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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, and MLB Previews and Odds - 05/24/22

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Tuesday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association continues the Western Conference finals with Game 4 of the best-of-seven game series between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks on TNT at 9 PM ET. Golden State took a 3-0 lead in the series with a 109-100 upset victory as a 3-point underdog on Sunday. Dallas is a 1-point favorite, with the total set at 215.5.The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League playoffs continue with two games on ESPN. Carolina plays at the New York Rangers at 7:07 PM ET. The Rangers won their first game of the series with a 3-1 victory at home on Sunday. Both teams are priced as a -110 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Edmonton plays at home against Calgary at 9:37 PM ET. The Oilers took a 2-1 lead in this series with a 4-1 win on Sunday. Edmonton is a -110 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Tuesday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on the schedule. Colorado plays at Pittsburgh at 6:35 PM ET. The Rockies pitch Kyle Freeland against a Pirates pitcher yet to be named. Two more MLB games start at 6:40 PM ET. Tampa Bay hosts Miami with Shane McClanahan of the Rays pitching against Pablo Lopes of the Marlins. The Rays are a -165 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Chicago Cubs play at Cincinnati with Marcus Stroman pitching for the Cubs against the Reds Tyler Mahle. Both teams are priced as a -110 money line favorite with a total of 8. Two MLB games throw out the first pitch at 7:05 PM ET. The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Washington with Walker Buehler pitching for the Dodgers against Josiah Gray of the Nationals. The Dodgers are a -235 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The New York Yankees play Baltimore with Jordan Montgomery pitching against Bruce Zimmermann. The Yankees are a -235 money line favorite with a total of 8. Atlanta hosts Philadelphia at 7:20 PM ET. Max Fried pitches for the Braves against Kyle Gibson of the Phillies. Atlanta is a -160 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Minnesota plays at home against Detroit at 7:40 PM ET. The Twins pitch Sonny Gray against the Tigers Beau Brisk. Minnesota is a -255 money line favorite with a total of 8. Toronto visits St. Louis at 7:45 PM ET. Kevin Gausman pitches for the Blue Jays against Jordan Hicks of the Cardinals. Two MLB games begin at 8:10 PM ET. The Chicago White Sox are at home against Boston with Dylan Cease pitching for Chicago against Nick Pivetta of the Red Sox. Chicago is a -165 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Houston hosts Cleveland with Framber Valdez of the Astros pitching against Zach Plesac of the Indians. The Los Angeles Angels are at home against Texas at 9:38 PM ET. Noah Syndergaard pitches for the Angels against Dane Dunning for the Rangers. Los Angeles is a -160 money line favorite with a total of 8. Three more MLB games start at 9:40 PM ET. Arizona hosts Kansas City with Zac Gallen pitching for the Diamondbacks against Jonathan Heasley of the Royals. Arizona is a -190 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Seattle plays at home against Oakland with George Kirby pitching for the Mariners against James Kaprielian of the A’s. Seattle is a -160 money line favorite with a total of 7. Milwaukee travels to San Diego on TBS with Corbin Burnes of the Brewers pitching against Blake Snell of the Padres. Milwaukee is a -135 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. San Francisco hosts the New York Mets at 9:45 PM ET. The Giants pitch Logan Webb against the Mets’ Chris Bassitt. San Francisco is a -130 money line favorite with a total of 7.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and MLB Previews and Odds - 05/23/2022

by Big Al Staff

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Monday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association continues the Eastern Conference finals with Game 4 of the best-of-seven game series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Miami took a 2-1 lead in this series with their 109-103 upset victory as a 6-point underdog on Saturday. The Celtics are a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 208 (all odds from DraftKings).The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League playoffs continue with two games on TNT. Tampa Bay hosts Florida at 7:07 PM ET. The Lightning lead 3-0 in the series after their 5-1 victory at home on Sunday. Tampa Bay is a -120 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Colorado visits St. Louis at 9:37 PM ET. The Avalanche have a 2-1 series lead after beating the Blues, 5-2, on Saturday. Colorado is a -160 money line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Monday schedule in Major League Baseball has 12 games on its schedule. Pittsburgh hosts Colorado at 6:35 PM ET. J.T. Brubaker pitches for the Pirates against Chad Kuhl of the Rockies. Pittsburgh is a -125 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Chicago Cubs travel to Cincinnati with Drew Smyly pitching for the Cubs against Vladimir Gutierrez pitching for the Reds. Two MLB games throw out the first pitch at 7:05 PM ET. The New York Yankees are at home against Baltimore at 7:05 PM ET. The Yankees send out Gerrit Cole to duel against the Orioles’ Jordan Lyles. New York is a -290 money line favorite with a total of 7.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at Washington. Tyler Anderson pitches for the Dodgers against Joan Adon of the Nationals. Los Angeles is a -195 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. Philadelphia is at Atlanta at 7:20 PM ET. The Phillies pitch Zack Wheeler against the Braves Tucker Davidson. Philadelphia is a  -115 money line road favorite with a total of 8. Minnesota hosts Detroit at 7:40 PM ET. Chris Archer is the starting pitcher for the Twins against Elvin Rodriguez for the Tigers. Minnesota is a -180 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. St. Louis plays at home against Toronto at 7:45 PM ET. The Cardinals pitch Miles Mikolas against the Blue Jays’ Jose Berrios. St. Louis is a -115 money line favorite with a total of 8. Houston is at home against Cleveland at 8:10 PM ET. Luis Garcia pitches for the Astros against Zach Plesac of the Indians. Houston is a -200 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Three MLB games start at 9:40 PM ET. Seattle plays at home against Oakland with Marco Gonzales pitching for the Mariners against Zach Logue for the A’s. Seattle is a -170 money line favorite with a total of 7. Arizona hosts Kansas City pitching Zach Davies against Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks are a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Milwaukee visits San Diego with the Brewers pitching Adrian Houser against a starting pitcher yet to be named for the Padres. San Francisco is at home against the New York Mets at 9:45 PM ET. Alex Cobb pitches for the Giants against David Peterson of the Mets. San Francisco is a -140 money line favorite.

