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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 04/11/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Apr 11, 2021

The Sunday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and English Premier League.The NBA has ten games on the docket. The card begins at 1:00 PM ET, with Atlanta playing at Charlotte as a 4-point road favorite with the total set at 220.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Boston visits Denver at 3 PM ET in the other afternoon NBA contest. New Orleans travels to Cleveland at 7 PM ET as a 6.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 227. Milwaukee plays at Orlando. Chicago visits Minnesota at 8 PM ET with the Bulls a 4.5-point road favorite with the total at 231. Dallas is at home against San Antonio as a 6-point favorite with an over/under of 220.5. Toronto plays at New York. Indiana travels to Memphis. Miami is on the road against Portland at 10 PM ET as a 1-point road favorite with the total at 222. Detroit plays in Los Angeles against the Clippers.Seven games are on the NHL slate. Philadelphia hosts Buffalo at 2 PM ET as a -225 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Vegas is at home against Arizona at 4 PM ET as a -234 money line favorite with a total of 5.5. Colorado visits Anaheim at 6 PM ET as a -335 money line road favorite with an over/under of 5.5.Pittsburgh travels to New Jersey at 7 PM ET as a -178 money line road favorite with a total of 6. The New York Islanders are at home against the New York Rangers as a -118 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Boston is at home against Washington as a -109 money line favorite with a total of 5.5. At 8 PM ET, Dallas plays at Nashville.Fourteen games are on the MLB schedule. The Chicago Cubs play at Pittsburgh at 1:05 PM ET as a -143 money line road favorite with the over/under at 8.5. Boston plays at Baltimore as a -137 money line road favorite with the total at 9.5. Toronto hosts the Los Angeles Angels at 1:07 PM ET. Cleveland is at home against Detroit at 1:10 PM ET as a 169 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. The New York Yankees visit Tampa Bay. Miami plays at the New York Mets. Minnesota plays at home against Seattle at 2:10 PM ET as a -182 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Chicago White Sox are at home against Kansas City as a -138 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. St. Louis hosts Milwaukee at 2:15 PM ET as a -123 money line favorite with the total at 8.5. San Diego plays at Texas at 2:35 PM ET as a -166 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. San Francisco is at home against Colorado at 4:05 PM ET as a -119 money line favorite with a total of 8. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at home against Washington at 4:10 PM ET as a -175 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Cincinnati visits Arizona as a -111 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Atlanta hosts Philadelphia to conclude the card for Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN at 7:08 PM ET. The Braves have won four in a row after their 5-4 victory against the Phillies on Saturday. They send out Drew Smyly to face Philadelphia’s Matt Moore. The Phillies have lost three of four. Atlanta is a -159 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.Matchweek 31 in the English Premier League continues with four matches on the NBC Peacock app. Burnley plays at home against Newcastle United at 7 AM ET as a -0.25 goal line favorite with the total at 2. Leicester City visits West Ham United at 9:05 AM ET as a -0.25 money line road favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Manchester United visits Tottenham at 11:30 AM ET in a pick ‘em match up with the total at 2.5. Arsenal travels to Sheffield United at 2 PM ET as a -1 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.5.

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MLB Baseball: Oakland A's vs. Houston Astros - Preview, Odds and Prediction - 04/10/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Apr 10, 2021

Saturday MLB FS1 Preview: Oakland versus Houston. Oakland plays at Houston on FS1 at 4 PM ET to conclude their two-game series. The A’s won for just the second time in nine games this season with their 6-2 victory against the Astros last night. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 in the eighth inning before Matt Olsen broke things open with a three-run blast. The A’s won the AL West last season but lost some key pieces from that team, including shortstop Marcus Siemien and closer Liam Hendricks. Billy Beane and general manager David Forst brought in Elvis Andrus to play short and Trevor Rosenthal to close games. Rosenthal has since suffered a shoulder injury that placed him on the 60-day disabled list. Oakland is averaging only 2.4 runs per game this season with a .170 batting average, .253 on-base percentage, and an OPS of 514. The bullpen has a 6.21 ERA with a 1.68 WHIP. Manager Bob Melvin currently is using a committee of Lou Trivino, Jake Diekman, and Sergio Romo to close out games. Diekman pitched the ninth inning last night but gave up a run.Frankie Montas makes his second start for the A’s this afternoon. He was rocked for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in his initial start this season at home against the Dodgers. The 28-year old right-hander was 3-5 with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 11 starts last year.Houston was 0-9 last night with runners in scoring position. Sluggers Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez at the heart of their lineup combined to go 0-13 at the plate. It was just the second loss for the Astros in eight games this season.Dusty Baker led this team to within one game of the World Series in his first year managing the club. Houston has won the AL West title in three of the last four seasons. They lost outfielder George Springer to free agency in the offseason. Brantley got signed to take his spot. The Astros also got Alvarez back on the field after the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year winner only played two games last year because of injuries and COVID. Houston is averaging 7.3 runs per game this season with a .290 batting average, an on-base percentage of .354, and an OPS of .890. The Astros have a bullpen ERA of 2.93 with a 1.16 WHIP. Baker turns to Jose Urquidy after he allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings at Oakland in his first start on April 4th. The 25-year old right-hander had a 1-1 record with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in five starts last year. This showdown is already the seventh meeting between these two AL West rivals this season. Houston has won five of the six games. Both teams have Sunday off before embarking on a new series on Monday. The Astros host Detroit for three games next week while the A's travel to Arizona for a two-game series. BetAnySports lists the Astros as a -143 money line favorite with a total set at 9.Computer prediction:  Houston Astros 5 Oakland A's 4

