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Ducks in Tough at Capitals Friday

Alex Ovechkin Capitals Ryan Getzlaf Ducks NHL

The Washington Capitals will look to make it 13 consecutive wins on home ice when they host former head coach Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks at the Verizon Center Friday evening.

Shark Bites
  • The Ducks are 6-15 SU in their last 21 road games.
  • The Ducks are 1-4 SU in their last five games following a win.
  • The visiting team is 9-3 SU in the last 12 games in this matchup.

At online shop Bovada, the Caps are being offered at -180 in moneyline markets while the Ducks are priced at +150. As far as the total is concerned, Bovada as OVER 5 goals at -125 and UNDER 5 goals at -105.

The Caps have been the class of the league this season, sitting atop the NHL with 73 points – five points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks. The team is at or near the top in both home (18-3-1) and road (17-5-2) records but where you see the real dominance is in goal differential. Washington heads into Friday’s contest with a +55 goal differential – a whopping +23 ahead of the next best team (Blackhawks).

After a slow start, the Ducks have show signs of rounding into form as they’ve gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 and are coming off a 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild their last time out.

The issues that plagued the Ducks at the beginning of the season are still prevalent; Anaheim is dead last in the NHL averaging 2.0 goals per game. The Ducks do, however, own the league’s best penalty kill (89.1 percent) and are sixth in the NHL in goals against 2.3.

Despite Washington’s propensity to fill the net, UNDER might have a bit of value for hockey bettors. UNDER has gone 6-2-3 in Anaheim’s last 11 games, but Boudreau’s team will have their work cut out for them if they want to cool off the high-scoring Capitals on home ice Friday.

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NHL Team Focus: Colorado Avalanche

Matt Duchene Colorado Avalanche NHL

The Colorado Avalanche aren’t blowing away hockey fans or pundits with their seemingly pedestrian spot in the standings as we get into the second half of the season, but following a couple of inconsistent campaigns, the Avs may be one of the better hockey bets you don’t know about.


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Cavs Finding Success Against Clippers

Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Clippers series has been extremely one sided at the betting window as of late. In the last 10 meetings between the teams, the Clips are just 2-8 ATS. They’ll square off once again in Ohio, where Clips backers won’t find any more relief when looking at trends, as L.A. has failed to cover the spread in eight of their previous nine trips to Quicken Loans Arena.

Shark Bites
  • The Clippers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as road underdogs.
  • The Cavaliers are 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games against the Western Pacific division.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Clippers' last three games with two days off.

Chris Paul and company have had no issues getting the job done recently, however. The Clippers have won 11 of their last 12 heading into the contest while covering the spread in eight of those occasions. L.A.

Los Angeles has been beating up on weaker competition in the last week (5-0 against teams with losing records) but will have their hands full now, as four of their next five opponents are considered the top teams in the East and boast combined home records of 69-29.

UNDER bettors have found value when the Clips and Cavs collide. Four of their last five meetings have gone below the closing total, with the UNDER going a perfect 4-0 in the prior four meetings between the squads in Cleveland.

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Huge Spreads are No Match for Spurs

San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns are trending in extremely opposite directions with Thursday night’s clash in the desert on the horizon. The Spurs (36-6 SU) have rattled off 12 straight wins and are a phenomenal 29-13 ATS on the year – the top mark in the NBA. The Suns have looked more like a YMCA pickup team at times this season and sit at the bottom of the Western Conference at 13-30 SU and 17-26 ATS. Phoenix has also dropped six consecutive matchups.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in six of the Spurs' last seven games after an ATS win.
  • The Suns are 1-10 SU in their last 11 games after consecutive losses.
  • The Spurs are 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven games on the road against the Suns.

We profiled just how well the Spurs are doing for bettors this season earlier in the week (which you can read here), but bettors who aren’t paying attention to San Antonio need to smarten up. Gregg Popovich’s club, who opened as healthy 14.5-point favorites, have been covering huge spreads with ease.

San Antonio leads the league in double-digit wins (28) and 20+ point wins (15), covering the spread in 14 of the 19 times they’ve been tabbed as double-digit chalk. The Spurs also own the best point differential (15.1) in the Association, which has them on pace to smash the all-time record set by the ’72 Los Angeles Lakers (12.3).

As for the Suns, well, they’re a horrifically bad basketball team who have only excelled in being dysfunctional on and off the court this year. Phoenix put up a feeble effort in their last meeting with San Antonio (a 112-79 loss in Texas) and will need a much better performance if they wish to hang around with their Western Conference foes.

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Can The Trojans Finally Beat The Ducks?

A heavyweight battle in the Pac-12 highlights college hoops Thursday night as the USC Trojans travel to Matthew Knight Arena to take on the Oregon Ducks. USC is ranked in the Top 25 and has a 15-3 SU record on the year, but has not beaten Oregon in seven seasons as they have dropped the past 10-games against their Pac-12 opponents.