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WNBA shootaround: Week of May 22nd

by Sean Murphy

Sunday, May 22, 2022

We're already a few weeks into the WNBA season and many of the usual suspects have asserted themselves as the league's elite teams, with a couple of surprises in the mix as well. Here's a quick look at team news and notes from around the league as we head into the final week of May.Storm brewingAs Breanna Stewart goes, so go the Seattle Storm. Stewart was forced to miss time due to Covid protocols earlier in the campaign but has returned to lift the Storm back to an even 3-3 on the season with consecutive victories. Seattle certainly isn't accustomed to looking up at multiple teams in the Western Conference but that's the case as we head into the final week of May. Note that the Storm will have ample opportunity to pad their record and their stats with each of their next five games coming at home including consecutive matchups with the reeling Liberty next weekend.Aces are wildThe Las Vegas Aces have dealt with plenty of playoff disappointment over the years but they're once again proving to be regular season front-runners, jumping out to a 6-1 start to the campaign. As a result of a scheduling quirk, they've already faced the Phoenix Mercury three times, going a perfect 3-0 in those contests. Las Vegas' schedule is about to get a lot tougher, however, with a stop in Chicago later this week followed by consecutive home games against perennial contender Connecticut. Missing LynxA number of early season roster absences have led the Lynx to a miserable 1-6 start to the season. While they will have an opportunity to find their footing with a pair of home dates against New York and Los Angeles (their only previous win this season came against the Sparks), they'll need to turn things around in a hurry defensively, noting they've been torched for 82 or more points in all but one of their seven contests this season. Natalie Ochonwa, Napheesa Collier and Damiris Dantas remain sidelined without a clear timetable for their return.Into the MysticsDespite managing Elena Delle Donne's workload with scheduled off days, the Mystics have jumped out to a red hot 6-1 start and are well-positioned to improve on that record with consecutive home games against Chicago and Atlanta on deck. Washington might have one of the most underrated duos in the league in Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen. While Delle Donne gets most of the press, the Mystics are loaded with unsung contributors capable of stepping up at both ends of the floor on any given night. No fewer than four players have registered double-figures in scoring in five of Washington's last six games. 

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Big Al's NBA, NHL, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 05/22/2022

