Apr 292013

The Memphis Grizzlies will look to take a 3-2 series lead when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, April 30th at 10:30 PM ET. The home team has won every game in this exciting first round playoff matchup and the Los Angeles Clippers hope that trend continues. After a disappointing game four, the Clippers will need to get back to basics if they are going to stop the momentum of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Head coach Vinny Del Negro will look to refocus his team in game five with so much on the line. “We got to go back, and we got to take care of business in Game 5 at home in front of our fans,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “But there’s no question we’re going to have to get back to playing the way we did the first couple games.”

While the Los Angeles Clippers appeared poised to easily handle the Memphis Grizzlies after the first two games of the series, things took a dramatic turn when the series shifted to Memphis. The Grizzlies defeated the Clippers 104-83 in game four behind the excellent play of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph who each had 24 points.

As good as the Memphis Grizzlies played in games three and four, odds makers are not giving them much of a chance on the road in game five. Currently, the Los Angeles Clippers are listed as 5 point home favorites with the total sitting at 180 points.

In order for the Memphis Grizzlies to have a shot of winning game five and taking a commanding lead in the series, the Grizzlies will need to bring the same intensity and passion they did in the last two games for all four quarters. It is imperative that Memphis gets off to a good start on Tuesday night to keep the Los Angeles crowd out of it for as long as possible as they will sure be ready to rock with the Clippers returning home and entrenched in a close series.

A key to success for the Los Angeles Clippers will be finding a way to limit the production of Gasol and Randolph. Both players were excellent during the games in Memphis and helped catapult their team to victory. With a better concerted effort to stop Gasol and Randolph on the defensive end, the Clippers should be able to use their experience and athleticism to defeat the Grizzlies in front of their home town fans on Tuesday night.

Apr 052013

Frustrated Vancouver Canucks goaltender, Roberto Luongo, admits that he feels trapped after failing to find a new team before the National Hockey League dealing deadline.

The 34-year-old’s lucrative contract appears to have scared off any potential suitors but he is feeling increasingly isolated as it is now 12 months since he was deposed in goal by Cory Schneider.

Luongo has nine seasons and more than $40million left on his 12-year deal but he appeared destined to sign for the Florida Panthers last summer.

However, that deal fell through and a potential switch to the Toronto Maple Leafs also failed to materialise, much to the chagrin of fans betting on NHL.

It has now been reported that the Maple Leafs rejected Canucks’ trade offers for Luongo three times in the final hour before this month’s deadline.

Luongo admitted after being told that he would be staying in Vancouver: “My contract sucks. That’s what the problem is. Unfortunately, it is a big factor in trading me and it’s probably why I’m still here. I’d scrap it if I could right now.”

Luongo’s situation does not look as though it will improve in the summer as the salary cap is set to fall to $64.3million from $70.2million. That means that the Canucks seem certain to have to continue paying a player who is sitting on the bench.

The contract was negotiated in 2009 and Vancouver insist they did the right thing at the time as all the top teams in the league that were competing for Stanley Cups were handing out similar deals to their leading players.

Luongo added, to NHL betting news pundits: “I don’t think disappointment is the right word. It’s been an emotional ride, the last year. I think it’s more the unknown that has gotten to me more than anything else. I’m human and sometimes it gets to you.”

Mar 282013

The Anaheim Ducks will travel to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, March 29th at 8:30 PM ET in a showdown between the two best teams in the Western Conference. Currently, the Chicago Blackhawks lead the Anaheim Ducks in the standings by five points and will be looking to avenge a March 20th loss to the Ducks in Anaheim. A win on Friday night will give the Blackhawks a great shot at winning the Western Conference as there are just 15 games remaining on the schedule.

NHL odds makers have set the Chicago Blackhawks as -152 home favorites while the Anaheim Ducks are +138 underdogs. The total is set at 5.5 goals with the under being juiced at -126 and the over sitting at +114 odds.

