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Thursday, April 20, 2017

E-Sports : SKT-KT in LoL Champions Korea Final

SK Telecom T1 is already the best League of Legends team in the universe. The three-time and reigning champions are testing their mettle at the LoL Champions Korea. They’ll face KT Rolster in the tournament final, scheduled for Saturday morning at 4 AM ET, and it’s SK Telecom T1 leading the way at –200 on the moneyline.

These two South Korean stalwarts will be playing a best-of-five series for the title. SKT are the No. 1 seeds, and they’ve already enjoyed success in 2017, winning the LCK Spring Split in a cakewalk. The No. 3 seeds from KT has been something of an enigma, but a recent shift toward “carry champions” has them in Saturday’s final after sweeping aside No. 4 MVP and No. 2 Samsung Galaxy.

Aside from the moneyline, you can bet on who will win each of the five maps in this contest, with SKT favored in all five. The defending champs are also available at –1.5 (+130) against the spread. When they met at the Spring Split, it was SKT taking down both their matches against KT, winning 2-0 and 2-1. SKT would go on to win 16 of their 18 matches in that tournament.


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E-Sports : SKT-KT in LoL Champions Korea Final



E-Sports Odds: SK Telecom T1 Favored in LCK Final

The Spring Playoffs for the League of Legends Champions Korea wrap up this Saturday (4 AM ET) with the final between KT Rolster and the reigning world champions from SK Telecom T1. At press time, it’s SKT leading the way at –200 on the moneyline, and –1.5 (+130) against the spread.

SKT have already tasted success in 2017, winning the LCK Spring Split and sweeping their two matches with KT in the process. But the underdogs hope their recent emphasis on “carry champions” will lead them to the title, after putting away MVP and Samsung Galaxy to reach the final.


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NHL : Leafs Look to Keep Pressure on Caps in Game 5

Round One between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals was touted as the most lopsided head-to-head matchup leading into the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Leafs, however, have proven that despite their inexperience, they have the desire to push the Caps to the brink. Each of the first three games of the series went to overtime, with the Leafs winning two of three. Heroes for the Leafs have been unlikely in 20-year-old Kasperi Kapanen, who scored his second and third career NHL goals in Game 2, including the OT winner, and Tyler Bozak, who’s known more for his passing abilities than scoring, but managed to net the winner in Game 3.

The Washington Capitals were the best team in the NHL in 2016-17. They were a defensive and offensive juggernaut through the regular season, ranking 6th in team offense and 8th in team defense. Despite that dominance, the Caps carry a reputation for not being able to perform in the playoffs, and that history seems to be following them in a series that most projected wouldn’t go past five games. The Capitals will be looking for more offence from their stars and better goaltending from Braden Holtby. Game time is 7:00 PM ET on CBC.


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NHL Odds: Young Leafs Give Veteran Caps All They Can Handle in Round One

The Washington Capitals’ reputation precedes them: Once again, they had a dominant regular season, only to struggle in the playoffs. The Caps have qualified for the postseason in eight of the last nine seasons, but have not made it past the second round in any of those appearances.

The Leafs, on the other hand, only qualified for the playoffs once in the previous 12 seasons. Due to outstanding performances from rookies Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, the Leafs punched their postseason ticket, surprising even the most hopeful of fans. Now, this battle of David versus Goliath has the Leafs looking to do the unthinkable.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NBA : Chalk-Heavy Warriors Host Portland for Game 2

The Golden State Warriors took Game 1 of their first-round series with the Portland Trail Blazers, but it wasn’t easy. They were all tied at the half and after three quarters, before Golden State hit the gas and won 121-109 – still not enough to cover as 15-point home favorites. Game 2 is Wednesday at the Oracle; TNT has the coverage starting at 10:30 PM ET.

Portland (41-41 SU, 40-42 ATS) barely made it into the postseason, and their minus-0.5 point differential shows they were lucky to reach .500. However, the Blazers do have one of the better offenses in the league, and they rode the hot hands of CJ McCollum (41 points) and Damian Lillard (34 points) in Game 1.

Unfortunately for the Blazers, they don’t have much depth without center Jusuf Nurkic, who’s still recovering from a broken leg and may or may not be ready for Game 2. The Warriors (67-15 SU, 40-39-3 ATS), on the other hand, were comfortable going 10-deep into their lineup during Sunday’s opener. Five different Dubs scored in double figures, and all 10 men finished in plus territory. Until Nurkic returns, this advantage should become even more pronounced as the series rolls on.


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Trail Blazers vs Warriors Game 2


NBA Odds: Trail Blazers vs. Warriors, Game 2

The Golden State Warriors needed a strong fourth quarter to put away the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. But they still didn’t cover as 15-point home favourites in a 121-109 victory. Can they do better this Wednesday (10:30 PM ET, TNT) in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series?

It’ll be hard for the Blazers to play much better. CJ McCollum (41 points) and Damian Lillard (34 points) gave all they had, but injury-plagued Portland doesn’t have much depth beyond that dynamic duo. Key trade-deadline acquisition Jusuf Nurkic (leg) missed Game 1 and remains iffy for Wednesday as well.




NBA : Can Trail Blazers Push Warriors on Wednesday?

In Game 1, the Portland Trail Blazers played an even match against the Golden State Warriors for the first three quarters, but unraveled in the fourth quarter, losing by 12 points. They’ll need a better effort in the fourth quarter on Wednesday if they’re to tie the series.

After scoring at least 27 points in each of the first three quarters, the Trail Blazers managed just 21 in the fourth. The final score was 121-109 for Golden State. Portland will need more from their supporting cast, as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 75 points, while the rest of the team contributed 34.

Golden State had a far more balanced team effort. Four of their five starters scored at least 15 points. Kevin Durant led the way with 32 points, and Draymond Green had an incredibly productive game with 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocked shots and three steals.

The Warriors have now won nine straight times as the host in this series and 15 of the last 17 matchups overall. Game 2 is Wednesday at 10:30 PM ET in Oracle Arena, Oakland.


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NBA Odds: Warriors Looking to Turn Back Blazers in Game 2

The Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 121-109 in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal. The Trail Blazers had no answers for the Warriors’ offense, as Golden State made 53.1% of their field goals, 40.7% of their threes while also collecting 24 free throws.
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The Warriors have now won all five meetings with the Trail Blazers this season while averaging 124.2 points per game. The Trail Blazers will have to find a way to slow them down defensively, or they’ll be facing an 0-2 series deficit after Wednesday’s affair.



