Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Warriors Host the Pelicans Wed Night

Warriors NBA Basketball

Pelicans Battle the Warriors in Halloween Night NBA Action



The fans at Oracle Arena will be the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors when they take their seats on Halloween Night. Golden State has been setting records all over the place so far this season. The Pelicans are off to a pretty good start as well.

TV: 10:30 p.m. FS New Orleans, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State).

Odds: The Warriors as -12.5-point favorites versus the Pelicans, while the game's total opened at 234.5. The Line is now Warriors -9 and the total is 238.5.

Klay Thompson began the season in a massive shooting slump. It only took one game to break out in a big way. Thompson will try to follow up his record-breaking performance on Wednesday.

Thompson, who went 5-of-36 from beyond the arc in the first six games, buried an NBA-record 14 3-pointers. He scored 52 points in a 149-124 win at the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Pelicans Have to Have Davis to Have a Chance



The Pelicans might have to stop Golden State without their best defender if star forward Anthony Davis (elbow) is forced to miss a third straight game. New Orleans got off to a 4-0 start with Davis leading the way. They have dropped the last two contests without him in the lineup. The Pelicans are 4-2 going into tonight's action.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry refused to blame the absence of Davis in a 116-111 loss at Denver on Monday. The Pelicans turned the ball over 22 times.

"I don't think it's ever understandable to turn the ball over 22 times," Gentry told reporters. "I think what happened is that some of our turnovers came because we were trying to play in really tight, confined spaces. Against that team, you can't do that."


Five of those turnovers belonged to reserve power forward Julius Randle. He otherwise played a solid game with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes.

Golden State has started the season 7-1, which is not a shock to any NBA fan on the planet.

Golden State leads the NBA in team field-goal percentage at 52.3%, and assists at 29.6 a game. Coach Steve Kerr remains in awe of the unselfish nature of his team.

" I can't even tell you how lucky I am and how I feel every night just watching these guys and how unselfish they are," Kerr told reporters. "They basically take turns, they encourage each other, they want each other to do well, and we have all this talent, but the key is these guys are committed to each other, they play hard for each other, and they want each other to have success, and that's why it works, and it's been amazing to be along for the ride."


Thompson broke the record of 13 set on Nov. 7, 2016 by teammate Stephen Curry. Steph went 13-of-17 in a 116-106 home win over New Orleans.

PREDICTION: Warriors 133, Pelican 121



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Next up:
New Orleans at Portland Thursday, November 1
Golden State home to Minnesota Friday, November 2

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Ball State and Toledo in MAC Action

Toledo Rockets MAC Athletics

Toledo Hosts Ball State on Halloween Night



The Ball State Cardinals and the Toledo Rockets will meet when they meet at Glass Bowl Stadium on Halloween Night. Toledo is a huge favorite as the injury bug has hit Ball State.

TV: ESPN2, 7:30 PM ET.

LINE: Toledo -19; O/U 65

Ball State lost twice last time they took the field. They not only got beat 52-14 by Ohio, but they lost their starting quarterback as well. Now they will have to take on one of the more explosive teams in the MAC with a backup signal-caller.

The Toledo Rockets are coming off a dreadful second half in their loss to Buffalo. They really found themselves on the offensive side of the ball in their last outing. They also have some questions to answer at the quarterback spot.

Toledo will most likely be going to some kind of bowl game when all is said and done. But Ball State will have to win all three of its remaining games to be eligible.

Ball State has Tall Order Tonight



It was thoroughly disappointing to the Cardinals (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS) to have lost 52-14 to the Ohio Bobcats. They gave up 31 points in the second quarter, along with 411 yards rushing and 30 first downs.

They lost quarterback Riley Neal, who tore a meniscus and won't be available this week. Neal actually played through the injury for a little while, but wasn't able to move laterally all that well. He was replaced with Drew Plitt. Neal has thrown for 1917 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. He has completed 58% as well.

Plitt has completed 18 of 29 for 235 yards in limited action. He also played some last season, including three starts, and was a 50% passer. Backups got plenty of time last year because Neal missed nine games with a knee injury.

Ball State might be missing other personnel as well. Running back James Gilbert (586 yards, 4.4 yards per carry) has a back injury that has caused him to miss practice. He was first-team All-MAC back in 2016 and sat out with a medical redshirt last year.

Neal's absence also affects the running game, as he has run for 357 yards.

Ball State has had a very hard time stopping opponents on the ground, giving up 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. They are fifth in the nation for first downs, but are 122nd in the nation when it comes to yards per point.

Jacob White, middle linebacker and the team's leading tackler, is hobbled by an ankle injury.

They will have to win each of their remaining games – against Toledo, Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio – to become bowl-eligible.

