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Thread: The Bum's 2018 NBA Trends/Stats/Best Bets Thru The Playoffs !

  1. #1846
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    Warriors Durant, Cousins may miss Western Conference Finals
    May 13, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins won't necessarily return from injuries in time to play for the Golden State Warriors during the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Durant is likely to miss at least the first two games of the best-of-seven series beginning Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. Coach Steve Kerr said after practice Monday a more extensive update on Durant's status would come Thursday once his calf injury is re-evaluated.

    Reserve Portland guard Rodney Hood was listed as questionable for Game 1. The team said Monday an MRI exam showed a bone bruise from the third quarter of a 100-96 Game 7 win Sunday at Denver to clinch the West semifinals. Hood, who had to be helped off the court, has contributed key minutes off the bench to help Portland reach its first conference final since 2000.

    Durant, the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP leading all postseason scorers, strained his right calf during the third quarter of Game 5 against the Rockets last Wednesday and didn't travel to Houston for the Warriors' Game 6 clincher.

    ''Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff. He hasn't even stepped on the floor yet,'' Kerr said. ''We've tried to remain somewhat vague because the injury is really sort of open-ended in terms of how long he's going to need to recover. But I think in doing so people have gotten the idea that he's going to come back and be Willis Reed or something. He hasn't even stepped on the floor yet, he still has pain. There's time ahead of him on the rehab process.''

    Andrew Bogut started in Durant's place Friday at Houston.

    Cousins tore his left quadriceps muscle in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers, just his second career playoff game. He has been running and doing agility work on the court as part of his rehab and shooting in the past week but hasn't done any scrimmaging.

    ''He hasn't had any live stuff on the court yet so he's not that close either,'' Kerr said. ''Hopefully another week goes by and things start to get better and now we have a better prognosis. At this point we're getting ready for this series without both of them.''

    Portland was hurt going into the playoffs by the loss of center Jusuf Nurkic to a broken leg during a game against Brooklyn on March 25. The Blazers have turned instead to Enes Kanter, waived by the Knicks shortly after the trade deadline.

    Kanter has played with a separated left shoulder since the opening round against the Thunder, but performed admirably against the physical challenge of Denver's Nikola Jokic during the semifinals.

    Warriors two-time MVP Stephen Curry is still nursing a dislocated middle finger on his left, non-shooting hand, but it has been sore. The finger remained taped for practice Monday.

    ''Definitely better. We'll see tomorrow, just in terms of you can't simulate contact and intensity and all that type of stuff,'' Curry said. ''Definitely better than it felt on Friday.''


    ************************************


    Warriors' Durant likely out for Games 1 and 2 vs Blazers
    May 13, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Kevin Durant watched from home in the Bay Area as the Golden State Warriors finished off James Harden and the Houston Rockets on the road.

    The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP has a bit more cheerleading to do before he gets back on the court.

    Durant is likely to miss Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers while he recovers from a strained right calf. Durant was injured in Game 5 against Houston.

    ''Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff. He hasn't even stepped on the floor yet,'' coach Steve Kerr said Monday, a day before Game 1, noting a more extensive update would come Thursday.

    Golden State showed it can win without KD: Stephen Curry came alive at last in the second half of the clincher at Houston, scoring all 33 of his points after the break.

    Curry and Splash Brother Klay Thompson will look to build off strong performances in that final game against the Rockets to lead the top-seeded Warriors. The two-time defending champions are seeking a fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals.

    They will face another formidable backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum when the best-of-seven series begins Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

    There are several intriguing storylines in this matchup, too, like Portland star Damian Lillard coming home to Oakland with a chance to shine on the big stage in the final season at Oracle before the Warriors move across the bay to play in San Francisco next season.

    And how about the Curry brothers? Steph's little brother, Seth, plays for the Trail Blazers.

    The Warriors swept the Blazers in the first round two years ago during a remarkable 16-1 postseason run.

    Lillard missed his first six 3-point tries Sunday then swished one midway through the fourth when Portland needed him most. The Trail Blazers overcame a 17-point deficit on Denver's home court to outlast the Nuggets for a 100-96 win.

    They have reached their first conference final since 2000, when Portland lost in seven games to Kobe Bryant and the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.

    ''This is arguably the biggest win that we've had in the franchise for a long time. To be a part of it, to do it the way we did, I'm thrilled,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ''I'm really happy for our guys. As a coach, I think you experience the joy of the team, having different guys come in.''

    Here are some things to watch as the Warriors join the Lakers as the only teams to reach at least five straight Western Conference Finals:

    LILLARD'S CHANCE

    On Dec. 27, in Lillard's final regular season game at Oracle - about a 15-minute walk from where he grew up - the Blazers star hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left in overtime and scored 21 points in a 110-109 win.

    ''That's a hell of a way to go out,'' Lillard said.

    Reaching the NBA Finals might top that.

    Hold that thought, Thompson said.

    ''Has he had a lot of wins in Oakland?'' Thompson cracked Monday. ''It's playoff time. He has had good games. Yeah, he's a great player. There's a history between us obviously, the franchises, we've seen them a lot the last five years. They're playing great. They're on a roll, our antennas are definitely up.''

    FAMILY AFFAIR

    Curry texted his little brother over the weekend to let him know they'd see each other soon. Yes, wearing opposite jerseys for the Western Conference Finals.

    The Currys have played many times, just not on the postseason stage.

    ''He said, `I'll see you Tuesday.' I'm looking forward to it,'' said Seth, who's in his first season with Portland. ''It's going to be a lot of fun. It's hard to believe right now. So many years I've watched Steph play in the Western Conference Finals, the NBA Finals, being in the crowd. It's going to be fun to be out there on the court, competing, to get to that final. It's a dream come true for us, but our families are going to have a lot of fun as well.''

    Even if a tad bit torn. Their parents will flip a coin, with Dell and Sonya each sporting one son's gear depending on the result.

    Their sister, Sydel, posted on Twitter shortly after the Blazers won: ''Engage....(hash)NeutralNancy lol.''

    ''I just know watching Seth play I get nervous watching him like on TV and stuff,'' Stephen said after practice Monday. ''For them, it's family and parents who supported us all the way through the ranks. Now to be in a situation like this where I guess it's technically a win-win for them, they're going to the finals regardless, but it's kind of crazy to think we're all on this stage and get to play in front of our family and just the amount of happiness and joy that comes with that is crazy.''

    FASTING KANTER: An extremely thirsty Enes Kanter loaded up his backpack with five or six bottles of Gatorade after Game 7 - for later.

    The Trail Blazers center avoids food and drink from sunrise to sunset as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It was that way for the last three games of the Denver series and will be that way during the Golden State series.

    Kanter said he reached out to NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon for advice on performing in the playoffs while fasting during Ramadan.