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 04/10/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Apr 10, 2021

The Saturday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and English Premier League. The NBA has seven games on the docket. The card begins at 7:30 PM ET, with Toronto playing at Cleveland.  Brooklyn hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on ABC at 8:30 PM ET. The Nets have won six of their last seven games with their 139-111 win against New Orleans as an 8-point favorite on Wednesday. James Harden is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury, but Kevin Durant played 19 minutes against the Pelicans in his first game back since February 13th with his hamstring injury. The Lakers have lost two of their last three games after their 110-104 loss at Miami as a 9.5-point underdog on Thursday. The defending champions remain without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who are out with injuries. Brooklyn is a 12.5-point favorite with the total set at 223.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Utah plays at home against Sacramento at 9 PM ET as a 12.5-point favorite with an over/under of 230.5. Philadelphia visits Oklahoma City at 9 PM ET. Washington travels to Phoenix at 10 PM ET. Golden State is at home against Houston as a 9-point favorite with a total of 228. Detroit plays at Portland at 10 PM ET. Ten games are on the NHL slate. The card begins at 2 PM ET with two games. Dallas is at home against Florida as a -112 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Boston visits Philadelphia as a -115 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5.  Four NHL games start at 7 PM ET. Montreal hosts Winnipeg as a -128 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Chicago visits Columbus as a -113 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. Toronto plays at home against Ottawa as a -340 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5.  Tampa travels to Nashville for a clash at 8 PM ET as a -175 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. Minnesota visits St. Louis at 8 PM ET. Edmonton plays at Calgary as a -106 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6. San Jose plays at home against Los Angeles at 10:30 PM ET.  Thirteen games are on the MLB schedule. The New York Mets are at home against Miami as a -259 money line favorite with a total of 7. The New York Yankees visit Tampa Bay as a -115 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Minnesota is at home against Seattle at 2:10 PM ET as a -175 money line favorite with a total of 8. The Chicago White Sox host Kansas City as a -143 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. St. Louis is at home against Milwaukee as a -106 money line favorite with a total of 8.5.  San Francisco plays at home against Colorado at 4:05 PM ET as a -177 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Houston hosts Oakland as a -150 money line favorite with the total at 9. Cleveland is at home against Detroit at 6:10 PM ET as a -157 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. The Chicago Cubs play at Pittsburgh at 6:35 PM ET as a -155 money line favorite with a total of 8.5.  Boston visits Baltimore at 7:05 PM ET as a -128 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. San Diego travels to Texas as a -174 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Toronto is at home against the Los Angeles Angels as a -118 money line favorite with an over/under of 11. Atlanta is at home against the Los Angeles Angels as a -135 money line favorite with a total of 8.5.  Matchweek 31 in the English Premier League continues with three matches. Manchester City hosts Leeds United at 7:30 AM ET on the Peacock app as a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Liverpool is at home against Aston Villa at 10 AM ET on the NBC Sports Network as a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 2.75. Chelsea visits Crystal Palace at 12:30 PM ET on NBC as a -1 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.25. 