Toledo Has to Beat Teams they are Supposed to Beat



The Rockets were completely baffled by Buffalo a couple of games ago. They gave up 24 unanswered points in the second half while going limp on offense.

The Rockets (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) came through huge against Western Michigan last week. Of course, it didn't hurt them that Jon Wassink, the WMU quarterback, got injured on the opening drive and had to leave the game.

They cut through the Broncos' defense like a knife in hot butter, rolling up 515 yards in a 51-24 annihilation. Starting quarterback, Mitch Guadagni, had to leave the game with a shoulder injury. He had producing 190 yards of total offense. He's 13th in the nation in Passing Efficiency, so that loss will be felt.

Eli Peters came in and threw three touchdown passes. He's only a 47% passer on the season. Peters and Guadagni have combined to throw 22 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

Cody Thompson had three touchdowns, and currently ranks in the nation's top 10 with nine receiving TDs.

Toledo is 12th the nation in scoring at 40.8 points per game.

They have three players who have rushed for more than 400 yards. Guadagni is one of them, but there are two running backs. They are Brian Koback and Shakif Seymour.

They only have two receivers with over 400 yards. But Diontae Johnson is seventh in the nation in kickoff returns.

Toledo's average field position for the offense is the 34-yard line, which is seventh best in the country. And 78.3% of their first downs have been achieved on either a first or second down.

PREDICTION: Toledo 43, Ball State 20



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Next up:
Ball State home to Western Michigan Tuesday, November 13
Toledo at NIU Wednesday, November 7

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Blackhawks and Canucks on NHL Network

Vancouver Canucks Hockey

Blackhawks and Canucks are Much Improved



Two much-improved teams will take the spotlight on Halloween Night. The Chicago Blackhawks (6-3-3) visit the Vancouver Canucks (7-6) at 10 PM ET on the NHL Network. After finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference last year, the Blackhawks wrapped up the weekend just one point shy of first place in the Central Division. The Canucks are two points out of the lead in the Pacific.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, NHL Network, WGN (Chicago), Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet360 (Vancouver).

Odds: Canucks are -127-moneyline favorites. The total is 5.5 Under -113.

The Canucks have some injury concerns coming into this matchup. Anders Nilsson (.912 save percentage) has been shelved with a broken finger and could miss several weeks of action. He has split the goal-tending duties 50/50 with Jacob Markstrom (.902 SV%).

Nilsson joins top defenseman Alex Edler (sprained MCL) and top LW Sven Baertschi (upper-body) on injured reserve.

Chicago has a clean bill of health for this game. They’ll also have an extra day of rest, while Vancouver beat the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

Canucks and Blackhawks Have Impressive Youngsters



The Canucks Elias Pettersson has established himself as an extremely early favorite for the Calder Trophy with the season's first month coming to a close. With an NHL rookie-best total in goals (seven) and points (10) despite missing six games due to a concussion.

Pettersson, who is the 21st player in NHL history to score at least seven goals in his first seven contests, tallied in both the second and third period of Monday's 5-2 win over Minnesota.

Vancouver snapped a two-game skid to improve to 1-1-0 on its four-game homestand.

Chicago has dropped a pair of contests heading into the opener of a three-game trek through the Pacific Northwest.

Patrick Kane extended his point streak to six games for the Blackhawks with an assist on defenseman Brent Seabrook's 5-on-3 goal in the first period of Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss against Edmonton.

The Blackhawks Corey Crawford allowed one goal in three successive starts before getting gashed for six on Saturday in a 7-3 setback at St. Louis.

The Canucks outscored the Blackhawks 14-6 en route to winning all three games last season.

PREDICTION: Canucks 4, Blackhawks 2

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Predators Host the Golden Knights in NHL Action

Nashville Predators.

Predators Look to Avoid Back to Back Losses at Home



The Vegas Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators will  on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville has hit a bump in the road while playing at home. They have split their six games, while dropping two of three overall. Two of the best teams in the NHL will tangle for your pleasure tonight.

The Predators look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season and give the Music City fans a thrill on Tuesday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

Odds: The Predators are -182-moneyline favorites. The game's total opened at 5.5.

The Predator's Filip Forsberg has been exciting NHL fans with nine goals in his last seven games. That includes his franchise-best sixth career hat trick in Saturday's 5-3 setback to Edmonton.

Vegas wrapped up a successful homestand in style as Jonathan Marchessault scored on a penalty shot in overtime. The Golden Knights improved to 3-1-1 on that stretch following Sunday's 4-3 win versus Ottawa.

Predators and Golden Knights are Two of NHL's Best



The Golden Knights are 5-5-1 on the season. The injury bug seems to have taken a liking to coach Gerard Gallant's club. Max Pacioretty sustained an upper-body ailment against Tampa Bay on Friday. Fellow forward Cody Eakin was felled two nights later following a hit from Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki.