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Sunday sports card features NBA, NHL, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association continues the Western Conference finals with Game 3 of the best-of-seven game series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors on TNT at 9 PM ET. The Warriors took a 2-0 lead in this series with their 126-117 victory at home against the Mavericks as a 6-point favorite on Friday. Golden State is a 2-point favorite with the total set at 218.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League playoffs continue with three games. Florida travels to Tampa Bay on TNT at 1:37 PM ET. The Lightning took a 2-0 series lead with their 2-1 victory on the road against the Panthers on Thursday. Both teams are priced as a -110 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.Carolina visits New York to play the Rangers on ESPN at 3:37 PM ET. The Hurricanes took a 2-0 series lead with their 2-0 on Friday. Carolina is a -115 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. Calgary plays at Edmonton on ESPN2 at 8:07 PM ET. The Oilers evened this series at 1-1 with a 5-3 victory on the road against the Flames on Friday. Calgary is a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Sunday card in Major League Baseball has 16 games on the schedule. St. Louis plays at Pittsburgh at 11:35 AM ET. Three more MLB games throw out the first pitch at 1:35 PM ET. Tampa Bay travels to Baltimore as a -165 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Boston hosts Seattle as a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at Philadelphia as a -135 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Cincinnati visits Toronto at 1:37 PM ET. Two more MLB games start at 1:40 PM ET. Miami is at home against Atlanta as a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 7. Cleveland plays at home against Detroit. Three more MLB games begin at 2:10 PM ET. Milwaukee hosts Washington as a -150 money line favorite. Houston is at home against Texas as a -190 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Minnesota plays at Houston. The Chicago Cubs are at home against Arizona at 2:20 PM ET.The New York Yankees play at home against the Chicago White Sox in the opening game of their doubleheader at 3:05 PM ET as a -180 money line favorite with a total of 9. The New York Mets travel to Colorado at 3:10 PM ET as a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10.5. San Francisco hosts San Diego at 4:05 PM ET as a -145 money line favorite with a total of 8. Oakland visits Los Angeles to play the Angels at 4:07 PM ET. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN has the New York Yankees playing at home against the Chicago White Sox in the second game of their doubleheader at 7:08 PM ET. The Yankees are a -180 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.Matchweek 38 of the English Premier League has all ten matches start at 11 AM ET to conclude the season. Arsenal hosts Everton on CNBC as a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3. Manchester City plays at home against Aston Villa as a -2 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3.5. The eight other matches are broadcast on Peacock. Leeds United visits Brentford in a pick ‘em match with a total of 3. West Ham United plays at Brighton and Hove Albion in a pick ‘em match with an over/under of 2.5. Burnley plays at home against Newcastle United as a -0.5 goal line with a total of 2.5. Chelsea is at home against Watford as a -2 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Manchester United travels to Crystal Palace in a pick ‘em match with a total of 2.5. Leicester City hosts Southampton as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Liverpool plays at home against Wolverhampton as a -2 goal line favorite with a total of 3. Tottenham plays at Norwich City as a -2 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 3.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and MLB Previews and Odds - 05/21/2022

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Saturday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB action.The second leg of the Triple Crown takes place at 7:01 PM ET with the Preakness Stakes. NBC has the broadcast.The National Basketball Association continues the Eastern Conference finals with Game 2 of the best-of-seven game series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics on ABC at 8:40 PM ET. The Celtics evened the series at 1-1 with their 127-102 victory at Miami as a 1-point favorite on Thursday. Boston is a 6-point favorite with the total set at 208 (all odds from DraftKings).The National Hockey League playoffs continue with one game. The Colorado Avalanche visits the St. Louis Blues on TNT at 8:07 PM ET. The Blues evened the series at 1-1 with a 4-1 victory on the road on Thursday. Colorado is a -170 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5.The Saturday card in Major League Baseball has 16 games on the schedule. The New York Yankees host the Chicago White Sox at 1:05 PM ET as a -210 money line favorite with a total of 9. The Chicago Cubs play at home against Arizona at 2:20 PM ET as a -135 money line favorite with a total of 7.5. Toronto is at home against Cincinnati at 3:07 PM ET as a -260 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. The New York Mets are at Colorado in the opening game of their doubleheader at 3:10 PM ET as a -105 money line road favorite with a total of 10. San Francisco hosts San Diego on FS1 at 4:05 PM ET as a -155 money line favorite with an over/under of 7. Boston plays at home against Seattle at 4:10 PM ET as a -160 money line favorite with a total of 9. Philadelphia is at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 6:05 PM ET as a -120 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.5. Two more MLB games start at 6:10 PM ET. Cleveland hosts Detroit as a -180 money line favorite with a total of 8. Atlanta visits Miami as a -145 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8. St. Louis plays at Pittsburgh at 6:35 PM ET as a -140 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Tampa Bay travels to Boston at 7:05 PM ET as a -125 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Three more MLB games begin at 7:10 PM ET. Milwaukee is at home against Washington as a -235 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Minnesota plays at Kansas City as a -150 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5. Houston hosts Texas as a -235 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The New York Mets play at Colorado in the second game of their doubleheader at 8:40 PM ET as a -125 money line road favorite with a total of 10.5. The Los Angeles Angels are at home against Oakland at 9:07 PM ET on FS1 as a -140 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and MLB Previews and Odds - 05/20/2022