In their most recent game, the Anaheim Ducks lost to the San Jose Sharks 4-0. The loss to San Jose was Anaheim’s fourth in a row. A lack of scoring has helped lead to this mini slump for the Ducks as Anaheim has scored just five goals in their last four games. During the loss to San Jose, Jonas Hiller was not particularly sharp, stopping just 25-of-29 shots. Anaheim put 22 shots on net, but Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped them all.

While the lack of scoring is cause for concern for the Ducks, the team should panic just yet. Anaheim is still fifth in the league in goals per game and fourth overall on the power play. Every team in the league has gone through some type of scoring drought this year, and it appears it is just Anaheim’s turn to go through theirs.

The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames to stop their own two game losing streak. During the game against the Flames, goalie Ray Emery stopped all 16 shots he faced to earn his 12th victory of the season. Defensemen Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy scored for the Blackhawks who put 35 shots on net against Calgary.

With both teams ranked in the top five in goals scored per game, Friday night’s contest should be a high scoring affair. The Ducks should bring their best effort against the Blackhawks as this is a measuring stick type game to gauge where they are at heading into the playoffs. Also, if Anaheim or Chicago notice their team is lacking a certain element on Friday night against another quality opponent, they could opt to turn to the trade market to see if they can improve their team before the April 3rd trade deadline.

Mar 072013

The Pittsburgh Steelers probably would not swap Ben Roethlisberger for many other quarterbacks in the NFL, but that would not be the case when it comes to their other options at QB.

A lack of strength in depth at quarterback has proved critical to the Steelers’ past two seasons, and NFL betting news pundits believe that the franchise needs to make amends before the new campaign.

Roethlisberger’s arrival in the 2004 draft was followed by Pittsburgh’s most successful decade since the 1970’s, with the quarterback leading the franchise to two Super Bowl championship wins, three conference titles, four AFC North titles, and six appearances in the play-offs.

When Roethlisberger has been absent from the team, however, the Steelers have consistently failed to find anyone capable of stepping up and filling the void.

Injury to the 31-year old in the past two years all but ended Pittsburgh’s hopes of challenging when it really mattered, bringing premature ends to the Steelers’ seasons when it could have been very different.

In 2011, Roethlisberger’s ankle injury helped contribute to an early playoff exit for the Steelers, while injuries to his ribs and shoulders ultimately led to a missed playoff performance this past season.

While the Steelers care capable of winning without Roethlisberger in the line-up, as fans betting NFL will no doubt be aware, it has proven to be more difficult than it should be for one of the league’s most talented offensive units.

Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch have both failed to do anywhere near enough to prove that they are capable of being turned to should Roethlisberger suffer injury next season.

It now appears the Steelers will be forced to add some strength in depth in their quarterback department, knowing it could well prove to be crucial to Pittsburgh’s hopes of returning to the play-offs next season.

Feb 282013

Two-time defending champion Japan will look to win its third straight World Baseball Classic when play begins on March 2nd. Japan finds itself in Pool A with Brazil, China and Cuba. Cuba figures to give Japan the most trouble as they traditionally have a solid team of players during international competition. However, even having to face the Cubans, Japan should not have any issues making it out of pool play and moving on to the second round as the top two teams from each pool will advance.

Odds makers will have the runlines, moneylines and totals for each and every game, up to and including the championship game.

2013 World Baseball Classic Expectations

While Japan figures to be one of the best teams in the tournament, this particular team will have to try to win their third title without the help of several notable major league players. Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish all declined to represent their country during this year’s World Baseball Classic after being instrumental in the team’s dominance last time around.

Without these star players, Japan will turn to fresh faces to help them beat their international rivals. Masahiro Tanaka and Tadashi Settsu will provide quality starting pitching for team Japan. In fact, the entire pitching staff for Japan should be a strength of the team as Japan is regularly known for their ability to produce high quality, major league pitchers.

Even though Japan lacks household names on their roster, baseball fans know they will field a fundamentally sound team. Also, playing the first and second rounds in their home country will provide Japan with a home field advantage that others teams in Pools A and B will not have the luxury of enjoying. This home field advantage could become a big story for team Japan as their fans have notorious shown up in big numbers to support their national team during the World Baseball Classic.

