Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4/22

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Phoenix Suns (EVEN) (Click Here for Best Line)

The Blazers impressed everyone when they were able to beat the Suns in game one of the first round playoff series. Game two, however, was not even close. The Suns walked away with an easy 29 point win. This was what Phoenix had in mind when the series started, not a 5 point loss. The Suns are now motivated and have regained the momentum that they had for the majority of the regular season. They have never ending weapons and are a threat to any team in the NBA.

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Steve Nash is once again an MVP contender, even if he isn’t likely to win the award in 2010. Combine Nash’s scoring and passing ability with Amare Stoudemire’s force in the paint, and this team is virtually unstoppable. What do the Blazers even have to combat with? A healthy Brandon Roy? No. Roy was a requirement if the Trail Blazers wanted to win this series, and without him, it is almost impossible. They are going to need Andre Miller to be absolutely unbelievable if they want the remaining games to be close. There is a very slim chance that Portland wins this series, or even another game.

It really is amazing that the game is even money, with neither team being given the edge on the moneyline or spread. A line of -5 for the Suns would still be a relatively safe bet in this game, let alone at even money. The Blazers just aren’t on the same level as the Suns, no matter how you look at it. Sure, Portland gets to play the game on their home court, but the crowd does not compensate for the offensive weapons that the team is missing. The Suns are going to blow out the Trail Blazers unless they perform well under expectation. This is one of the best bets available so far in the early NBA playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City OKC Thunder 4/22

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Los Angeles Lakers +3.5 (Click Here for Best Line)

Game two of the Lakers vs. Thunder series was a thriller. Oklahoma City had a chance to win, but they came up just short. If Jeff Green could have made a three as time expired, everything would have changed. As it is, however, the Lakers have a commanding 2-0 series lead. Kobe just knows how to win, even when it seems like his team is on the brink of a loss. The first two games of the series were played in Los Angeles, but now the teams head to Oklahoma City, and you know the arena will be rocking. The home court advantage, however, might not be enough for OKC to win. The Thunder could definitely win this game, and they are probably going to win at least one in this series, but Kobe and crew want to lock it up on Thursday.

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The Lakers do not seem as dominant as in years past, but they always find a way to win. Even with Kobe Bryant playing with an injured finger, he is still able to step itupon offense and lead his team to a win. Durant, too, has been holding his own. Though Kevin Durant has little playoff experience, he looks like a veteran on the court in this series. He wants to win just as bad as Kobe, but he just doesn’t have as many weapons in his arsenal.

This series has been quite interesting, and the Thunder have the ability to make it even more exciting with a win. If you feel confident in the Thunder, bet on the moneyline, not the spread. The Lakers at +3.5, however, are the best bet in this game. If they do lose, you are going to cover a fair amount of the time.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls 4/22

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Cleveland Cavaliers -3.5 (Click Here for Best Line)

Wow, does the public really think home court advantage is worth a full 8 points? Apparently, because the Bulls, who were 11.5 dogs in game one, are now only 3.5 dogs in game three at home. This is the first game that the Bulls are playing at home. In game two, the Bulls kept things close until the end. As 10.5 point underdogs in game two, we recommended that bettors take the Bulls against the spread. That bet ended up being a winner, but for Wednesday, the Cavaliers are the best bet.

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Many bettors think that the Bulls are “due” to win, and that home court advantage will give them that extra push to get over the edge. The reality is, however, that the Bulls are just outclassed by the Cavs. Cleveland may rely on Lebron James, but they can kick it out to Mo Williams or down low to Shaq whenever they are in trouble. Chicago, on the other hand, really needs Rose to perform. Derrick Rose single handedly kept the Bulls in game two and within shouting distance in game one. Noah stepped up in game two as well, but players like Luol Deng took shots that they just couldn’t afford. Hinrich, too, was off target for much of the game. In the end, the Cavaliers were able to exploit the Bulls weaknesses and closed out the game.

The moneyline on the Cavs is an option to consider, but at -175, it is not really worth the 75 point drop in value. The Cavaliers should be able to win by 5 or more points in game one, so the spread is the best bet. The Bulls are devoid of almost all value in this game. If you really like the Bulls in this game, take the moneyline, but it is a major drop off in payout when compared to games one and two.

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Orlando Magic 4/21

Orlando took game one of the opening round of the playoff battle between the Bobcats and the Magic, but Charlotts made it close. At first, it looked as though the Magic were going to blowout the Bobcats, but Gerald Wallace and company made it close. Still, it was a 9 point game, so it wasn’t like it came down to the last second. These two teams really don’t match up, and the Magic have a defined advantage. It wouldn’t surprise many people to see the Bobcats get crushed in a 20 point Magic victory.