by Big Al Staff

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Friday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB.The National Basketball Association continues the Western Conference finals with Game 2 of the best-of-seven game series between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks on TNT at 9 PM ET. The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 112-87 victory as a 5.5-point favorite on Wednesday. They have won four of their last five games. The Mavericks have won four of their last five games even after the loss in Game 1. Golden State is a 6-point favorite with the total set at 214 (all odds from DraftKings). The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League play odds continue with two games on ESPN. Carolina hosts the New York Rangers at 8:07 PM ET. The Hurricanes took the first game of this series with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday. They have won 11 of their last 14 games. The Rangers had been on a three-game winning streak before the loss in Game 1. Carolina is a -175 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Calgary plays at home against Edmonton at 10:37 PM ET. The Flames took Game 1 on Wednesday, 9-6 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. They have won four of their last five games. The Oilers have dropped three of their last five games. Calgary is a -175 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Friday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on the schedule. The Chicago Cubs are at home against Arizona at 2:20 PM ET as a -130 money line favorite. St. Louis travels to Pittsburgh at 6:35 PM ET as a -150 money line road favorite with a total of 8. Atlanta plays at Miami at 6:40 PM ET as a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Three MLB games throw out the first pitch at 7:05 PM ET. Tampa Bay visits Baltimore as a -145 money line road favorite with a total of 8. The New York Yankees are at home against the Chicago White Sox as a -195 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at Philadelphia as a -145 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Toronto hosts Cincinnati at 7:07 PM ET as a -180 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Two MLB games start at 7:10 PM ET. Boston plays at home against Seattle as a -110 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Detroit is at Cleveland as a -115 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Three MLB games begin at 8:10 PM ET. Milwaukee hosts Washington as a -190 money line favorite with a total of 8. Minnesota travels to Kansas City as a -135 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Houston plays at home against Texas as a -170 money line favorite with a total of 8. The New York Mets visit Colorado at 8:40 PM ET as a -135 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10. The Los Angeles Angels are at home against Oakland at 9:38 PM ET as a -170 money line favorite with a total of 8. San Diego plays at San Francisco at 10:15 PM ET with both teams priced at -110 with an over/under of 7.5. 

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2022 Preakness Stakes Preview

by Al McMordie

Friday, May 20, 2022

This weekend, they will run the 147th edition of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.  The biggest stories around Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown don't have as much to do with who is here as who isn't here.  Racing fans can usually rely on the Kentucky Derby winner making an appearance at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May.  But Rich Strike -- the 80-1 longshot who stunned the Derby two weeks ago -- is instead pointing toward the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.  There has been much written, and quite a bit of consternation, over the connections' decision not to bring Rich Strike to Baltimore.  But the simple fact of the matter is this:  Pimlico is an extremely speed-favoring dirt race track and Rich Strike's chances of repeating his amazing -- and unlikely -- stretch run from Louisville here in Maryland were slim to none.  In other words, they made the right decision whether people like it or not.  With that said, here are the contenders, pretenders, and live longshots for Saturday's race: Contenders: #8 - Epicenter.  Steve Asmussen's brilliant colt looked like he was a winner turning for home in the Derby, with only Zandon close to him as they came down the stretch.  But Rich Strike had other plans and Epicenter had to settle for second (there are worse fates than that).  Pimlico should be a completely different story.  Not only is there no Rich Strike here, but this race is shorter and the Pimlico track is a different animal altogether.  The only question for Epicenter is how he will come back in two weeks after such a grueling race at Churchill.  Those who don't like betting odds-on favorites will be forced to look elsewhere as Epicenter will likely be even money or 4-5 come post time #5 - Early Voting.  Trainer Chad Brown was obviously disappointed when Zandon made what looked like a winning run in the Derby only to finish third to Rich Strike and Epicenter.  He decided not to bring Zandon to Baltimore but has another talented runner in Early Voting.  Brown and owners Klavarich Stables are the same connections that won this race in 2017 with Cloud Computing.  Early Voting has plenty of early speed and one thing the son of Gun Runner doesn't want to do on Saturday is get into a speed duel, with Epicenter sitting off the pace ready to pounce down the stretch.  If Early Voting can harness his speed and Epicenter doesn't bring his "A" game, this race could be his for the taking.  The Preakness could be a two-horse race, and for those who don't want to settle for even money, Early Voting offers an attractive alternative. Pretenders:  #1 - Simplification.  The talented Antonio Sano-trained colt will likely find the winners circle a few more times in his career.  And with a fourth-place finish in the Derby, there will be more than a few people who will find his 5-1 or 6-1 Preakness odds too juicy to ignore.  But the fact is that Simplification is a notch below horses like Early Voting, Epicenter, and even the filly Secret Oath.  And the Florida prep races he came out of also appear to be sub-standard.  It's also interesting to note that regular rider Jose Ortiz jumped off of Simplification to get aboard Chad Brown's Early Voting.  Sano is one of the best trainers down in Gulfstream Park but when shipping outside of the Sunshine State, his numbers are not very good.  Sano's numbers are even worse when it comes to Graded Stakes races.  Yes, this is a very talented race horse.  But at likely odds of 6-1 in the win pool, other options should be more attractive. # 4- Secret Oath.  D. Wayne Lukas' daughter of Arrogate is arguably the most talented filly in training in the U.S.  She won the Kentucky Oaks the day before the Derby and no one can blame "The Coach" for running her today in the second jewel.  After all, six fillies have won this race and there is some recent precedence.  The great Rachel Alexandria won the Preakness in 2009 and Swiss Skydiver repeated that feat just two years ago.  But Secret Oath has already had a chance against the boys in the Arkansas Derby and she was a well-beaten third to winner Cyberknife (who finished 18th in the Derby).  There will be plenty of casual players who will be rooting for the only filly in the race and that will likely drive her odds down to 4-1 or lower.  Given that likelihood it is best to root for her from your couch and not your wallet. Live Longshots:  #7 - Armagnac.  No trainer has won more Preakness Stakes than Bob Baffert (he has seven).  And unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Baffert isn't welcome in the Triple Crown Races these days.  But that doesn't mean horses he started out training aren't going to make an appearance.  Armagnac is a 3YO son of Quality Road who was originally in Baffert's barn but is now being trained by Tim Yakteen.  All five of his races have been at Santa Anita and in his only two Stakes races he has fared poorly.  But Armagnac has the type of running style that might suit him to Pimlico this Saturday evening.  He gets one of the best jockeys in the country in Irad Ortiz and although he's probably not a win candidate, at 12-1 or more, Armagnac makes a compelling case for use in the bottom of an exacta.#9 - Skippylongstocking.  If there is a pace meltdown this Saturday, then it's not out of the question that a total bomb could get up and finish second in this race or even cross the wire first.  Just two weeks ago we saw an 80-1 shot come out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby.  And by almost any measure, this Saffie Joseph-trained colt is more accomplished coming into this race than Rich Strike was going into the Derby.  Skippy's sire is Exaggerator, who won this race back in 2016.  Skippy last ran in the Wood Memorial and was closing fast at the end of that race.  Underrated jockey Junior Alvarado, who's been aboard this colt in his last three races, gets the call again for the Preakness.  And at likely odds of 25-1, he offers a compelling alternative to the favorites.  One thing is for certain:  if a horse like Skippylongstocking can win the Preakness, then the connections of Rich Strike will be kicking themselves for their lack of confidence. Don't miss my Preakness Stakes winning info at the Shop Picks page.  I cashed the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, and have now cashed a fantastic 11 of the last 24 Triple Crown races, including many longshots!Good luck, as always,Al McMordie