Alex Tuch tallied twice versus the Senators. He has three points in as many contests since signing a seven-year contract extension. The young lad collected just 37 points last season before scoring six goals and setting four others during Vegas' run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Vegas is just 4-for-37 on the power play this season.

Golden Knights G Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 55 of 56 shots in a pair of meetings with the Predators last season. He finished with a 1-1-0 mark.

Forsberg isn't going it alone for the Preds. Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson have been a huge help. They have collected 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) and a plus-25 rating this season. That includes 16 (nine goals, seven assists) in the last four.

Arvidsson scored in the first encounter with Vegas. It was a 4-3 shootout loss in Nashville on Dec. 8.

Nashville G Juuse Saros has surrendered 12 goals in his last three games with countryman Pekka Rinne nursing an undisclosed injury.

PREDICTION: Predators 4, Golden Knights 2



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Next up:
Vegas at St. Louis Thursday, November 1
Nashville at Tampa Bay Thursday, November 1

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Raptors Host the 76ers Tuesday Night

Toronto Raptors Basketball

Raptors Look to Get Back to Winning Ways



The Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors will on Tuesday when at Scotiabank Arena. The 76ers have gotten off to an up and down start to the season and are looking for consistency. The Raptors were as hot as a team can be until Monday Night. They were 6-0 before losing last night.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCS Philadelphia Plus, TSN (Toronto).

Odds: Raptors are 6-point favorites. The total is 227.

Toronto is no longer undefeated and they aim to get back on the winning track on Tuesday. Toronto set a franchise mark with a 6-0 start but the impressive streak reached an end with Monday's 124-109 loss to the unbeaten Milwaukee Bucks.

Raptors star forward Kawhi Leonard was rested on the front end of the back-to-back. He is slated to be back in the lineup against the 76ers. The contest was the second Leonard has sat out. He is regaining his fitness after playing in only nine games with the San Antonio Spurs last season because of a quadriceps injury.

Teams are Still Finding Themselves Early On



Philadelphia has recorded back-to-back victories and Monday's 113-92 rout of the Atlanta Hawks may have been the team's best performance of the young season. The Hawks held strong with the 76ers until midway through the 3rd quarter. Then Philadelphia quickly opened it's lead.

Philadelphia has started the season 4-3. Backup point guard Markelle Fultz flashed some of his potential against Atlanta. He scored a career-best 16 points in 23 minutes.

Fultz was a big disappointment last season after being the No. 1 overall pick and Philadelphia is letting him run the team while Simmons is resting. That freedom is allowing him more freedom on the floor.

Toronto badly missed Leonard, and his 26.6 ppg average, in the showdown against the Bucks. The team scored its fewest points of the season and putting forth a horrific showing from 3-point range. They shot only 9-44 from behind the arc.

Leonard's absence allowed power forward Serge Ibaka to get 21 shots and he poured in 30 points and also collected nine rebounds. He was one point shy of his career high scoring mark.

Point guard Kyle Lowry recorded 15 assists, but scored a season-low nine points. He missed all nine 3-point attempts during a 3-of-14 shooting performance.

The 76ers have dropped their past 11 visits to Toronto.

PREDICTION: Raptors 108, 76ers 105



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Next up:
Philadelphia home to Los Angeles Thursday, November 1
Toronto at Phoenix Friday, November 2

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Bills Host Patriots on MNF

Buffalo Bills Football

Patriots are Huge Favorites over the Bills on Monday Night Football



The AFC East rival New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills meet on Monday Night Football to wrap up week 8 on the NFL Season. The Patriots are in the familiar position atop the division. The Bills are in must win mode if they want to make the playoffs.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Patriots -13.5. O/U: 44

Letdown, anyone? That could be the biggest obstacle for the resurgent New England Patriots.  The Patriots have dominated the rivalry against the Bills. Buffalo has scored the fewest points in football, are down to their third quarterback and could be without their best offensive player.

The Patriots have rebounded from a slow start. They have ripped off four consecutive victories after winning slug-fests over Kansas City and Chicago the past two weeks.

The Bills must find a way to solve future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. Brady owns a staggering 28-3 mark against the Bills. That is the most by any quarterback against another opponent.

Buffalo has been limited to 13 points or fewer in five of its seven games. They could be without starting running back LeSean McCoy, who remained in the league's concussion protocol on Friday.

Patriots and Bills Heading in Different Directions



Tom Brady has the Patriots at 5-2 at the midpoint of the NFL season. Brady rebounded from a 133-yard effort in a loss at Detroit in Week 3 to guide New England to four wins in a row. He posted a passer rating of 102-plus in each of the past three victories.