    ''The game of basketball is mental over physical so I think I'll be fine for this stretch,'' Kanter said.

    REST FACTOR

    Golden State finished off the Rockets in Houston on Friday night, so the Warriors got some rest this time after a quick turnaround following a six-game series in the first round against the Clippers in which they had to play again about 40 hours later.

    Injured Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins has used the time to continue his rehab from a torn left quadriceps muscle suffered in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers. It's unclear yet whether he might be able to return this round.

    TURNOVERS AND REBOUNDING

    The Warriors struggle when they get sloppy - and it's a fine line of being chaotic when it works so well and when they become careless and it's costly.

    Portland took good care of the ball in Game 7 committing just four turnovers.

    On the rebounding front, Golden State won three games when it outrebounded the Rockets and another - Game 6 - despite a disadvantage on the boards.

    The Blazers had 55 rebounds in the clincher, with Kanter grabbing five on the offensive glass.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Bucks have Milwaukee dreaming of title
    May 13, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    MILWAUKEE (AP) Hunter Trimmel couldn't give away his season tickets to Milwaukee Bucks games five years ago.

    Losing season after season made the Bucks almost an afterthought in Wisconsin, where most teams live in the shadow of the Green Bay Packers. But now the Bucks are the hottest ticket in town, with a glittery new arena and a young superstar that has the team knocking on the door of the NBA Finals. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against Toronto is Wednesday night.

    Trimmel, 37, was among hundreds of fans flocking to the plaza outside Fiserv Forum last week before the Bucks faced Boston in Game 5 of the conference semifinals. The plaza, with plenty of bars and jumbo TV screens for fans who can't get inside, is part of an atmosphere that Trimmel - a Bucks fan since 1992 - said is a new experience.

    ''I hate to say it but we felt like a minor league team for a while,'' Trimmel said.

    It's a golden era in Milwaukee: The Bucks are in contention just a year after the Brewers came within one game of going to the World Series, shifting the focus of this sports-crazed state from the beloved Packers to two long-neglected teams suddenly on the rise.

    The last Wisconsin professional sports team to win it all was the Packers in 2011.

    The Bucks' success has been a long time coming. Their only NBA title came in 1971, when a team featuring legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson beat the Baltimore Bullets.

    The Bucks were solid in the 1980s, putting up several 50-win seasons behind stars like Sidney Moncrief, Marques Johnson and Junior Bridgeman before things got brutal in the `90s - six losing seasons, including four where they didn't win more than 30 games.

    ''There was a generation when they stumbled through the wilderness, and a lot of fans lost interest,'' said Drew Olson, a longtime Milwaukee sports reporter who now hosts a sports talk radio show on 97.3's The Game. ''It was almost to the point that people went to the Bucks games to see the other team.''

    Olson traced the turnaround to Herb Kohl selling the team in 2014 to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, two hedge fund managers from New York, and said it paralleled the Selig family's sale of the Brewers to Los Angeles investor Mark Attanasio in 2005.

    ''In both cases the locals were skeptical whether we should trust these guys - whether they're buying the team to move the team,'' Olson said. ''As it turns out, they've been really good stewards of these franchises.''

    Leading the Bucks' resurgence is MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, a fan favorite and a source of pride for Milwaukee's Greek community. Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece. He is just 24.

    ''It's important for the Greek community to be able to gather together as a unit and celebrate him. And he in turn celebrates us,'' said Tim Stasinoulias, 61, a Bucks fan since the team came to Milwaukee in 1968.

    The Bucks host an annual ''Greek Night'' event where fans get a Q&A session with Antetokounmpo. Since his arrival in Milwaukee in 2013, Antetokounmpo's been known to sing the Greek national anthem during those events.

    ''It's a bit of a renaissance in Milwaukee sports, just in general with the success recently of the Brewers and now we have the Bucks,'' said Stasinoulias. ''Who would have thought that the Packers would be third on the totem pole at this point?''

    Rather than ranking each team's success, others take another view.

    ''This is the best Wisconsin sports has ever been as a whole,'' said Steven Slack, 35, a resident of Sun Prairie who was waiting for the game outside the arena.

    ''We've never had three teams actually in contention before simultaneously. Because we have, we literally have the MVP in all three leagues,'' he said, referring to reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich, Antetokounmpo's potential to win it this year, and Aaron Rodgers, the Packers quarterback who has won two MVPs and is in frequent contention.

    The Bucks' success is also a financial boon for the city. Each playoff game is estimated to have a $3 million economic impact on downtown businesses - everything from hotels to transportation and food and beverage, according to Visit Milwaukee, an agency that promotes tourism to the city. It only helps that the Bucks are playing in their new half-billion-dollar arena for the first time this year, attracting dedicated and casual fans alike to the restaurants and bars in the plaza outside the stadium. Taxpayers contributed about $250 million to the arena's construction.

    Away from the arena, the city has been expressing its pride for the team, too, with buses and streetcars flashing ''Fear the Deer'' and ''Go Bucks'' on their digital displays. The city's Public Market has a banner under its name with the same phrase, which is the team's rallying cry. Billboards on the highway are counting down the number of victories needed to win the championship.

    Longtime season-ticket holder Rod Johnson, 55, went to games with his father back when tickets cost $5 and the Bucks played in what was called the MECCA Arena. He saw Abdul-Jabbar play and remembers the 1971 championship season. It's been an agonizing wait for another title.

    ''We're hoping for one more now,'' he said. ''This could be the year.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Armadillo: Tuesday's six-pack

    Commencement speakers at colleges around the country this month:

    — Cornell— Bill Nye, the science guy

    — Florida— James Patterson, author

    — Maryland, MIT, Washington U— Michael Bloomberg

    — NC-Greensboro— Ken Jeong, actor

    — Stanford, Tulane— Tim Cook, Apple CEO

    — Wisconsin— JJ Watt


    **********

    Armadillo: Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

    13) John Beilein signed a 5-year deal to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers:
    — Beilein is 66, so worst case scenario for him, he fattens his retirement fund.
    — Beilein is one of 28 coaches in NCAA history (all divisions) with 750+ career wins (754-425); he will be the first of those 28 to coach in the NBA.
    — Beilein’s last losing season was 2009-10 (15-17) at Michigan. He is a very good coach, but the NBA is more about players than coaches.
    — This figures to set off a domino effect of other coaching changes.
    — What %age of college coaches have the itch to try the NBA?

    12) Kawhi Leonard took 39 of Toronto’s 89 shots in Game 7 Sunday; rest of the team was 18-50 (36%) from the floor, and they still won.

    Don’t see lot of NBA games where one team used only two subs, the other one three subs. 76ers’ subs played total of only 27:00 Sunday.

