Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAAF Preview

by Big Al Staff

All four major sports have games on the Friday card headlined by the NBA and NHL playoffs.

The NBA playoffs feature Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami took a 3-1 lead in this series on Wednesday when they upset Boston by a 112-109 score as a 3.5-point underdog.

The Celtics remain favored for this game despite being on the brink of elimination. BetAnySports lists Boston as a 3-point favorite with a total of 213. After four games, both of these teams have scored 441 points apiece. The Celtics are outshooting and outrebounding the Heat while also shooting better from 3-point land. The reason why Miami has put themselves in a position to win this series is that they are creating more scoring opportunities by forcing turnovers. The Celtics are averaging 16.0 turnovers per game in this series while the Heat are turning the ball over just 11.3 times per game. This disparity has helped Miami average six more shot attempts per game than Boston.

Game time is set for 8:30 PM ET on ESPN.

The Stanley Cup Finals continues with Game 4 of the Tampa Bay/Dallas series. The Lightning took a 2-1 lead on Wednesday with their 5-2 victory over the Stars. Steven Stamkos took the ice to play in his first game since February 26th with his presence seeming to inspire his Tampa Bay teammates. Yet Stamkos did not take a shift in the final 46 minutes of Wednesday’s game so he might not play tonight with the lower-body injury that has kept him out for seven months.

BetAnySports has the Lightning as a -160 money-line favorite with the over/under set at 5. The puck drops shortly after 8 PM ET on NBC.

The first college football game played on a Friday night this season features two teams that appear to be moving in opposite directions in a Conference USA clash that was not on the original schedule for these teams a week ago at this time.

The University of Texas-San Antonio is off to a dream start in the first year of head coach Jeff Traylor. The Roadrunners outlasted Texas State on the road in their opening game of the season to pull out a 51-48 victory in overtime on September 12th. UTSA returned home last Saturday to host an FCS opponent in Stephen F. Austin, who they defeated by a 24-10 score as a 17-point favorite.

Middle Tennessee opened the season with an embarrassing 42-0 loss at Army on September 5th, and they were not able to make many adjustments two weeks later with Troy then throttling them by a 47-14 score despite being just a 1.5-point underdog. 

UTSA was, originally, scheduled to host Memphis on Saturday, but the Tigers’ COVID outbreak caused them to cancel their game with Houston just last Saturday. These two football programs agreed to this play game six days ago. Middle Tennessee had previously scheduled a trip to conference rival Old Dominion, but that game was canceled last month when the Monarchs opted out of football the season.

BetAnySports lists UTSA as a 7-point favorite with a total set at 60. The CBS Sports Network picked up the broadcast this week to replace the Roadrunners clash with the Tigers. Kickoff is set for 8 PM ET.

The final weekend of the MLB regular season commences today with eighteen games on the card including seven-inning doubleheaders between St. Louis/Milwaukee, Colorado/Arizona, and San Francisco/San Diego. The Cardinals and Brewers begin today’s slate of games at 5:15 PM ET.

ESPN2 features the Windy City rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Cubs with Dylan Cease making the start for the White Sox. BetAnySports has the Cubs as a -160 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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