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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 03/24/2023

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Mar 24, 2023

The Thursday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, and NCAAB.The National Basketball Association has ten games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 PM ET. The Boston Celtics host the Indiana Pacers as an 11.5-point favorite (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Washington Wizards play at home against the Sacramento Kings as a 7-point favorite. The Toronto Raptors are at home against the Detroit Pistons at 7:40 PM ET as a 12.5-point favorite. The Memphis Grizzlies host the Houston Rockets at 8:10 PM ET as a -12.5-point favorite. The Charlotte Hornets play in Dallas against the Mavericks at 8:40 PM ET.The Milwaukee Bucks travel to Utah to play the Jazz at 9:10 PM ET as an 8.5-point road favorite. Three more NBA games tip off at 10:10 PM ET. The Golden State Warriors play at home against the Philadelphia 76ers as a 5-point favorite. The Chicago Bulls are in Portland to play the Trail Blazers as a 2-point road favorite. The Sacramento Kings host the Phoenix Suns as a 4.5-point favorite. The Los Angeles Lakers play at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:40 PM ET as a 5.5-point favorite at BetMGM.The National Hockey League has three games on its slate. Two NHL games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The New York Islanders visit Columbus to play the Bluejackets as a -200 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The New Jersey Devils play in Buffalo against the Sabres as a -175 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 7. The Colorado Avalanche are at home against the Arizona Coyotes at 9:07 PM ET as a -405 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. The college basketball schedule has the final four games in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Alabama goes against San Diego State on TBS at 6:30 PM ET at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The Crimson Tide are on a five-game winning streak after their 73-51 victory against Maryland as an 8.5-point favorite on Saturday. The Aztecs won their sixth straight game with its 75-52 victory against Furman as a 4.5-point favorite on Saturday. Alabama is a 7.5-point favorite with an over/under of 137. Houston battles Miami (FL) on CBS at 7:15 PM ET at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Cougars won for the 15th time in their last 16 games with their 81-64 victory against Auburn as a 5.5-point favorite on Saturday. The Hurricanes won for the fourth time in their last five games with an 85-69 upset victory against Indiana as a 1.5-point underdog on Sunday. Houston is a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 138.Creighton plays Princeton at 9 PM ET on TBS in Louisville. The Bluejays won for the fifth time in their last six games with an 85-76 victory against Baylor as a 1-point favorite on Sunday. The Tigers are on a six-game winning streak after their 78-63 upset win against Missouri as a 6.5-pint underdog on Saturday. Creighton is a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 140. Texas faces Xavier on CBS at 9:45 PM ET in Kansas City. The Longhorns are on a six-game winning streak after their 71-66 victory against Penn State as a 5-point favorite on Saturday. The Musketeers won for the seventh time in their last nine games with an 84-73 victory against Pittsburgh as a 5-point favorite on Sunday. Texas is a 4.5-point favorite, with a total of 149.

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MLB 2023: AL Central Division Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

AL Central Division Preview for MLB 2023Chicago White Sox – When you look at this roster it looks like one of the strongest ones in the league but yet these team seems to have some internal issues. Clubhouse issues can be tough over the long course of an MLB season and this could ultimately be the downfall of Chicago again this season. Something just seems a bit off with team atmosphere. But decent lineup and solid starting pitching should insure at least a shot at a wild card berth for this team. Cleveland Guardians –This team should top the division and, unlike the White Sox, solid clubhouse atmosphere here overall and that is a difference maker. Cleveland also made a couple of solid off-season adds with Bell and Zunino. The latter is not much of a hitter at all but is solid behind the plate and that can help and already strong pitching rotation be even stronger this season. Detroit Tigers – Two seasons ago in 2021 it looked like the Tigers might be turning things around but then they regressed again. Looking at their lineup and the fact they have some question marks in the starting rotation too, just very hard to trust this team to bounce back this season. They have made some front office changes that should breath new life into the organization but it is still a rebuild project here that is going on this season. Kansas City Royals – Similar to Tigers, Royals had a more respectable season the year before last but, also similar to Detroit, they then regressed again last season. Kansas City just does not quite have enough to make much of a move yet. You look at their lineup and they have too many holes and too few guys like Bobby Witt who they could use more of for sure. Then you look at the rotation and there is just not a lot there to get excited about. They will battle the Tigers to stay out of the division basement. Minnesota Twins – Catcher is a more important position than many realize and the fact is that the addition of Vazquez is significant for this team. To me this is the one team that is a bit of an unknown in this division. If things fall well enough into place and Vazquez helps get the best out of this pitching rotation from his spot behind the plate, this could be big for this team and they could challenge the Guardians and also move in front of the White Sox. Solid rotation, decent lineup, this team will be interesting to watch this season as they could surprise. 

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MLB Futures Wager: San Diego Padres to Win the 2023 World Series

by Al McMordie

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

The 2023 Major League Baseball season will start in seven days, so it's time for me to pull out my crystal ball to forecast the World Series Champion seven-and-a-half months from now.  After cashing the Houston Astros at 10-1 odds in 2017, the Washington Nationals at 18-1 odds in 2019, and the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4-1 odds in 2020, I misfired the last two seasons with the Twins at 22-1 odds in 2021, and the Blue Jays at 9-1 odds last year.  This season, I'm going to go with a franchise which has never hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy - the San Diego Padres.  The current, best odds are 10-1, at both FanDuel and Caesars.After years of dominating the NL West, it appears the Dodgers may be taking a breather.  For the first time in a while, Los Angeles saved its free agent money and let the likes of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger go elsewhere (not to mention Max Scherzer, who it let walk a year ago).  The respite may be no longer than one season however, as rumors have surfaced that the Dodgers are saving up to make a play for Shohei Ohtani, who will be a free agent after this season (and could sign the largest contract in sports history as a result).  Enter the Padres, who appear to be perfectly positioned to take advantage of this "Dodger dip."  San Diego has assembled a killer lineup which consists of multiple All-Stars, including Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado (who just signed a new contract which will keep him in mustard and brown for the next 11 years).  And superstar infielder Fernando Tatis, Jr. is eligible to return from his suspension on April 20.  There may be teams in the league with better pitching (Mets, Braves, etc.).  But what the Padres lack with their top three of Darvish, Musgrove and Snell will be more than made up by an offensive line-up which could easily produce a franchise-record number of runs.  There appears to be no threat in their division outside of the down-graded Dodgers, so the Padres could have a big lead in the NL West heading into September which could allow them to ration their pitching resources down the stretch.  Take the San Diego Padres at 10-1 odds to win the 2023 World Series.  As always, good luck,Al McMordie.

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