    11) Brett Brown will return as the 76ers’ coach next year; not even sure why this would be an issue, but apparently it was. Who could they hire that would be better?

    10) Justin Thomas (wrist) withdrew from this week’s PGA Championship Monday.

    9) Former Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan is returning to his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan to punt for the CFL’s Roughriders this summer.

    8) PG recruit Boogie Ellis switched his commitment from Duke to Memphis, as Penny Hardaway establishes himself as one of the best recruiters in the country.

    7) Baseball stuff:
    — A’s activated Mark Canha, DFA’d 1B/DH Kendrys Morales
    — Bronx put P Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder), 3B Miguel Andujar on IL
    — Detroit put P Tyson Ross on IL.
    — White Sox P Carlos Rodon needs Tommy John surgery, is out for the year.

    6) First-round matchups for the Paradise Jam tournament in November:
    — Valparaiso-Grand Canyon
    — Fordham-Nevada
    — Illinois State-Cincinnati
    — Bowling Green-Western Kentucky

    5) On Sept. 28, 1974, Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter against the Twins, walking eight and striking out 15- he threw 158 pitches that night. Safe to say you won’t see that happen anytime in the next 10-20 years, at least.

    4) David Letterman is going to be a guest on the Sunday Today show this week; he has this thick gray beard now and looks like he should be on Duck Dynasty instead of the Today Show.

    3) College basketball transfer portal:
    — Pitt grad transfer Malik Ellison bolts to Hartford.

    2) St Louis 4, San Jose 2— Western Conference finals are tied 1-1.

    1) Get well to former President Jimmy Carter, who had surgery for a broken hip today after he fell while leaving his house to go turkey hunting. Mr Carter is 94 years old.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #1849
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    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Conference Finals Trends

    Who's Hot and Who's Not

    Week of May 13th


    After Sunday brought a pair of phenomenal Game 7's in the second round of the NBA playoffs, we've now got the Final Four left in the NBA, and that's where the focus for this piece lies. Those two Game 7's – Portland/Denver and Philadelphia/Toronto brought plenty of emotion with them, as tears of joy and sadness filled both arenas when the final buzzer went off.

    But, as both the Trail Blazers and Raptors get at least a full day off to come down from those historical highs, the betting market is already about 24 hours into the Conference Finals market as it is. Even before the results of those Game 7's were in, everyone knew that Golden State and Milwaukee would be the favorites to ultimately reach in the Finals, but now that the matchups are set, are those the two teams your money should be backing to get there?

    Let's go through a quick history lesson shall we, as this week's Hot/Not piece begins with the “Not” side for once.


    Who's Not

    NBA teams that got to the Conference Finals after winning the 2nd round in seven games are 4-10 straight up (SU) to advance to the NBA Finals; 0-5 SU this decade


    *Disclaimer: The 2006 Conference Finals between Dallas/Phoenix and the 2001 Conference Finals between Philadelphia and Milwaukee have been omitted from that number given that both teams were off seven-game series victories and someone was guaranteed to win/lose.

    As elated as Portland and Toronto fans are today, I hate to be the one to give all that energy a cold bath, but never mind the tough task of getting by Milwaukee or Golden State as the current rosters are constructed, but history isn't on the Blazers or Raptors side either. That's because these teams that need seven games to get out of the second round tend to run out of gas when a Finals berth is on the line.

    That 4-10 SU series record for teams in the same boat that Portland and Toronto find themselves in this year is the definition of paddling upstream. The last five teams – all since 2011 - who were in this exact scenario – including this same Toronto Raptors team in 2016 – failed to take that next step and get to the Finals, and that's the type of history both organizations are fighting against this round.

    Whether it's the fact that the competition gets tougher the further you go, or that these teams have maxed out their energy through the first two rounds when the latter goes the distance, a 28% clip at making the Finals can't be all that encouraging. Oh, and then there is also Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the Bucks to deal with for Toronto, while Portland's tasked with trying to knock off the four-time defending Western Conference champs.

    So don't be surprised to see the favorites start to take some action after the euphoria of those Game 7 wins starts to wear off in both cities. However, it's not like a 4-10 SU series record is a death knell for the Blazers or the Raptors, when in fact, the last time any 2nd Round Game 7 winner made the Finals happened in 2009, when both the Lakers and Magic were able to fight off history and both win their respective Conference Finals matchup. I doubt we see a Portland/Toronto Finals matchup this year, but seeing one of them get through wouldn't be fall out of your chair shocking.


    Who's Hot

    Short Conference Finals series in the NBA when one team is off a seven-game contest


    Using the same data I referenced above, bettors that are interested in playing certain series props like “how many games will the series be” should have two numbers they've locked in on for these Conference Finals: 5 and 6.

    That's because of those same 14 occurrences this century when one Conference Finals team is off a seven-game series (again omitting those 2006 and 2001 matchups), the Conference Finals has only gone the distance once: the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. There were no sweeps either in that span, meaning that the other 13 matchups ended in either five or six games.

    Of the two, it's six games that's happened the most (9 times) although the more recent numbers have five games being the most common at least this decade – three of five have finished in five games. Whether or not that historical trend actually helps the Blazers and/or Raptors remains to be seen given they will both be at home for a potential Game 6, but with odds for a Game 5 or 6 finish in both conferences floating around in the +200 to +250 range, it's a betting option that should be strongly considered.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #1851
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    533Portland -534 Golden State
    GOLDEN STATE is 34-52 ATS (-23.2 Units) in home games versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game in the last 3 seasons.


    NBA
    Dunkel

    Tuesday, May 14



    Portland @ Golden State

    Game 533-534
    May 14, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Portland
    117.947
    Golden State
    133.487
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Golden State
    by 15 1/2
    230
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Golden State
    by 8
    218
    Dunkel Pick:
    Golden State
    (-8); Over



    NBA
    Long Sheet

    Tuesday, May 14


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    PORTLAND (61 - 33) at GOLDEN STATE (65 - 29) - 5/14/2019, 9:00 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    GOLDEN STATE is 91-65 ATS (+19.5 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season since 1996.
    PORTLAND is 51-43 ATS (+3.7 Units) in all games this season.
    PORTLAND is 50-32 ATS (+14.8 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
    PORTLAND is 49-33 ATS (+12.7 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
    GOLDEN STATE is 40-53 ATS (-18.3 Units) in all games this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 35-48 ATS (-17.8 Units) as a favorite this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 18-28 ATS (-12.8 Units) in home games this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) on Tuesday nights over the last 2 seasons.
    GOLDEN STATE is 50-66 ATS (-22.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    GOLDEN STATE is 32-48 ATS (-20.8 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 17-27 ATS (-12.7 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 33-42 ATS (-13.2 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game this season.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    PORTLAND is 8-7 against the spread versus GOLDEN STATE over the last 3 seasons
    GOLDEN STATE is 11-4 straight up against PORTLAND over the last 3 seasons
    9 of 15 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    NBA
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Tuesday, May 14


    Portland won four of last six games with Golden State; Blazers are 2-2 vs spread in last four visits to Oakland. Portland split its last six road games (3-3 vs spread); over is 6-2 in their last eight games. Six of last nine series games went over. Warriors beat Houston in six games; Durant is doubtful here. Blazers lost C Nurkic few months ago. Golden State covered once in its last four home games. Over is 5-2-1 in their last eight games. Portland is in Western finals for first time since 2000; they won Game 7 in Denver Sunday. Warriors haven’t played since Friday.


