The Daily Six Pack is a recap of what happened the previous day in the sports world with a particular interest in the betting impacts of those events. Not all stories require an analysis of the betting impact, but those thoughts are presented when necessary. The Six Pack covers all of the major leagues and also some golf and other major events. With the playoffs in full swing for the winter sports and the MLB season well underway, there’s plenty to discuss in this April 22 edition.
Here are the top six sports stories for April 22:
Raptors Soon To Be Extinct?
Regarding the playoffs, people often utter the phrase, “You’re not in trouble until you lose at home”. For the Toronto Raptors, trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it. After the teams played to a final tally of 179 points in an overtime game in Game 1, an offensive explosion of 223 points yielded a similar result and the Washington Wizards took a 2-0 series lead.
John Wall was outstanding for the Wizards with 26 points and 17 assists and the Wizards actually led by 22 entering the final quarter of play before putting the game in cruise control. The Raptors lost Kyle Lowry with what has been initially diagnosed as a bruised shin. The outcome of the game was determined at that point, so Lowry may have been able to play through it, but it was a pretty fitting end to Game 4. The Raptors have been beaten in two very different ways in this series and the series may not even return to the Air Canada Centre.
With back-to-back road wins as an underdog, it will be interesting to see how inflated the Game 3 line is. Bettors that have watched the first two games are going to have a hard time justifying a bet on the Raptors, no matter the line, because of how they have played. Toronto has been outrebounded 106-76 in the series so far.
Other NBA Playoff Action
The Cleveland Cavs had some issues for the second straight game with the Boston Celtics. This one was decidedly closer, as the Cavs spent long periods of Game 1 going on runs and then giving up runs. The Cavs led at halftime for the second straight game, but the scrappy Celts kept the game within single digits most of the night. Part of the problem for the Cavs has been a lack of secondary scoring. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had all 24 points for the Cavs in the fourth quarter and James had 15 of them. On one hand, superstars take over when they need to. On another hand, Kevin Love is shooting 36 percent. JR Smith is shooting 29 percent.
The Celtics just haven’t made shots in this series. They were 39 percent from the floor and 6-of-22 from distance. Boston only scored 22 points off of 18 Cavs turnovers and that is certainly not the way to pull an upset. Jared Sullinger had 14 and 5 in 22 minutes off the bench and Isaiah Thomas had 22, including 10-of-10 from the stripe. Will Brad Stevens try to make some changes for Game 3? The Celtics aren’t rolling over against the heavily-favored Cavs and a return to Boston may help. The Cavs will be a big road favorite, but they struggled in front of a loud home crowd in Game 2.
In the other series, the Houston Rockets are poised to make short work of the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis combined to go 11-of-37 from the floor for 34 points, while Dwight Howard (10-of-15) and James Harden (5-of-17) combined for 42 points. This game was a lesson in team chemistry. Even though a lot of the stats looked rather similar, the Rockets had 25 assists to the Mavericks’ 15. Rajon Rondo played 10 minutes with one assist and four turnovers. Rondo was in foul trouble, but he has not been nearly as effective as the Mavericks had hoped when they acquired him from Boston. Rondo left without talking to the media and teammate Amar’e Stoudemire stood up for him, but it’s clear that Dallas is a house divided.
The Mavericks had no answer for Howard and have injury problems with Chandler Parsons and Devin Harris. Depth is a problem and the Rockets are a relentless opponent on both ends of the floor. Rick Carlisle is at his wit’s end with this team and it’s showing in his demeanor. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this series end in four or five games and the line for Game 3 should tell us a lot about what oddsmakers think of Dallas’s chances.
NHL Playoff Rewind
The home teams won three of the four games on Tuesday night to take control of their best-of-seven series. The Detroit Red Wings goaltending situation has been feast or famine through three games, but Petr Mrazek feasted on the night with a 22-save shutout. It was a brilliant performance all around from the Red Wings, who made it look rather easy. Detroit was the aggressor on the night, nearly doubling the Lightning in hits. One of the keys for the Red Wings is that they kept the game along the boards. Tampa Bay, because of their speed, is most dangerous in open ice. That was a great adjustment by Mike Babcock and the Red Wings now control the series with Game 4 at home.
A couple of overtime thrillers, the hallmark of playoff hockey, entertained fans on Tuesday. The Washington Capitals evened up their series at 2-2 with Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winner over the left shoulder of Jaroslav Halak. The Capitals and Islanders tied in points during the regular season and this has been a very even series already. Both games on Long Island went to overtime.
There is some concern about Lubomir Visnovsky, the veteran blueliner for the Islanders. Visnovsky, who has a history of concussions, was smashed by Tom Wilson behind the net and hit the ice hard. Wilson went off to the penalty box with a charging minor, but Visnovsky never returned to the game.
The Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from advancing over the Nashville Predators. The Predators will have to regroup in Game 5 after a devastating triple overtime loss on Tuesday. The Predators blew two separate one-goal leads and Seabrook’s game-winner one minute into the third overtime sealed the deal. Limited to basically four defensemen with Shea Weber out, Seth Jones, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis all logged well over 40 minutes of ice time. Only Duncan Keith did that for the Blackhawks. Fatigue is a factor and the Blackhawks could very well win Game 5 and move on.
NFL Schedule Release
The NFL schedule was gradually leaked throughout the day and then finally released last night as the excitement for the season starts to grow. The season begins with the New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10 in the NFL Kickoff Game. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will meet on Thanksgiving, along with the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Carolina Panthers and the Detroit Lions against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The usual suspects spend a lot of time in primetime, as the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks all grace national audiences on five separate occasions.
Keep an eye out during the first week of May for NFL Win Totals articles and a return of the Gridiron Gambling Report with Adam Burke and Cole Ryan to discuss those win totals, the NFL Draft, and more.
Plenty of Fireworks
Just days after an eventful series between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays got in on the fun. Edwin Encarnacion hit two mammoth home runs and Orioles reliever Jason Garcia decided to send a message by throwing behind slugger Jose Bautista. Bautista responded by hitting a ball into orbit. He watched his handiwork and leisurely trotted around the bases, much to the chagrin of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Jones and Bautista exchanged pleasantries and this is definitely not the end between the two teams. As division rivals, the teams will play 19 times in all this season.
In terms of run scoring, there was quite a bit of last night. The Blue Jays and Orioles combined for 19 runs. The Reds and Brewers tallied 26 runs, including three grand slams in the game. The Padres bested the Rockies 7-6 in a usual high-scoring game at Coors Field. The Angels hung 14 runs on the A’s, requiring an inning of work from first baseman and former pitcher Ike Davis.
It was a fun night in Major League Baseball.
A Watered Down PGA Event
The players descend on the Big Easy for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana this week for the next PGA Tour event. This event is lacking some of the big names in golf as Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Patrick Reed are all taking the week off.
Last season’s event was won by Seung-yul Noh, the lone win in the 23-year-old South Korean’s career. It’s not a surprise that a lot of big names sit out this event. The WGC Cadillac Match Play event is next week, followed by The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. This is a good chance for the game’s best to take a step away from the course, either to spend time with family or work on things.
A handful of big names are in the field and they top the odds board. Dustin Johnson is the 8/1 favorite at Bovada.lv, with Justin Rose at 10/1 and Jason Day at 11/1. Rickie Fowler is 16/1, with Keegan Bradley at 20/1. Reigning champ Seung-yul Noh is lined at 66/1.
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