MLB : Red Sox Get Crack at Reeling Blue Jays

The Boston Red Sox are off to a pretty good start in 2017. They’ll get a chance to pad their 8-5 record (+2.35 betting units) during a three-game set against what’s left of the Toronto Blue Jays. Thursday’s finale at Rogers Centre begins at 12:37 PM ET, with NESN and MLB Network providing the coverage. Chris Sale (1.55 FIP) gets the nod for the Red Sox, while Toronto will respond with Marco Estrada (4.54 FIP).

That’s assuming the Jays don’t shuffle their rotation. Already missing former MVP Josh Donaldson (calf), Toronto saw two of their starting pitchers hit the DL on Sunday: Aaron Sanchez (finger) and JA Happ (elbow). The hobbled Jays have lost 10 of their first dozen games going into their series in Boston, dropping 10.58 units along the way.

The Red Sox have to be pleased with Sale’s performance thus far. Their key offseason acquisition has provided three straight quality starts, allowing just three earned runs in 21.2 innings of work. Now it’s up to Boston’s bats to hold up their end of the bargain. They scored just six runs combined in those three games, going 2-1 for 0.96 units in profit.


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MLB Odds: Jays in Deep Trouble Versus Red Sox

The Toronto Blue Jays (2-10, –10.58 betting units) are a shell of their former selves. And that shell is about to play a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox (8-5, +2.35 units). Thursday’s finale begins at 12:37 PM on NESN and the MLB Network.

Chris Sale (1.55 FIP) is expected to start for the Red Sox against Marco Estrada (4.54 FIP). Sale allowed just three earned runs combined in his first three games for Boston, and he won’t have to face former MVP Josh Donaldson (.953 OPS last year), who’s on the 10-day DL with a strained calf.




New Slot: Caesar’s Triumph

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The first way is through the Legionnaires. As both a wild symbol and scatter symbol, these loyal members of the Roman legion want to help. Land three of them anywhere on the reels, and you’ll trigger a lucrative free spins round. There are up to 20 free spins available, and a multiplier that will boost your winnings as high as 6X. At the start of each free spins round, a scroll reveals how many free spins you’ve won and how big your multiplier is. As you get spinning, two mighty Legionnaire men offer encouragement by stomping their feet beside the reels.


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In addition to triggering free spins mode, landing three Legionnaires offers payouts, too. Three of them pay 30 coins, four pay 150, and five pay 750. The only icons that pay more are Pompeia, who pays up to 1,500 coins and Caesar, who pays up to 3,000 coins.

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Bingo Cataratas (Spanish for waterfalls) is changing the way people think about bingo. Just because bingo is a classic with a huge following, doesn’t mean it can’t be spiced up with a fresh new format. Bingo Cataratas has the basic structure of bingo, but also has an “extra ball” feature and a bonus mini game.


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Why would we need an extra ball? Well, we’ve all experienced the frustration of needing just one more number to nail that winning line. And sometimes the urge to see what the next number would have been is overpowering. With Bingo Cataratas, you have the option of buying one (or two, or three) last ball(s) after the standard 31 numbers have been called. Actually, there are 12 “last chance” balls in total, but the more you buy, the more expensive your game is. At the top of the screen, you’ll see your balance, the amount you’ve won, and the price of an extra ball. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the option to “Buy an Extra Ball,” giving you ample opportunities to win.

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If that last ball results in a perfect square in the center of your card, you’re going to the bonus round. A wheel of fortune is nestled between a waterfall and a lush forest, accompanied by Safari Joe and his trusty toucan. The colorful wheel has 10 slots – each with a unique value (5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 70, 100, 200 and 500). Spin the wheel to see what fortune has in store for you.

To a certain extent, you can alter your fortune, and not just with the Extra Ball feature. If you don’t like the cards you’ve been dealt, swap them by clicking “Change Cards.” Each card has 15 numbers throughout three rows and five columns. Increase your odds of winning by playing the maximum four cards simultaneously. With 60 numbers between your four cards, you’ll have a higher chance of landing one of the 10 winning patterns.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Soccer : Can Sounders Shake Off Vancouver?

This hasn’t been an ideal start to the season for the defending champs. The Seattle Sounders have just one victory after five MLS matches, but at least they’re outperforming the Vancouver Whitecaps. These Cascadian neighbors will face off Friday (10 PM ET) at BC Place. At press time, the Whitecaps are slim +140 home favorites, with Seattle priced at +195 and the draw very much in play at +235.

Vancouver also have just one win after five matches, but they’ve lost three times, while the Sounders have three draws to show for their efforts. Seattle got off to a slow start last year, too, but stormed their way to MLS Cup glory after firing head coach Sigi Schmid. They’ll almost certainly take a step back this year now that Brian Schmetzer is on full-time; however, that has more to do with the extreme roster turnover MLS teams experience than any fault of Schmetzer’s.

That turnover should benefit the Whitecaps after they missed the playoffs last year. There are considerable flaws on this team, most notably on defense, but they’ve got a proven goal-scorer in former Sounders forward Fredy Montero, who’s on loan from Tianjin TEDA of the Chinese Super League.


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Soccer Odds: ‘Caps-Sounders at BC Place

The defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders try to shake off their early-season rust this Friday (10 PM ET) when they visit their Cascadian rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Seattle have one win and three draws after five matches, while Vancouver are near the bottom of the Western Conference at 1-1-3.

At press time, the Sounders are available at +195 on the MLS odds board, with the home side at +140 and the draw pegged at +235. Seattle took two of their three matches last year before winning the title. Vancouver ended up missing the playoffs after a promising 2015 campaign.


NHL : First Round Tilt in Edmonton

In the second game of a best-of-seven series, the San Jose Sharks (46-29-7) will face the Edmonton Oilers (47-26-9) at the Rogers Centre. After finishing second in the Pacific Division, and making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Oilers have the offensive power and dependable goaltending that they’ve sorely missed over the last decade. Edmonton was a symbol of consistency in 2016-17, ranking 8th in team offence (2.96 goals scored per game) and 8th in team defence (2.52 goals against per game). After pacing the NHL in points this regular season with 30 goals and 70 assists, the hockey world is eagerly anticipating Connor McDavid’s first career playoff appearance.