Brady likely will be without rookie running back Sony Michel. He rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns in a three-game span before suffering a knee injury in last week's 38-31 victory at Chicago.

The return of Julian Edelman from suspension and the addition of Josh Gordon has bolstered the passing game. They hope to have tight end Rob Gronkowski back after he sat out a week ago. New England ranks 25th overall in total defense (389.9 yards) and against the pass (275.9).

The Bills are 2-5 on the season and really need to pull off a win tonight. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen is injured and Nathan Peterman has been benched. Derek Anderson will hope for improvement against New England after a shaky season debut. He threw for 175 yards and was intercepted three times.

Not only is McCoy's status up in the air, but backup running back Chris Ivory was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after hurting his hamstring on Wednesday. Buffalo's defense has excelled against the pass, allowing 210.1 yards per game.

Brady has 16 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last six games at Buffalo.

Rob Gronkowski has 12 touchdowns in 13 games versus the Bills.

McCoy has at least 100 yards from scrimmage in five straight games against New England.

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Next up:
New England home to Green Bay Sunday, November 4
Buffalo home to Chicago Sunday, November 4

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Clippers vs. Rockets NBA Preview and Pick

Houston Rockets Basketball

Rockets Without Harden on Friday



The Houston Rockets will be without NBA MVP James Harden when the take on the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul returns from his two-game suspension to help out the cause.

Friday, October 26 at 8:00 PM ET

Toyota Center

Odds: Rockets are a 4-point favorite. The total is at 218.5.


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Los Angeles Clippers 



The Los Angeles Clippers haven't been consistent early on but their two losses were by single digits.

Tobias Harris led the way with 26 points, Danilo Gallinari had 24 points and Lou Williams added 17 points off the bench but it wasn't enough. The Clippers lost 116-109 on the road against the Pelicans last Tuesday. Los Angeles was 41-for-87 from the field (47.1 percent) but they missed 15 of 20 3-pointers and turned the ball over 17 times.

The Clippers are averaging 107.5 points per game, (21st in the NBA), they grab 47.8 rebounds per game (9th), dish out 20.5 assists per game (27th) and allow 106.8 points per game (9th).

Tobias Harris leads the Clippers with 23.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari averages 21.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Lou Williams adds 15.0 points per game off the bench.

Houston Rockets



The Houston Rockets look to get back on track after losing three of their first four games. That includes last Wednesday's 100-89 home defeat against the Utah Jazz. James Harden scored 29 points and Carmelo Anthony finished with a season-high 22 for a Rockets team that was missing Chris Paul and James Ennis. The Jazz out-rebounded the Rockets 62-46 and they outscored Houston in the paint 48-36. 

Houston shot just 40.2 percent from the field (35-for-87) 27.5 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-40). James Harden left the game in the fourth quarter and he has a Grade 1-plus left hamstring strain. Harden will miss at least the next two games.

The Rockets are averaging 109.3 points per game (19th in the NBA), they grab 40.3 rebounds per game (28th), dish out 21.8 assists per game (21st) and allow 115.3 points per game (17th).

James Harden leads the Rockets with 28.5 points and 9.0 assists, Chris Paul is averaging 23.5 points, 8.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds and Eric Gordon adds 15.5 points per game off the bench.

NBA Trends:



The Over is: 

6-2 in Los Angeles' last eight games playing on two days rest

12-5 in Los Angeles' last 17 road games against a team with a home winning percentage of less than .400

7-3-1 in Los Angeles' last 11 games following a straight up loss

10-4 in Houston's last 14 games following a double-digit loss at home

The Rockets have allowed 100 points or more in every game this season and unless they can turn up the heat, their defense may have a hard time with a Clippers team that already beat them 115-112 last Sunday. 

The Clippers already proved they have enough depth and athleticism to run with the Rockets in the open court and make this a fast-paced affair.

James Harden will miss this game but Chris Paul will come back from his suspension, so look for another high-scoring contest tonight.

NBA Pick: Over 218.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb

Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ

 

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Dodgers Host Red Sox for World Series Game 3

2018 World Series

Dodgers are in Must Win Territory in World Series



The Boston Red Sox took the first two games of the World Series  against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The display was in impressive fashion in front of the home crowd. The Red Sox will try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven set when they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 3 on Friday.

Cora is using starting pitchers in the late innings to help bridge the gap to closer Craig Kimbrel. He got a scoreless inning out of right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in each of the first two games.

Los Angeles' hitters struck out a total of 20 times in the first two games. The bullpen failed to come through when it mattered.

TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX

PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (1-0, 4.22 ERA) vs. Dodgers RH Walker Buehler (0-1, 5.40).

