7.69 units in the black during these playoffs in road games, winning seven of nine straight-up. The Lightning are plus-0.65 units with a 6-3 SU record at home.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong for Tampa Bay Monday night, making 31 saves, but the Capitals dominated Game 6 at both ends of the ice. Braden Holtby earned his first shutout of these playoffs with 24 saves, bouncing back from poor performances in three straight defeats for Washington. Both goalies are expected to get the nod for Game 7. Both teams are also relatively healthy despite a very physical Game 6.

NHL Odds: Capitals-Lightning in Eastern Final Game 7

The Eastern Conference will be decided Wednesday night (8 PM ET, NBCSN) when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Washington Capitals. The Capitals forced Game 7 by beating Tampa Bay 3-0 Monday night as –140 home favorites.

After three straight wins by the Lightning, Braden Holtby held the fort in Game 6, stopping all 24 Tampa shots for his first shutout of these playoffs. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the Bolts, but TJ Oshie scored for Washington on the power play and again on the empty net. Holtby and Vasilevskiy are both expected to start Game 7 on Wednesday.

Preakness Stakes Odds: Justify Draws Lucky No. 7 Again

Post No. 7 worked out quite well for Justify at the Kentucky Derby. He’ll break from the same post at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (6:20 PM ET post time on NBC), and it doesn’t look like he’ll get much competition as the 1/2 favorite on the Morning Line. Good Magic will break from the 5-hole as the 3/1 second favorite in this eight-horse race; Quip, who skipped the Kentucky Derby after finishing second at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, is next on the inside rail at 12/1.

Justify arrived at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Wednesday with trainer Bob Baffert, about 90 minutes before the post position draw. Baffert led the chestnut colt to Stall 28, avoiding the potential media circus around Stall 40, the usual destination for Kentucky Derby winners. Quip and Lone Sailor (15/2, post No. 2) arrived on the same flight.

Baffert is 4-0 at the Preakness when bringing in Derby winners – including American Pharoah, who claimed the Triple Crown in 2015. At press time, Justify is available at 6/4 on the horse racing props market to complete the Triple Crown by winning both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9.

Preakness Stakes Odds: Justify Returns to Post No. 7

Just like he did at the Kentucky Derby, Justify will break from post No. 7 at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. The Triple Crown hopeful is a heavy 1/2 favorite on the Morning Line, ahead of Good Magic (post No. 5) at 3/1.

Quip, the most likely “shooter” to challenge Justify at the Preakness, is the third favorite at 12/1 after drawing the inside rail. Both Quip and Justify are co-owned by WinStar Farms; Quip is trained by Rodolphe Brisset, while Justify’s trainer is six-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, who led American Pharoah to the Triple Crown in 2015.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

NHL Odds: Caps on the Cusp Versus Lightning

Is this finally the year for the Washington Capitals? They were +165 underdogs heading into their Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Capitals have taken the first two games of this series in Tampa, leaving them as –370 favorites to finish the job – which could happen as soon as this Thursday. NBCSN has Game 4 starting at 8 PM ET.

Washington got the jump on the Bolts by outshooting them 69-56 in Games 1 and 2 and outscoring Tampa Bay 10-4, including three power-play goals on seven chances. And they did it without second-line center Nicklas Backstrom (21 goals, 50 assists), who injured his hand in Game 5 of the previous series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Backstrom remains listed as day-to-day; in his place, Lars Eller already has two goals and two assists against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay have confirmed they’ll be sticking with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (.920 save percentage) for Tuesday’s Game 3, despite his struggles in the first two games. No other changes are expected for the Lightning, who have now fallen to plus-1.94 betting units on the playoff puck line, with Washington taking the league lead at plus-7.41 units.
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NHL Odds: Caps Stun Bolts, Setting up Pivotal Game 4

After winning the first two games on the road, the Washington Capitals can put their stamp on the Eastern Conference final with a win Thursday night (8 PM ET, NCBSN) in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps are –370 series favorites at press time as they prepare for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Despite allowing 10 goals over the first two games, Andrei Vasilevskiy (.920 save percentage) is expected to start Game 3 for the Bolts. Washington center Nicklas Backstrom (21 goals, 50 assists) remains day-to-day after injuring his hand in the previous round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NHL Odds: Game 4 of Eastern Conference Finals this Thursday

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have the chance to pull even with the Washington Capitals this Thursday, as the teams face off in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With Washington still holding home ice advantage, the pressure will be on to capitalize at home.

Heading into Game 4, the Tampa Bay Lightning remain in a must-win situation. While they managed to scratch out a win in Game 3 to pull within one game of the Washington Capitals, falling 3-1 in the series is something the Bolts want to avoid. The first two games were utterly dominated by the Caps. Alex Ovechkin continued his brilliant postseason, posting a goal and an assist in each of the first two matchups, while Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal and four assists.

In Game 3, it was the Lightning’s stars that showed up. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman got Tampa out to a 3-0 lead by the second period, and that proved to be the difference in what was a critical victory for the Bolts. They’ll need more of that production from their top players this Thursday, as a win in Game 4 would draw the Lightning even in the series. Game time is 8 PM ET on NBCSN.

NHL Odds: Stamkos Leads the Way in Washington

With their backs against the wall, Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning came to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Captain has been the only point of consistency in the series for Tampa, scoring in each of the first three games and adding an assist. He’ll be called on again this Thursday, as the Lightning attempt to even up the series before heading back home for Game 5.

After carrying the play in all areas of the ice in the first two games, Washington came back down to earth in Game 3. Despite recording 38 shots on net, they weren’t able to capitalize on their chances and managed just two goals against Andrei Vasilevskiy. They’ll be back on the attack again Thursday night, as they try to put a stranglehold on the series.