After coming two wins away from winning their first ever Stanley Cup last season, the San Jose Sharks have an edge in experience compared to the youth-infused Oilers. Martin Jones is one of those returning players; he won 35 games this season, but struggled with a .912 save percentage. Despite that, the Sharks managed to rank 5th in team defence during the regular season, surrendering a minuscule 2.44 goals per game. Game 2 will determine who carries momentum into San Jose.


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NHL Odds: Pacific Division Foes Face Off in Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers will attempt to defend their home ice advantage this Friday (10:30 PM ET on Sportsnet) against the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers (47-26-9) finished second in the Pacific, while the Sharks (46-29-7) finished third, but only four points behind their First Round foes.

Edmonton led the season series over the Sharks, winning three games, losing one in regular time and losing another in overtime. In the last 10 games of the season, Edmonton and San Jose seemed to be going in opposite directions: the Oilers had a record 8-2-0, while the Sharks went 4-6-0.





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MLB : Dodgers-Cubs in NL Pennant Rematch

The last time the Chicago Cubs faced the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was for the National League pennant. The stakes aren’t quite as high for Thursday’s matchup (2:20 PM ET, MLBN) at Wrigley Field, but once October rolls around, don’t be surprised if the same two teams wind up in the NL Championship Series once again.

The Cubs are expected to give southpaw Brett Anderson (3.94 FIP in 2015) the nod for Thursday’s game, the finale of a three-game set. Anderson was with the Dodgers in 2016, but he missed most of the season with assorted injuries and signed a one-year deal with Chicago in late January. Very few of his former LA teammates have ever faced Anderson at the major-league level.

It hasn’t been made official yet at press time, but it’s believed Los Angeles will respond with another lefty, Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.62 FIP in 2014). Ryu, a former seven-time All-Star in the Korean League, missed the entire 2015 campaign after surgery on his left shoulder labrum, then was shut down in 2016 with elbow problems. He gave up two runs over 4.2 innings in his season debut, Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies (+124 away).


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MLB Odds: Lefties on Tap as Cubs Host Dodgers

Two southpaws – and former teammates – will take the mound this Thursday when the Chicago Cubs welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to Wrigley Field. MLB Network has the coverage beginning at 2:20 PM ET.

Former Dodger Brett Anderson (3.94 FIP in 2015) is projected to start for the Cubs, while Los Angeles will probably give Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.62 FIP in 2014) the nod, although that has yet to be confirmed at press time. Both pitchers missed most of the 2016 campaign with assorted injuries and didn’t play in last year’s NLCS, which the Cubs won 4-2.




NBA : Possible Playoff Series Preview with Cavaliers-Raptors Showdown

Wednesday is the last day in the NBA’s regular season. At 8 PM ET, the Toronto Raptors will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in what could be a playoff series preview.

The Raptors are known for their offense, which is led by SG DeMar DeRozan and PG Kyle Lowry, but it’s their defense that might take them deep into the playoffs. Toronto is seventh in points allowed and tied for fifth in opposing field-goal percentage.

The Cavaliers are fourth in points scored. SF LeBron James is having another massive season. PG Kyrie Irving is suffering from a sore knee but looks ready to return when he’s needed, and PF Kevin Love and SG JR Smith are coming back from injuries. But Cleveland’s defense has struggled at times this season. The Cavaliers are 20th in points allowed, and tied for 14th in opposing field-goal percentage. That was evident on Sunday, when the Cavaliers blew a 26-point fourth-quarter lead to the Atlanta Hawks.

Cleveland has had the upper hand in their rivalry against the Raptors as of late. They’re 7-3 SU, with five straight wins, and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 meetings with Toronto.


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NBA Odds: Cavaliers Go for Season Sweep Over Raptors on Wednesday

In last season’s Eastern Conference finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors in six games. Since then, they’ve won all three regular season meetings going into Wednesday’s finale in Cleveland.


SG DeMar DeRozan and PG Kyle Lowry have combined for almost 53 points per game in the last three meetings with the Cavaliers, but no other current Raptor has averaged double digits.
Meanwhile, LeBron James continues to dominate for the Cavaliers, averaging over 27 points in three wins, along with 9.7 assists and 8.3 rebounds. Kyrie Irving has averaged almost 25 a game in these three wins as well.



NBA : Hawks-Pacers in Regular-Season Finale

NBA : Wednesday’s matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers will be the last game of the regular season for both clubs – and possibly the last game of the whole year for Indiana. They’re in seventh place in the Eastern Conference at press time, one game ahead of the pack with two remaining. The Hawks are safely in, but they could fall from fifth to seventh if Indiana beats them Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 8 PM ET on ESPN.

Indiana’s playoff future looked much dimmer last week, but the return of prodigal son Lance Stephenson has given the Pacers new life. Since signing with his former team on March 30, Stephenson has played a meaningful role in each of his four games, putting up 13.5 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. Indiana went 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS during those games to vault back into playoff position.

The Hawks are also on a roll, winning four of their last six games straight up and against the spread to punch their ticket to the postseason. That includes back-to-back upsets over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta and Indiana split their other two regular-season games, so whoever wins Wednesday will have the tie-breaker if necessary.


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NBA Odds: Last Chance for Pacers Versus Atlanta?

Depending on the results of Game No. 81, Wednesday’s regular-season finale (8 PM ET, ESPN) between the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers could decide whether Indiana reaches the postseason. It could also give the Pacers a higher seed than Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

While the Hawks are already in the postseason after back-to-back upset wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they could fall to seventh if they drop both their remaining games and Indiana goes 2-0. That would leave each team at 42-40, but the Pacers would own the tie-breaker after splitting their other two games with Atlanta.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

MLB : Nationals Host Miami to Start 2017 Campaign

Is the window of opportunity closing on the Washington Nationals? They’ve been to the MLB playoffs three times in the last five years, but the Nats have yet to win a series, let alone the World Series. Washington (95-67, +0.27 betting units last year) begins the 2017 campaign at home with a three-game set versus the Miami Marlins. MLB Network has Thursday’s finale starting at 4:05 PM ET.

The Marlins (79-82, 0 –6.11 units) have lower expectations than Washington for 2017. They lost ace pitcher Jose Fernandez in a fatal boating accident last September, but the Marlins do have a collection of serviceable starters – including Tom Koehler (4.60 FIP), who’s scheduled to take the mound on Thursday. However, current Washington batters have a combined .870 career OPS off Koehler, and OF Bryce Harper (.814 OPS) is 11-of-32 lifetime with six homeruns and a 1.385 OPS.

