The Daily Sweat: Can Mavericks or 76ers make their respective series interesting?
On Tuesday night we saw both NBA playoff series that played get evened up. The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors in what has been a great series so far and the Boston Celtics blew out the Milwaukee Bucks, returning a favor from Game 1.
Those series should go the distance or close to it. We can't confidently say the same for the two series that resume Wednesday.
The Miami Heat, up 1-0 over the Philadelphia 76ers, are 8.5-point favorites at BetMGM for Game 2. The Phoenix Suns are 6.5-point favorites over the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns are also up 1-0. In Game 1 of each series, the favorites covered.
The 76ers have a good excuse for being blown out in the first game. Joel Embiid is out with an orbital fracture. He won't play in Game 2. He could be back by Game 3, but that's not certain. It's a seven-game series and the further the 76ers fall behind, the less likely it will be that Embiid could bail them out even if he comes back. The 76ers desperately need James Harden to play much better than he did in Game 1. If he flops again, he's going to get a lot of the grief for the 76ers' failures. It might not matter even if Harden plays better; the Heat are a title contender that for some reason doesn't get nearly the attention of practically any other team alive in the NBA playoffs.
In the West, the Mavericks got off to a miserable start in Game 1 and it's tough to come back on the Suns, especially in Phoenix. They're significant underdogs again in Game 2 but I have a tough time believing they can't compete in the series. Of these two series, I think Mavs-Suns has the better chance to go six or seven games. The Mavericks were pretty good late in the season. It would be impressive if Phoenix dispatched the Mavs easily.
The zig-zag theory says to take both underdogs on Wednesday night. I have an easier time doing that with the Mavericks, though 8.5 points is a lot for Miami to lay. Let's take the underdogs and hope to get some intrigue in each series.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
NHL playoffs continue
There has already been a lot to talk about in the hockey playoffs, from the Colorado Avalanche's dominant Game 1, the Pittsburgh Penguins' triple-OT win over the New York Rangers, the Florida Panthers being upset in Game 1 or the Toronto Maple Leafs looking like they're maybe — maybe — ready to get over the playoff hump.
The NHL is back with four games on Wednesday. The Boston Bruins, who are down 0-1 to the Carolina Panthers, are +100 to even the series in Game 2. The Leafs are -140 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Minnesota Wild, which lost Game 1 to the St. Louis Blues, is a -130 favorite. And the Edmonton Oilers, who dropped Game 1 to the Los Angeles Kings, are -200 favorites.
If you want to follow zig-zag theory in these four games and take the Game 1 loser in each of them, my guess is that you'd end up doing fine on Wednesday. Except maybe Toronto over Tampa Bay. The Leafs look legit.
A big MLB schedule
There are 17 games on the baseball schedule thanks to a couple doubleheaders, made possible due to rainouts. We also get nine afternoon games, which isn't bad.
The New York Mets continue to impress, after sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday. They face the Atlanta Braves again Wednesday and the Mets are -135 favorites. There's no reason to fade them on Wednesday.
The New York Yankees are also on fire, having won 11 in a row. They're -145 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday and while it's tempting to take the Jays as a home underdog, it's hard to fade a team on a winning streak like that.
What's the best bet?
It didn't work in Game 1 but I do believe in the Mavericks' ability to compete against the Suns. Here's to a better start for Dallas in Game 2 and covering a pretty big number against Phoenix.