    NBA

    Tuesday, May 14


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Portland Trail Blazers
    Portland is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Portland's last 5 games
    Portland is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Golden State
    Portland is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Golden State
    Portland is 5-17 SU in its last 22 games when playing Golden State
    The total has gone OVER in 18 of Portland's last 25 games when playing Golden State
    Portland is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    Portland is 8-17 ATS in its last 25 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    Portland is 1-13 SU in its last 14 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
    Golden State is 14-5 SU in its last 19 games
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games
    Golden State is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
    Golden State is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games at home
    The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Golden State's last 17 games at home
    Golden State is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Portland
    Golden State is 17-5 SU in its last 22 games when playing Portland
    Golden State is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Portland
    The total has gone OVER in 18 of Golden State's last 25 games when playing Portland
    Golden State is 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games when playing at home against Portland
    Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Portland
    Golden State is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games when playing at home against Portland
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Series Preview: Blazers face tall task against defending-champion Warriors
    Shaun Powell

    Injuries mark these West finals, a round Blazers haven't reached since 2000

    Two of the NBA's best point guards clash for the Western Conference crown.

    The story within the story of this Western Conference finals matchup will surround one player and maybe two, and it is this: Will Kevin Durant heal quickly enough to make an appearance? Will DeMarcus Cousins? And let's add two more players: Who will Dell and Sonya Curry root for with dueling sons (Stephen Curry on Golden State; Seth Curry on Portland) on opposing rosters?

    Seriously, though, Durant returning from a strained calf (which is the more likely scenario than Cousins) will impact the series greatly in Golden State’s favor. If Cousins recovers from his quad injury as well, then it gets to be a really unfair fight -- and likely a Warriors’ sweep.

    In any event, the Warriors step into this series as a prohibitive favorite, especially if you buy the notion that their Western Conference semfinals series with the Houston Rockets was the unofficial conference championship.

    The Blazers aren’t here by mistake. They just won a Game 7 on the road in Denver, beat Oklahoma City in five games and boast Damian Lillard. Portland's All-Star guard will certainly feel territorial playing in Oakland, having grown up there as a lightly-recruited high school player.

    Yet Lillard seems whipped from his playoff load and was noticeably subpar when he missed 11 of his first 12 shots in Game 7 against Denver and shot below 30 percent on 3-pointers in that series. Also, Rodney Hood is ailing from a hyperextended knee. Maybe this is the time when Jusuf Nurkic’s injury -- he suffered a broken leg in March -- finally catches up to Portland.

    Meanwhile, the Warriors are bringing the usual cast of characters (minus Durant for the time being) and also have home court. Again, if Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green don’t become complacent and overconfident, this could be the least suspenseful conference finals in recent memory -- if it isn’t already.


    Three things to watch

    1. Can Andre Iguodala keep up this pace? It should come as no surprise that Iguodala is feeling frisky in the playoffs, but it’s a bit unexpected given that he’s doing it in 2019. Once again, the 2015 Finals MVP is hitting playoff 3-pointers (42.3 percent) and making key defensive plays, yet this is someone who was essentially in hibernation for six months and looked his age (35). But these days, he's doubling up his regular-season scoring average and and he’s on the floor when it counts.

    2. Is CJ McCollum a bigger worry for the Warriors than Damian Lillard? Maybe it’s now "CJ Time" for the Blazers, as McCollum was downright beastly (and more reliable than Lillard) in their last two games against Denver. McCollum averaged 33.5 points in that span and got the call from coach Terry Stotts for the Blazers’ final play in Game 7, which he secured on a mid-range jumper.

    3. How full will Draymond Green's hands be with Enes Kanter? Although he brings a bum shoulder into this series, Kanter is an aggressive presence around the basket and will force Green to direct his attention squarely on the Blazers’ center, who’s averaging 13 points on 52 percent shooting. Just the same, Green might force Kanter to play defense, the weakest part of his game.


    The number to know

    23.3 -- The Blazers lead the postseason in time of possession, controlling the ball for 23.3 minutes per game. They are not a running team, ranking 24th in the regular season (11.0) and 15th in the playoffs (10.6) in fast break points per game. Only the Orlando Magic took a lower percentage of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking.

    The Warriors ranked sixth in the percentage of their shots that came in the first six seconds of the shot clock (18 percent), third in fast break points per game (19.1), and 29th in time of possession. They will push the ball and look for early offense.

    The champs will also move the ball more than the Blazers. Though the Warriors have two of the best off-the-dribble shooters in the league, they've recorded assists on 66 percent of their baskets, the second highest rate in the postseason. They've led the league in regular-season assist percentageeach of the last four years.

    The Blazers also have two of the league's best off-the-dribble shooters, and they play more like it. Lillard (11.2) and McCollum (10.6) rank third and fourth in pull-up jumpers per game in the postseason and the Blazers rank last in postseason assist percentage, having recorded assists on less than 46 percent of their total buckets.

    This series is a contrast of styles, in more ways than one.

    -- John Schuhmann


    The pick

    The championship experience factor could not be more lopsided in this series, as not only do the Warriors have the heavy advantage, they showed as much in their closeout victory over the Rockets, especially down the stretch. While the Blazers may get the urge to pop bottles just for making it this deep in the playoffs, the next step is even tougher, which they’re about to find out. Warriors in four.


    Series Schedule

    Game 1: Tue, May 14, Portland at Golden State, 9 ET, ESPN
    Game 2: Thu, May 16, Portland at Golden State, 9 ET, ESPN
    Game 3: Sat, May 18, Golden State at Portland, 9 ET, ESPN
    Game 4: Mon, May 20, Golden State at Portland, 9 ET, ESPN
    *Game 5: Wed, May 22, Portland at Golden State, 9 ET, ESPN
    *Game 6: Fri, May 24, Golden State at Portland, 9 ET, ESPN
    *Game 7: Sun, May 26, Portland at Golden State, 9 ET, ESPN

    * - If Necessary
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Series Preview: Similarities abound in Eastern finals matchup
    Steve Aschburner

    From superstar forwards to deep benches, Bucks and Raptors appear evenly matched

    The two best forwards in the East will face off in the conference finals.

