Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4/22

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Phoenix Suns (EVEN) (Click Here for Best Line)

The Blazers impressed everyone when they were able to beat the Suns in game one of the first round playoff series. Game two, however, was not even close. The Suns walked away with an easy 29 point win. This was what Phoenix had in mind when the series started, not a 5 point loss. The Suns are now motivated and have regained the momentum that they had for the majority of the regular season. They have never ending weapons and are a threat to any team in the NBA.

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Steve Nash is once again an MVP contender, even if he isn’t likely to win the award in 2010. Combine Nash’s scoring and passing ability with Amare Stoudemire’s force in the paint, and this team is virtually unstoppable. What do the Blazers even have to combat with? A healthy Brandon Roy? No. Roy was a requirement if the Trail Blazers wanted to win this series, and without him, it is almost impossible. They are going to need Andre Miller to be absolutely unbelievable if they want the remaining games to be close. There is a very slim chance that Portland wins this series, or even another game.

It really is amazing that the game is even money, with neither team being given the edge on the moneyline or spread. A line of -5 for the Suns would still be a relatively safe bet in this game, let alone at even money. The Blazers just aren’t on the same level as the Suns, no matter how you look at it. Sure, Portland gets to play the game on their home court, but the crowd does not compensate for the offensive weapons that the team is missing. The Suns are going to blow out the Trail Blazers unless they perform well under expectation. This is one of the best bets available so far in the early NBA playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City OKC Thunder 4/22

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Los Angeles Lakers +3.5 (Click Here for Best Line)

Game two of the Lakers vs. Thunder series was a thriller. Oklahoma City had a chance to win, but they came up just short. If Jeff Green could have made a three as time expired, everything would have changed. As it is, however, the Lakers have a commanding 2-0 series lead. Kobe just knows how to win, even when it seems like his team is on the brink of a loss. The first two games of the series were played in Los Angeles, but now the teams head to Oklahoma City, and you know the arena will be rocking. The home court advantage, however, might not be enough for OKC to win. The Thunder could definitely win this game, and they are probably going to win at least one in this series, but Kobe and crew want to lock it up on Thursday.

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The Lakers do not seem as dominant as in years past, but they always find a way to win. Even with Kobe Bryant playing with an injured finger, he is still able to step itupon offense and lead his team to a win. Durant, too, has been holding his own. Though Kevin Durant has little playoff experience, he looks like a veteran on the court in this series. He wants to win just as bad as Kobe, but he just doesn’t have as many weapons in his arsenal.

This series has been quite interesting, and the Thunder have the ability to make it even more exciting with a win. If you feel confident in the Thunder, bet on the moneyline, not the spread. The Lakers at +3.5, however, are the best bet in this game. If they do lose, you are going to cover a fair amount of the time.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls 4/22

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Cleveland Cavaliers -3.5 (Click Here for Best Line)

Wow, does the public really think home court advantage is worth a full 8 points? Apparently, because the Bulls, who were 11.5 dogs in game one, are now only 3.5 dogs in game three at home. This is the first game that the Bulls are playing at home. In game two, the Bulls kept things close until the end. As 10.5 point underdogs in game two, we recommended that bettors take the Bulls against the spread. That bet ended up being a winner, but for Wednesday, the Cavaliers are the best bet.

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Many bettors think that the Bulls are “due” to win, and that home court advantage will give them that extra push to get over the edge. The reality is, however, that the Bulls are just outclassed by the Cavs. Cleveland may rely on Lebron James, but they can kick it out to Mo Williams or down low to Shaq whenever they are in trouble. Chicago, on the other hand, really needs Rose to perform. Derrick Rose single handedly kept the Bulls in game two and within shouting distance in game one. Noah stepped up in game two as well, but players like Luol Deng took shots that they just couldn’t afford. Hinrich, too, was off target for much of the game. In the end, the Cavaliers were able to exploit the Bulls weaknesses and closed out the game.

The moneyline on the Cavs is an option to consider, but at -175, it is not really worth the 75 point drop in value. The Cavaliers should be able to win by 5 or more points in game one, so the spread is the best bet. The Bulls are devoid of almost all value in this game. If you really like the Bulls in this game, take the moneyline, but it is a major drop off in payout when compared to games one and two.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Orlando Magic 4/21

Orlando took game one of the opening round of the playoff battle between the Bobcats and the Magic, but Charlotts made it close. At first, it looked as though the Magic were going to blowout the Bobcats, but Gerald Wallace and company made it close. Still, it was a 9 point game, so it wasn’t like it came down to the last second. These two teams really don’t match up, and the Magic have a defined advantage. It wouldn’t surprise many people to see the Bobcats get crushed in a 20 point Magic victory.

Dwight Howard is the dominant force for the Magic, though he had a disappointing game one. His partner in crime, Vince Carter, is more than capable of carrying his share of the weight. The Bobcats, much like the Magic, are largely comprised of role players. Guys like Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis have been crucial to Orlando’s success. If a few guys are off their game, it could spell disaster for the Magic. If Dwight throws up another 5 point performance with only 7 rebounds, it will be surprising if the Magic can escape with a win in game two.

With a poor performance by Dwight Howard, the Magic still somehow won by 9. If Howard shows up on Wednesday, the Magic can really put a hurting on the Bobcats. The moneyline is at +400 for the Bobcats and -500 for the Magic. This is quite a steep price for a moneyline, so the spread is the next place to look. At 8.5, the Magic have a very good chance to cover, and this is the best bet available. If they won by 9 without their superstar making a big contribution, how much could they win by with some help from Howard? Bet against the spread (take the Magic) and be very confident.

Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals 4/21

The Rockies and Nationals are playing Wednesday’s game in Washington. While Washington is not the hitters park that Colorado is, both teams have had explosive offenses in 2010. The staring pitchers for Wednesday night are Jason Hammel and John Lannan. Hammel, the Rockies started, has an ERA that is over 11 this season. On the other side of the mound, Lannan too has had his fair share of struggles, though his ERA is a more modest 5.74. Neither pitcher is a star, and they are both prone to terrible games, as has been evidenced this season.

The Rockies and Nationals both have lineups that are full of consistent role players. Aside from Ian Stewart and Ryan Zimmerman, players like Josh Willingham for the Nationals and Troy Tulowitzki for the Rockies can put up All-Star caliber numbers. Both teams know how to hit, but beyond this, they know how to hit on a daily basis. The Rockies and Nationals are not teams that require one or two sluggers to hit in order to win. These are the teams that you can have confidence in, because even if the superstars fail, the other players can still produce.

Since both pitchers in this game are very volatile, it is tough to pick a winner. If you had to pick one team, with the lines considered, it would be the Rockies at -110. Sure, Hammel’s start has been 2x worse than Lannan’s, but if he was truly terrible, you would think that the Rockies front office would have demoted him. Colorado is showing that they have at least a little bit of confidence in Hammel, and coupled with the Rockies offense, it is hard to pass up on them at -110. At even money, the Nationals are a tough pick. The Nationals are still the Nationals, and they are never an easy win. The best bet in this game is the over/under at 9. The total runs in this game should eclipse 9 quite frequently, making this the best line available.

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