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The End of an Era: Kobe's Final Game

Gordon Hayward Kobe Bryant

After two decades of lighting up scoreboards across the NBA, the Kobe Bryant show will officially end tonight when the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Utah Jazz in the final day of the 2015-16 NBA campaign. Kobe announced his retirement plans back in November and a league-wide farewell tour followed, and you can bet there won’t be many dry eyes in the arena after this one is over.

Shark Bites
  • The Jazz are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games.
  • The Jazz are 6-20 SU in their last 26 games on the road against the Lakers.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 12 of the Lakers' last 17 games after a loss.

The 37-year-old Bryant ends his illustrious career as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. Nobody has ever spent 20 seasons with one team until Bryant did. Oddsmakers are expecting the lowly Lakers to keep it close in Kobe’s final game, opening L.A. as 6-point underdogs.

With two 30-point performances this month, Kobe has shown he’s still capable of filling the scoresheet, and you better believe the shooting guard will be firing on all cylinders in this one. If you’re looking for Kobe props, we’ve broken them down for you here.

When tabbed as faves, the Jazz are producing at a rapid clip. Utah is 9-2 SU and ATS in the last 11 when listed as chalk.

Game ID: 
713392
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Penguins Peaking at the Right Time

Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins NHL

Nobody wants to face a team hitting their stride as the playoffs begin and the New York Rangers have been tasked with just that as they get paired up with the scorching-hot Pittsburgh Penguins in the series opener Wednesday night.

Shark Bites
  • The Penguins are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games on home ice.
  • The Rangers are 1-5 SU in their last six games versus the Metropolitan Division.
  • The total has gone OVER in the Rangers’ last three road games.

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the final game of the regular season, no team is playing better hockey than the Penguins. The Pens closed the season with a 14-2 SU record in their final 16 games. Pittsburgh used the late-season surge to nab second place in the competitive Metropolitan Division and leapfrog the Rangers. They are not without injury concerns, however, as Evgeni Malkin remains out and Olli Maatta, Beau Bennett and Bryan Rust are questionable. Goaltending is another issue as Marc-Andre Fleury’s status remains up in the air as he continues to deal with a concussion.

As for the Blueshirts, they’ll look to extend their postseason dominance over the Pens with a win in the opening round. The Rangers defeated Pittsburgh in five games in the first round last season and seven games in the second round in the 2014 playoffs.

Henrik Lundqvist has been dealing with a bit of illness but should get the start Wednesday. He has certainly not closed the season on a strong note as he posted a 3.38 goals against average in nine March starts and a 3.32 GAA in four April starts.

The Pens were excellent versus the Rangers this season as they won three of four head-to-head meetings including both on the road at Madison Square Garden.

Game ID: 
727823
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Blues on a Roll at Home vs Blackhawks

Blues Blackhawks NHL

The St. Louis Blues will embark on a quest to end a run of disappointing playoff performances tonight at home against the Blackhawks. Luckily for them, they’ve owned Chicago when the teams meet at the Scottrade Center, winning eight of the last 11 times the teams met there.

Looking at a smaller sample size, the Blues have also had the edge in this matchup recently, winning two straight, most recently in a 2-1 victory last week. Given their recent home dominance over the Hawks, the Blues opened as a -140 moneyline favorite with Chicago coming back at +110. Chicago hasn’t performed well in the underdog role, as they’ve gone just 3-8 in that spot this season.

The total for the game is set at an even five goals — a number these teams have failed to top in their last three games against each other. Even though the Blues saw more UNDERs and OVERs this season, it wasn’t their offense’s fault as they’ve scored over half of the posted total in 15 of their last 18 games.

These team last met in a playoff series in a first round matchup in 2014. Chicago won the series in six game, but the Blues were victorious in the first two games of the series which took place in St. Louis.

Game ID: 
727824
League: 

Strasburg Scratched From Start Wednesday

*Stephen Strasburg has been scratched from the start due to illness (Strasburg missing starts is beginning early this year). Tanner Rorak will start in his place*

Stephen Strasburg will look to build on his stellar first outing of the year against the Atlanta Braves when the Washington Nationals take on their NL East rival Wednesday. Strasburg went six strong while allowing just one run in his first game of the season against the Braves, but Strasburg has a rather pedestrian 3.63 ERA lifetime against Atlanta.