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NHL Hockey: Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks - Preview, Odds and Prediction - 04/09/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Apr 09, 2021

Friday NHL Preview: Los Angeles versus San Jose. Los Angeles visits San Jose tonight in a battle of two West Division teams fighting for their playoff lives. The puck drops at 10:38 PM ET.The Kings ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against Arizona on Wednesday. Los Angeles got a goal from Jaret Anderson-Dolan in the first period but entered the third period trailing, 3-1. Goals from Adrian Kempe and Jeff Carter deadlocked the score before Carl Grundstrom scored the game-winner at the 6:05 minute mark. Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the victory. Todd McClellan is likely to turn back to Calvin Petersen as his goaltender tonight. Quick has not started in two straight games for the Kings since mid-February. Petersen has a 7-9-4 record this season with a 2.57 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. The 26-year old has started three of the last five games for Los Angeles. Center Anze Kopitar leads the team with 40 points coming from eight goals and 32 assists. Defenseman Drew Doughty has scored eight goals with 22 assists. Right wing Alex Iafallo is third on the team with 23 points from nine goals and 14 assists. Despite the win on Tuesday, the Kings have lost six of their last eight games. With 36 points to date from their 15-17-6 record, Los Angeles is in seventh place in the West, seven points behind Arizona for the fourth and final playoff spot from the division. This contest is just their second game on the road in a stretch of eight games which concludes with a two-game homestand against Vegas next week.San Jose had their four-game winning streak end with a 5-1 loss at home to Anaheim on Tuesday. The Sharks fell behind, 2-0 before Patrick Marleau scored on a power play to pull his team within one goal. The Ducks scored the final three goals for the victory. Martin Jones stopped 29 shots in the defeat. He has a 14-8-2 record with a 3.08 goals-against-average and a .904 save percentage. He has made five straight starts so it is not likely that Doug Wilson will opt for backup Devan Dubnyk against the Kings. Jones has a 5-1-0 record against Los Angeles this season with a 2.37 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage. Left wing Evander Kane leads the Kings with 33 points from 16 goals and 17 assists. Center Logan Couture adds 14 goals and 11 assists. Center Tomas Hertl has another 11 goals and 13 assists to rank third on the team with 24 points. San Jose has won six of their last nine to rise to sixth place in the West and pull within five points of Arizona. Their 17-17-4 record gives them 38 points. This contest is the second game of a five-game homestand for the Sharks. They will likely still be without defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic who is questionable with an upper-body injury. This showdown is the first of a two-game series between these two teams, who will play tomorrow night in Los Angeles. BetAnySports lists San Jose as a -124 money line favorite, with the total set at 5.5.Computer prediction:  San Jose Sharks 3 Los Angeles Kings 2

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, NHL, NBA and EPL Previews and Odds - 04/09/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Apr 09, 2021

The Friday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and English Premier League.The NBA has nine games on the docket. The card begins at 7 PM ET, with Indiana playing at Orlando. Memphis travels to New York at 7:30 PM ET. The Grizzlies are a -1.5 point road favorite with the total set at 213.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Boston hosts Minnesota as a -8.5 point favorite with an over/under of 228. Philadelphia visits New Orleans at 8 PM ET. Atlanta plays at home against Chicago as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 227.5. Charlotte plays at Milwaukee, and Denver hosts San Antonio at 9 PM ET. Golden State is at home against Washington at 10 PM ET as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 240.5. The Los Angeles Clippers hosts Houston as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 226.Seven games are on the NHL slate. Three games begin the schedule at 7 PM ET. The New York Islanders host the New York Rangers as a -121 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Pittsburgh visits New Jersey as a -180 money line road favorite with a total of 6. Washington travels to Buffalo as a -240 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6. At 8 PM ET, on the NHL Network, Minnesota plays at St. Louis as a -112 money line road favorite, with a total of 5.5. Vegas is at home against Arizona at 10 PM ET. The Golden Knights are a -220 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Colorado travels to Anaheim as a -340 money line road favorite with a total of 6. San Jose hosts Los Angeles at 10:30 PM ET as a -120 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5.Nine games are on the MLB slate. The opening pitch is at 3:10 PM ET, with the New York Yankees playing at Tampa Bay as a -130 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers host Washington at 4:10 PM ET as a -270 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. San Francisco is at home against Colorado at 4:35 PM ET as a -152 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Los Angeles Angels visit Toronto at 7:07 PM ET. Cleveland is at home against Detroit at 7:10 PM ET as a -183 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Atlanta plays at home against Philadelphia at 7:20 PM ET as a -125 money line favorite with a total of 8. San Diego visits Texas at 8:05 PM ET as a -185 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Houston is at home against Oakland at 8:10 PM ET as a -170 money line favorite with the total at 9. Cincinnati plays at Arizona at 9:40 PM ET as a -131 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.Matchweek 31 of the English Premier League begins on Friday, with Fulham hosting Wolverhampton at 3 PM ET. The Cottagers are a -0.25 favorite against the Wolves, with the total set at 2. The NBC Peacock app has the broadcast.