ODDS: Dodgers are -155-moneyline favorites. The total is sitting at 7.5.

Los Angeles Dodgers



Walker Buehler (2.62 ERA) will take the mound on Friday. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jn Ryu started the first two games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Buehler has enjoyed a very strong rookie season in LA, but thanks to bad luck and poor run support (4.44 runs per game, down from 4.93 overall), the Dodgers lost 1.37 units during his 23 regular-season starts, with the Under at 15-7-1.

Buehler was knocked around a bit in his first two postseason starts but stepped up in Game 7 of the NLCS. He struck out seven while allowing one run over 4 2/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Vanderbilt product held hitters to a .193 batting average during the regular season while striking out 151 in 137 1/3 innings.

Buehler is facing Boston for the first time. He posted a 1.93 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) at Dodger Stadium during the regular season.

1B/3B David Freese is 5-for-8 in his last three games.

Boston Red Sox



Porcello was roughed up a bit in his ALCS start at Houston on Oct. 17. He surrendered four runs on seven hits in four innings.  He did give up two dingers as well.

The hurler allowed one run in a total of 6 2/3 innings over his first three postseason appearances (one start). Porcello is 22-8 with a 4.11 ERA in 41 career interleague games. He could end up being of help with the bat after going 3-for-7 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs during the regular season.

The Red Sox are 17-for-41 with 31 RBIs with runners in scoring position and two outs during the postseason.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Texans Host the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football

Houston Texans Football

Red-Hot Texans Look for 5th win in a Row



The Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans will on Thursday Night Football. They game will be held at NRG Stadium. The Texans have turned their fortunes around. They answered a season-opening three-game losing skid that landed them in the cellar of the AFC South with four straight wins that catapulted them to the top of the division.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Texans -7.5 O/U: 45.

Brock Osweiler lasted just one season with the Texans despite signing a four-year, $72 million contract in May 2016. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Osweiler has fared much better in Miami. He has 619 yards passing and five touchdowns in two starts in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins are 4-3 as we approach the midpoint of the NFL season



Trade rumors began to circle as former first-round pick DeVante Parker was made a surprise inactive in Sunday's 32-21 setback to Detroit. Injuries to fellow wideouts Albert Wilson (hip) and Kenny Stills (groin) have made it an easy decision for Adam Gase. Parker claims he's 100 percent healthy after being hampered by a quadriceps injury.

Danny Amendola led the team with six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown versus the Lions. Kenyan Drake found the end zone for the first time since Sept. 16 and has 15 catches in his last three games.

DE Cameron Wake recorded two sacks and two forced fumbles in last meeting with the Texans.

The Texans are also 4-3, but are looking for their 5th straight win.



Lamar Miller recorded his first 100-yard performance since the 2016 season in Sunday's 20-7 win over Jacksonville. Miller will face a Dolphins rush defense that was gashed for 248 yards by the Lions.

Deshaun Watson overcame a bruised lung and injured ribs to throw a touchdown pass last week.

DeAndre Hopkins didn't take too kindly to Miami CB Xavien Howard claiming he "likes to push off a lot." The two-time Pro Bowl wideout offered the following response: "Who's Xavien Howard?"

Houston has won seven of eight encounters overall with Miami, including all four at home.

PREDICTION: Texans 26, Dolphins 17



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Next up:
Miami home to New York Sunday, November 4
Houston at Denver Sunday, November 4

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Flames Host the Penguins in NHL Action

Calgary Flames Hockey

Penguins are 2-0 on Road Trip; Flames Look to Cause Problems



The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Calgary Flames will meet on Thursday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Penguins shut down Auston Matthews and Toronto. They then out-slugged Connor McDavid and Edmonton to emerge victorious in the first two contests of their four-game trek through Canada.

The Penguins look to continue their good fortune as they carry a five-game point streak (3-0-2) on Thursday Night.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Pittsburgh, Sportsnet West (Calgary).

ODDS: Flames are -113-moneyline favorites. The total is 6.5 Under -115.

Captain Sidney Crosby continued Pittsburgh's surge in grand fashion. He capped off a two-goal performance with a highlight-reel backhanded tally in overtime of Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Oilers.

The Flames were left licking their wounds after Tuesday's 3-2 setback to Montreal. It was a tough one to take and the Flames look to learn from it.

RW Phil Kessel notched a pair of assists in the most recent contest against Calgary. He has recorded multi-point performances in four of seven games this season.

D Kris Letang collected two goals and three assists in his last four games.

The Penguins are 4-1-2 on the young NHL Season



Like Crosby, Patric Hornqvist also netted his first two goals of the season versus the Oilers. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak also tallied twice to raise his goal total to three.

