So much for the two top seeds in the NHL playoffs. Tampa Bay went down with a massive thud in a four-game sweep at the hands of Columbus. Now Calgary is gone courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche upset isn't as big a shocker as many are making it out to be. It's my feeling the Flames were built for the regular season. The Flames had a terrible time bathing up with Colorado's size and that really became a factor in the series.
One other note. The Avalanche hit a terrible mid-season slump that was fueled by an extraordinary run of overtime failures. The Avs at one point lost 11 straight that went past regulation. All those lost pints made their getting to the playoffs a much more difficult task. But at one point early in the season, I had Colorado as my third-highest power rated team. I think what we're seeing is a team now getting back to the level they were at early in the season, and that makes them a major threat to be playing deep into these Stanley Cup playof...
Great weekend of playoff action coming up in both the NHL and NBA, some intriguing series matchups on the diamond, it's a pretty good time to be a fan and/or a sports bettor.
I'm battling the clock as I'm writing this, so let's head right to the daily free play. Following three straight plus nights, I absorbed a small loss last night, but nothing significant. The free play was a winner as the Freeland F5 Under at Coors was 0-0 after five innings. Wish they were all that easy. The free play today is a small one for me, just a half unit wager.
AVALANCHE at FLAMES
TAKE: AVALANCHE +155
Calgary will pull out all the stops tonight to try and extend this series. But I make this a true tossup and that makes for a load of value on the Avalanche. Mike Smith has been awesome in goal for the Flames but he's facing a ridiculous volume of shots (108 the last two games) and I do wonder about fatigue setting in. Beyond that, these are two speed teams but Colorado is the substantially ...
For me, there's nothing more exciting than overtime hockey in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That opinion was validated once again on Wednesday night viewing an incredible game between Calgary and Colorado.
The Avalanche rallied from a 2-0 third period deficit for force the OT and eventually got one by Flames goalie Mike Smith. That old pro has been nothing short of spectacular in this series. But top seeded Calgary is having a terrible time with the overall Avalanche team speed and that aspect proved to be huge in this wild Game Four matchup.
The opening round of this year's playoffs have been sensational. Two upsets in the Eastern Conference, a chance for at least a couple more in the six remaining series and this is just the opening round. Playoff hockey is amazing!
I managed to win my two Wednesday plays, cashing a small play on the Avalanche and holding on for dear life with the Texas Rangers on the diamond. Excellent week to date, and i'll try to keep it going on Thursda...
So much for the 62-win Tampa Bay Lightning. I'm certainly not meaning to offer a backhand compliment to the Blue Jackets, but I really feel as though the Lightning lost this set more than Columbus won it. Simply stated, Tampa Bay did an awful job of not imposing their will as far as the tempo is concerned and hey got their brains beat in as a result.
But then again, maybe what took place is an illustration of the different mindset that exists in the playoffs. In essence, Tampa Bay fell into the "playoff hockey" mentality and I really thought they slowed themselves down. As a result, the Lightning now fall into the "they blew it" category. Good news for the books as there was quite a bit of future book cash on the regular season champs and those tickets are now all dead.
I went 2-1 last night with three dogs on the diamond. I won't be on any of the day games today, but should have one or two plays on the evening agenda. Meanwhile, here's an opinion on one of tonight's NHL ...
Monday worked out nicely with a baseball winner on the Indians and an NHL victory with the Hurricanes, with the latter being the free play for the day.
I'm thin to win tonight, with only one game as of now. I didn't see anything of quality in the NHL but I am on an underdog on the diamond. possible I'll add something late, but for now just the one play, and I'll go ahead and post it here as the daily free selection.
DIAMONDBACKS (Ray) at BRAVES (Fried)
Take: DIAMONDBACKS +127
Great Sunday night on the ice for the Vegas Golden Knights. Aside from one short stretch in the third period when San Jose lit the lamp twice and briefly caused some concern for the Knights, this was a huge performance for the Vegas side. One thing we know about this year's edition is that the Knights can get very streaky. Off what was their best overall performance in some time, I can buy the optimistic mindset that's back in place.
My Sunday on the ice did not go as planned, with an 0-2-1 return on three first period plays. The stinger was Winnipeg, which ended up winning the game after being down 1-0 at the end of one. The Lightning were a fortunate push and the Penguins let a 1-0 lead get away and were pretty much never heard from again.
I still like backing teams in Game Three that trail 0-2 in the series and despite yesterday not working out well, playing these teams to get off to a fast start has been a winning long term angle. With that in mind, I'll go a split play ...
The Masters has my attention today. I'm already resigned to losing one unit on the event, although there's a good chance I'll have three of my four win plays in the top 10. But Tiger in the hunt for real makes this must see TV, so I'll take a quick minute to post the day's free play and then back to Augusta.
