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UFC 196: Betting Odds and Predictions

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz may not be the superfight we were expecting, but it is certainly one of the most exciting matchups we could have hoped to see as MMA fans. UFC 196 will not only feature McGregor vs Diaz, it will also see Holly Holm put her bantamweight title on the line for the first time when she takes on Miesha Tate.

Conor McGregor (-400) vs Nate Diaz (+300)

We have the featherweight champion taking on the fifth ranked lightweight in a welterweight fight. Yeah, this fight is going to be a little weird.


Battle of Ontario Seeing A Lot Of Goals

The Toronto Maple Leafs will welcome their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, Saturday night in the newest chapter of the Battle of Ontario. Offense has been the name of the game when these teams meet as the OVER is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings between the Leafs and Sens. Those 10 games have seen a combined average of 6.8 goals per game.

Of course, the biggest story coming from this game is the return of Dion Phaneuf to the Air Canada Centre after the Leafs traded their long-time captain to the Ottawa Senators in the beginning of February. The trade was the first move in the Leafs mission to tank this season, with Toronto winning just two of 10 games since Phaneuf was shipped off.

As profitable as the OVER has been when the Leafs and Sens clash, Toronto’s lack of offense has made them a hot UNDER player lately. The Leafs have gone UNDER in five consecutive games with the team netting just one goal on three occasions.

The Senators have been struggling on the road all season, but it has been accentuated as of later Ottawa has just two wins in their past seven road games with those two victories coming against the lowly Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. 

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Could UNDER Be The Bet in BOS, CLE?

Two top 10 offenses clash when the Boston Celtics travel to the C-Town to play the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday. Though you would expect a high scoring affair between these two teams, the UNDER has hit in eight of their past nine meetings. Only twice in those nine games did the Celtics and Cavs combine for more than 200 points.

The Celtics enter Saturday’s affair riding a five-game winning streak in which they have averaged 106.8 points per game. Isaiah Thomas is coming off his first back-to-back 30-point games of the season, as the diminutive point guard has averaged 31 points while shooting 57.5 percent in that span.

Despite a solid 7-1 SU record in their past eight games at the Quicken Loans Arena, they are just 4-4 ATS for bettors in that span. The Cavs have been faves in each of those eight games while facing an average closing spread of -10.5. Cleveland went to a smaller lineup in their last outing and moved LeBron James to power forward, a role that he relished with James notching 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. 

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Duke A Boon For UNDER Bettors

Scoring has been at a premium during Duke’s games as of late, which has led to the team going under in nine of their past 10 games including seven consecutive heading into Saturday. The past 10 games have seen the Blue Devils face an average closing total of 151, while Duke and their opponents have a combined average of 144.5 points. The North Carolina Tar Heels will take the 10-mile trip up the highway to take on Duke Saturday.

UNC has been struggling against their biggest rivals, as the Tar Hells have dropped their past four against Duke and have only covered once in that span. Brice Johnson continues to garner attention as one of the best players in the nation with the senior averaging 18.6 points and 12.4 rebounds in the past five games. Johnson netted 29 points and 19 rebounds while shooting 73 percent in the first game against Duke this season.

Duke is a perfect 5-0 SU in their past five at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but have only gone 2-3 ATS in those games. The Blue Devils have won by an average of 7.8 points through those five games, but have faced an average closing spread of -8.5. Duke would like to see some secondary scoring against UNC this time around as Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram accounted for nearly 60 percent of the team’s offense in the first outing. 

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Spurs-Arsenal Means Much More This Year

Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur Premier League

The North London Derby means everything to the diehard supporters of Tottenham and Arsenal, but Saturday’s clash has Premier League title implications which makes this edition of the NLD the biggest in years.


Slumping Stars Desperate for Win Friday

Dallas Stars NHL

The Dallas Stars were a dominant force in the opening few months of the NHL season but that feels like a distant memory as the floundering club takes a four-game losing streak into Friday’s meeting with the New Jersey Devils.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in 11 of the Stars’ previous 15 games.
  • The Stars are 0-5 SU in their last five games as home favorites.
  • The visitor is 4-13 SU in the last 17 meetings between the Stars and Devils.

At online shop Bovada, the Stars are presently -240 favorites in moneyline markets while the Devils are +190. As far as the total is concerned, OVER 5 goals is priced at -110 while UNDER 5 is currently -120.

Dallas has gone just 10-16 SU in 26 games in 2016 and heads into Friday’s contest as losers of seven of its previous eight games. The Nashville Predators were the most recent team to feast on the Stars’ lackluster defense, scoring five goals is a 5-3 triumph on Tuesday.

It is difficult to win hockey games when you are allowing 4.25 goals per game, as the Stars have been doing during their losing streak. Luckily, perhaps, for Dallas, the team faces the NHL’s most futile offense in the form of the Devils. New Jersey has scored just 145 goals this season - lowest in the league - but five of those came in Thursday night’s 5-4 win at the Nashville Predators.