    One of these teams is going to fill the void opened by LeBron James’ departure to the Western Conference. For the Raptors, it might seem as if they have a claim on a Finals trip after getting put out by The Man himself the past three postseasons. For the Bucks, the rise to East finalists may strike some as an abrupt jump but, truth be told, they wasted a year of playoff development in 2018, so they’re about where they expected to be by now, too.

    There are similarities between these teams: Both are led by MVP-caliber forwards in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard. Both have solid sidekicks (Khris Middleton and Pascal Siakam) and sturdy veteran point guards (Eric Bledsoe, Kyle Lowry).

    Coaches Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse are wrapping up their first seasons with the Bucks and Raptors, respectively. Milwaukee finished the regular season with two more victories and both teams are sitting on eight wins through two playoff rounds.

    Milwaukee and Toronto both finished in the league’s top five offensively and defensively. And both rolled the dice on important in-season moves, with the Bucks adding George Hill and Nikola Mirotic while the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol.

    The differences? Slight. Milwaukee holds home court and is a far superior rebounding team. Toronto creates more turnovers. Over the next 10 days to two weeks, one of these teams will win at least one more game than the other. And that’s why they play them.


    Three things to watch

    1. The Antetokounmpo-Leonard matchup. Both of these All-NBA caliber players make their presence felt on both ends. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be locked into an individual matchup all night. That would be folly, given the offensive load each carries. So Leonard can expect to see Middleton on him and Antetokounmpo will be monitored by Siakam, among others.

    2. Which bench is “mobbier?” Toronto arguably had the best bench in the NBA in 2017-18, but this season Siakam’s move into the starting lineup, assorted injuries and some altered rotations worked against the Raptors’ depth. Milwaukee’s reserves, meanwhile, have dialed up their play as the season and postseason have ground on. Here’s one measure of their effectiveness: When Antetokounmpo has sat in the playoffs, the Bucks have actually done better, outscoring foes by 21 points per 100 possessions. When Leonard sits down, the Raptors are 16 points worse.

    3. Keep one eye on the third guys. It’s possible, over seven games, that Antetokounmpo, Leonard, Middleton and Siakam largely cancel each other out in talent and big plays. If so, each team could find itself looking to its stocky point guard for an edge. Lowry and Bledsoe had inconsistent seasons offensively, but Lowry had a post-All Star bump and some indispensable stretches in the first two rounds. Bledsoe’s defense has earned praise from his coaches all season.


    The number to know

    30.1 -- Through two playoff rounds, the Raptors have been 30.1 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Leonard on the floor (scoring 113.2 per 100) than they've been with him off the floor (83.1). Leonard has been almost everything for the Raptors' offense (the least efficient offense of the four remaining), averaging 31.8 points per game (second most in the postseason) and creating open shots for his teammates via the attention he's drawn from the Orlando and Philadelphia defenses.

    The on-off numbers were very similar in the regular season series vs. the Bucks, when the Raptors were 27.9 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Leonard on the floor (scoring 115.9 per 100) than they were with him on the bench (88.0). The 105.0 points per 100 possessions the Raptors scored over four games against Milwaukee was their third worst mark against any opponent in the regular season. Lowry shot 1-for-20 from 3-point range in the season series.

    Leonard's usage rate of 26.2 percent was his second lowest mark against any Eastern Conference opponent. The Bucks were relatively good at getting the ball out of his hands. But Toronto was still pretty good offensively against the league's No. 1 defense when their best player was in the game. And though Milwaukee won two of the three games in which Leonard and Antetokounmpo played, the Raptors outscored the Bucks by 19 points in 84 total minutes with both stars on the floor.

    -- John Schuhmann


    The pick

    This could swing on the age-old question of rest vs. momentum. The Bucks polished off Boston in five games and will have had a full week between games when the East finals start. A layoff served them well after the first round and every team in the league would opt for rest. But Toronto’s remarkable Game 7 finish in defeating Philadelphia -- Leonard’s four-bounces-on-the-rim, series-clinching buzzer-beater -- might give the Raptors energy to make up for their grindier semifinals series. The conference’s two best teams will duke it out, and it says here they finish ranked the way they enter. Bucks in 6.


    Series Schedule

    Game 1: Wed, May 15, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT
    Game 2: Fri, May 17, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT
    Game 3: Sun, May 19, Milwaukee at Toronto, 7 ET, TNT
    Game 4: Tue, May 21, Milwaukee at Toronto, 8:30 ET, TNT
    *Game 5: Thu, May 23, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT
    *Game 6: Sat, May 25, Milwaukee at Toronto, 8:30 ET, TNT
    *Game 7: Mon, May 27, Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 ET, TNT
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    G1 - Blazers at Warriors
    May 14, 2019
    By Kevin Rogers


    Western Conference Finals – Game 1
    No. 3 Portland at No. 1 Golden State (ESPN, 9:05 p.m. ET)

    2018-19 Regular Season (Tied 2-2, Over 2-2)
    Nov. 23 - Warriors (-1.5) 125 vs. Blazers 97 (Over 218.5)
    Dec. 27 – Blazers (+8.5) 110 at Warriors 109 - OT (Under 227)
    Dec. 29 – Warriors (-5) 115 at Blazers 105 (Under 226)
    Feb. 13 – Blazers (+2) 129 vs. Warriors 107 (Over 235)


    For the fifth consecutive season, the Warriors are playing for the Western Conference championship. The Blazers have not sniffed the conference finals since 2000 against the Lakers, when Portland squandered a 16-point advantage in a Game 7 heartbreaker at Staples Center.

    Golden State finished off its fourth straight playoff series win on the road dating back to last season’s conference finals in a 118-113 triumph to eliminate Houston in six games last Friday night. Kevin Durant didn’t suit up for the first time this postseason after suffering a calf injury in Game 5 against the Rockets, as the Warriors were tied at halftime in spite of Stephen Curry not scoring a single point in the first half. Curry turned things around in the second half by scoring 33 points, including 11 free throws, while Klay Thompson knocked down seven three-pointers to post 27 points and give the Warriors the cover as 7 -point underdogs.

    The Warriors have struggled to a 5-7 ATS record in the first two rounds against the Clippers and Rockets, while the 12 games played in the opening two rounds of the playoffs are the most since Steve Kerr took over as head coach in 2014. Golden State owns a 2-4 ATS record at Oracle Arena in the playoffs and will start this series without Durant, who will miss Game 1 with this lingering calf injury.

    The Blazers were predicted by many to not even escape the first round against the Thunder, in spite of owning home-court advantage. Portland failed to win a single game in each of the last two playoff appearances against New Orleans (2018) and Golden State (2017), but the Blazers knocked out Oklahoma City in five games, followed by bouncing the Northwest division champion Nuggets in the second round.