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Serie A, La Liga & Premier League: The Final Weekend

by Power Sports

Thursday, May 19, 2022

It’s the final weekend of the season in Serie A, La Liga and the English Premier League. Two of the three title races are still up for grabs, European places are on the line and the relegation battle in all three leagues is not settled. Here’s what to look for on Matchday 39.Serie ASo the four Champions League spots have been clinched (by AC Milan, Inter, Napoli and Juventus), but the Scudetto (League Championship) is still up for grabs between AC Milan and Inter. The former will head into Sunday with a two-point advantage and only need a draw with Sassuolo to finish first. Inter must beat Sampdoria and have AC Milan lose. Both teams play at Noon ET Sunday.Overachiever Lazio has already clinched one of the two Europa League spots for next season. Sixth place Roma will join them with a win over Torino on Friday. If Roma (60 points) loses or draws that match, then there’s the chance Fiorentina (59) and Atalanta (59) could both jump them. If that happens, Roma would still have a second chance to qualify for the Europa League, if they win next week’s Europa Conference League Final against Feyenoord. If Roma clinches sixth place on Friday, then Fiorentina and Atalanta will fight for seventh and the Europa Conference League spot for next season. Fiorentina has the tiebreaker based on head to head points, which could decide sixth or seventh place. Both teams play Saturday at 2:45 ET. Looking at the relegation battle, we know Venezia and Genoa are already confirmed for Serie B next season. It’s Salernitana (31 pts) and Cagliari (29) fighting to avoid being the third team to be relegated. All Salernitana needs is a win Sunday over Udinese to avoid relegation, or a Cagliari loss. Cagliari would need to beat last place Venezia AND then hope Salernitana does not win (draw or lose). Cagliari has the tiebreaker by virtue of a superior goal differential.Both Lecce and Cremonese are confirmed to move up from Serie B for next season. The third team to move up will be determined by the ongoing playoff. La Liga Not much drama here. The top four spots are clinched with Real Madrid as champions. Barcelona, Atletico and Sevilla join Los Blancos in the Champions League next season.Real Betis and Real Sociedad are guaranteed to finish 5th and 6th and while the order is yet to be determined, that means both are going to represent La Liga in the Europa League.Seventh place is still up for grabs with Villarreal holding a tenuous one-point edge over Athletic Club. In order for the latter to pass, they must beat Sevilla on Sunday and have Villarreal do no better than a draw vs. Barcelona. Any other results puts the Yellow Submarine in the Europa Conference League next season.So the most drama is at the bottom of the table with the third relegation spot to be decided and three teams involved. We know both Levante and Alaves have their relegation confirmed. That leaves Granada, Mallorca and Cadiz still fighting for survival. Right now, Granada (37) is one point ahead of the other two. They are safe with a win Sunday vs. Espanyol. If they don’t win, that leaves the door open to get jumped by the other two. Mallorca has the tiebreaker over Cadiz based on head to head points, if those two end up level on overall points. So Cadiz is the one that must earn at least a point (they are at Alaves) and hope Mallorca comes up empty at Osasuna. The Segunda Division (La Liga 2) season is not yet complete, so we still don’t know which sides will earn promotion for next season. Premier League4 spots. 8 teams. Let’s get to it.The race for the title has come down to the final matchday with Manchester City holding a one-point lead over Liverpool. If Man City defeats Aston Villa on Sunday, then they are Premier League Champions for a second consecutive season and Liverpool’s dreams of a “quadruple” (Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League Title, Champions League) are out the window. Liverpool must defeat the Wolves and then hope Man City draws or loses. Liverpool faces La Liga Champions Real Madrid the following Sunday in the Champions League Final. The fourth Champions League spot goes to either Tottenham or Arsenal. Tottenham needs only a draw vs. last place Norwich City on Sunday to clinch top four. Arsenal must defeat Everton (who no longer has anything to play for) and hope the Spurs lose.Whomever finishes fifth (Tottenham or Arsenal) goes to the Europa League. They will be joined by either Manchester United or West Ham in that competition next season. It will be Man U if the Red Devils beat Crystal Palace Sunday. But if they draw or lose, then West Ham moves into sixth with a win over Brighton. The seventh place finisher heads to the Europa Conference League.With Everton having now secured survival for next season, the battle for the third relegation spot is now between Burnley and Leeds United. Both teams have 35 points, but Burnley is way ahead on goal differential. That means Leeds must finish ahead in order to secure their survival.. If Burnley beats Newcastle United, they are guaranteed to avoid relegation. Leeds faces Brentford.We know Fulham and AFC Bournemouth will be replacing Watford and Norwich City next season in the EPL. Burnley or Leeds will be replaced by the winner of next week’s EFL Championship Playoff between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds 05/19/22