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PGA Golf: The Masters Championship - Preview, Odds and Prediction - 04/08/2021

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Apr 08, 2021

The Masters Championship Preview: April 8th, 2021The 85th Masters Championship returns to its traditional April weekend this week after last year’s tournament got delayed until November because of the COVID shutdown. Dustin Johnson returns as the defending champion after breaking a course record by two strokes with his 20 under par to win the event. Johnson is the favorite to win this tournament again at +900 odds (all odds from BetOnline). Johnson has won five victories in the last ten months, but he has not in his top form as of late. Johnson had registered six top-10s in a row before winning the Masters in November. This time around, Johnson finished in 54th place at the World Golf Championships event at the Concessions before a tie for 48th place at the Player’s Championship and a tie for 28th place at the World Gold Championship match play event two weeks ago. Only Tiger Woods has scored better than Johnson in the last two Masters Championships, with Johnson finishing second in the spring of 2019.Bryson DeChambeau is +1000 to win going into Thursday morning. After winning the US Open last fall, DeChambeau claimed that his par for Augusta National was 68. He finished tied for 34th place that week. DeChambeau won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March before finishing tied for third place at the Player’s Championship a week later. DeChambeau has never placed better than 21st in his four appearances at this tournament. Justin Thomas is +1000 to win the tournament as well. Thomas won the Player’s Championship in March after shooting 12 under par on the weekend at TPC Sawgrass. He has made all five cuts in his previous trips to Augusta, with his fourth place in November being his best result. Jordan Spieth is +1000 to with the tournament, with bettors pushing his number down after winning the Valero Texas Open last weekend. The former number one player in the world has rediscovered his game with four top-four results since February. Spieth won the 2015 Masters, and he has finished in third place or better four times. Jon Rahm is +1200 to win this week. Rahm is a new father as of Sunday, and he hopes he can experience the same magic that Daniel Willet did when he won the Masters as a new father in 2016. Rahm has been the model of consistency with top-ten finishes in seven of his last nine events. He has finished in the top ten at the Masters in three straight appearances, including his tie for seventh place last November.Rory McIlroy comes in at a +1800 price. He finished in a tie for 28th place at the World Golf Championship match-play event two weeks ago after missing the cut at the Player’s Championship. McIlroy blames his recent form on being too aggressive with his driver after witnessing DeChambeau’s recent success. He has since hired a new driving coaching. McIlroy has six straight top-ten finishes at Augusta National since 2014.Patrick Cantlay is a +2200 favorite. He has eight top-20 finishes this season, with a win at the Zozo Championship and second place at The American Express. Cantlay finished tied for ninth place in 2019 after leading on Sunday before a tie for 17th place last November. Xander Schauffele is a +2500 favorite. His last event was a tie for 18th place at the World Golf Championship match-play event two weeks ago. Schauffele followed up a tie for 2nd place at the Masters in 2019 with a tie for 17th place in November. Brooks Koepka is a +2800 favorite. He returns to action for the first time in six weeks after having surgery on his right knee a month ago. He had previously finished in second place in 2021 at the World Golf Championship event at the Concessions. Koepka finished in a tie for second place at the 2019 Masters before a tie for seventh place in November. Collin Morikawa is a +2800 favorite. He won the PGA Championship last year, and he has since won the World Golf Championship event at the Concession. This event is his second Masters after finishing in 44th place in November. ESPN and ESPN+ broadcast the Masters on Thursday and Friday. ESPN+ has the early coverage on the weekend before CBS takes over on both days.Prediction:  Rory McIlroy (+1800) to win The Masters Championship.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and MLB Previews and Odds - 04/08/2021

