By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
[7:10 p.m. EST] Under 207 – Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics
The second-highest SK Trend Confidence of the night for NBA is the under on tonight’s game between the Celtics and Pacers. Neither team shot the ball well in Boston’s 84-74 victory in Game 1 on Sunday, and we’re probably going to see more of the same since both teams were solid on the defensive end during the regular season – Indiana ranked third in defensive efficiency while Boston was sixth.
This could also be a game that the Celtics simply run away with, leaving the Pacers in the dust. Indy did fine, in terms of scoring points without Victor Oladipo most the season, but the playoffs are a much different game – especially with Brad Stevens coaching a focused Boston team.
The 207 total that Vegas placed on this game seems to tell the story beforehand, just as the 210.5 total did in Game 1.
[9:40 p.m. EST] Under 214 – Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets
Well, the SK Trend Confidence isn’t liking too many points in the NBA tonight, as the highest grade of the slate belongs to the under in tonight’s game between the Jazz and Rockets. Game 1 of this series wasn’t even close, a 32-point Houston victory, but I wouldn’t expect the same to go down tonight. Utah is incredibly well-coached and plays a very stingy brand of defense. Look for them to make the necessary adjustments and give James Harden & Co. a tougher time than usual scoring the basketball.
Although Game 1 was a much different story, the Jazz did hold the Rockets under 100 points in three of the four regular-season meetings. The only game which Utah did not, Houston scored 102 points.
On a side note, I do think the Jazz cover the 6.5-point spread and possibly, even win outright.
MLB Value Bets
[7:10 p.m. EST] Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays (-1.5, -128)
BAL: David Hess – R (1-2, 3.32 ERA)
TB: Ryne Stanek – R (0-0, 2.16 ERA)
I’m a big fan of taking the Rays when it’s one of their patented “bullpen games.” Reason being, they can play their best hand in most individual matchups, whereas your typical starter could get knocked around for the first few innings. Ryne Stanek will typically go one or two innings and then hand it over to the bullpen that has the seventh-best ERA (3.53) in MLB. Not to mention, Tampa Bay’s bullpen ranks in the top-five of most fancy analytic numbers that bore most people to death – not me.
After a slow start, the Rays’ offense now has at least eight runs in four of the last six games and that should play well against David Hess, who has allowed four homers and seven runs over his last 10 2/3 innings of work. If Hess can’t stay in the game long enough, Tampa Bay will have the benefit of facing Baltimore’s bullpen, which ranks dead-last for ERA (6.96) in the American League this season and second-worst in all of MLB.
The Rays’ -270 moneyline is a bit more than most people would be willing to lay, so going with the 1.5-run line lessens that quite a bit.
* Final Score Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays: 8 – Baltimore Orioles: 3 *
[7:20 p.m. EST] Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves (-1.5, +118)
ARZ: Zack Godley – R (1-1, 7.41 ERA)
ATL: Kevin Gausman – R (1-1, 2.84 ERA)
The Braves’ offense looks dialed in at the moment, with 44 runs in their last seven games. Tonight’s matchup against Zack Godley is a nice one, considering he has allowed 15 runs (14 earned) in 17 innings of work. Atlanta’s -160 moneyline matches its second-highest of the season, thus illuminating how much of a great spot they’re in.
Freddie Freeman, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis are a combined 11-for-26 (.423 avg.) lifetime against Godley. It’s also worth noting that Arizona’s bullpen has the second-worst ERA (6.04) in the National League and fourth-worst in all of MLB.
Kevin Gausman goes for the Braves, and while he didn’t have his best stuff in that last outing against the Mets, this is a guy that is capable of shutting any team down on a given night. I’ll place my faith in a talented pitcher more often than not and feel like he can at least do enough to keep the D-Backs down for most of the night.
Going with the +118 1.5-run line, you’re able to make a small profit, as opposed to shelling out more on the moneyline to earn less.
* Final Score Prediction: Atlanta Braves: 9 – Arizona Diamondbacks: 4 *