Hornqvist netted his team's lone goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to Calgary on Nov. 2. Fellow forward Evgeni Malkin ignited the offense in the rematch with a three-point performance. He had one goal and two assists in a 4-3 overtime victory on March 5.

Malkin notched an assist against Edmonton to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, eight assists).

Flames are 5-4 on the NHL Season



Mathew Tkachuk set up a pair of goals to seize the team lead in assists (nine) and pull into a tie with Johnny Gaudreau in points (12). Gaudreau failed to dent the scoresheet on Tuesday for the just the second time this season. He had a pair of assists in 2017-18 versus the Penguins.

Fellow forward Mikael Backlund had a pair of assists against the Canadiens, giving him six points (one goal, five assists) in his last six games.

G David Rittich has turned aside 81 of 85 shots in his last two contests.

PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Flames 2



Pittsburgh:
Team record: 4-1-2 SU
Pittsburgh is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games
Pittsburgh is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games on the road

Calgary:
Team record: 5-4-0 SU
Calgary is 7-16 ATS in its last 23 games
Calgary is 5-20 ATS in its last 25 games at home
Calgary is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Pittsburgh at Vancouver Saturday, October 27
Calgary home to Washington Saturday, October 27

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Virginia Tech Hosts Georgia Tech on Thursday Night Football

VaTech Hokies

Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are Thursday Night Regulars



The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Virginia Tech Hokies meet on Thursday Night Football in ESPN. Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA will be the site of the game.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Virginia Tech -3.5 ; O/U 59

Virginia Tech looks to contain the nation's most productive rushing offense and remain unbeaten in the ACC Coastal Division when it hosts inconsistent Georgia Tech on Thursday night.

The Hokies, who are ranked 27th in the country in rushing defense, rallied to beat North Carolina 22-19 before their bye week. They will go to work on a Georgia Tech triple-option attack that has averaged 352 yards on the ground.

The Hokies have knocked off Florida State, Duke and North Carolina en route to first place alone in the Coastal. They have the four teams with winning records in conference play left on the schedule after meeting the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech rolled up 129 points combined to defeat Bowling Green and Louisville. They then suffered three fumbles on the way to a 28-14 loss on Oct. 13 against Duke. Georgia Tech needs three wins over the final five games to qualify for a bowl.

Two Teams that are Totally Opposite in this Matchup



Georgia Tech is 3-4 overall and 1-3 in ACC play. This is not quite a must win situation, but it is not far from it.

The Yellow Jackets were held to 229 yards on the ground by Duke. That includes a team-high 62 from sophomore Jerry Howard. Senior quarterback TaQuon Marshall was held to a season-low 41. Marshall, who is probable with an upper-body injury, leads the team in rushing with 598 yards and nine of its 30 touchdowns on the ground.

Freshman running back Jordan Mason is next with 482 yards. The Yellow Jackets' defense has had its moments this season. They have produced three touchdowns. Lineman Anree Saint-Amour boasts four sacks and three forced fumbles the past three games.

Virginia Tech is 4-2 overall and 3-0 on ACC action. A win tonight would definitely help keep them atop the ACC Coastal.

Ryan Willis put together an 18-play, 98-yard drive that ended on a touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Keene with 19 seconds left to beat North Carolina. That was his third start since taking over for injured Josh Jackson. Willis has seven TDs and 862 yards passing the last three games.

Virginia Tech is 23-9 on ESPN's Thursday Night Football package and 6-0 against the Yellow Jackets on Thursday all time - the last being 23-21 in 2015.

Georgia Tech has won in its last two trips to Blacksburg, Va., and took three of the past four in the series, including last year's battle 28-22 at home.

The Yellow Jackets have forced 16 turnovers - tied for 14th in the country - after finishing with 10 in 11 games last season.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 21



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Next up:
Georgia Tech at North Carolina Saturday, November 3
Virginia Tech home to Boston College Saturday, November 3

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Thunder Host the Celtics on Thursday Night

OKC Thunder

Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Preview



The Oklahoma City Thunder look for their first win of the season when they host the Boston Celtics. Both teams are off to a poor starts and are looking to turn the corner.


Thursday, October 25 at 8:00 PM ET

Chesapeake Energy Arena

Odds: Celtics are 1-point favorites. The total is 217.


 

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Boston Celtics



With young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown developing their immense talent and with All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward finally healthy, the Celtics were supposed to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They've been far from it so far, going just 2-2 to open the season. That includes a disappointing 93-90 home loss against the Magic last Monday. 

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists but he was just 2-for-8 from 3-point range. Gordon Hayward had a poor game with 11 points and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen combined for 12 points on 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Both teams struggled from 3-point distance. The Magic missed 25 of 35 3-point shots but the Celtics shot 22.5 percent (9-for-40).