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Thursday sports card features NBA, NHL, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association continues the Eastern Conference finals with Game 2 of the best-of-seven game series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics on ESPN at 8:30 PM ET. The Heat took the first game of this series with a 118-107 victory over the Celtics in Game 1 as a 3.5-point favorite on Tuesday. Miami has won seven of their last nien games while Boston has lost four of their last seven. The Heat are a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 207.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League continue with two games on TNT. Florida hosts Tampa Bay at 7:07 PM ET. The Lightning have a 1-0 lead in this series after their upset 4-1 victory in the first game of this series on Tuesday. They have won three games in a row. Florida had a three-game losing streak snapped with the loss. The Panthers are a  -160 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Colorado plays at home against St. Louis at 9:37 PM ET. The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead in this series with their 3-2 victory against the Blues on Tuesday. Colorado has won five in a row. St. Blues had been on a three-game winning streak before the loss on Tuesday. The Avalanche are a -235 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Thursday schedule in Major League Baseball has eight games on the schedule. The New York Yankees visit Baltimore at 12:35 PM ET as a -210 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8. Philadelphia hosts San Diego at 1:05 PM ET as a -120 money line favorite with a total of 8. Two more MLB games throw out the first pitch at 1:10 PM ET. Cleveland plays at home against Cincinnati as a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. The New York Mets are at home against St. Louis as a -160 money line favorite with a total of 7. The Chicago White Sox travels to Kansas City at 2:10 PM ET as a -145 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. Boston hosts Seattle at 7:10 PM ET as a -130 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Arizona visits Chicago to play the Cubs at 7:40 PM ET as a -110 money line favorite at William Hill with an over/under of 8.Houston plays at home against Texas at 8:10 PM ET as a -200 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Matchweek 37 of the English Premier League concludes with three matches. Everton is at home against Crystal Palace on the USA Network at 2:45 PM ET as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Two matches begin on Peacock at 3 PM ET. Aston Villa hosts Burnley as a -0.5 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Chelsea plays at home against Leicester City as a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.

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The Phoenix Suns Do Not Have a "Math Problem" -- On Lazy Thinking about 3-Point Shooting