    Portland went through a disastrous stretch on the road in the playoffs from 2014 through 2018 by losing 16 of 17 contests away from the Moda Center. Terry Stotts’ club has picked up three highway victories in this postseason alone, capped off by erasing a 17-point deficit in Game 7 at Denver on Sunday in a 100-96 triumph as 5 -point underdogs. C.J. McCollum helped saved the Blazers’ season with a 30-point effort in a Game 6 victory at home, but the shooting guard stepped up in the series finale with 37 points, as Portland overcame a dreadful 4-of-26 performance from three-point range.

    The two teams split four matchups in the regular season with only meeting coming since January. Golden State blasted Portland in the first hook-up at Oracle Arena on November 23 as 1 -point favorites in a 125-97 rout, led by 32 points from Durant and 31 from Thompson, while playing without an injury Curry. The Blazers picked up revenge in their next trip to Oakland on December 27 in a 110-109 nail-biter in overtime as 8 -point ‘dogs. Portland ended a 13-game slide at Oracle in spite of shooting only 36% from the floor.

    Golden State topped Portland in the second of a home-and-home set two days later at the Moda Center, 115-105 to cash as five-point favorites. The three-headed monster of Durant, Curry, and Thompson combined to score 82 points, while Damian Lillard led Portland with 40 points in the loss. Portland captured the most recent matchup on February 13 as two-point home underdogs, 129-107, highlighted by the Blazers outscoring the Warriors, 35-12 in the final quarter.

    The Warriors and Blazers are meeting for the first time ever in the Western Conference finals, while locking horns for the third time in the last four postseasons. Interestingly enough, these two squads had never faced each other in the playoffs prior to 2016, but Golden State has topped Portland in eight of nine meetings. The Warriors knocked out the Blazers in five games in the 2016 second round, followed by a first round sweep in 2017, as Portland’s lone win in this stretch came in Game 3 of the ’16 semifinals.

    The total for Game 1 opened at 216 and the number has been pushed up to 219 as of this morning. Chris David of VegasInsider.com offered up his handicap and lean on Tuesday’s matchup.

    He said, “In the four regular season meetings, Golden State and Portland saw their total results break even (2-2) and the closing numbers ranged from 218 to 235 points. In those games, the pair combined for an average of 224.3 PPG with the highest result being 236 points (129-107 Portland) and the lowest at 219 points (Portland 110-109). I was a little surprised to see the number get pushed up because Golden State will still be without Durant. The All-Star played in all four games against the Trail Blazers this season and he averaged 28.8 PPG, 6.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists while shooting 58 percent from the field.”

    “The Warriors showed no signs on missing Durant’s production last Friday as they defeated the Rockets 118-113 in Game 6 and that turned out to be an easy ‘over’ (215 ) winner. However, in the regular season Golden State averaged 104 PPG while only allowing 99.5 PPG in games without KD and that produced a 4-0 ‘under’ record.”

    VegasInsider.com NBA expert Tony Mejia provides his thoughts heading into this series, “The Blazers can’t really afford to ease their way into this series since they must take advantage of Durant’s absence, so being able to steal Game 1 hinges almost entirely on their ability to hit the 3-ball. Lillard can’t be trusted at this point given his awful start to Game 7. Whether it’s physical or mental, he was unable to find a rhythm against the Nuggets until hitting a few key shots late and shot just 29 percent from beyond the arc for the entire series.

    “Although he’s had some monster games in his native Oakland, he’s 0-5 in playoff games there in series losses in 2016 and 17, shooting 34 percent (25-for-73) at Oracle, making 15 of 40 3-pointers. Lillard has only left the Oracle Arena floor a winner twice in 16 attempts over his NBA career but does have five 30-point games there,” Mejia said.

    The Warriors are listed as 7 -point favorites in Game 1, while the two-time defending champions are -550 (Bet $550 to win $100) to return to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #1855
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    TUESDAY, MAY 14
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    POR at GS 09:00 PM

    GS -7.5

    O 220.5
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #1856
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    Warriors crush Blazers to grab opener
    May 14, 2019
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    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry made nine 3-pointers and scored 36 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals while playing without injured star Kevin Durant once again.

    Curry shot 12 for 23 in his fourth 30-point performance this postseason, finding far more open looks than he had in the last round against Houston. The two-time NBA MVP outplayed the Portland duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined to go 11 for 31 facing a strong Golden State defense.

    Klay Thompson had 26 points, including a late one-handed slam. Draymond Green established the energy on both ends early for the well-rested Warriors and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

    Lillard scored 19 points back home in Oakland, just miles away from where he grew up. McCollum had 17.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2019
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    8:30 PM Toronto Raptors Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum

    SCHEDULE FOR THURSDAY MAY 16, 2019

    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    9:05 PM Portland Trail Blazers Golden State Warriors ORACLE Arena

    SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY MAY 17, 2019

    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    8:35 PM Toronto Raptors Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum

    SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY MAY 18, 2019

    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    9:05 PM Golden State Warriors Portland Trail Blazers Moda Center at the Rose Quarter

    SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY MAY 19, 2019
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:05 PM Milwaukee Bucks Toronto Raptors Scotiabank Arena

    SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY MAY 20, 2019

    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    9:00 PM Golden State Warriors Portland Trail Blazers Moda Center at the Rose Quarter

    SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY MAY 21, 2019
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    8:30 PM Milwaukee Bucks Toronto Raptors Scotiabank Arena


    ************************************


    NBA PLAYOFF RECORD OPINIONS AND BEST BETS !

    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    05/14/2019 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    05/12/2019 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    05/10/2019 0-2-0 0.00% -11.00
    05/09/2019 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    05/08/2019 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    05/07/2019 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    05/06/2019 1-2-1 33.33% -6.00
    05/05/2019 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    05/04/2019 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    05/03/2019 1-3-0 25.00% -11.00
    05/02/2019 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    05/01/2019 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50

    Totals..............16-21-1 43.24% -36.00


    ******************************


    BEST BETS:

    DATE........................ATS................... ..UNITS..................O/U..................UNITS.............TOTALS