The Celtics are averaging 99.8 points per game, which is 29th in the NBA. They grab 50.5 rebounds per game (6th), dish out 23.0 assists per game (19th) and allow 98.5 points per game (1st).

Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics with 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Kyrie Irving averages 16.5 points and a team-best 5.8 assists. Marcus Morris adds 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds off the bench.

Oklahoma City Thunder



Russell Westbrook returned but he couldn't help the Thunder earn their first win of the season. They're 0-3 after a 131-120 home loss against the Kings last Sunday.

Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes. Paul George score 29 points and Steven Adams added 10 points and 14 rebounds. The Thunder struggled at the free-throw line, going 19 of 30.

Oklahoma City took 104 shots but made just 44.2 percent of them. Westbrook and George were a combined 23 of 41 but the rest of the team was 23 of 63. Dennis Schroder made just 5 of 16 shots against the Kings and he's shooting just 28.0 percent (14-for-50) this season.

The Thunder are averaging 104.0 points per game (27th in the NBA), they grab 49.3 rebounds per game (7th), dish out 20.7 assists per game (28th) and allow 115.7 points per game (17th).

Russell Westbrook leads the Thunder with 32.0 points and 8.0 assists. Paul George is averaging 25.3 points and a team-best 3.0 steals. Steven Adams adds 14.7 points and a team-best 14.3 rebounds.

The Over is 6-1 in Oklahoma City's last seven games against Atlantic Division opponents. Russell Westbrook hates to lose and he'll have a dominant performance while looking to keep pace with Boston's high-powered offense.

The Over is 10-1 in Boston's last 11 games when playing on two days' rest and both teams have enough talent to run up the scoreboard tonight. 

 

NBA Pick: Over 217 (-110) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb

Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ

 

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lakers vs Suns Preview and Pick

Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Preview



LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers look for their first win of the season when they visit Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. This game has all the makings of being a close one from opening tip.


Wednesday, October 24 at 10:00 PM ET

Talking Stick Resort Arena

Odds: Lakers are 5-point favorites over the Suns. The total is at 238.

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Los Angeles Lakers 



The Los Angeles Lakers are still trying to get their first win of the season after losing three straight games and the road. Their first victory will be a little more difficult than expected as they will be without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram. They are still suspended after their roles in an on-court altercation against Chris Paul in Saturday's 124-115 loss against the Rockets. 

The Lakers are coming off a tough 143-142 overtime loss against the Spurs on Monday. Kyle Kuzma exploded for 37 points and eight rebounds. LeBron James finished with 32 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds. Josh Hart added 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, hitting four of his seven 3-point attempts. 

LeBron James tied the game on an incredible 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation. He missed two free-throws with 12.8 seconds to play in overtime before Patty Mills put the Spurs ahead. James then missed a step-back 3-point shot at the buzzer.

The Lakers are averaging 125.3 points per game (2nd in the NBA), they grab 47.3 rebounds per game (12th), dish out 28.0 assists per game (3rd) and allow 131.7 points per game (30th).

LeBron James leads the Lakers with 27.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Kyle Kuzma adds 21.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. Josh Hart is having a breakout season. He averaging 17.0 points per game while shooting 53.8 percent from the field. Hart is also at 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. He's provided a spark on the defensive end with 2.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

Phoenix Suns



The Phoenix Suns have lost their last two games. Monday's 123-103 road setback against the Golden State Warriors was bad.

Phoenix shot just 26.5 percent from 3-point range (9-for-34) and they finished with 21 turnovers. Devin Booker had 28 points, six assists and five rebounds. TJ Warren had 27 points off the bench and Deandre Ayton added 20 points and 14 rebounds.

The Warriors outscored the Suns 34-6 in fast break points and scored 29 points off their 21 turnovers.

The Suns are averaging 105.0 points per game (26th in the NBA), they grab 43.0 rebounds per game (22nd), dish out 26.3 assists per game (8th) and allow 114.0 points per game (15th).

Devin Booker leads the Suns with 29.3 points and 6.7 assists. TJ Warren is averaging 20.0 points and a team-best 1.3 steals off the bench. Deandre Ayton adds 14.3 points and a team-best 10.7 rebounds.

The urgency of the Lakers will kick in tonight. While they have yet to lead after the first quarter in their first three games, the Lakers are a cumulative +9 in the second quarter and they should at least be competitive enough to cover in the first half.

 

NBA Pick: Lakers 1st half -2.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb

Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ

 

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World Series Game 2: Dodgers Vs Red Sox

2018 World Series

Game 2 of World Series at Fenway Park



We had an exciting World Series Game 1. The Boston Red Sox jump to a 1-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams will be back at it on Wednesday for a critical Game 2 matchup. The game was a whole lot closer than the 8-4 final would lead you to believe. This World Series is shaping up to be an exciting one.