The Nats have faced the Braves four times already this season going 4-0 while outscoring Atlanta 15-9. Wilson Ramos has been mashing the Braves’ pitchers this season, as the catcher is 8-for-13, though none went for extra bases.

If there is one Braves’ batter that can be counted on to hit Strasburg well it is Freddie Freeman. Freeman has a lifetime on-base percentage of .462 with a slugging percentage of .742 against Strasburg. Youngster Matt Wisler will get the start for Atlanta after he hit some rough patches in his first outing of the season against the Cardinals.

Game ID: 
721635
League: 

Rangers, Mariners Cashing OVER Tickets

The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners continue their AL West rivalry Wednesday with the OVER looking mighty tempting. The Rangers and Mariners have topped the closing total in six of their past seven contests while the two clubs have averaged a combined 10.1 runs per game in that span.

A.J. Griffin will get the start for the Rangers following a solid performance in his first outing that saw him go six innings strong while surrendering three runs. This will just be Griffin’s second start in the majors since 2013 as he missed most of that year due to Tommy John surgery and only had four minor league appearances last season.

The Mariners will counter with Taijuan Walker who has not historically fared well against the Rangers. The aggressive pitcher has posted a career ERA of 4.15 against the Rangers while allowing them to hit a collective .318.

Game ID: 
721642
League: 

Bolts Host Wings in Postseason Opener

Ben Bishop Tampa Bay Lightning NHL

The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in Tampa Bay as the Lightning host the Detroit Red Wings in the first of three games Wednesday night.

Shark Bites
  • The Red Wings are 2-8 SU in their last 10 games on the road against the Lightning.
  • The Lightning are 6-1 SU in their last seven games as favorites.
  • The Lightning are 16-6 SU in their last 22 home games.

Online shop Bovada is presently offering the Lightning at -160 in the series opener while the Wings come in at +130. The total is tabbed at 5 with OVER priced at -105 and UNDER currently -125.

The Bolts have injury issues as captain and leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos is sidelined 1-3 months with a type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Anton Stralman is out with a broken leg. Tyler Johnson, who practiced Tuesday, is a game-time decision while Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov look to be ready to suit up.

The two teams split four regular season meetings but it was the Lightning that prevailed in the two most recent contests; both of which were in Tampa. The Lightning won 6-2 in the most recent matchup back on March 22 courtesy a pair of goals from Erik Condra.

Ben Bishop has been excellent throughout his career versus the Wings. The Bolts’ netminder has gone 9-4 with a microscopic 1.71 goals against average and .935 save percentage in 14 career appearances against Detroit. Bishop started all four games this season and despite the two losses, has posted an insanely good 1.77 GAA.

Game ID: 
727822
League: 

Campbell's Stanley Cup Futures Picks

It’s been a good run of handicapping so far for me here at Odds Shark. 

In just a couple of short, fun months I took Denver to win the Super Bowl straight up, Von Miller to win the Super Bowl MVP (18-1 odds) and Angelique Kerber to win the Australian Open – all at very nice underdog odds. 

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NHL Playoffs: Serious or Delirious

The NHL offers an incredible amount of parity — perhaps more than any other pro sports league in North America. Unlike the NBA where only a few teams have a realistic shot at winning the championship, past NHL playoffs have proven that simply getting into the dance gives a team a great shot at hoisting the Stanley Cup. It’s not rare to see a hot goalie put a team on his back on the way to upsetting a higher seed, or witness a top team from the regular season show up flat and get dominated by a tougher team.

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NHL: OVERS Trending in Opening Round

Dallas Stars NHL

Some puck bettors feel like blindly backing the UNDER come Stanley Cup playoff time is the way to go if you’re inclined to bet totals. The logic is sound - tighter hockey + solid goaltending = lower scoring – but not exactly true. At least in the first round of the postseason.

While the UNDER in first round games had the slight edge last season, numbers over the course of the previous five opening rounds say that the OVER is the way to wager.

Since the 2011 postseason, OVER has a record of 105-87-38 in the first round; good enough to cash in at rate of 54.7 percent.

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NHL Playoffs: Exact Series Outcome Odds

Jonathan Toews

Looking for a different type of betting angle in the NHL playoffs? One sportsbooks has you covered.

BetOnline is offering exact series outcome odds for the postseason, which could result in some huge profits if your prognostications prove to be correct. For example: if you think the Detroit Red Wings will sweep the Steven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning, they’re available at a fantastic price of +1800.

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