Gio Gonzalez (3.76 FIP) is projected to start for the Nationals. He’s fallen to third in the rotation after a sketchy 2016 season that saw Washington go 14-18 in his 32 starts for a loss of 10.52 units. However, current Marlins hitters have managed only a .696 lifetime OPS versus the veteran southpaw.


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MLB Odds: Marlins-Nats Open 2017 in DC

The Washington Nationals begin their 2017 season at home with a three-game series against the Florida Marlins. Game 3 is Thursday at 4:05 PM ET, with MLB Network providing the coverage.

Gio Gonzalez (3.76 FIP last year) is projected to start for Washington against Tom Koehler (4.60 FIP). This is a very important season for Gonzalez, whose fastball doesn’t have the same 93-mph pop that it did five years ago when he led the National League with 21 wins. Koehler is a generic workhorse for Miami, but a valuable one with 30+ starts in each of the last three seasons.





Golf : Dustin Johnson Favored to Win Masters

Dustin Johnson did just about everything on the PGA Tour last year. But the reigning Player of the Year has yet to win the Big One: the Masters Tournament at Augusta National. Johnson enters this year’s event as the +550 favorite, followed by Rory McIlroy at +700 and Jordan Spieth at +800.

Johnson finished in a fourth-place tie at Augusta last year before taking down his first major at the US Open. His 2017 campaign is already off to a rolling start. Johnson claimed the No. 1 spot in the World Rankings with a win at the Genesis Open, then he won back-to-back World Golf Championships events – first in Mexico, then the match play tournament in Austin, Texas.

McIlroy has yet to wear the Green Jacket, either, but the former World’s No. 1 has won all the other majors. His best result at Augusta was fourth place in 2015. That’s the year Spieth burst upon the scene and won both the Masters and the US Open. Spieth was also in control of last year’s Masters until falling apart on the back nine and losing to little-known Danny Willett by three strokes. Willett is a +12500 outsider to defend his title.


Golf : Dustin Johnson Favored to Win Masters


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Golf Odds: Johnson, McIlroy and Spieth at 2017 Masters

The best of the best will be at the Masters Tournament in Augusta this week, and right now, nobody’s better than Dustin Johnson. The World’s No. 1-ranked golfer is +550 to win his first Masters, followed by Rory McIlroy (+700) and Jordan Spieth (+800).

Johnson is coming off three straight victories on the PGA Tour, including last week’s match play tournament in Austin, Texas. McIlroy is still seeking his first Green Jacket. Spieth, the 2015 champion, is looking for redemption after falling apart last year and losing by three strokes to little-known Danny Willett, who’s +12500 to defend his title.




NHL : Lightning Fight for Playoff Lives Against Atlantic-Leading Canadiens

It’s must-win territory for the Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10 SU, 40-39 ATS). They sit five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and have only three games left to play in the regular season. Not only will they need to win their remaining three games, they’ll also need some help from the Leafs, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators if they hope to make the postseason. Tampa Bay has been on a roll of late, going 5-1-1 over their last seven games, but they were shut out 4-0 on Tuesday night in a critical matchup against the Bruins, effectively taking them to the brink of elimination.

The Lightning will be in tough against the Montreal Canadiens (46-24-9 SU, 42-37 ATS), the league’s second-top money-earners with 18.22 units on the puckline. They’ll meet Friday at 7:30 PM ET. The Habs hold an 11-3-1 record over their last 15 games and have solidified home ice advantage through the first round of the playoffs. For the first time this season, the Habs have received offensive support from players other than Max Pacioretty; Canadiens forwards Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen have combined for 5 goals and 4 assists over the past five games. Look for a continued balanced attack as Montreal gears up for the playoffs.

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NHL Odds: Montreal Looks to End Tampa’s Season on Friday

With their backs against the wall, the Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10) will attempt to bounce back after being shut out in a must-win game against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. The Bolts will need to reverse their fortunes against a Canadiens team that beat them 2-1 in overtime less than a week ago.

The Montreal Canadiens (46-24-9), meanwhile, have been cruising. They collected the most points in a month this past March (19), which resulted in their securing the Atlantic Division crown. Led by goaltender Carey Price (2.20 goals against average, .924 save percentage), the Canadiens have their eyes set on a long playoff run this spring.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

NBA : Cavaliers, Celtics Set for Wednesday Showdown

With the top spot in the Eastern Conference on the line, The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will square off on Wednesday at the TD Garden in Boston. Tip-off is at 8 PM ET.

The Cavaliers have struggled on the road as of late, going 4-8 away from home since March 1. Their defense has been the culprit. Cleveland has slipped to 20th in points allowed (107 per game average), six positions behind Boston (105.1).
The Celtics are eighth in points scored (107.8), which is four spots behind Cleveland in the rankings. Boston has been red-hot at home lately, going 5-1 on a recent homestand. That has launched them to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 50-27 SU record.
Cleveland has had the upper hand in this rivalry as of late, going 8-2 SU and 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games. The Cavaliers have won two of three games against the Celtics this season, and both were in Cleveland. The Cavs won 128-122 on November 3 and then 124-118 on December 29. The Celtics responded with a 103-99 home victory of their own on March 1.


NBA : Cavaliers, Celtics


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NBA Odds: Cavaliers, Celtics Conclude Regular Season Series on Wednesday

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will fight for first place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday. The Celtics have won six of their last seven games, whereas the Cavaliers have been mired in a month-long funk.

The stars have shined for these two teams in their prior three meetings this season. Cleveland’s SF LeBron James put up an average of 27 points, 11 assists and 9.3 rebounds in Cleveland’s three games against Boston. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas responded with an average of 30.7 points and 6.7 assists for the Celtics, who won the last meeting 103-99 at home despite a triple-double from James.


NBA : Cavs, Celtics Battle for First in the East

Could the Boston Celtics steal the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference? They’ve got a leg up on the Cleveland Cavaliers with just a handful of games left in the regular season – including Wednesday’s matchup at the Garden with the defending champions. ESPN has the coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.

After spending most of the year chasing down Cleveland, the Celtics finally caught up to them last week as the Cavs continued their late-season slide, which saw the champs go 7-10 SU and 6-11-1 ATS in March. And it all began with a 103-99 loss at the Garden; Cleveland coughed up the cash as 1-point road dogs, as Celtics PG Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 31 points.

