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Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 23, 2017
Nationals vs Mets
+144 at 5Dimes
Play Type: Top Premium

9* NY Mets (8:05 ET): The Mets seemingly come into Sunday nights' finale w/ the Nationals at a severe disadvantage. They've dropped the first two games of this three game set, at home, and have now dropped three in a row overall. Meanwhile, the Nats have won six in a row and now send Max Scherzer to the hill. But let's not forget that that the Mets were actually favored on the money line in the first two games of this series. Losing twice changes that, but I suspect the change from the oddsmakers has more to do w/ Scherzer's presence than anything else. I feel that's being overvalued. Look for the Mets to avoid the sweep tonight as they salvage a game.

Scherzer absolutely should command respect. After all, he has a 1.37 ERA and 0.864 WHIP through his first three starts. He's been one of the top pitchers in the game for the past several seasons. Last time out, he tossed seven shutout innings of two-hit ball in Atlanta. But the Braves, Cardinals and Phillies (Scherzer's first three opponents) are hardly a "murderer's row." Now his career ERA vs. the Mets (1.38) is his lowest vs. any opponent that he's faced at least ten times. And the Mets have scored only 23 runs in their last eight games. But I'm going to still keep the faith. After all, the Nats have not swept a series here in Queens since 2014. 

The Mets will send Zack Wheeler to the bump. He could use some offensive help, but then again he too is off a strong outing, holding the Phillies to one run and four hits in five innings of work. It's not as if the Nats have been hitting the cover off the ball in this series either. They've scored just three and four runs in the two wins, respectively, and have collected only 13 hits. Nats' hitters have actually drawn as many walks as they have hits in the series, which has been crucial. Wheeler has exhibited pretty good control thus far w/ only four walks in three starts. That's fewer than Scherzer, albeit in fewer innings. Still, it's also a good sign that Washington struck out 15 times yday and Wheeler posted 7 K's in that last start. The Mets are 20-14 the L3 seasons when coming off three straight losses. 9* NY Mets

Matchup Selection W/L
NHL  |  Apr 23, 2017
Senators vs Bruins
-155 at 5Dimes
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Boston (3:05 ET): This play should come as no surprise seeing as I've played the Bruins in all five games so far (Ottawa leads 3-2). I still maintain that they're the better team here for all the reasons previously outlined. While facing elimination and never having rallied back from a 3-1 series deficit in FRANCHISE history, a case could certainly be made that the B's turned the proverbial "corner" in Game 5 w/ a 3-2 win in double overtime. They had to rally back from a two goal deficit to stay alive and now get a home game. I know that the the Bruins are trying to buck history here, but there's a first time for everything, right? Look for Boston to force a deciding Game 7 in Ottawa. 

Many key metrics from the regular season pointed to Boston being the better team here. They had a better goal differential than Ottawa (+22 to -2). In fact, the Senators are the ONLY team to make the playoffs that was outscored in the regular season. Also, the Bruins led the league in shot per game differential and were tops on the penalty kill (85.7%). Surprisingly, they allowed three power play goals in the first three games. But they've been a perfect 8 for 8 in the last two and came up huge in a couple crucial moments in Game 5. Shockingly, they have yet to outshoot the Sens in any individual game in the series. But maybe that bodes well, moving forward? They allow only 25.8 shots per game at home for the year and I now feel Tuukka Rask is outplaying Craig Anderson in goal. 

Of course, all anyone wanted to focus on coming into this series was the fact the Sens swept the regular season series (4-0) from the Bruins. Given what was outlined above, that shocked me. Now, it should be pointed out that five of the now seven wins over the Bruins this year have come by a one-goal margin. One of the others that they won by two goals saw them score an empty-netter. Three have been in overtime. So they've hardly dominated. As you might expect, there's some real attrition (on both sides) with the series being so competitive. Despite absences along the blue line, I feel Boston forces a Game 7 as not only can I not see them losing a sixth straight home game to Ottawa, but I believe them to simply be the better club here. 10* Boston

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 23, 2017
Celtics vs Bulls
+3 -110 at Bovada
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Chicago (6:35 ET): After zigging with my Game of the Week on the Celtics in Game 3, I'll be "zagging" so-to-speak here on the Bulls for Game 4. The home team has yet to win a game in this best of seven affair, which 8th seeded Chicago now leads two games to one. The big story going into Game 3 had been the top seeded Celtics being down 0-2, but quickly shifted once it was annouced that the Bulls' Rajon Rondo would be out for the remainder of the series w/ a broken thumb. The early returns w/o Rondo were not good as the Bulls lost Game 3, 104-87, while committing 17 turnovers and having only 14 assists. But, I believe they'll bounce back tonight, as Rondo's absence really doesn't affect the Bulls' one key edge in this series and that's rebounding. Take the points.

Chicago finished the year 4th in rebound rate. Boston was 4th worst (27th). The Bulls, not surprisingly, currently own a significant edge on the boards through the first three games of this series. In playing Boston Game 3, I somewhat disregarded this edge for the Bulls and instead chose to focus on their poor shooting numbers. Sure enough, Jimmy Butler had an "off-night" as he was 7 of 21 from the field and didn't even attempt a single free throw (just 4th time all season). Now though, I expect Butler specifically and the rest of his teammates to bounce back. As we all know, rebounding is the way to counteract poor shooting. I can't envision Chicago shooting below 40% from the field again at home, which included 6 of 21 from three-point range. At the same time, expect Boston to regress from its 47.7% shooting percentage from Game 3. I also don't expect them to make 17 three-pointers again. 

Boston came into the playoffs as a somewhat shaky #1 seed. After the first two games, they appeared to be even shakier. As I anticipated, they then blew the Bulls out in Game 3, but one result won't change everything, nor will Rondo's absence. Concerning is that the Celtics only got to the FT line SEVEN times in Game 3. I should also mentione that they are just 5-11 ATS (only 9-8 SU) the game following a double digit win. As an underdog, the Bulls are 28-18 ATS this season, including 10-5 at home. They did cut the Boston lead to one (after trailing by as many as 20!) in Game 3. The Bulls are also still the better defensive team here. 10* Chicago


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