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Apr 08, 2021

The Thursday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, and MLB.The NBA has seven games on the docket. Chicago plays Toronto at 7:30 PM ET. A doubleheader on TNT begins at 7:30 PM ET with Miami hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat had their four-game winning streak snapped with a 124-112 upset loss to Memphis as a 6.5-point favorite on Tuesday. The Lakers have won four of their last six games even without LeBron James and Anthony Davis after their 110-101 win at Toronto as a 1-point favorite on Tuesday. Miami is an 8-point favorite with the total set at 204.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Cleveland visits Oklahoma City at 8 PM ET as a 3-point road favorite with an over/under of 212.5. Milwaukee travels to Dallas at 9 PM ET. The NBA card concludes at 10 PM ET with three games. Utah plays at home against Portland as a 7-point favorite with a total of 230.5. Detroit visits Sacramento. The Los Angeles Clippers are at home against Phoenix in the nightcap on TNT. The Clippers have won eight of their last ten games after their 133-116 win against Portland as a 6.5-point favorite on Tuesday. The Suns have won seven straight games after their 117-113 upset win in overtime against Utah as a 2.5-point underdog on Wednesday. Los Angeles is a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 223.5.The NHL has ten games on the slate, with none on national television. The puck drops with eight games starting at 7 PM ET. Carolina plays at home against Florida as a -141 money line favorite with the total at 6. Tampa Bay visits Colorado as a -208 money line road favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Winnipeg plays at Montreal. The New York Rangers hosts Pittsburgh as a -120 money line favorite with the total at 6. The New York Islanders are at home against Philadelphia as a -160 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. The New Jersey Devils visit Buffalo as a -130 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. Edmonton plays at Ottawa. Nashville travels to Detroit at 7:30 PM ET as a -155 money line road favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Dallas plays at Chicago at 8 PM ET as a -110 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. Nine games are on the MLB schedule, with none on national television. The slate begins at 1:10 PM ET with Miami visiting the New York Mets. The Chicago Cubs play at Pittsburgh at 1:35 PM ET as a -133 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Boston plays at Baltimore at 3:05 PM ET as a -159 money line road favorite with the total at 9. Colorado plays at home against Arizona as a -116 money line favorite with an over/under of 11.5. Minnesota hosts Seattle at 4:10 PM ET as a -180 money line favorite with a total of 8. The Chicago White Sox plays at home against Kansas City as a -158 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Milwaukee travels to St. Louis as a -130 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Toronto is at home against the Los Angeles Angels at 7:07 PM ET as a -114 money line favorite with a total of 10. Houston plays at home versus Oakland as a -158 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.5.

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UEFA Champions League: Quarterfinals Preview and Odds - 04/07/2021

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021

The quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League continue on Wednesday with the two remaining first-leg matches at 3 PM ET. Both games are on Paramount (formerly CBS All-Access).Bayern Munich hosts Paris Saint-Germain at their Allianz Stadium. The Bavarians advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 second-leg win against Lazio on March 17th, which secured a 6-2 aggregate score victory. Bayern Munich has won 18 of their last 19 matches in the Champions League. Hansi Flick’s team comes off a 1-0 win at RB Leipzig on Saturday. The victory improved the Bavarians' first place lead over the Red Bulls to seven points in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich will be without striker Robert Lewandowski who suffered a knee injury during the international break. The Polish star has 42 goals in 36 matches across all competitions. Paris Saint-Germain advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw against Barcelona gave them a 5-2 aggregate victory against the Catalan giants. The Parisians pulled off a surprising 4-1 win at Camp Nou in the first leg of that showdown to give them a commanding lead heading into that second leg. Manager Mauricio Pochettino’s men come off a 1-0 loss at home to Lille in Ligue 1 action on Saturday. The loss dropped PSG into second place in the French top flight, three points behind Lille. The Parisians did get Neymar back on the pitch on Saturday after the Brazilian star was out with an injury for two months. But PSG will be without injured midfielder Mario Verratti. This showdown is a rematch of the last year’s Champions League Final, which Bayern Munich won, 1-0, on August 23rd. BookMaker lists Bayern Munich as a -0.5 goal line favorite with the total set at 3.Chelsea plays FC Porto in the second quarterfinals match today. While Porto is the technical home team today, both legs of this matchup are in Seville, Spain, to accommodate COVID travel restrictions. FC Porto advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Juventus via the road goals scored tiebreaker. After winning the first leg at home by a 2-1 score, the Dragons lost at Juventus, 3-2, on March 9th, but advanced by scoring that second goal away from home. Manager Sergio Conceicao’s side has won three straight matches in the Portugal Primeira League after a 2-1 victory at home against Santa Clara. The Dragons have not lost in the Portugal top flight since October yet remain in second place behind Sporting. Chelsea defeated Atletico Madrid by an aggregate 3-0 score in the Last 16 round, after a 2-0 win in the second leg on March 17th. Six of their last eight matches across all competitions have been clean sheets. The Blues did drop their first match under new manager Thomas Tuchel in a 5-2 upset loss at home to West Brom on Saturday. Chelsea was leading by a 1-0 score before Thiago Silva was issued a red card at the 29th minute of that match. The Baggies took advantage of the Blues playing with only ten men by scoring five unanswered goals. Chelsea had given up only two combined goals in their previous 14 matches under Tuchel since he took over for Frank Lampard in January. Chelsea will be without American midfielder Christian Pulisic and French midfielder N’Golo Kante who are both injured. BookMaker lists Chelsea as a -0.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.25.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and UEFA Champions League Previews and Odds - 04/07/2021