by Hollywood Sports

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

As the eulogies for the demise of the Phoenix Suns continue, a common refrain is that this team was destined to experience trouble in the postseason because they are too reliant on shooting inside the arc. This notion is both lazy and wrong — and it had nothing to do with why they lost their Game Seven showdown at home to the Dallas Mavericks by a whopping 123-90 score. Just a gentle reminder for those not old enough to remember the 2020-21 season: the Suns won the Western Conference and played in the NBA Finals. Granted, they lost that series to the Milwaukee Bucks in Six Games, but that does challenge the notion that Phoenix’s style of play was only built for regular-season success (and granted, it was a year ago at this time when many of these same critics were convinced they were better head coaches than Mike Budenholzer because of their sophisticated opinions on the best way to execute drop coverages about pick-and-rolls; funny, the “Budenholzer can’t coach” crowd has become silent). Phoenix did go into the fourth quarter of that Game Six on the road with the game tied. Most teams that leap from not even making the playoffs the previous season to being one quarter away from playing in a Game Seven of an NBA Finals would be lauded. Not Phoenix — they have a fundamental “math problem” because they fail to grasp the fact that three points are more than two points. The Suns indeed are one of the least reliant teams on 3-point shooting. Last year, they took 39.2% of their shots from the field from behind the arc, ranking 15th in the league. That number actually dropped in the playoffs to a 35.6% clip, ranking 13th of the 16 teams in the postseason. Phoenix’s Offensive Efficiency ranked 7th in the NBA in the regular season -- and it did drop to 10th in the postseason. But before you started screaming “Evidence!” — keep in mind that Milwaukee was crowned champion ranking 11th in the postseason in Offensive Efficiency despite taking 38.4% of their shots from 3-point range. Here’s the thing about math: making 34% of your 3-point shots does not produce more points than making, say, 52% of your 2-point shots. If a team takes 100 shots — all from 3-point land — and hits 34% of them, that results in 102 points.  If their opponent takes 100 shots — all 2-pointers inside the arc — and hist 52% of these shots, they generate 104 points. Losing by two points, 104-102, presents a “math problem” for the team relying on 3-pointers. This season, Phoenix saw their 3-point attempts actually drop to a 35.4% clip of all the shots they took from the field, ranking 27th in the NBA. But not only did they then earn the top record in the regular season, but they also raised their Offensive Rating to fifth in the league. In the playoffs, their 3-point shooting actually lowered to representing just 32.8% of their shots, ranking 15th of 16 teams. Yet their Offensive Efficiency ranked 4th of all playoff teams. But, wait! The problem for the Suns is they ran into a Dallas team that simply understood how math works. The Mavericks top all postseason teams by attempting 49.8% of their shots from 3-point range. They get it! Three is more than two, idiots! Yet Dallas ranked just 14th in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency in the regular season, they enter the Western Conference Finals ranking 5th in Offensive Efficiency — just behind the Suns' team they just dispatched. Yeah, but, Phoenix sure could have used some 3-point shooting in their humiliating loss to Dallas in Game Seven! The Mavericks set the tone by nailing 19 of their 39 shots from downtown for a 49% clip. Well, you will get no argument from me that it is tough to beat a team that makes nearly 50% of their shots from behind the arc — especially when they take half their shots from 3-point land. But the Suns did attempt 34 shots from 3-point range themselves — and their 35% field goal percentage from their 12 made 3s was around their average. What buried Phoenix in Game Seven was that they could not make their shots inside the arc. They missed 32 of their 53 shots that count for 2-points for a 39.6% percentage. The Suns had a 55.2% field goal percentage inside the arc in the regular season. If they meet that expectation in Game Seven, they make eight more baskets and score 16 more points. Admittedly, that only cuts the Dallas lead in half — but going into halftime trailing by 15 points is much different than going into halftime down an incredible 30 points. If Phoenix hits their 2s, the game script changes, and the Mavericks feel more pressure on the road — and perhaps they don’t continue their torrid 56.8% shooting clip. It’s a lot easier to make shots up 30 points. The Suns have problems. The effort in that Game Seven was not simply the result of bad luck outliers given the math problem inherent in the chaos of shooting a round ball into a round hole. But this was a team that began the playoffs with eight straight games where they made at least 50% of their shots (twice eclipsing 60%) and posted an Offensive Rating of 114.8 (which would be third best if applied to the regular season). Furthermore, the case can be made that Phoenix’s consistency with their shooting inside the arc helped them win close games during the regular season. In clutch situations where the game was still within five points with five minutes left to go, the Suns enjoyed an Offensive Efficiency Rating of 131.6. That helped them post a 33-9 record in games that were within five minutes with five minutes to go. The football analytics folks would argue that those results are completely a function of luck. The basketball analytics folks are more open to the idea that perhaps success like that is a function of skill. Of course, Phoenix was touchdowns away from being within five points of the Mavericks with five minutes left to go in their Game Seven. But to suggest that the problem with the Suns is that their offense would be better if they simply took more 3-point shots because “3 is more than 2!” is monumentally lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I do think Phoenix could use another reliable outside shooter. But the system deployed by head coach Monty Williams is not fundamentally flawed. The Suns got embarrassed in Game Seven because they are broken elsewhere. Best of luck — Frank.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, and MLB Previews and Odds - 05/18/2022