The Devils have been anything but evil for their backers when going up against teams from the Western Conference recently. In their last six contests versus the west, the Devils have gone 6-0 SU. The Stars, on the other hand, have gone 1-7 SU in their last eight games against clubs from the Eastern Conference.

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Celtics are Blazing Hot at Home

Kristaps Porzingis Isaiah Thomas

Two teams heading in completely opposite directions collide on Friday when the Boston Celtics play host to the division rival New York Knicks. The Celtics can extend their phenomenal winning streak to 13 with a win over the lowly Knicks tonight. Boston, who opened as 9.5-point favorites, will appeal to hoops bettors due to the favored team going 7-3 ATS in the last 10 matchups between the squads.

Shark Bites
  • The Celtics are 5-1 SU in their last six games against the Eastern Conference.
  • The Knicks are 1-5 SU in their last six games against the Celtics.
  • The Knicks are 2-11 SU in their last 13 games.

New York’s season has completely gone off the rails since late January, which has created some understandable unrest in the locker room. The Knickerbockers have dropped 15 of their previous 18 contests to completely fall out of postseason contention.

One area the Knicks have been solid in is producing as big underdogs, as the Knicks are 7-1 ATS in their last eight as underdogs of 9.5 points or more. Oddsmakers opened Carmelo Anthony and company as hefty 9.5-point dogs.

As far as the total is concerned, it’s the OVER that will likely draw the most attention in this one. The C’s have gone OVER in five of their previous six when facing a closing total of 210 or more, and the Knicks are 3-1 O/U with two days off between games as of late. The total opened at 209.5 at most shops.

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Blazers are a Fantastic Bet vs Raptors

Damian Lillard Jonas Valanciunas

Two of the NBA’s most productive backcourts are set to collide tonight as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s Portland Trail Blazers travel north of the border to square off against Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan’s Toronto Raptors. In past years it’s the Blazers who’ve had the edge in this series, as the guys from Rip City are 12-2 SU and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 versus the Raps.

Shark Bites
  • The Trail Blazers are 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games against teams with winning records.
  • The Trail Blazers are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games as underdogs.
  • The Raptors are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite of 5.0 or more.

The Dinos have been an unstoppable force at home as of late. Toronto has won 11 straight at the Air Canada Centre, while Portland is 8-1 SU on the road in 2016. The Blazers continue to fly under the radar, as Lillard has led them to 14 victories in their last 17 affairs. The point guard is averaging 31.6 points over his last 10.

When it comes to cashing the OVER, the Blazers have become a reliable source for totals bettors. In Portland’s previous 10, they’ve gone above the closing total seven times. Putting points on the board has been no issue for Toronto either, as the Raptors are averaging 108 points while shooting 50.1 percent over their last five. The OVER is 4-1 during that span. The total for tonight’s matchup opened at 206 at most sportsbooks.

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Texas Has Proven Bounce-Back Ability

Texas is coming off a fairly dominating loss to Kansas in their last outing, which has historically meant that the Longhorns come out like fire in their following game. Texas is 5-1 SU in their past five games following a loss while holding five of those opponents to 70 points or fewer. Texas ends their regular season against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater Friday.

Texas will look to close out their regular seasons strong and set themselves up for a more favourable matchup in the gruelling Big 12 conference tournament. The Longhorns are currently tied with Iowa State and Baylor four fourth in the conference and a win could help them possibly leapfrog a couple teams with tough matchups this weekend. Texas is coming off a loss to Kansas in which they scored their fewest points early December.

Oklahoma State will attempt to end their season with a decorum of respectability after dropping eight of their past nine games. Injuries derailed the Cowboys season with the absence of Phil Forte all but dooming the team’s early outlooks. Oklahoma State shot just 37.5 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc in their last outing against Texas.

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Rangers Thrive in Games After a Loss

Eric Staal New York Rangers Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals NHL

One of the best betting trends in the NHL recently has been backing the New York Rangers after a loss. Puck bettors can back that trend Friday with plenty of value as the Blueshirts visit the Washington Capitals.

Shark Bites
  • The visiting team is 3-7 SU in the last 10 games between the Caps and Rangers.
  • The Capitals are 8-1 SU in their last nine home games.
  • OVER is 5-0 in the Rangers' last five games with zero days off.

The Rangers have posted an amazing 11-0 SU record in games following a loss in their previous contest and NYR backers will look for that trend to keep cashing betting slips following a 4-1 defeat to the Pittsburgh penguins Thursday evening. The last time the Rangers lost consecutive games was back in mid-December when they suffered three-consecutive defeats.

Of course, recording a win over the Caps is not an easy task. Washington has just 16 losses this season with 12 of those coming in regulation. Furthermore, the Caps have had their division-rivals’ number this season, winning three of the previous four 2015-16 meetings.

One trend to note is the scoring when these teams play. Each of the four meetings has eclipsed the closing total with relative ease this season as there has been an average of 7.75 goals scored per game when these two clubs meet.

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