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021

The Wednesday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and the UEFA Champions League.The NBA has nine games on the docket headlined by a doubleheader on ESPN. New Orleans visits Brooklyn in the opening ESPN game at 7:30 PM ET. The Pelicans have lost three of four games after their 123-107 loss at Atlanta as a 3.5-point underdog on Tuesday. The Nets have won five of their last six games with their 114-112 win against New York as a 6-point favorite on Monday. Utah travels to Phoenix in the nightcap on ESPN at 10 PM ET. The Jazz had their nine-game winning streak end with a 111-103 upset loss at Dallas as a 5.5-point favorite on Monday. The Suns won their sixth straight game with a 133-130 victory at Houston as a 14-point favorite on Monday. Utah is a 2-point road favorite with the total set at 225 (all odds from BetOnline).Five games are on the NHL schedule. A doubleheader on the NBC Sports Network begins at 5 PM, with Edmonton playing at Ottawa. The Oilers have lost two of three after their 3-2 defeat at Montreal on Monday. The Senators have lost three of four with their 4-3 setback at Winnipeg on Monday. Edmonton is a -183 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6. Toronto hosts Montreal in the second game on the NBC Sports Network at 7:30 PM ET. The Maple Leafs won their fourth in a row with their 5-3 win at Calgary on Monday. The Canadiens have won four of five after their victory against Edmonton on Monday. Toronto is a -140 money line favorite with the total at 6.Fifteen games are on the MLB slate. Atlanta plays at Washington in the opener of their seven-inning doubleheader at 12:05 PM ET. Max Fried pitches for the Braves against the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg. The MLB card concludes at 8:40 PM ET with Colorado playing at home against Arizona. The Rockies send out Antonio Senzatela to face the Diamondbacks’ Madison Bumgarner. Colorado is a -110 money line favorite with an over/under of 11.5.The first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals continues with the final two matches at 3 PM ET. Bayern Munich is at home against PSG. The Bavarians advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Lazio by a 2-1 score to secure their 6-2 aggregate victory on March 17th. The Parisians earned a 5-2 aggregate score victory against Barcelona in the Final 16 round after a 1-1 draw on March 10th. Bayern Munich is a -0.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.Chelsea visits FC Porto. The Blues defeated Atletico Madrid, 2-0, on March 17th to secure a 3-0 aggregate victory in the Final 16. Porto advanced over Juventus from the road goals tie-breaker after a 3-2 road loss on March 9th. Porto won the first leg at home, 2-1. Chelsea is a -0.75 money line road favorite with an over/under of 2.25. Paramount (formerly CBS All-Access) broadcasts both matches.

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UEFA Champions League: Quarterfinals Preview and Odds - 04/06/2021