Dwight Howard is the dominant force for the Magic, though he had a disappointing game one. His partner in crime, Vince Carter, is more than capable of carrying his share of the weight. The Bobcats, much like the Magic, are largely comprised of role players. Guys like Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis have been crucial to Orlando’s success. If a few guys are off their game, it could spell disaster for the Magic. If Dwight throws up another 5 point performance with only 7 rebounds, it will be surprising if the Magic can escape with a win in game two.

With a poor performance by Dwight Howard, the Magic still somehow won by 9. If Howard shows up on Wednesday, the Magic can really put a hurting on the Bobcats. The moneyline is at +400 for the Bobcats and -500 for the Magic. This is quite a steep price for a moneyline, so the spread is the next place to look. At 8.5, the Magic have a very good chance to cover, and this is the best bet available. If they won by 9 without their superstar making a big contribution, how much could they win by with some help from Howard? Bet against the spread (take the Magic) and be very confident.

Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals 4/21

The Rockies and Nationals are playing Wednesday’s game in Washington. While Washington is not the hitters park that Colorado is, both teams have had explosive offenses in 2010. The staring pitchers for Wednesday night are Jason Hammel and John Lannan. Hammel, the Rockies started, has an ERA that is over 11 this season. On the other side of the mound, Lannan too has had his fair share of struggles, though his ERA is a more modest 5.74. Neither pitcher is a star, and they are both prone to terrible games, as has been evidenced this season.

The Rockies and Nationals both have lineups that are full of consistent role players. Aside from Ian Stewart and Ryan Zimmerman, players like Josh Willingham for the Nationals and Troy Tulowitzki for the Rockies can put up All-Star caliber numbers. Both teams know how to hit, but beyond this, they know how to hit on a daily basis. The Rockies and Nationals are not teams that require one or two sluggers to hit in order to win. These are the teams that you can have confidence in, because even if the superstars fail, the other players can still produce.

Since both pitchers in this game are very volatile, it is tough to pick a winner. If you had to pick one team, with the lines considered, it would be the Rockies at -110. Sure, Hammel’s start has been 2x worse than Lannan’s, but if he was truly terrible, you would think that the Rockies front office would have demoted him. Colorado is showing that they have at least a little bit of confidence in Hammel, and coupled with the Rockies offense, it is hard to pass up on them at -110. At even money, the Nationals are a tough pick. The Nationals are still the Nationals, and they are never an easy win. The best bet in this game is the over/under at 9. The total runs in this game should eclipse 9 quite frequently, making this the best line available.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates 4/21

The Milwaukee Brewers are facing Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. For Pittsburgh, the game probably isn’t too exciting, as they are going to be up against Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo is Milwaukee’s ace and one of the best pitchers in baseball. Duke is a decent pitcher, but he can’t compete with Gallardo. The offensive side of things is as clear as the pitching. The Brewers hold the clear advantage, though Pittsburgh has had some explosive games this season. Milwaukee has Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, two of the best hitters in Major League Baseball. Both players are power hitters and both players know how to get on base. Duke is going to have his hands full on Wednesday, that much is certain.

Duke has pitched better than anticipated in 2010, while Gallardo has not lived up to expectations. The season is early, however, and it is only a matter of time before Gallardo settles down. Wednesday might be a great way for him to re-align his 2010 campaign, as he holds a life time ERA under 3 against the Pirates. Duke, unlike Gallardo, has traditionally struggled against his opponent for Wednesday, maintaining a career 5.38 ERA against the Brewers.

The bats may very well be the difference in this game. Duke is off to something special in 2010, but even the best pitchers can get crushed by the Brewers deadly lineup. Milwaukee is the favorite on Wednesday, as most would expect. The line is quite fair, actually, at -135 in favor of the Brewers. Betting on the Brewers should be a very safe bet that is not too costly. Unless Gallardo falls apart or Milwaukee’s hitters can’t hit Duke, this should be an easy win for the Brewers.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves 4/21

The Phillies have been losing as of late and are completely out of character. The Braves have Tim Hudson going and they hope that he will extend the losing streak for Philadelphia. The Phillies, however, are battling back with Roy Halladay. Halladay has been absolutely unstoppable in 2010, just as he has been for many years. It is unlikely that the Braves are going to break Halladay’s code on Wednesday. The Phillies can beat up on Hudson, they have unending weapons, but they need to get back into a groove. Philadelphia puts up big innings, but they can be very streaky.
The Phillies lost in extra innings on Tuesday against the Braves, despite a phenomenal showing by the inconsistent Kyle Kendrick. Philadelphia was a heavy underdog, an abnormality in itself, but they are usually the team making a comeback, not blowing a game. This loss was surely a major frustration, especially after the losses that lead up to it. It is early in the season, though, and there is plenty of time to make up for it. If the bullpen continues to squander games for the Phillies, they are probably going to see their daily lines being shaken up.