At least the Cavs are in better shape for the rematch. Kevin Love is back at power forward for Cleveland, and the Celtics could be without SF Jae Crowder, who’s listed as questionable for Wednesday after having his sore left elbow X-rayed on Sunday. Avery Bradley might also have to sit out for Boston at shooting guard after missing back-to-back games with the flu. Crowder and Bradley combined for 28 points and 12 rebounds in their last game against Cleveland.


NBA : Cavs, Celtics Battle for First in the East


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NBA Odds: Cavs-Celtics Could Decide the East

With the regular season drawing to a close, the Boston Celtics find themselves on top of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference standings. They could do some serious damage to the champs this Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) when they welcome the Cavs to the Garden.
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Cleveland fell out of first place in the East during their disappointing 7-10 SU and 6-11-1 ATS performance in the month of March. The C’s went 11-5 SU and 7-9 ATS during the same span, starting with a 103-99 victory over the Cavs (minus Kevin Love) as 1-point home faves.




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Politics : Will Trump Leave the White House?

Donald Trump’s chances of completing a full term as President of the United States have taken a hit. Following his administration’s failed attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and with the continuing investigation into his team’s possible connections with Russian operatives, Trump is now a –140 favorite to see his presidency end before he gets to complete a four-year term.

Trump is certainly one of the least popular presidents of all-time. And his polling numbers are getting worse; at press time, Gallup has just 36% of respondents saying they approve of Trump’s performance, while 56% say they disapprove. No other president in polling history (dating back to Harry Truman) had a net disapproval rating throughout his first 68 days in office – not even George W. Bush, who climbed above 50% approval on Day 16 and stayed there for three years.

The Trumpcare fiasco hasn’t done much for Republicans and their profile, but the administration’s handling of the Russian situation should have even more impact on Trump’s chances to complete a full term. The word “treason” has been popping up with more regularity as the evidence continues to mount against his people.


Politics : Will Trump Leave the White House?


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Politics Odds: Trump Favored to Leave Office Early

After a botched attempt at repealing Obamacare, and with evidence of ties to Russian operatives continuing to build, Donald Trump’s chances of finishing a full term in office are slipping. He’s a –140 favorite at press time to leave the White House before his four years are up.

Trump’s low popularity numbers fell even further after the failed Obamacare vote, but it’s the Russian ties that really have him in hot water – not to mention the way he and his people are handling the investigation as the evidence mounts. Expect to hear the word “treason” used a lot this spring.


NHL : Isles Continue Playoff Push in Philly

The New York Islanders are fifth in the Metropolitan Division, but that could still earn them a spot in the NHL playoffs. Their quest for a Wild Card berth continues Thursday night on the road versus the Philadelphia Flyers. MSG+ and CSN provide local coverage starting at 7 PM ET.

The Flyers are technically still in the race, too, but with seven games remaining in their regular season, they need to play some serious catch-up. That’s going to be difficult with Philly’s goaltending duo of Steve Mason (.906 save percentage) and Michal Neuvirth (.890 SV%) struggling this year. The Flyers are also 22nd overall in scoring at 2.55 goals per game despite having some of the best puck possession stats in the league.

New York doesn’t control the puck nearly as well as Philadelphia, but the Isles have gotten decent results from No. 1 netminder Thomas Greiss (.914 SV%). Unfortunately for the Isles, health became an issue last week when RW Ryan Strome (13 goals, 17 assists) broke his wrist and LW Nikolai Kulemin (12 goals, 10 assists) suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury. It’s possible Kulemin will be ready for Thursday’s game, but Strome is expected to miss 3 to 6 weeks.

NHL : Isles Continue Playoff Push in Philly


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NHL Odds: Islanders-Flyers at the WFC

Losing won’t be an option when the New York Islanders visit the Philadelphia Flyers this Thursday (7 PM ET). A Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs, and both New York and Philadelphia are on the wrong side of the bubble – especially the Flyers, who need to make up at least seven points with only seven games remaining on their schedule.

The Islanders aren’t in quite as much peril. They’ve outperformed Philly this year, but their regular-season series is tied 1-1-1. The Flyers beat them once in overtime and once in a shootout.

NHL : Lightning go for Season Sweep Over Red Wings

The Tampa Bay Lightning (37-29-9) have dominated the Detroit Red Wings this season. The Bolts defeated Detroit in each of their previous four matchups, and will attempt to complete the sweep this Thursday in Tampa (7:30 PM ET on FS-D). The Lightning are 7-3 over their last 10 games and sit one point behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Right winger Nikita Kucherov is enjoying the best offensive season of his career. He’s notched 38 goals and 40 assists through 67 games. Down the stretch, he’s managed to turn up that production even further, scoring 7 goals and 2 assists over his past four games. With scoring like that, Tampa seems poised to be in the post-season this spring.

The Detroit Red Wings (31-32-12), on the other hand, are preparing for a summer of rebuilding. For the first time in 25 years, the Wings will not punch a ticket to the playoffs. Sitting second last in the Eastern Conference with only one player having scored more than 20 goals this season, the Wings will look to next season to start anew.



NHL : Lightning go for Season Sweep Over Red Wings

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NHL Odds: Lightning on a Run, while Detroit Limps to the Finish

The last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs, Vanilla Ice reigned supreme and Sydney Crosby was learning his ABCs. That streak will come to an end this spring, as the rebuilding Wings (31-32-12) sit 10 points out of a playoff spot with only seven games to play.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (37-29-9) have been doing everything possible to make a fourth straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Without star centre Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov (38 goals, 40 assists) and Victor Hedman (15 goals, 47 assists) have stepped up and will look to continue their strong play against the Wings. Game time is 7:30 PM ET on FS-D.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NBA : Will Spurs, Warriors Play Full Teams on Wednesday?

Two teams known for resting key players, the Golden State Warriors (59-14) and the San Antonio Spurs (56-16), meet Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET in San Antonio. Hopefully, the stars will come out to play.

After a three-game slump earlier this month, the Warriors went on to win seven-straight games. Now they’re hitting the road for a brief Texas trip. Golden State’s efficiency is mind-boggling. They’re shooting 49% from the field as a team, 38% from three-point land and 79% from the free-throw line, averaging around 116 points. That’s tops in the league.

