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Are the Celtics Primed for a Comeback?

Down 2-0 in their first-round series to the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics have their backs to the wall as actions moves to Beantown. If the C’s are going to make a charge, they’ll need to jumpstart a dormant offense that turned in the lowest scoring quarter in NBA history (seven points) in Game 2. Home court advantage has been massive in this series, as visiting clubs are 2-9 SU in the last 11 meetings between the Eastern Conference foes.

Shark Bites
  • The Hawks are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five games with two days off between games.
  • The Celtics are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games with two days off between games.
  • The Hawks are 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four games as an underdog of 3.0 or less.

The Hawks have owned the second-best defense in the Association since the calendar flipped to 2016, and it’s been on display once again in the postseason. Atlanta has limited the Celtics to 34.2 percent shooting and 24.5 from beyond the arc in the first two games after recording a playoff-record 15 blocks on Tuesday.

Boston is playing without one of its key players in Avery Bradley after the guard suffered a hamstring injury in Game 1. Atlanta has injury issues of its own, as backup point guard Dennis Schroder suffered an ankle injury in the dying minutes of Game 2 and is questionable for the tilt.

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No Game 5 Home-Ice Advantage for Kings

Brent Burns San Jose Sharks Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings NHL

The San Jose Sharks take a 3-1 series lead back to Staples Center and will not be intimidated in the slightest after taking the first two games of the series there.

Shark Bites
  • The road team is 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings between the Sharks and Kings.
  • The Kings are 2-6 SU in their last eight games with one day off in between games.
  • UNDER has cashed in eight of the Sharks’ last 10 games on the road.

The Kings are presently -135 in moneyline markets at online book Bovada while the Sharks are +115 on the road. In totals markets, OVER 5 goals is presently EVEN odds while UNDER 5 goals is -120.

The Sharks rebounded from a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 3 with a 3-2 win at the SAP Center Wednesday night, earning themselves a 3-1 lead in the series. Patrick Marleau’s first of the postseason proved to the be the game winner as the Kings managed a pair late in the contest.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who had been following the league closely that San Jose was so good in L.A. in the opening two games. The Sharks were the best road team in the league all season long with a 28-10-3 record in their travels.

The flip side to that coin was their 18-20-3 record at home, but a dangerous road team can be a perilous opponent in the chase for the Stanley Cup.

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Primetime Pitching Duel Tonight in Toronto

The Blue Jays will return home to Rogers Centre after a couple of ugly losses in Baltimore, but they’ll get the best the Oakland A’s have to offer with Sonny Gray sent to take the mound. The 26-year-old is off to another strong start with a 2-1 record, 17 K’s and a 2.33 ERA in three starts that all came at home. The bad news for Jays hitters is that Gray was actually better on the road than at home last season. He only gave up five dingers in 102.2 innings pitched while recording 98 K’s.

In one start vs the Jays last season, Gray allowed two runs off nine hits in 7 IP.

The Jays will counter with Aaron Sanchez who’s off to an even better start that Gray. He’s 1-0 with 20 K’s and a 1.35 ERA in three starts. Jose Bautista has a good track record against Gray — in 10 at bats, he has five hits, a home run and zero strikeouts.

This will be the first time this season that the Jays face a team from outside of the AL East. The Jays destroyed the A’s when the teams played last season, going 5-1 including a three game sweep in Toronto. The Jays outscored Oakland 33 to 15 in the seven games. Gray was the starter in the one game that Oakland won.

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Grizzlies Looking for a Miracle in Memphis

Zach Randolph Memphis Grizzlies

The most lopsided first-round series of the NBA playoffs is without a doubt San Antonio-Memphis. With Games 1 and 2 in their back pocket, the Spurs will be looking to keep that dominance going against a beleaguered Memphis club on Friday.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Spurs' last five games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Grizzlies' last 14 games with a closing total of 181.0 or less.
  • The Spurs are 42-8 SU in their last 50 games after a win.

The first two games of the series have been decided by an average of 29 points. The seventh-seeded Grizzlies had their worst offensieve output ever in Tuesday’s 94-68 setback just days after Game 1’s 106-74 loss was the franchise’s worst ever playoff defeat.

Matt Barnes told the media his team is “coming to a gunfight with some spoons,” which may actually be an understatement at this point. As of Friday morning, San Antonio was listed as 12-point road favorites – the largest an NBA team has ever been favored away from home in the postseason.

San Antonio is far from a safe bet as huge favorites as of late, evidenced by Tim Duncan and company going 2-9 ATS in their last 11 when favored as 11.5 points or more.

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Stars Have Been Unbeatable at Home

Jamie Benn Dallas Stars

Deep in the heart of Texas tonight at the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars will look to put an end to the Minnesota Wild’s misery and move on the Round 2 of the playoffs. At just 1-8 in their last nine games, the Wild will be in tough against a Dallas team that’s won eight in a row at home.