Japan is currently listed as the third favorite to win the World Baseball Classic at +330 odds. With a history of developing quality baseball talent, it should not come as a shock to anyone if Japan is able to repeat as champions in 2013.

Feb 192013

The Kansas Jayhawks will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a pivotal Big 12 conference game with league title implications on Wednesday, February 20th at 9:00 PM ET. Currently, there is a three way tie atop the Big 12 standings between the Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma State Cowboys as each team has three losses in conference play. The winner of Wednesday night’s showdown between Kansas and Oklahoma State will move to 10-3 with the Kansas State Wildcats while the loser will drop down to second place.

The Kansas Jayhawks have seen a nice turnaround in their level of play after dropping three straight conference games earlier in the month of February. In their most recent game, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Texas Longhorns by a final score of 73-47. In that blowout, center Jeff Withey scored 15 points to go with 11 rebounds and four steals while Travis Releford had one of his best games of the season scoring 15 points and grabbing five rebounds. Freshman Ben McLemore also had a nice game against Texas, scoring 13 points to go with six rebounds and three assists.

The offense of the Jayhawks has improved dramatically after suffering an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs on February 6th. As long as the Jayhawks are able to maintain their current level of offensive efficiency, they will have as good a shot as anyone to win the Big 12 conference title.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys have been on a roll as of late, winning seven straight games. In their most recent game, the Cowboys defeated their rival Oklahoma Sooners 84-79 in overtime. Guard Marcus Smart continued his excellent play as he scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds to go with four assists in the game. Fellow guard Le’Bryan Nash scored 26 points and grabbed five rebounds during the overtime victory.

That win over Oklahoma set the Oklahoma State Cowboys on track to win the Big 12 title. With a relatively easy schedule after Wednesday game against Kansas, the Big 12 title could be decided when the Oklahoma State Cowboys host the Kansas State Wildcats on March 9th.

Odds makers have set the Oklahoma State Cowboys as 1.5 point home favorites.

Feb 072013

The Chicago Bulls will continue their road trip when they travel to the Pepsi Center to face the red hot Denver Nuggets on Thursday, February 7th at 10:30 PM ET. The Denver Nuggets have won seven straight and will look to make it eight in a row on Thursday night as the Nuggets have now moved into fifth place in the Western Conference. The Chicago Bulls currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and continue to be up and down on their road trip.

NBA oddsmakers have the totals, moneylines and spreads for each and every basketball game, every day.

In their last game, the Chicago Bulls lost to the Indiana Pacers by a final score of 111-101. In that game, Marco Belinelli scored 24 points and grabbed three rebounds while Nate Robinson nearly recorded a double-double with 19 points and nine assists. Even though seven players scored in double digits for the Chicago Bulls, it was not enough to defeat the up and coming Indiana Pacers.

Ultimately, it was poor defense that allowed the Pacers to cruise to the 10 point win, which is something Chicago is not used to doing. Typically, Chicago is one of the better defensive teams in the NBA but just had an off night when facing the Indiana Pacers last time out. Look for the Bulls to put forth a better effort on the defensive end in this game, especially knowing how the Denver Nuggets have been playing lately.

The Denver Nuggets are one of the hottest teams in the NBA at the moment as they seek their eighth consecutive victory. In their last game, a 112-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari scored 22 points each. Guard Corey Brewer added 20 points while Kenneth Faried recorded a double-double by scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Denver has always been a good offensive team but their offensive unit has been clicking as of late. During their current win streak, the Denver Nuggets have cracked 100 points in every single game. Posting another 100 point game against the Bulls on Thursday night will certainly help Denver’s cause while going for their eighth straight win.

Feb 012013

New York Yankees fans must have thought they had seen the last of Derek Jeter after the shortstop broke his ankle in the 2012 American League Championship series against Detroit.

Jeter went down taking a routine ball in Game One of the series, which the Yankees lost 4-0, and needed surgery to correct a fractured left ankle days later. It ruined his series, season, and threatened the 38-year-old’s career but, thankfully, three months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation has brought him back to competitive fitness.

Now, instead of waving goodbye to Jeter there is every chance Yankees fans will see him play another pivotal role in their season after the shortstop confirmed he would be fit for Opening Day in the MLB come April.