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021

UEFA Champions League Tuesday: Quarterfinals PreviewThe quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League begin on Tuesday with two first-leg matches at 3 PM ET. Real Madrid hosts Liverpool at their Alfredo di Stefano Stadium. Los Blancos advanced from the Final 16 by defeating Atalanta at home by a 3-1 score on March 16th. They bested Atalanta by a 4-1 aggregate score after winning 1-0 on the road in the first leg of that matchup. Real Madrid was sluggish in the group stage of the Champions League, winning just three of their six matches, but they still finished in first place in Group B. Los Blancos come off a 2-0 victory at home against Eibar. Zinedine Zidane’s men have won four straight matches across all competitions. They have not lost since January 30th with eight wins in their ten matches since that setback in all competitions. Real Madrid has won 11 of their last 16 games in the Spanish top flight, putting them three points behind Atletico Madrid for first place. Zinedine will be without captain Sergio Ramos who is dealing with a calf injury. The 35-year old defenseman has only played in 15 matches this season due to injuries. Liverpool advanced from the Final 16 stage with a 2-0 win against RB Leipzig on March 10th. That victory matched their 2-0 result on the road against the Red Bulls in the first leg to give them a 4-0 aggregate win. The Reds have taken a step back this season in the defense of their English Premier League title. They are in fifth place in the EPL table, three points behind West Ham United for fourth place, which is the final qualifying spot for next year’s Champions League competition. Jurgen Klopp’s side has won three straight matches in all competitions after their 3-0 victory at Arsenal on Saturday. Diogo Jota scored twice in that match to jumpstart a stagnant offense that was missing his contributions with him being out for the last few months. Liverpool has endured several crushing injuries this season in addition to Jota being on the shelf. Klopp has lost his top three center backs to injury, with Virgil Van Djik, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez all out the season. These losses have impacted the Reds’ ability to deploy their high press since the center backs become the sole line of defense. Klopp has adapted by engaging a more conservative approach on the attack, and they have registered three straight clean sheets. This showdown is a rematch of the 2018 Champions League final, which Real Madrid won by a 3-1 score. BookMaker lists this match as a pick ‘em with the total set at 2.75.Manchester City hosts Borussia Dortmund in the second quarterfinals match today. Man City has won five straight games across all competitions with their 2-0 victory at Leicester City on Saturday. The triumph against a Foxes’ team in third place in the EPL was their fourth straight clean sheet. Man City has allowed six goals in their last five matches at home at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola’s group advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after their 2-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach on March 16th. They defeated Monchengladbach by a 4-0 aggregate score after winning 2-0 on the road in the first leg of that matchup. Man City has registered seven straight clean sheets in the Champions League. Man City is cruising to their second English Premier League title in the last three seasons. They are up 14 points in the EPL table over Manchester United. Their 66 goals are eight more than Man United who has scored the second-most goals in England’s top flight. They have allowed 21 goals which are nine fewer than the 30 goals that Chelsea has given up. Guardiola has yet to win a Champions League trophy in his coaching career which includes previous stops at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Man City is attempting to pull off the rare quadruple by winning the EPL, Champions League, Carabao Cup, and FA Cup titles.Borussia Dortmund advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 2-2 draw at home on March 9th against a Sevilla side that is fourth place in La Liga. The Black and Yellow won the aggregate score, 5-4, after a 3-2 victory at Sevilla in the first leg. Edin Terzic’s men limp into this match with two losses in a row. They have won just once in their last five games across all competitions. They last played on Saturday, where they lost at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, 2-1. Borussia Dortmund is in fifth place in the Bundesliga. They are 21 points behind Bayern Munich for first place, and they trail Eintracht Frankfurt by seven points. Led by Erling Haaland, the Black and Yellow are second in the Bundesliga with 55 goals. They have only blanked once when playing on the road across all competitions this season. Haaland has scored in six straight Champions League matches, which have helped his team score at least two goals in seven of their last seven matches in the European competition. Terzic will not have Jadon Sancho who has been out since early March with a torn thigh muscle. The 21-year old midfielder has scored eight goals with 12 assists in 27 matches this season. BookMaker lists Man City as a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Both of these quarterfinal matches are on Paramount (formerly CBS All-Access).

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, MLB and UEFA Champions League Previews and Odds - 04/06/2021

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021

The Tuesday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and the UEFA Champions League.The NBA has eight games on the docket headlined by a doubleheader on TNT. Philadelphia visits Boston at 7:30 PM ET. The 76ers have lost three of five after getting upset at home to Memphis as a 3.5-point favorite on Sunday. The Celtics have won four of six after their 116-86 win against Charlotte as a 9.5-point favorite on Sunday. Philadelphia is a 1-point road favorite with the total set at 223 (all odds from BetOnline). The second game on TNT features Milwaukee visiting Golden State at 10 PM ET. The Bucks have won three in a row with their 129-118 win at Sacramento as a 3-point favorite on Saturday. The Warriors have lost seven of their last eight after a 117-111 loss at Atlanta as a 1-point underdog on Sunday. Nine games are on the NHL docket. Seven games begin the card at 7 PM ET. The New York Rangers host Pittsburgh on the NBC Sports Network. The Rangers had their two-game winning streak end with their 3-2 loss at Buffalo on Sunday. The Penguins’ five-game winning streak ended with their 7-5 defeat at Boston on Sunday. New York is a -118 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.The NHL card concludes at 10:30 PM ET with San Jose playing at home against Anaheim as a -170 money line favorite with the total at 5.5.Fourteen games are on the MLB slate. The card begins at 1:10 PM ET, with Minnesota playing at Detroit. The Twins send out J.A. Happ with the Tigers countering with Casey Mize. Minnesota is a -145 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. The New York Mets play at Philadelphia on ESPN at 7 PM ET. The Phillies improved their record to 4-0 with their 5-3 win against the Mets on Monday. That was New York’s first game of the season after their games last week got postponed due to a COVID outbreak in the Washington Nationals clubhouse. The Mets are a -133 money line road favorite with the total set at 9. The Quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League begin on Tuesday with two first-leg matches. Liverpool plays at Real Madrid on Paramount at 3 PM ET. Liverpool advanced from the first knockout stage on a 4-0 aggregate against RP Leipzig after a 2-0 win at home on March 10th. Real Madrid advanced from a 4-1 aggregate after their 3-1 victory against Atalanta on March 16th. This is a pick ‘em match-up with an over/under of 2.5.The second match has Manchester City hosting Borussia Dortmund on Paramount at 3 PM ET. Man City won a 4-0 aggregate against Borussia Monchengladbach after a 2-0 win against them on March 16th. Borussia Dortmund won by a 5-4 aggregate score against Sevilla after a 2-2 draw against them on February 9th.