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Wednesday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association begins the Western Conference finals with Game 1 of the best-of-seven game series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors on ESPN at 9 PM ET. The Warriors won their third game in their last four in beating Memphis in six games with their 110-96 victory as a 7.5-point favorite on Friday. The Mavericks won their fourth game in their last five with a 123-90 upset victory at Phoenix in Game 7 of their second-round series on Sunday. Golden State is a 5-point home favorite with the total set at 214.5 (all odds from DraftKings). The conference semifinals in the National Hockey League continue with two games on ESPN. The Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers at 7:07 PM ET. The Hurricanes won their second game in their last three with a 3-2 victory against Boston in the seventh game of their opening-round series on Saturday. The Rangers are on a three-game winning streak after a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh in Game 7 of their first-round series on Sunday. Carolina is a -160 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. The Calgary Flames play at home against the Edmonton Oilers at 9:37 PM ET. The Flames won their third game in their last four with a 3-2 victory against Dallas in the seventh game of their first-round series on Sunday. The Oilers won their second straight game to rally from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat Los Angeles, 2-0, in Game 7 of their opening-round series on Saturday. Calgary is a -165 money line favorite with a total of 6. The Wednesday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on its schedule. Two games throw out the first pitch at 1:10 PM ET. Milwaukee is at home against Atlanta as a -140 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Tampa Bay hosts Detroit as a -200 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. San Francisco travels to Colorado at 3:10 PM ET as a -155 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10.5. Minnesota plays at Oakland at 3:37 PM ET as a -155 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at home against Arizona at 4:10 PM ET as a -290 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Two MLB games start at 6:10 PM ET. Cleveland is at home against Cincinnati as a -135 money line favorite with a total of 7.5. Houston visits Boston as a -145 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Miami hosts Washington at 6:40 PM ET as a -180 money line favorite with a total of 7.5. Philadelphia plays at home against San Diego at 6:45 PM ET as a -145 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. The New York Yankees are at Baltimore at 7:05 PM ET as a -255 money line road favorite with a total of 8. Toronto is at home against Seattle at 7:07 PM ET as a -235 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. The New York Mets are at home against St. Louis at 7:10 PM ET as a -190 money line with a total of 7. The Chicago Cubs host Pittsburgh at 7:40 PM ET as a -145 money line favorite. The Los Angeles Angels visit Texas at 8:05 PM ET as a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The Chicago White Sox plays at Kansas City at 8:10 PM ET as a -160 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5.

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The NBA Western Conference Finals

by AAA Sports

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Is it time to bid farewell to the NBA as we once knew it?There will be a new champion, and it will come from a group of four teams that couldn’t even make it to Round 2 last season. Besides the Bucks being unable to repeat, we have said adios to Brooklyn, a team built with three stars; Phoenix, which tied its horse to aging Chris Paul but could get only so far; and Philadelphia, who appears to have hitched its wagon to a James Harden whose best days are in the rearview mirror and getting smaller by the game.With the old guard and the old way of assembling teams skating on thin ice, say hello to the Dallas Mavericks and its single-star concept. Whether by design or just Mark Cuban’s inability to add another big gun to the roster, the Mavs have ridden Luka Doncic and a plethora of role players all the way to the Western Conference finals.Dallas opens final four play Wednesday night against the Warriors, a (very) veteran team that represents the last holdout for the three-star concept. If the Mavs are able to overcome considerable odds (GS is -210, Dallas +180 in the series) and actually takes care of business, it could mean that other teams will take a long hard look before they accede to the wishes of superstars and try to load up on talent and let the rest take care of itself.Against the heavily favored Suns in the Western semis, Doncic scoffed when Phoenix took a 2-0 series lead, then put the hammer down in an astonishing Game 7. Doncic scored Dallas’s first 8 points, the Mavs had a 57-27 lead at halftime, and then spent the third quarter conducting an autopsy on the beleaguered Suns. The lead was 46 at one point, as Suns stars Paul and Devin Booker had zero answers.Dallas is hardly expecting Golden State to be as compliant as the Suns were. Steph Curry is Steph Curry, Klay Thompson is rounding into form after returning from injury, and Draymond Green is always ready to bust a vein when things go even a little bit wrong. The Warriors’ pass-and-cut offense allows the defense no rest, and even Doncic will have to work on the other end.Doncic won’t have to do it alone, but any help he gets will come from an unlikely source – because the rest of the rotation is filled with unlikely sources. Jalen Brunson is as close to Robin as there is for Doncic’s Batman, but Brunson will have his hands full running through screens and chasing Curry or Thompson.  Spencer Dinwiddie torched the Suns for 30 (9 more than Paul and Booker had, combined) but is in and out. Reggie Bullock and Dwight Powell scare no one.The Warriors, who are 5-point favorites in Wednesday’s Game 1, will no doubt game plan to tire and slow down Doncic, who was admittedly in poor shape to start the season. In Round 1 Utah made only token efforts at defense, and the Suns simply ran out of gas and lacked a coherent defensive approach. GS coach Steve Kerr will no doubt come up with something, perhaps hounding the ball-dominant Donic the same way that Boston harassed Milwaukee do-everything Giannis Antetkounmpo. Giannas had nothing left by the second half of Game 7 after dealing with multiple defenders and double-teams for two weeks. OTOH, the Bucks couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean from 3, and that’s what Golden State does best.Ask the oddsmakers, and they’ll simply count the number of stars on each team, and tell you that the Warriors will make another run at the title. They’re the betting favorite to win it all at +135, with Boston (+175) and Miami (+490) behind GS. Bringing up the rear are the Mavericks, at +565. More motivation for a team with one star aching to change the power structure and perhaps alter the way teams are built in the Association.

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