Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -147 odds (January 29th 2015)
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The NHL resumed and my first free play of the second half was a winner on these very Detroit Red Wings, they’d hold on for dear life in a 5-4 victory over the Panthers. But now the Wings face an entirely different animal in the Lightning, a team which entered the second half with a lead in the Eastern Conference, but which came out flat in its 4-2 loss to Carolina on Tuesday (I had the OVER in that one as one of my “official” selections); suffice it to say, I expect the home side to come in extremely focused this evening and for this determination to pay dividends for us at the end of the night. The Wings are down to their backup goaltender, Peter Mrazek is 5-0-0 over his six starts, but after posting a 1.63 GAA in his first three, the 22-year old has given up 11 goals with a 4.76 GAA in three games since. Here’s the perfect opponent to get untracked against, the Wings defensive slide is about to catch up to them here and it’s not like Tampa Bay will be intimidated whatsoever, it’s actually gunning for a franchise-best ninth consecutive home victory. And despite the setback at Carolina, note that the Bolts are still averaging a league-high 3.18 GPG. Also note, while the Wings have dominated the Lightning historically, winning 26 times in 38 all-time meetings between the clubs, Tampa has in fact taken five of the last six in the series, including two straight in front of the home town crowd. A pretty fair line in my estimation, I definitely think that the LIGHTNING are worth the price of admission in this spot. How about you, does Tampa Bay lay the hammer down, or do the Wings continue to surge?
Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks
Basketball Pick: Brooklyn +14 (January 28th 2015)
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I played against Atlanta in its last game vs. Minnesota and if you didn’t have a chance to read that analysis, I think it’s worth a look here as a lot of the situational factors I outlined in that selection also directly apply to this one:
I played this line right when it came out, it’s since gone up a bit as of writing, but may settle back down to 16.5, but regardless, I love this pick and think that the lowly Wolves can catch the surprising home side a bit complacent here and expect them to comfortably sneak in through the back door as the game comes down the stretch. What more can be said about the Atlanta Hawks right now that hasn’t literally been said by every NBA analyst across North American a million times by now, obviously the team is playing at an extremely high level on both ends of the court. I won’t try to convince you that the Wolves are a good team which has just been unlucky this season, injuries and other factors have Minnesota in the cellar for a reason, it’s a club which is in transition this season. However, what I would point out is that after covering 13 straight games and with contests vs. Minnesota today and Brooklyn (just 18-25) on Wednesday, there’s no question in my mind that this short stretch vs. the league’s worst teams definitely sets up as a classic “letdown” spot for the home side. Conversely, the Wolves have lost three straight (both SU and ATS) and will be “hungry” to not get blown out here with the knowledge that the eyes of the basketball World are all on the city of Atlanta right now. I think this is a few too many points, grab as many as you can with the WOLVES.
Check out more Brooklyn Nets Predictions and Atlanta Hawks Predictions at Touthouse.com.
I believe that tonight’s game also sets up as a classic “letdown/look ahead” spot for the home side with a game at home vs. the Blazers on Friday. Also note that this is a revenge game for Brooklyn after falling 98-75 to the Hawks at home back on December 5th as a 1-point underdog. A few too many points again in my opinion, consider a second look at the NETS in this one.