“Everything went well,” he told MLB betting news reporters last week, before being asked about his chances of playing the start of the season: “Why not? I’ve always said [I'’ll be ready], for a long time. I told you it’s fine now.”

Indeed, Jeter may have thought all along he would be fine but many fans betting MLB World Series had serious concerns he would never pick up a glove and bat again. At 38-years-old, New York’s legendary shortstop is not getting any younger and, although his game does not require 100% fitness every day, his ankle surgery could affect his play over the season.

If Jeter can prove himself fit for Opening Day, however, his presence at the least will be a real boost for this Yankees side still hurting from Detroit’s demolition last October. Manager, Joe Girardi, has made changes this offseason and the team look stronger then ever, a good sign heading into a new campaign with that 2009 World Series success still in fans’ minds.

Jan 042013

Kansas City chairman, Clark Hunt is right to admit that he is “embarrassed” by the team’s performances this season after the Chiefs endured their joint-worst campaign in its history.

Hunt made the decision to sack head coach, Romeo Crennel, the day after the side lost 38-3 to Denver Broncos – a game that effectively epitomised the Chiefs’ season. It was Crennel’s first year in charge of the team after he was made head coach last January but was powerless to prevent a disastrous 2-14 record.

“I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction,” Hunt told NFL betting news reporters. “The entire football operation will remain under review, and there may be additional changes to come.”

Indeed, his team’s display made their 7-9 record in 2011 look like success. Kansas City finished rock bottom of the NFL in 2012, averaging just 13.2 points and 169.6 yards per game.

Their display at Denver was simply woeful, gaining just 119 yards all day and avoiding a zero score thanks to Ryan Succop’s 23-yard field goal. Peyton Manning, on the other side, threw for 304 yards and made three touchdowns – watch and learn Brady Quinn!

Two meaningless victories against New Orleans and the Cardinals failed to stimulate any sort of form in the side and the writing was on the wall for fans betting NFL, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) beat Crennel’s side by 28 points and four touchdowns in week six.

This season has been one to forget for more reasons than simply their on-field displays and maybe axing Crennel is the best option for the Chiefs to start moving forward.

This franchise has proven that it can reach the playoffs and win division titles in recent years and with a new face in charge maybe Kansas City can have a team to be proud of in 2013.

Dec 052012

Many other sports already use cameras and instant replay to help their officials, in fact it’s hard to imagine life in the NFL in particular without seeing the officials disappear “under the hood” to look at a disputed call or play.

Now it seems that we will have to wait a little longer for the technological revolution to affect MLB scores despite only some six weeks ago the commissioner (Bud Selig) saying that it would be available for the new season, now only four months away.

Selig has said repeatedly over the last six months that baseball plans to expand replay to cover fair/foul balls and trap/catch calls in time for the 2013 season. But now there is a disagreement over how to implement the use of the technology, with a split over whether to use traditional replay, or new, experimental technologies, which were tested in the two New York stadiums late in the season.

Those “new” systems included the Hawk-Eye animation system used in tennis and golf’s TrackMan radar technology – officials are though sceptical are to whether either are a good fit for the type of calls that they would be used to adjudicate on in baseball.

So that leaves traditional replay technology, which is currently being used to review disputed home run calls. But in order for traditional replay to be expanded effectively for use on other types of calls, MLB probably would have to standardize the number of cameras, and even dictate specific camera angles, at all 30 ballparks.

Of course moving the game forward in this manner would incur a significant cost and there is another sticking point – where do you station the replay officials? Some favour having them at every ballpark while others would have them positioned in a central location – the addition of those replay umpires would have to be negotiated with the umpires’ union, however and that, too, would involve a major expenditure of dollars.

So while baseball continues to push toward more replay decisions, it appears to be running out of time to implement it in time for the 2013 regular season. That is despite having all the players, officials, league management and punters betting on baseball in favour of expanding its role. Unfortunately for all its proponents putting all the pieces together to implement the scheme has turned out to take much longer than even the commissioner of baseball ever envisioned.

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