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NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga/Baylor Preview, Odds and Prediction - 04/05/2021

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Apr 05, 2021

NCAAB Monday CBS Preview: Baylor versus Gonzaga. The National Championship showdown between the two teams generally considered the cream of the crop for the entire season was made official with the Final Four results on Saturday. Baylor plays Gonzaga in a battle of the top two teams in the Associated Press poll on CBS with a tip-off time of 9:20 PM ET.Baylor had it easy in their 78-59 win against Houston as a 5-point favorite in the first Final Four game on Saturday. The Bears raced out to a 45-20 going into the locker room at halftime. Jared Butler scored all of his 17 points in those first 20 minutes. Five Baylor players scored in double digits. Butler is the team’s leading scorer with a 16.6 points-per-game scoring average. The junior adds 4.7 assists per game. Senior MaCio Teague contributes 15.8 points per game. Davion Mitchell scores 14.0 points per game, with the junior leading the team with a 5.5 assists per game average. Scott Drew's deep rotation features eight players averaging at least 15 minutes per game. Six players returned from the Bears' rotation that finished 26-4 last year.Baylor ranks second in the kenpom ratings with a 27-2 record. They finished 13-1 in the Big 12 regular season before getting upset in the conference tournament semifinals to Oklahoma State, 83-74. Baylor has wins against Illinois, Texas Tech (twice), Wisconsin, Villanova, Arkansas, and Houston, who all rank in kenpom’s top-twenty. The Bears’ two losses were against Kansas and the Cowboys. Baylor is second-best nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to kenpom. They lead the nation with a 41.2% shooting percentage from 3-point land. They rank sixth in offensive rebounding by grabbing 36.9% of their missed shots. Drew’s team is the 27th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. They force turnovers in 24.6% of their opponent’s possessions, ranking third nationally. If there is a weakness to this team, it is with their defensive rebounding. Baylor allows their opponents to rebound 30.9% of their missed shots, 280th in the nation. The Bears do not get many freebies on the charity stripe, given a free throw rate that ranks 295th nationally.Gonzaga defeated UCLA in the second Final Four game on Saturday with Jalen Suggs’ 40-foot buzzer-beater in overtime, lifting them to a 93-90 victory as a 14-point favorite. It was never easy for unbeaten Bulldogs, who withstood 19 lead changes and never held a lead of more than seven points against the Bruins. All five of the Bulldogs’ starters scored in double-digits Drew Time led the team with 25 points. The sophomore is scoring 19.2 points per game and averaging 7.1 rebounds per game. Junior Joel Ayayi added 22 points to improve his 12.2 points-per-game average. Suggs contributed 16 points, six assists, and five rebounds. The freshman is scoring 14.1 points per game and averaging 5.5 rebounds per game and 4.6 assists per game. Corey Kispert scored 15 points with five assists and five rebounds. The senior averages 18.8 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Junior Andrew Nembhard scored 11 points to go with his 9.2 points-per-game mark.The Bulldogs are the last remaining undefeated team in the nation with a 31-0 record to accompany their number one ranking and top-rating at kenpom. They have rattled off 35 straight victories going back to last season, and they have won 28 in a row by double-digits. Gonzaga played a rigorous non-conference schedule that included powerhouses in Kansas, West Virginia, Virginia, and Iowa. The Bulldogs defeated Norfolk State, Oklahoma, Creighton, USC, and then the Bruins in the NCAA Tournament.Gonzaga has the country's top adjusted offensive efficiency number according to metrics at kenpom. Their effective field goal percentage of 61.1% is tops nationally. The Zags are eighth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. They limit their opponents to rebound 23.1% of their missed shots, 18th best in the nation. If there is a crack in the armor, it might start with their half-court defense. Their opponents have an effective field goal percentage of 47.5%, which is only 55th nationally. Mark Few returned three players from his seven-man rotation that finished 31-2 last season and looked poised to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament as a number one seed. This group may be Few’s most talented roster in his 22 seasons as the Gonzaga head coach. Lucas Oil Stadium is the site. BetAnySports lists Gonzaga as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 159.Computer prediction:  Gonzaga 82 Baylor 76

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