The Spurs aren’t too bad themselves. They’re 47% from the field, 39% from the foul line and 80% from the charity stripe. They’re also second in points allowed at 98 per game, making them just one of two teams with an average under 100 points (along with the Utah Jazz).
San Antonio is 6-4 SU and ATS in their last 10 meetings against the Warriors, who fell 129-100 when they hosted the Spurs in the season-opener. On March 11, The Spurs hosted the Warriors and won 107-85 in a game where both teams rested their stars.


NBA : Will Spurs, Warriors Play Full Teams on Wednesday?


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NBA Odds: Spurs, Warriors Meet for Third Time this Season

The San Antonio Spurs (56-16) won two games against the Golden State Warriors (59-14) this season, and they’ll aim to make it three when they host the Warriors on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 9:30 PM ET.

The Spurs thumped the Warriors 129-100 in Golden State in the season-opener, but the game that got most attention was their March meeting. Both teams rested their main players, which caused a lot of displeasure among the fans. At least the Spurs’ fans were compensated with a 107-85 victory.


NBA : Warriors-Spurs in Western Finals Preview

The two best teams in basketball will meet this Wednesday (9:30 PM ET, ESPN) when the Golden State Warriors visit the San Antonio Spurs. Both teams are hot right now, but Golden State is hanging onto first place in the Western Conference by a thread over San Antonio, and the Warriors have already lost twice straight up and against the spread to the Spurs this year, both home and away.

Neither game was close. San Antonio won their regular-season opener 129-100 as 9-point road dogs, and on March 11, the Spurs prevailed 107-85 as 10.5-point home favourites, although both teams rested their key starters in that matchup. Kevin Durant (27.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists per 36 minutes) will presumably miss Wednesday’s game, too, as he recovers from a hyperextended left knee.

There’s still the top seed and home-court advantage in the Western Finals to fight for, but otherwise, both teams are sitting pretty in the standings and can afford to rest their players as much as they like. The only official injury for the Spurs is little-used rookie point guard Dejounte Murray, who’s out with a tender groin and might not make it back until the playoffs.


NBA : Warriors-Spurs


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NBA Odds: Will Warriors, Spurs Rest Their Starters Again?

The Golden State Warriors visit the San Antonio Spurs this Wednesday (9:30 PM ET, ESPN) in a battle of the NBA’s top two teams. But last time they met on March 11, both sides kept most of their key players on the bench as the substitute Spurs rolled to a 107-85 victory over the second-string Warriors (+10.5 away).

At least one of those players will sit out Wednesday’s game, too. Kevin Durant (27.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists per 36 minutes) is recovering nicely from his hyperextended left knee, but he isn’t expected back in the lineup until early April.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Formula 1 : Lewis Hamilton Favored Down Under

The 2017 Formula 1 season begins this Sunday with the Australian Grand Prix, live from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at 1 AM ET on NBCSN. Two-time winner Lewis Hamilton is the +120 favorite at press time. Sebastian Vettel is next at +325, followed by Valtteri Bottas at +500.

This year’s F1 campaign should be very interesting after Nico Rosberg edged his Mercedes teammate Hamilton for the Drivers’ Championship, then announced his retirement. Rosberg also won last year’s Australian Grand Prix; his place on the Mercedes team has been taken by Bottas, who started life with Williams in 2013 and finished eighth in the Drivers’ standings last year.

Mercedes is a heavy –225 favorite to win this year’s Constructors’ Championship, and Hamilton is –110 to win his fourth individual title, so he’s very much in the driver’s seat this Sunday. Vettel, already a four-time champion, should be Hamilton’s toughest competition; his Ferrari team is second behind Mercedes at +300 to take the Constructors’ title, with Kimi Raikkonen riding shotgun. Red Bull Racing (+550) is the only other viable contender in F1. Max Verstappen is +1000 to win in Melbourne, right behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo at +900 and Raikkonen at +800.


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Formula 1 Odds: Hamilton Leads the Pack at Aussie Grand Prix

Now that his Mercedes teammate (and reigning champion) Nico Rosberg has retired, Lewis Hamilton can start chasing down his fourth Formula 1 title this Sunday when the 2017 season kicks off at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. NBCSN has live coverage beginning at 1 AM ET.

Hamilton, a two-time winner in Melbourne (2008 and 2015), is the +120 favorite at press time to take his third checkered flag. Sebastian Vettel is next for Ferrari at +325, followed by Hamilton’s new teammate Valtteri Bottas at +500. Bottas finished eighth in the Drivers’ standings for Williams last year.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NHL : Flames Look to Continue Dominance in Nashville on Thursday

The Calgary Flames (41-27-4 SU, 39-33 ATS) are roasting opponents. Since starting the first 16 games of the season 5-11, they’ve hit their stride, winning 12 of their last 13 games. They beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Sunday, and the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Friday. Goaltender Brian Elliott has been one of the big reasons the Flames have been on a tear. The 2X NHL All-Star has put up an impressive 15-1-1 record since January 26. He was between the pipes on February 21, when the Flames beat the Nashville Predators 6-5 in overtime.

Nashville (36-25-11 SU, 34-38 ATS) has been struggling to find consistency, mostly in net, where Pekka Rinne has been incredible at some points, and struggled at others.

There haven’t been concerns at the other end of the ice. With an average of 2.92 goals a game, Nashville’s offence ranks 10th in the league. Centreman Filip Forsberg has been a big contributor to Nashville’s highly-ranked offence. After starting the season with 13 scoreless games, he’s found the back of the net 29 times. The last time Forsberg faced the Calgary Flames, he got a hat trick.
The two Western Conference foes will meet for the third time this season at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday at 8 PM ET.


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NHL Odds: Offensive Battle Set for Thursday in Nashville

The last time the Nashville Predators played against the Calgary Flames, Calgary had a 4-1 lead five minutes into the second period. Nashville responded with four back-to-back goals, including a hat trick from centreman Filip Forsberg. Both teams went into overtime with five goals, and Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano (12 goals, 22 assists) scored the winning goal.

On Thursday at 8 PM ET, both teams face off again, but this time, the stakes are higher. Just Monday, Calgary was third in the Pacific division, and Nashville was the second wild card contender. They swapped places Tuesday, with Calgary settling for wild card status, and Nashville taking third in the Central Division. Will there be another round of musical chairs on Thursday?


NHL : Bolts-Bruins in Key Atlantic Division Battle

With about 10 games left in the regular season, the Atlantic Division is down to the wire. At least five teams have a decent shot at grabbing one of the three automatic playoff spots – or maybe even a Wild Card – including the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, who meet this Thursday at the Garden. Game time is 7 PM ET on NESN.