    05/14/2019.............1 - 0...................+5.00....................0 - 1..................-5.50..............-0.50
    05/12/2019.............1 - 1....................-0.50.....................1 - 1..................-0.50.............-1.00
    05/10/2019.............0 - 1....................-5.50....................0 - 1...................-5.50.............-11.00
    05/09/2019.............0 - 2....................-11.00...................1 - 1...................-0.50............-11.50
    05/08/2019.............1 - 1....................-0.50.....................1 - 1...................-0.50.............-1.00
    05/07/2019.............0 - 2....................-11.00...................1 - 1...................-0.50.............-11.50
    05/06/2019.............0 - 2....................-11.00...................1 - 0..................+5.00.............-6.00
    05/05/2019.............1 - 1....................-0.50.....................1 - 1..................-0.50..............-1.00
    05/04/2019.............1 - 0....................+5.00....................1 - 0.................+5.00.............+10.00
    05/03/2019.............0 - 2....................-11.00...................1 - 1..................-0.50..............-11.50
    05/02/2019.............1 - 0....................+5.00....................1 - 0.................+5.00.............+10.00
    05/01/2019.............0 - 1.....................-5.50....................1 - 0.................+5.00..............-0.50


    Totals...................6 - 13.....................-41.50..................10 - 8.................+6.00.............-35.50


    **************************

    APRILS NBA BEST BETS


    Totals....................23 - 21..................-0.50.................25 - 27................-19.50..............-20.00
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wednesday’s 6-pack

    Exact odds for Eastern Conference Finals:

    Bucks in 4: 8-1
    Bucks in 5: 11-4
    Bucks in 6: 9-2
    Bucks in 7: 3-1
    Toronto in 4: 25-1
    Toronto in 5: 14-1
    Toronto in 6: 6-1
    Toronto in 7: 8-1

    Quote of the Day
    “Ohio State, that was my dream school. I was sick to my stomach. There was almost a point where I was like, ‘I’m going to roll the dice anyway’ because I wanted to be there. After being there for two years and not playing, I couldn’t risk it anymore. There’s a point where you love your teammates, you love everything about the school and the people there, but you have to start thinking about yourself and not doing it because these are my teammates. They all understood, and they weren’t upset at all.”
    QB Tate Martell, on transferring from Ohio State to Miami

    Wednesday’s quiz
    Who holds the Denver Broncos’ single season record for most TD passes in a season?

    Tuesday’s quiz
    Milwaukee Brewers started play in 1970, after they had played in 1969 as an expansion team in Seattle, the Seattle Pilots.

    Monday’s quiz
    In the 2001 movie Spy Game, with Robert Redford/Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt wears a San Diego Padres’ cap in several scenes.

    *****************************

    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…..

    13) New Orleans wins the draft lottery; does that mean Anthony Davis will want to stay with the Pelicans? Memphis got the #2 pick, Knicks #3, Lakers #4.

    12) What would it be like if they did the lottery just before the start of the draft in June? Make people think on their feet.

    6:30 lottery, draft starts at 7:00. Would be better than jamming it in before the start of a playoff game on the other side of the country.

    11) Seeing Patrick Ewing at the lottery reminds me that I saw him watching Zion Williamson play at an adidas tournament in Las Vegas two summers ago. Tons of kids there; Ewing gets up to go to the concession stand, and not one kid asks him for an autograph or says anything to him. One of the 50 greatest players ever, 7-feet tall, and he got as much attention there as I did.

    10) New Jersey took in $313.7M in bets in April, according to numbers released Tuesday by the state’s Department of Gaming Enforcement. 81% of those bets were made via a mobile betting app.

    Meanwhile, across the river in New York State………nothing, zero, bupkis.

    9) Warriors 116, Trailblazers 94— Lillard/McCollum combined to shoot 11-31 from the floor. Would be odd if Golden State swept its way to another title and Durant never came back to play.

    8) Rockies 5, Red Sox 4 (11)— Colorado batters struck out 24 times in this game, while receiving only two walks. Home plate ump Dan Bellino didn’t win many friends in the Rockies’ dugout.

    Chris Sale struck out 17 but didn’t get the win; he is the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2001 to strike out 17+ and not win- Johnson had 20 strikeouts for Arizona that night.

    Colorado is third team ever to strike out 24+ times and win; the other two:
    June 2, 2018: Cubs beat the Mets (24 K in 14 innings)
    June 8, 2004: Brewers beat the Angels (26 K in 17 innings)

    7) Baseball stuff:
    — Brewers put 3B Travis Shaw (wrist) on IL, promote 2B Keston Hiura.
    — Dodgers’ P Julio Urias was arrested Monday on suspicion of domestic battery.
    — A’s traded Kendrys Morales to Bronx for cash or a player to be named later.

    6) Four teams left in the Hard Knocks sweepstakes: Lions, Giants, Raiders, Redskins. You figure the Raiders are 2020’s team, with the move to Las Vegas and all, so they’re out, too.

    5) The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is about to become the Ring Central Coliseum; they signed a 3-year deal at $1M a year for naming rights.

    4) College basketball transfer portal:
    — PG Elijah Mitrou-Long bolts from Texas to UNLV.
    — Justice Kithcart bolts from Old Dominion to Nicholls State.

    3) If you don’t living in this country is an honor, keep this in mind: the S Sport TV station in Turkey will not televise the Blazers-Warriors playoff series because of Enes Kanter’s history of criticizing Turkey’s government. Kanter plays for Portland.

    Living in a democracy is a good thing; we need to make sure it stays that way.

    2) In a related story, if Portland-Toronto play in the NBA Finals, will Kanter go to the games in Toronto? Pretty sure Kanter skipped a regular season game in Toronto in March, fearing for his safety outside of America.

    Kanter had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 and has had a warrant out for his arrest in Turkey since January. Turkey also reportedly seeks an Interpol red notice for Kanter, which could result in him being detained and deported back to his home country.

    1) RIP to the great comic Tim Conway, who passed away Tuesday at age 85. He was on McHale’s Navy and the Carol Burnett Show. just a really funny guy. RIP, sir.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    G1 - Raptors at Bucks
    Tony Mejia

    Eastern Conference Finals – Game 1

    No. 2 Toronto at No. 1 Milwaukee (-6/217.5), TNT, 8:30 p.m. ET


    Jan. 31 – Bucks (+2.5) 105 at Raptors 92 (Under 232)
    Jan. 5 – Raptors (+5.5) 123 at Bucks 116 (Over 227)
    Dec. 9 – Bucks (+5) 104 at Raptors 99 (Under 229.5)
    Oct. 29 – Bucks (+2) 124 vs. Raptors 109 (Over 222.5)

    When the season began, the Bucks were a 14-to-1 choice to win the Eastern Conference per Westgate, while the Raptors were the second choice at 2-to-1, just behind the favored Celtics (4-to-5).

    See, the NBA isn’t entirely predictable.

    Milwaukee was 60-to-1 to win it all when the regular season began but was down to just 5-to-1 when the playoffs opened. They were 4-to-5 to win the East while the Raptors were 3-to-1 to win the conference and 14-to-1 to win a title.

    Boston and Philadelphia have been defeated, leaving the top seeds in the East to vie for the right to try and spoil Golden State’s threepeat bid.