It has been a committee approach that has led to USC surpassing their modest expectations entering the season. Six different players are averaging double-digit points for the Trojans while eight players are shooting at least 45 percent from the floor. Jordan McLaughlin has flourished against Pac-12 opponents as the sophomore guard has averaged 16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and five assists per game in five conference games.

The Ducks have one of the more impressive home winning streaks in the nation as they have won 18 consecutive games at Matthew Knight Arena. Just this season Oregon has outscored opponents by an average of 15.2 points per game at home while winning by six or more points in all but two of those contests.  

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Arizona Loving The OVER This Season

The Arizona Wildcats have become one of the premier scoring teams in the nation this season and with that they have become one of the top OVER bets as well. The OVER has hit in each of Arizona’s past seven games with the team averaging 90.7 points per game. The Wildcats will look to continue racking up points when they visit the Stanford Cardinal Thursday.

Arizona fans collectively sighed when it was announced that freshman star Allonzo Trier was out four-to-six weeks with a broken hand, but Parker Jackson-Cartwright has stepped in to fill the void. In the past two games Jackson-Cartwright has become the facilitator of the Wildcats offense as he has tallied eight assists in that span.

Stanford is the opposite of Arizona, a team that relies heavily on their defense to make up for their offense deficiencies. Stanford has held teams to just 67.6 points per game in conference play this season, but has averaged the same number of points per game on 39.4 percent shooting.

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One Streak Ends When Bolts Host Hawks

Patrick Kane Blackhaks Steven Stamkos Lightning

While everyone talks about the Chicago Blackhawks and their 12-game winning streak, and deservedly so, the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a tear of their own as they bid to win their seventh consecutive game when they host the Hawks Thursday night.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in 12 of the Lightning’s last 17 games against the Western Conference.
  • The Blackhawks are 6-0 in their last six games on the road.
  • The Blackhawks are 7-0 in their last seven games against the Eastern Conference.

No matter what side you’re on at the betting window, there is value to had here. At online shop Bovada, the Hawks are currently -110 road underdogs while the Bolts are priced at -120 on home ice. Bovada has the total at 5.5 with OVER -135 and UNDER +105

The clubs have met once already this season, with the Hawks skating to a 1-0 overtime victory back on October 24. Furthermore, when looking back to last season’s Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks have gone 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams.

Going beyond their current streak, the Bolts have gone 7-1 in the month of January and have posted a 4-0 record at Amalie Arena in the month.

The recent success has the Lightning sitting in fifth in the Eastern Conference with 54 points but closing the gap with the second-placed Florida Panthers.

Over the in West, the 12-game win streak has the Hawks building a strong lead as they now sit five points up on the Dallas Stars heading into Thursday’s slate of games.

On a packed Thursday board in the NHL and with stars at each end of the ice, this is clearly the game of the night. Considering the great betting value available on the two hottest teams in the league, it could be the game of the night for hockey bettors as well.

Supporters of the Chicago Blackhawks have seen them go 32-13-4 so far this season, while the Lightning are at 25-17-4. In totals betting, the Tampa Bay Lightning are 16-23-7, while the Blackhawks are 16-23-10.

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Leafs Out for Momentum With Win Tonight

Eric Staal Leo Komarov Hurricanes Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to build on a victory their last time out while the Carolina Hurricanes will attempt to get back in the win column when the two square off at the Air Canada Centre Thursday night.

Shark Bites
  • The Hurricanes are 4-1 SU in their last five games against the Maple Leafs.
  • The Hurricanes are 4-14 SU in their last 18 games versus the Atlantic Division.
  • The Maple Leafs are 6-20 in their last 26 games versus the Eastern Conference.

The Leafs ended a five-game losing skid with a 3-2 win at the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday and are currently priced at -120 at online shop Bovada to make it two in a row. The Canes used a nice four-game win streak to make a little noise at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but that’s come to a screeching halt thanks to back-to-back losses with the most recent a 5-0 thumping courtesy the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Any playoff hopes Carolina has will now tested as netminder Cam Ward has been placed on injured reserve with a concussion. Though not confirmed, Eddie Lack is likely to start for the Canes. Lack has made two career appearances versus Toronto, stopping 41 of 42 shots and earning one win with a 0.64 goals against average and .976 save percentage.

The Leafs have a tall mountain to climb if they have any playoff aspirations this season but a win in Philly was a good start and a win versus the Canes – who they are chasing – would be a great momentum builder for the Buds.

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Nover: Manning Stumbles to Title Game

One of the saddest things in sports is watching an all-time great hang on too long. I'm old enough to have seen Mickey Mantle bat .237 in his final year, bringing his lifetime batting average under .300, and to have viewed Willie Mays stumble after flyballs as a member of the New York Mets.

Those cringeworthy moments reappear now seeing Peyton Manning.



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