The Bruins have vaulted back into third place in the Atlantic since firing head coach Claude Julien on February 7 and replacing him on an interim basis with Bruce Cassidy. But the Lightning have also played well during that span, much of that after trading No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop (.911 save percentage) to the Los Angeles Kings and handing the reins to Andrei Vasilevskiy (.916 SV%).

Unfortunately for the Bolts, injuries could prevent them from climbing out of fifth place in the Atlantic. Four of their top centers are on the shelf at press time. Tyler Johnson (19 goals), Vladislav Namestnikov (nine goals) and Cedric Paquette (four goals) are all day-to-day with lower-body injuries, while Steven Stamkos (nine goals in 17 games) might not return from his torn meniscus before the playoffs.


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NHL Odds: Playoff Ramifications for Bolts, Bruins

Thursday night’s matchup (7 PM ET, NESN) between the Boston Bruins and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning could wind up deciding if either team makes the playoffs. Boston is third in the Atlantic Division; Tampa Bay is fifth with about 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Both teams have played well over the past month or so, but the Bolts find themselves in a pickle with four centers on the injured list. Steven Stamkos (knee) is still unlikely to return before the playoffs, while Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette are all day-to-day with lower-body injuries.

NBA : Hawks Visit Wizards in Meeting of Eastern Playoff Contenders

The Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks both seem to have a grip on a playoff spot. The two will meet on Wednesday at 8PM ET in the nation’s capital.

The Hawks aren’t a flashy team by any means, but they’re balanced offensively. They have six players, including Paul Millsap, averaging double digits for points. Unfortunately for them, their All-Star is expected to miss Wednesday’s contest because of tightness in his knee. The Hawks may have to rely a little more on their tough defense, which is sixth in opponent field goal percentage.

They’ll have their hands full with the Wizards, who are fifth in points scored. John Wall (23 points, almost 11 assists per game) and Bradley Beal (23 points) are finally fulfilling their promise in the backcourt, but the Wizards’ defense still has some work to do; they’re 22nd in points allowed.
Atlanta is 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Wizards, who’ve won two of three games against the Hawks this season. Atlanta won the first meeting 114-99 at home in October, then the Wizards won 95-92 in Washington in November and then 112-86 in Atlanta in January.


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NBA Odds: Wizards Host Hawks on Wednesday

The Washington Wizards have played well at the Verizon Center this season. Their 27 home wins are the third-most in the NBA. But lately, they’ve been slumping at home, going just 3-3 over their last six home games.

The Wizards will host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, but to get the win, they’ll have to improve their defense. They gave up an average of 112 points per game in their last five games. Fortunately for the Wizards, the Hawks are one of the lowest-scoring away teams, averaging just 101.3 points per game on the road (23rd in NBA).
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NBA Odds: Anything Can Happen With Hawks-Wizards

Who will challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs? It could be either participant in Wednesday’s matchup (8 PM ET, ESPN) between the Washington Wizards and the visiting Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards lead the Southeast Division at 42-27 SU and 36-32-1 ATS; the Hawks are five games back at 37-32 SU and 31-38 ATS.

This will be the fourth time the Hawks and Wiz have done battle this season. Washington is ahead 2-1 SU and ATS, winning their last two meetings after dropping the season-opener in Atlanta. That loss was before the Hawks sent Kyle Korver (40.9% from long range) to the Cavaliers in early January. However, Atlanta added some talent at the trade deadline, picking up two-way power forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Philadelphia 76ers.

Washington also has some reinforcements for Wednesday’s contest. The Wiz acquired Bogan Bogdanovich (45.8% from downtown) from the Brooklyn Nets at the deadline, and they firmed up their bench by signing point guard Brandon Jennings when the New York Knicks cut him loose on March 1. But Washington’s biggest addition was the return of Ian Mahinmi from the injured list on February 8; they’re 12-6 SU and 6-11-1 ATS since.


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NBA Odds: Hawks, Wiz in Southeast Showdown

The Washington Wizards (42-27 SU, 36-32-1 ATS) can pretty much secure the Southeast Division title with a win Wednesday night over the Atlanta Hawks (37-32 SU, 31-38 ATS). Tip-off is at 8 PM ET on ESPN; the Wizards lead Atlanta by five games with less than a month remaining before the playoffs.

Washington is 2-1 SU and ATS against the Hawks this year, but both teams have made moves since the last time they met. The Wizards now have Bogan Bogdanovich and Brandon Jennings, while Atlanta added Ersan Ilyasova at the trade deadline.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Entertainment : Simone Biles and Everyone Else at DWTS 24

Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premieres this Monday night (8 PM ET, ABC), and to almost no one’s surprise, US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is the favorite at +150. But she’ll have some professional competition in the form of Heather Morris (+500), a triple-threat entertainer who was in the cast of Glee.

Biles is the next in a long line of athletes who have performed on DWTS, and while athletes aren’t winning the competition as often as they used to, the Season 23 champion was also a gold-winning US gymnast: Laurie Hernandez, who opened as the +250 favorite last September. Biles won four gold medals at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, and carried the flag for Team USA during the closing ceremonies.

Morris may not be quite as famous as Biles, but she’s got the chops, and the people that know her fit right into the DWTS core demographic. The 30-year-old Californian has been dancing since she was nine, and spent time as a back-up dancer for Beyoncé before appearing on Glee. Former US figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (+1000) will also bring some dancing skills to the table for Season 24.

simone biles dancing with the stars


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Entertainment Odds: Biles vs. Morris at DWTS 24

Gold-winning US gymnast Simone Biles is the +150 favorite to win Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars, beginning this Monday at 8 PM ET on ABC. But waiting in the wings is Heather Morris (+500), a former professional dancer who appeared in the cast of Glee.

Biles and Morris could get a run for their money from Nancy Kerrigan (+1000), the former US figure skater who also appeared on the 2006 reality show Skating with Celebrities. Other top contenders include veteran entertainer Charo and model/bull rider Bonner Bolton, both at +900.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NHL : Blackhawks Visit Ottawa on Thursday

The Chicago Blackhawks fly into the nation’s capital to take on the red-hot Ottawa Senators (39-22-6 SU, 37-30 ATS) on Thursday (7:30 PM ET on TSN5). The Sens are playing their best hockey of the season: they’re unbeaten in March, and have a 12-4 record over their past 16 games. That strong play has gotten them to within two points of first place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand over the Montreal Canadiens. After being named the third star of the week in the NHL, captain Erik Karlsson (13 goals, 49 assists) has produced yet another tremendous offensive season for Ottawa; he has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) over his past four games and leads all NHL defenseman in assists.

