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Can the Raptors Surprise the Cavs Again?

Many fans and pundits had already written off the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals, but a huge 99-84 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 has given new life to Canada’s lone NBA franchise. Game 4 gets underway in Toronto on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.
  • The Raptors are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win.
  • The home team is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings.

Game 3 took on a new dimension, as words, punches and elbows were thrown around. In the wake of the testy contest, Dahntay Jones was suspended for striking Bismack Biyombo below the belt while the pair were battling for a loose ball. Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey was fined $25,000 by the league for his criticism of the officiating crew.

Biyombo was instrumental in Toronto’s comeback game. Filling in for injured starting center Jonas Valanciunas, the Congo native hauled in a Raptors’ playoff record 26 rebounds, blocked four shots and scored six of his seven points in the fourth quarter to lead his team to victory.

Valanciunas’ status has been upgraded to doubtful, and he is progressing in his recovery. Casey told reporters the big man would be re-evalutated on Monday.

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Sharks are a Poor Bet on the Road

The St. Louis Blues ended their offensive drought in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, but the San Jose Sharks did not make it easy on them. With the series tied at two games apiece, Game 5 gets underway in Missouri on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
  • The road team is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.
  • The Sharks are 1-4 in their last 5 road games.

Blues’ goaltender Jake Allen will receive his second consecutive start after stepping up in Game 4. The netminder took over for a struggling Brian Elliott and made 31 saves in St. Louis’ 6-3 triumph. Martin Jones will counter in the crease for the Sharks.

At this point in the year it’s normal for players to be banged up, but St. Louis is singing the blues in that department right now. Captain David Backes and rookie forward Robby Fabbri suffered undisclosed injuries and missed a significant portion of ice time on Saturday, leaving their status for Monday in jeopardy. Head coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters he will decide if they will play on Monday.

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Cubs are Trending UNDER as of Late

The Chicago Cubs have undoubtedly been the best team in baseball all year long, but they’ve hit a road block as of late. Joe Maddon’s crew will be attempting to right the ship when they travel to St. Louis for a date with the Cardinals on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The Cubs are 5-1 SU in their last six games against the Cardinals.
  • The Cardinals are 7-1 SU in their last eight games after a loss.
  • The total has gone UNDER in five of the Cubs' last seven games.

The Cubs managed only three hits in a 1-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday and have started their nine-game road trip by dropping two of three. The Cards have lost four of their last six homes series, including a three-game set against the Cubbies in late April.

John Lackey and Adam Wainwright will get the start for the Cubs and Cards, respectively. Lackey (4-2, 3.31 ERA), who is facing his old team, has allowed fewer than three earned runs in each of his last four outings but has notched just one win in that span. Wainwright (4-3, 5.92) has collected four-straight victories and owns a 12-7 lifetime record against the Cubs.

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Giants Have Dominated Padres This Year

The San Francisco Giants are on a roll right now and face a squad that’s struggled to do much damage in the win column tonight. The Giants, who have won 11 of their last 12, tangle with the lowly San Diego Padres in National League action on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in Cueto's last 5 starts overall.
  • The Padres are 5-16 in the last 21 meetings.

San Fran is a perfect 6-0 against the Friars this season, limiting them to one run in each contest. The Giants have made due without right fielder Hunter Pence due to a hamstring injury, but his return is expected at some point in the series.

The Padres will send Drew Pomeranz to the bump, while the Giants are slated to counter with Johnny Cueto. Pomeranz (4-4, 1.96 ERA) has allowed a total of three runs in his four starts this month but is only 2-2 as a result of his team’s inconsistent play behind him. Cueto (6-1, 2.70) is 3-0 over his last five starts, allowing two runs or fewer on four occasions.

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Pavelski Favored to Get NHL ’17 Cover

Joe Pavelski San Jose Sharks NHL

The vote for the cover athlete of EA Sports’ popular NHL 17 video game has come down to a pair of players who are actually facing off in the postseason: Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues.

If you feel confident one way or the other, why not place a bet?

Online shop Bovada is currently offering Pavelski as the -135 favorite with Tarasenko coming in at +105. Fan votes decide the cover athlete and there have already been a couple rounds of voting thus far.


Cavs-Raps are a Great Source of UNDERs

Can the Toronto Raptors do anything to slow down the Cleveland Cavaliers? Fresh off back-to-back setbacks in Ohio, the Eastern Conference finals shifts north of the border when Game 3 gets underway on Saturday.