    If you’re holding one of those Bucks futures’ from October, you’re counting on the continued blossoming of likely MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will be tasked with helping deny Toronto its first NBA Finals appearance by slowing down Kawhi Leonard.

    With Warriors star Kevin Durant on the mend for at least another few days, the top forwards remaining in the playoffs will square off to decide a champion in the Eastern Conference in the type of duel we haven’t seen since Durant denied LeBron James a second title with Cleveland before leaving for L.A. James has faced off with Leonard and Paul George, while Durant has also tangled with Anthony Davis. This playoff matchup between the “Greek Freak” and Leonard, who is coming off authoring the first series-clinching buzzer-beater in a Game 7 in NBA history, is on that level.

    Two of the best basketball players who have ever lived, Hall of Fame types who are still writing their story, are about to treat us to a show. They won’t directly be defending one another for 40-plus minutes, but they should be in the picture coming over to help, be it to shade or blitz, and their length and defensive IQ will make for intense interactions.

    Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast, which also features All-Star Khris Middleton and point guard Eric Bledsoe, comes in as a -330 favorite over Toronto, which will get you +260 if you want to party with the underdog. Leonard has been incredible this postseason, averaging 31.8 points, but it remains to be seen if he can get enough help from Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Danny Green after narrowly surviving the younger, banged-up 76ers despite minimal contributions from the bench.

    With Malcolm Brogdon back in the mix after missing most of the past few months due to a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, the Bucks have a much deeper group, homecourt advantage and the edge in coaching given the work Mike Budenholzer has done in his first season in Milwaukee. Nick Nurse, an assistant with past Raptors teams in his first season in the head seat, may be overmatched here. Not being able to rely on Fred VanVleet to be productive and going barely seven-deep in his rotation ties his hands significantly.

    Riding Raptors’ futures for value’s sake carries the risk that they’ll be unable to steal a game at the new Fiserv Forum after such a physical, taxing series against the 76ers, which means you would be better off waiting until they get back home for a Game 3 since the odds would be even better if they’re down 2-0. The Bucks have been off since eliminating the Celtics last Tuesday after a 116-91 rout, their seventh double-digit win this postseason. The team that led the league in wins, points per game and margin of victory should have fresh legs in addition to a homecourt edge giving them a significant Game 1 advantage.

    “Backing the Bucks in the playoffs has been easy money with Milwaukee covering the spread in all eight of its victories, “ said NBA expert Kevin Rogers. “Only one of those wins came by less than 10 points, which was Game 3 of the Boston series, 123-116. The Raptors haven’t been listed as an underdog many times this season, as Toronto has cashed in 10 of 16 opportunities when receiving points. Toronto won at Golden State as 7 -point underdogs in in mid-December, 113-93, but Leonard didn’t suit up in losses in the 6 to 6 -point ‘dog range at Indiana and Philadelphia.”

    The Bucks’ lone playoff loss to date came at home in the series opener against the Celtics, but they’re looking to avoid a repeat since they’ve been a united chorus over the past few days preaching the importance of capturing Game 1 because rallying against Toronto would be far more difficutt than it was against Boston. Milwaukee is providing no bulletin board material, going the extra mile in buttering up the competition. Bledsoe hinted Lowry would be a future Hall-of-Famer. Budenholzer is doing whatever he can to drill it into his Bucks that they must capture these early home games to snuff out confidence and avoid going into a difficult venue tied, having surrendered the homecourt advantage they worked so hard to get during a 60-win regular season.

    That includes winning the head-to-head series 3-1. Milwaukee outscored the Raptors by an average of 112.3-105.8 and held it to just 42 percent shooting while knocking down 47 percent of its shots. The Bucks won twice in Toronto, which is especially impressive since the Raptors finished 32-9 at Scotiabank Arena, the third-best home mark behind the Nuggets (34-7) and the Bucks (33-8). Being able to take care of business in front of the paying customers will go a long way in deciding this series.

    Antetokonmpo averaged 27 points, 15 rebounds and five assists while shooting 58.5 percent from the field in three games against Toronto this season. Leonard shot just 42.6 percent from the field in his three games against the Bucks, averaging 22 points, 7.7 boards and four assists. Lowry struggled mightily in his three matchups with the Bucks, shooting just 23.3 percent from the field while averaging 6.3 points and 8.3 assists. The Raptors were much better when he looked in sync against the 76ers, so his ability to effectively deal with Bledsoe and Brogdon, physical defenders who have a size advantage, will go a long way in dictating how effective Toronto can be as an underdog.

    The total for Game 1 opened at 218 and the number has been pushed down to 217 as of Wednesday. VegasInsider.com totals expert Chris David offered up his thoughts on the number and his top wager.

    “During the regular season, we saw the total results finish in a 2-2 stalemate between the pair but the two games played in Milwaukee went ‘over’ while the ‘under’ was 2-0 in the games played at Scotiabank Arena. Surprisingly, the Raptors offense was much better away from home versus the Bucks as they averaged 116 PPG in two trips to Wisconsin,” David said. “Expecting the Raptors to get near that number in this series could be wishful thinking based on what we’ve seen from their offense (100.4 PPG) in five road playoff games. The ‘under’ went 4-1 in those games and the lone ‘over’ barely connected in Game 6 at Philadelphia.

    “For Game 1, it’s apparent that the oddsmakers are expecting less offense knowing that the four regular season games had totals ranging from 222 to 232. It’s hard to argue with the opening total knowing that Toronto’s defense has been lights out in the playoffs (96 PPG), but this will easily be its toughest test. Milwaukee led the league in scoring (118 PPG) and its numbers at home (119.2 PPG) have been off the charts, plus Budenholzer’s squad hasn’t been slowed down in the postseason. In five playoff games at home, the Bucks have averaged 120 PPG in their four wins and were held to 90 points in the Game 1 loss to the Celtics in the conference semifinals and you could argue that the effort versus Boston was due to a six-day layoff. I believe Milwaukee will be ready to go on Wednesday and my strongest lean for Game 1 would be on the Bucks Team Total Over (111 ).”

    Nikola Mirotic is expected to remain in Milwaukee’s starting lineup in order to help spread the floor, but that could leave the Bucks vulnerable on the defensive end. Middleton slumped late in the Bucks series but is shooting nearly 47 percent from 3-point range in these playoffs. With Brogdon back, George Hill producing and the Raps’ depth being issue, operating at a faster pace may benefit host Milwaukee in this opener. Backing the first-quarter to go ‘over’ 54 is highly recommended. The Bucks should be at full strength. Toronto has multiple guys hurting, but it could get a boost towards the end of this series with talented, versatile forward OG Anunoby nearing a return from an emergency appendectomy.

    Game 2 will be played Thursday night in downtown Milwaukee.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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