The Chicago Blackhawks (43-20-5 SU, 32-36 ATS) are securely in second place in the Western Conference’s Central Division. They’re 8-2-0 over their last 10 games, and are positioning themselves for yet another playoff run this spring. Reigning NHL MVP, Patrick Kane (30 goals, 43 assists), has continued his scoring ways in 2016-17; he currently sits second in league scoring with 73 points – only two behind league-leading Connor McDavid. Both teams will be looking to finetune for the playoffs.


NHL : Blackhawks Senators


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NHL Odds: Battle of Surging Teams Face Off in Ottawa

The Ottawa Senators (39-22-6) are sitting pretty with 15 games left to play in their season. They’re playing their best hockey of the season and will look to keep it up against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (7:30 PM ET on TSN5). The Sens have gotten within two points of first place in the Atlantic Division, with two games in hand over the Montreal Canadiens.


The Chicago Blackhawks (43-20-5) have also been racking up the wins of late, going 8-2 over their past 10 games. Goaltender Corey Crawford (2.54 goals against average, .919 save percentage) has proven to be a reliable backstop for a Blackhawks team that scores an average of 2.96 goals per game.


NHL : Predators Clinging to Playoff Life Versus Capitals

Teams are rounding the turn in the NHL regular season, and the Nashville Predators are scrambling for playoff position after losing their first four games in March. They’ll need an inspired performance this Thursday night (7 PM ET) when they visit the best team in the league, the Washington Capitals.

The Predators have taken a step back in their third season under head coach Peter Laviolette. Their puck possession stats are decent, but Pekka Rinne (.915 save percentage) has been fair-to-middling between the pipes, making the OVER a solid pick in the Music City this year. Nashville did make a nice move at the trade deadline by acquiring winger PA Parenteau (13 goals, 14 assists) from the New Jersey Devils, sending back a sixth-round draft pick in return.

That’s a drop in the bucket compared to Washington’s mega-deal for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (11 goals, 35 assists). But Shattenkirk earned a two-game suspension over the weekend for a charging penalty; Thursday should be his first game back. Winger Andre Burakovsky (11 goals, 18 assists) remains out while he recovers from a hand injury. He isn’t due to return until late March.

NHL : Predators Clinging to Playoff Life Versus Capitals


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NHL Odds: Cup-Favored Caps Host Predators

The Washington Capitals are still the +475 favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but after losing four straight games, they could use a shot in the arm this Thursday (7 PM ET) when they host the Nashville Predators.

Kevin Shattenkirk (11 goals, 35 assists) fits the bill. The former All-Star defenseman arrived in Washington at the trade deadline, but Shattenkirk was suspended for two games after picking up a charging penalty. Thursday will be his first day of eligibility. In his six games with the Caps, Shattenkirk has four assists and four blocked shots.



NCAAB : Providence-USC in First Four

Wednesday’s First Four matchup in Dayton between the Providence Friars and the USC Trojans might be one of the most competitive games in the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The winner will advance as the No. 11 seed in the East Region. Tip-off is at 9:10 ET on truTV.

The Friars (20-12 SU and ATS) come out of the Big East as one of the most profitable teams in college basketball. They’re stout on defense and deliberate on offense, which masks some of their problems getting the ball in the hoop. Providence ranks No. 285 out of the 351 Division I teams in field-goal attempts and No. 248 in scoring at 70.3 points per game.

USC (24-9 SU, 16-16 ATS) was in the AP rankings over the holidays, but barely squeaked into March Madness after a late-season surge. The Trojans are more proficient on offense than Providence, ranking No. 56 overall at 78.7 points per game; however, USC also played a softer schedule in the Pac-12, and their perimeter defense is in question. The top player on the Friars, junior guard Jalen Linsdey, is 46.1% from downtown this year on 6.2 attempts per 40 minutes.


Providence Friars and the USC Trojans


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NCAAB Odds: Providence, USC Meet in Dayton

The Providence Friars (20-12 SU and ATS) and the USC Trojans (24-9 SU, 16-16 ATS) will meet Wednesday in the First Four round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The winner plugs into the No. 11 seed in the East Region on your March Madness bracket. Tip-off from Dayton is 9:10 ET on truTV.

Providence might have the matchup edge with their 3-point shooting, easily the best feature of an otherwise anemic offense. The Trojans are weak defending the perimeter; opponents have hit 36.5% from long range, leaving USC ranked No. 273 of the 351 Division I teams.



NBA : Clippers Try to Slow Down Bucks in LA

The Milwaukee Bucks have been playing very well. They’re trying to secure a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have won their last six games in the process. On Wednesday, they’ll take on the Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tip-off is at 10:30 PM ET.

Everyone thought the Bucks were in trouble when power forward Jabari Parker went down with a knee injury. But guard Khris Middleton has been picking up some slack, improving since returning from a lingering hamstring problem. Middleton is putting up over 14 points a game with about four rebounds and four assists, giving the Bucks another option outside of star small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Clippers are aiming for home-court advantage in the playoffs, as they jockey for position with Utah for the fourth spot. Guard Chris Paul is starting to round into form after returning from a thumb injury, and power forward Blake Griffin continues to be an all-round force for the Clippers.
Los Angeles is 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Bucks. But the Bucks managed to beat the Clippers 112-101 at home on March 3. Antetokounmpo put up 24 points and eight assists, while Greg Monroe added 14 off the bench. The Clippers’ top contributors were Paul and Griffin, who put up 21 points each. Griffin also had nine boards and eight assists.



NBA : Clippers Try to Slow Down Bucks in LA


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NBA Odds: Antetokounmpo, Griffin Meet in Los Angeles on Wednesday

Milwaukee Bucks small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin are two of the most talented and versatile forwards in the NBA. The two lead their teams into battle on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Antetokounmpo is having a phenomenal season, averaging over 23 points a game, over five assists and almost nine boards a night. Griffin is putting up almost 22 points with over eight boards and five assists. The two played well when the Bucks beat the Clippers in Milwaukee in March, so it’ll be fun to watch them go at it once again on Wednesday.