Shark Bites
  • The Cavaliers have scored over half of the posted total in 11 of their last 12 games.
  • The Raptors are 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six games as an underdog of 5.0 or less.
  • The Cavaliers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games with one day off between games.

The Raptors have fared much better in the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre in the playoffs. Toronto is 6-2 SU at home in the postseason after going 32-9 in Canada during the regular season.

UNDER bettors continue to love when these teams collide, as the UNDER has gone 17-3 in the last 20 meetings between the East squads. The total, which opened at 197.5, will also appeal to bettors who bet low totals. The Raptors have gone UNDER the total in their last five when facing a total of 197.5 or more.

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Blues are Ice-Cold on Offense

Have the St. Louis Blues finally met their match? Thanks to a pair of lopsided defeats to the San Jose Sharks, the Blues aren’t done yet but find themselves down 2-1 in the Western Conference series. Game 4 is Saturday night in California.

Shark Bites
  • The Blues are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games after a loss.
  • The Sharks have scored over half of the posted total in six of their last seven games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Blues' last three games.

The Blues haven’t scored a goal in 7.5 period and must try and take one in an arena where San Jose has won six in a row in the playoffs, including the past three by an amazing 13-1 margin.

The Blues’ suffering power-play can be attributed to San Jose’s smother penalty kill. The Sharks have killed off 18 of 19 short handed situations over the past seven games.

The UNDER continues to be the hot bet in this series, as each West finals game has gone below the closing total so far.

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UNDER Looks Appealing in Cubs-Giants

Two National League powerhouses are set to square off on Saturday when the Chicago Cubs invade AT&T Park for a date with the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs, which has won 25 of its first 31 games, had dropped three of its last four and five of eight before winning on Friday.

Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in the Cubs last 5 games.
  • The UNDER is 7-1 in the Giants last 8 games.
  • The Cubs are 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.

The Giants recently saw its season-high eight-game winning streak snapped, and a power outage on offense isn’t doing the team any favors. San Fran has scored 33 runs in its last 13 contests.

Jon Lester and Matt Cain will get the ball for the Cubbies and Giants, respectively. Lester (4-2, 1.88 ERA) has not allowed more than three runs in any of his eight starts this season, while Cain (0-5, 5.87) is winless in his last 17 appearances but has recorded quality starts in his last two outings.

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Tribe are Scoring in Bunches Right Now

The Cleveland Indians are on a torrid pace right now and will look to keep the good times in Boston on Saturday. The Indians have received major contributions from Jason Kipnis and Jackie Bradley Jr., as Kipnis is 16-for-44 with three home runs, 10 RBI and seven run scored in his last 10 games. Bradley Jr. extended his career-best hitting streak to 25 games on Friday.

Shark Bites
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the Indians last 5 games.
  • The UNDER is 8-2 in Bauer's last 10 starts overall.
  • The Indians are 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.

Trevor Bauer and Joe Kelly will take the mound for the Indians and Sox, respectively. Bauer (3-1, 3.89 ERA) has struck out a season-high eight batters and 15 in his last two starts, while Kelly is making an appearance after spending some time in Triple-A Pawtucket. Kelly initial three performances of the season were ugly, as the 27-year-old allowed nine runs on 14 hits en route to walking 10 batters in 8.5 innings.

Kelly has looked much better in his last rehabilitation outing on Monday, striking out 10 over 6.5 innings with Pawtucket. Kelly is 1-0 with a minuscule 0.82 ERA in two career starts in Cleveland.

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Strong Pitching Making Royals a Good Bet

The Kansas City Royals are getting by thanks to some strong pitching right now, and Royals backers will be hoping that trend continues when they go for a sweep of their three-game set against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Shark Bites
  • The White Sox are 1-4 in their last 5 home games.
  • The UNDER is 3-0-1 in the Royals last 4 games.
  • The Royals are 4-0 in Ventura's last 4 starts vs. the White Sox.

K.C. is slated to send Yordano Ventura to the bump, while the ChiSox will counter with Carlos Rodon. Ventura (4-2, 4.85 ERA) aims for his third straight triumph, but he’s allowed seven runs and 13 hits in his last two games against the Yankees and Red Sox. Rodon (1-4, 4.73) is 0-3 in his last six starts after settling for a no-decision against Houston Tuesday. Rodon’s lone win this year came on April 13 against the lowry Minnesota Twins.

The White Sox have not been able to get the job done at the plate. Chicago has scored three runs or fewer in each of their last four games. As a result, the Pale Hose have lost eight of their last 10.

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