The Red Sox Andrew Benintendi had four hits and Eduardo Nunez belted a pinch-hit, three-run homer. Benintendi joined Wally Moses (Game 4, 1946) and Jacoby Ellsbury (Game 3, 2007) as the only Boston players with four hits in a World Series game.

The Dodgers' Manny Machado drove in three runs for the Dodgers.

The Red Sox hold home-field advantage throughout the series, so it’ll be important for them to maintain that edge and come out on top in Game 2. If LA wins they will effectively hold home field advantage in the final five games of the World Series.

TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, FOX

PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1, 4.40 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH David Price (1-1, 5.11).

ODDS: Red Sox -140-moneyline favorites. The total is 8.5.

Pitching and Timely Hitting Will be Key



The Boston Red Sox are sending veteran lefty David Price to the mound in Game 2. Price is coming off of his first postseason victory in 9 starts in the playoffs. He led Boston to a series-clinching win over the Houston Astros in the ALCS. This may be the biggest game of his professional career.

Price is 3-9 with a 5.04 ERA in 20 career postseason appearances (12 starts), with the first two wins coming as a reliever.

Veteran lefty in Huyn-Jin Ryu will start for the Dodgers. Ryu was the Dodgers’ most reliable starter down the stretch of the regular season and has carried that over to the playoffs.

Though he’s coming off of a tough outing against the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryu still gives the Dodgers an excellent chance against the Red Sox.

Ryu never has pitched in Fenway Park and took some time to study the playing field dimensions on Monday.

Ryu is 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA in six career postseason starts.

PREDICTION: Dodgers 6, Red Sox 4

 

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

MLB World Series: Dodgers vs Red Sox Preview and Pick

2018 World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox World Series Game 1 Preview 



The 2018 MLB World Series has the potential to be a good one.  We have two good offenses and pitching staff's capable of putting up small numbers. It all starts tonight.


The Los Angeles Dodgers clash with the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park. Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for the Dodgers while the Red Sox give the ball to Chris Sale.

Los Angeles won two out of three in an inter-league series against Boston in 2016.

Tuesday, October 23 at 8:09 PM ET  on FOX.


Fenway Park

Mostly Cloudy 54°F

Wind: 5mph and blowing out

Odds: Red Sox are -165-moneyline favorites. The total is 7.5 Under -125.

 

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Los Angeles Dodgers



Clayton Kershaw will make his fourth postseason appearance (third start). The left-hander closed out Game 7 of the NLCS against the Brewers with a scoreless ninth inning last Saturday.

Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA and an 0.79 WHIP in four appearances (three starts) over 19 innings. He has allowed six runs (five earned), recording 16 strikeouts and just four walks.

He pitched well in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks. He had nine strikeouts over seven innings in a 5-2 win and this will be his first career appearance against the Red Sox.

The Dodgers' ace is 9-8 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 141 innings in 28 postseason games (22 starts).

Manny Machado is very familiar with the Red Sox. He spent seven seasons with the Orioles.

Machado went 10-for-36 with seven RBIs against the Red Sox this season and he has a .277 batting average with 52 RBIs in 95 career games against them.

The star shortstop has also fared well against Chris Sale. He has gone 6-for-19 with two doubles, one home run and two RBIs. He leads the Dodgers with three home runs and nine RBIs in 11 postseason games.

Boston Red Sox



Chris Sale will make his fourth postseason appearance (third start). He was supposed to start Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros but he was dealing with an illness that kept him out.

He didn't have his best stuff in Game 1 of the ALCS, allowing two earned runs on one hit with four walks and five strikeouts over four innings to get a no-decision in a 7-2 loss.

He did pitch well in Game 1 of the ALDS. He holding the Yankees to two earned runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-4 win.

Sale hasn't faced the Dodgers since 2012. He's given up seven earned runs in six career innings against them.

J.D. Martinez came on strong in games 3-5 of the ALCS against the Astros. He went 5-for-11 with one home run and three RBIs.

Martinez is having an outstanding postseason.  He is hitting .313 with two home runs and nine RBIs and he hit five home runs with eight RBIs in 34 at-bats against the Dodgers from 2015 to 2017. 

World Series Game 1 Pick



Runs should be at a premium in the first five innings of this game. This will mark the first time many of the hitters on both sides have seen Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale.

This is an advantage to the pitchers. Kershaw has a 2.37 ERA over 19 innings in this postseason and Sale has given up two or fewer runs in his two postseason starts. Look for a pitching duel to start the 2018 MLB World Series.


MLB Pick: 1st 5 Innings Under 3.5 (-105) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb

Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ

 

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