LIGHTNING at BLUE JACKETS
Take: LIGHTNING 1P -130
I actually played this yesterday at a slightly better price, but still feel Tampa Bay can be justified for a first period wager. The best team in the NHL regular season by a wide margin, the Lightning are now in truly dire straits. I've got to believe they come out flying here and while the suddenly surging Blue Jackets are going to have a frenzied home crowd for support, I think TB has a great chance to get back in the series. But to do so, they need to get off to a fast start. With that in mind and the first period line cheaper than the full game, I'm taking the Lightning to win the first period.
The Vegas Golden Knights got on the board last night with a win at San Jose. That means the Knights have now wrested home ice advantage in this series, and the anticipated goalie issues for the Sharks have already shown up.
I think this is a series the Knights have an excellent chance to win, although there never has been any value in that wager, and there certainly isn't now with the adjusted odds.
But regardless of how this series turns out, the Knights aren't going to going to go deep in this year's chase for the Stanley Cup if they can't fix the defensive zone giveaway problem. They might get away with it in this series but those bad habits are going doom them sooner than later if they can't rectify the deficiency in short order.
I managed a Friday split. Should have been 3-2 but I decided to not play the Mets and that cost me a winner. The long shot call on the Angels was never a threat to win and I faded the Royals on the wrong night. Fortunately, things worked ...
I'm running late this morning as it took longer than usual for me to decide on my final card in baseball. So, just the daily free play in today's blog off a pretty good Thursday night on there diamond.
ANGELS (Skaggs) at CUBS (Hamels)
Take: ANGELS +160
I will go for what I perceive as the value in this matchup. No Trout for the Angels certainly requires an adjustment in the price but the market is overreacting and pushing the price to a level that's simply too high. The Halos are on a 6-0 run and Skaggs is someone no one on the Cubs other than Rizzo has ever faced. Cole Hamels has looked pretty ordinary to start the season and I really don't see much of an edge either way on the mound here. The Angels have the better bullpen based on the early returns this season. Obviously, the Cubs have the better lineup, particularly with Trout missing but it's not like they've been crushing southpaws and I can see Skaggs matching Hamels here. Game looks like a tossup to me, so at a price ...
A wild start to the Stanley Cup playoffs with a shocking collapse by the Tampa Bay Lightning the headliner. Four of the five games were thrillers, with the only dud coming in the Golden Knights-Sharks matchup. The Knights were throughly awful for nearly the entire game in what turned out to be an easy win for San Jose.
I lost a play on the Winnipeg Jets, as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the surging Blues. The Jets were the better team for two periods and the early stages of the third period, But once the Blues tied it up 1-1, they really took over in a big way and ended up pulling out the win. The Jets are going to have to find a way to solve this scorching hot rookie goalie, Jordan Binnington, and he might well be in their heads after an amazing playoff debut last night.
I'm on three MLB games this evening, and here's one of that trio that I'll utilize as today's free play.
PADRES (Avila) at DIAMONDBACKS (Godley)
Take: PADRES +105
San Diego sends out another one of ...
Maybe I'm a bit more cynical than most people. Or it's possible that I've got a better take on this topic. I'm referring to Chris Davis, the one-time slugger who has now become most famous for the lengthiest hitless streak for any position player in the history of baseball. Davis is now on a mind numbing 0/49 hitless streak.
All I kept hearing yesterday about Davis was sympathy and pats on the back, along the lines of "you gotta feel for the guy" or something similar.
Sorry, but I'm not chiming in. Davis has been pretty terrible for some time now. He was mediocre in 2017, and downright hideous last season. I completely understand that he's owed a load of cash by the Orioles, and it's not the fault of Davis that the Baltimore franchise made him a ridiculous offer a few years ago.
But Davis is simply telling the money at this point. This isn't a slump. Slumps can be lengthy at times, but when they start spreading over multiple seasons, they're not slumps. They're proof the ...
Up against the clock this morning, so this will be a brief edition. For more expanded info, be sure to check out The Las Vegas Sportsline from 2-3PDT on ESPN Las Vegas, online at lvsportsnetwork.com. Topics on tap today include a betting recap of last night's title game, NBA and MLB previews plus the Masters, along with other wagering spots across the board.
DODGERS at CARDINALS (Stripling/Hudson)
Take: DODGERS -125
Huge starting pitcher on my ratings for Ross Stripling against Dakota Hudson. I am not as high on Hudson as lots of experts, at least not as a starting pitcher. The Dodgers are crushing the baseball and they're at least the equal of the Cardinals in the pen. So I'm basically making a straight starting pitcher play here and will play what I feel is a major advantage on the Stripling side, Dodgers are the play.