With all of the losses considered, the Phillies should be a heavy favorite on Wednesday. They are the favorite on the moneyline, but they aren’t being given as much credit as they should be. Normally, the moneyline would be the best play in this game, as Halladay can tame any offense, but not today. Since the Phillies are trying to get their offense back on track, runs are far from a certainty. Taking favorites is not usually advised, but at -145 on the moneyline, the Philadelphia Phillies are a good bet to beat the Atlanta Braves.

San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres 4/21

The last time Todd Wellemeyer started for the San Francisco Giants, he got blown up by the Los Angeles Dodgers. While one bad game against the Dodgers is excusable (they don’t exactly have a weak offense), Wellemeyer can’t make an excuse for his past seasons. He has never been good, and it is doubtful that he is ever going to be a good starter. It is actually surprising that Wellemeyer was not sent down to the minor leagues after his most recent performance. The Giants don’t have many other options at this time, so Wellemeyer lives to see another day when he faces the Padres on Wednesday.

Wellemeyer has an ERA that is approaching 10, but his opponent, Jon Garland, is off to a strong start in 2010. Now, Garland used to be ace, and his reliability is still a question. It seems like Garland is giving it his all in an attempt to rejuvenate his career, so for that he needs to be given some credit. All things considered, this game can be very high scoring. Neither team has a pitcher who is likely to put on a Cy Young performance, and both San Diego and San Francisco have lively bats.

The best bet in this game is definitely the over/under. At only 8, the over/under seems quite low. A lot of people are going to say, “Yea, but that is because they are playing in Petco Park, a massive field.” While this is true, there are few ballparks that can make Todd Wellemeyer look like a good pitcher. He does get a lot of fly ball outs, so he has that going for him, but even Petco Park is too small to keep some of the bombs that he gives up in play. Between these two offenses and the starting pitchers, it should be pretty easy to top 8 runs in this game.

New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics 4/20

Javier Vazquez was lights out for the Atlanta Braves in 2009, posting a 2.87 ERA for the season in 32 games. 2010, however, has been rough for Vazquez. In his return to the New York Yankees, Vazquez has disappointed. He is working with an ERA that approaches 10, and has yet to come up with a win. A lot was expected of Vazquez this year, if only because of his phenomenal 2009. On Tuesday he will get another chance to redeem himself and prove the doubters wrong when he faces the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics have been one of the early surprises of 2010, as they have a 9-5 record going into Tuesdays game against the Yankees.

Many bettors are still passing up on Oakland, despite their impressive start. The Athletics are starting Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez has bounced around a number of teams over the past few years, but seems to have settled into his role on the A’s. His ERA was nothing special in 2009 (5.75 over 17 games started), but he might be turning a corner in 2010. In the early season, Gio has a solid 3.38 ERA. He hopes to keep his ERA below 4 after he faces a tough Yankee lineup on Tuesday. New York’s offensive prowess is well documented, with players like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano pounding anyone who they face. Oakland, too, has been able to hold their own against the opposition’s pitching. Catcher Kurt Suzuki works with a number of role players to put together one solid performance after another. Oakland’s players know how to hit, and they won’t be an easy task for Vazquez.

The best bet in this game is the Oakland moneyline at +150. Aside from Vazquez’s issues in 2010, the Athletics have been very productive. Even if Javier Vazquez does show up on Tuesday, a good game from Gonzalez could keep them in the game. At +150, there is a lot of money to be made by betting on the A’s in this game.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers 4/20

The Thunder made an impressive comeback in game one of their series against the Lakers, but were unable to come up with a win. In all likelihood, they are going to suffer the same fate on Tuesday. Is it impossible for OKC and Kevin Durant to come up with a win? Definitely not. In fact, if there was a single game that OKC was likely to win, it would be this one. With that said, it is tough to bet against the Lakers. They have many more weapons than OKC, even if Durant has Westbrook to work with. There are many different bets that are tempting in this game, though the focus should be on the spread.

Kobe and his crew have been there before. You know that he knows how to win, while the Thunder are getting their first playoff experience. Oklahoma City calmed down after a rough start, so maybe their nerves have calmed down enough for them to aim for a win. Beating the Lakers is never easy, but Durant can take over a game by himself. This is a game that, at the surface, is tough to bet, but really provides two primary options.

The moneyline sits at -290 for the Lakers, and +245 for the Thunder. If you are feeling really comfortable with the Thunder’s chances, bet on the moneyline. If, however, you think that the Lakers will once away come away with the win, bet on the spread at 6.5 Even if the game comes down to the wire, the Lakers should be able to put it away with some clutch free throws. A 3 point victory could easily balloon to a 7 point win with some fouls as the game ends. The safest bet in this game is the Lakers at -6.5, but perhaps the most profitable bet is the Thunder at +245 on the moneyline.

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