Unsurprisingly, the Stars opened as a -195 favorite, which is another spot they’ve dominated in. Dallas has won eight straight as home favorites, while the Wild are an ugly 2-7 in their last nine as road underdogs. To pile on even more, Minny is just 3-7 in their last 10 games in Dallas.

Unfortunately for Minnesota backers (if there’s any left), they don’t have much to lean on coming into the game. They’re 1-6 in their last seven games after a loss, and 1-7 when losing the previous game in a matchup. They’ve been outshot so far in every game in the series, with the Stars putting a total of 117 shots on net to the Wild’s 87. Only four Minnesota players have a +/- above zero, compared to 12 on Dallas.

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Panthers-Islanders Trading Wins

John Tavares New York Islanders NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The only series that does not have a chance of ending Friday night is out East as the Florida Panthers host the New York Islanders in Game 5. The two teams have exchanged wins through four games and if that trend continues Friday in Sunrise, the Islanders will hold a 3-2 edge when the final horn blows.

Shark Bites
  • OVER has cashed in eight of the Panthers’ last 10 home games.
  • The Panthers are 5-2 SU in their last seven games with one day off in between games.
  • The total has gone OVER in the Islanders’ last five games after a loss.

Online shop Bovada is currently offering the Panthers at -160 in moneyline markets while the Islanders can be had at +140. The total is tabbed at 5 with OVER priced at -120 and UNDER at EVEN odds.

The Islanders, who have won games two and four after losing games one and three, had rebounded from losses quite well even prior to the postseason. They have gone 5-1 SU in their last six games in that spot but there is more on the line in Sunrise Friday as they can head back to Brooklyn with the series lead.

The Panthers have been absolutely pelting Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss with rubber so far this series. The Panthers are second in the playoffs with 36.3 shots per game, but Greiss has been up to the challenge, stopping 133 of 144 for a save percentage of .924.

OVER had been a hot trend when these two teams meet entering this series, but, much like the teams exchanging wins, the totals have rotated as games one and three have eclipsed the closing number, but games two and four remained UNDER. In the last 14 meetings between the Isles and Panthers, OVER has gone 10-4.

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Caps Return to D.C. to Finish Series

Philadelphia Flyers Washington Capitals NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Philadelphia Flyers are still alive after avoiding a sweep with a 2-1 win in Game 4 Wednesday night, but now things shift back to the Verizon Center in D.C. as the Washington Capitals will look to put the series to bed once and for all.

Shark Bites
  • Road team is 1-5 SU in the last six meetings between the Flyers and Capitals.
  • The Flyers are 12-3 SU in their last 15 games with one day off between games.
  • The Capitals are 23-7 SU in their last 30 games as home favorites.

Online shop Bovada is currently offering the Capitals at -250 in moneyline markets while the Flyers are +210. As far as the total is concerned, OVER 5 goals is -105 while UNDER 5 goals is coming in at -115.

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has been lights out despite taking the L in Game 4. The Vezina candidate has allowed just four goals on 118 shots and owns a .966 save percentage in four games in the series.

At the other end of the ice, the switch to Michal Neuvirth looks like a good one as the ex-Caps netminder stopped 31 of 32 shots en route to the Game 4 victory. In three appearances versus his former team, Neuvirth has now gone 2-0-0 with a 1.83 goals against average and .941 save percentage.

Washington defenseman John Carlson has been leading the charge as he has recorded three goals and three assists through the first four games.

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Bet on What's Next For McGregor

The sports world is buzzing with the recent supposed retirement of UFC star Conor McGregor. Following the Irishman’s cryptic tweet proclaiming that he has retired, the UFC pulled him from his upcoming rematch against Nate Diaz with the company saying that McGregor refused to do the media tour to promote the bout.


Relegation Fight Down to Three Clubs

Ashley Westwood Aston Villa Premier League

Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United was the final nail in the coffin in what turned out to be a disastrous campaign for the Birmingham club. For the first time in 28 seasons, and the first time since the Premier League as we know it was formed in 1992-93, the Villains will ply their trade in the second tier of English football.

But what of the the other two spots for relegation?


Cubs Have Been Pounding The Reds

It’s probably not much of a shock, but the powerhouse Chicago Cubs have been beating up in the mediocre Cincinnati Reds in recent meetings. The Cubs have won the past six games between the two clubs, which includes three this season, while averaging 6.8 runs per game in those outings.

The red-hot Cubs will also be starting ace Jake Arrieta when they start their weekend series against the Reds Thursday. The reigning NL Cy Young winner has been dominant so far this season, as he has allowed just three earned runs in 22.0 innings of work while posting an absurd 0.77 WHIP.

The Reds will counter with surprisingly solid youngster Brandon Finnegan. The lefty has posted a 2.04 ERA in three starts this season, but has struggled to find the strikezone with 10 walks on the year.

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