If you are a sports betting enthusiast like all of us at BangTheBook.com are, then you probably start thinking about the betting impact of the day’s top stories. Not every top story has a relevance to betting, but you probably try to connect the dots anyway. In a new feature each weekday, we will take a look at the top six sports stories of the day in an article titled the Daily Six Pack. They say that an apple day keeps the doctor away. Well, we like to think that a six pack a day keeps the bookie away.
With that, let’s take a look at the six top stories for Thursday April 16:
Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs Set
It’s hard not to feel for the Indiana Pacers, who could not overcome Tuesday’s energy-draining game to beat the Memphis Grizzlies. With the Pacers loss and Brooklyn’s easy win over the Orlando Magic, the Nets entered the postseason as the #8 seed. It’s unfortunate because the Pacers would have had a chance to make things really interesting against the Atlanta Hawks, but I don’t think the Nets have that kind of upside.
The Hawks and Nets begin their series on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The #2 Cleveland Cavaliers take on the #7 Boston Celtics beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. in Cleveland. The #3 Chicago Bulls are expected to have no trouble with the #6 Milwaukee Bucks in their series that begins on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. The Toronto Raptors host the Washington Wizards to open up the playoffs on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET in the 4 vs. 5 series.
In looking at these matchups, it’s hard to see any upset potential. The Western Conference has the potential to be significantly more exciting than the Eastern Conference in the first round.
Western Conference NBA Playoffs Set
Congratulations to the New Orleans Pelicans for beating the San Antonio Spurs to make the playoffs in a game that meant a lot to the Spurs as well. On a personal level, I was rooting for the Pelicans to make it over the Thunder. New Orleans has a lot of upside and has been one of the grittiest teams in the NBA this season. They’re the team that Golden State did not want to face if given the choice, though neither team has a ton of upset potential.
The Warriors and Pelicans are the first Western Conference game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will be interesting to see if the early start has any effect on the Warriors, who have buried teams in the first quarter on countless occasions this season. The #2 Houston Rockets play on Saturday as well against the #7 Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets won the Southwest Division with their win over the Utah Jazz and San Antonio’s loss to the Pelicans.
That was a particularly costly loss for the Spurs. Not only did they go from having home court advantage against what I believe is the worst team in the Western Conference playoffs to starting on the road at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Memphis Grizzlies host the Northwest Division Champion Portland Trail Blazers at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The impact of San Antonio’s loss was huge, not just for the playoff format, but for future betting as well. It’s hard to see the Spurs emerging at this point and they got a lot of futures love during their great run at the end of the season.
NHL Playoffs Recap
It didn’t take long for the first multi-overtime thriller of the NHL postseason. On a night of blown leads, the Nashville Predators lost a 3-0 first period lead to lose 4-3 in the second overtime period on Duncan Keith’s game-winning goal. Credit to Joel Quenneville for replacing Corey Crawford at the first intermission with Scott Darling. The Blackhawks responded by outshooting the Predators 11-4 in the second period and Darling made 42 saves in relief, including 23 in the overtime periods.
The Ottawa Senators took a 1-0 lead into the second period and then the Senators and Montreal Candiens combined for six goals in the second period. It was the roughest game of the four on Wednesday night, including some misconducts at the end of regulation. The Senators showed a lot of fight in what wound up being a much more wide open game than expected. The teams combined for 36 shots on goal in the second period.
The New York Islanders and Calgary Flames won on the road in Game 1 by holding their opposition to one goal. The Islanders played a complete game in a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals and the Flames used some third period heroics to take their opener against the Canucks.
Honoring A Legend
Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball and every player in the league wore #42 to celebrate the brave man that broke the league’s color barrier. The league seems to be in a never-ending quest to get more African American players into the game and the Larry Doby R.B.I program that promotes baseball in inner cities is very popular.
As for the games themselves, there weren’t a lot of surprising outcomes, though there are some good talking points. Even though they won the game and the series, the Detroit Tigers were limited to seven runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The absence of Victor Martinez in the lineup definitely had something to do with it, but the Tigers were also due some regression from their torrid start to the season.
The San Francisco Giants were swept by the Colorado Rockies. Check out the Thursday edition of the Bettor’s Box, our MLB betting podcast, for more on that and other pertinent baseball betting information.
Aaron Hernandez Guilty
Aaron Hernandez will never catch another pass in the NFL, but he may catch something in federal prison after being convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd. The first-degree murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison without parole, though we can be sure that an appeal will come down the pike at some point.
Prosecutors seemed to have no problem organizing a case against Hernandez and it’s possible that he could be on the hook for other murders down the line. The defense placed Hernandez at the scene and that was likely all that the jurors needed to send the former New England Patriot to a cell for the rest of his life. Over the course of the nine-week trial, 135 witnesses took the stand. It was a long, draining process for all involved.
Four and No More
Speaking at an event at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, College Football Playoff Selection Committee members Condoleezza Rice and Larry Scott told the crowd that they were perfectly content with having four teams in the College Football Playoff. A lot of fans and media members would like to see the playoff expanded to eight teams after Baylor and TCU were shut out of the final four, but it seems that the committee will shoot down any idea to expand the playoffs.
One of the biggest reasons that TCU and Baylor were not involved in the playoff is because the conference does not have a championship game. You can bet that will change before the playoff expands. The committee members met earlier this month to discuss possible changes and the takeaway from the meeting was that the committee will not make sweeping changes.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.