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St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks Playoffs Betting Odds & Pick: April 23rd 2014

BLUES VS. BLACKHAWKS PLAYOFFS BETTING ODDS PICKSt. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Playoffs Betting Pick: Chicago -146 odds (April 23rd 2014)
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The St. Louis Blues suffered their first defeat of the 2014 playoffs on Monday night in Chicago as the Hawks played a more defensive style of game and escaped with a 2-0 shutout victory that pulled the series within a game. The Blues were fortunate to leave St. Louis with a 2-0 series lead as they found themselves down and out in both of those contests and score a late tying goal to force overtime and ultimately claimed each contest in the extra session. The bottom line for St. Louis is that they were playing very poorly heading into the playoffs, responded with a couple of inspiring efforts late in the third period to claim two victories, and are now a loss away from having the series back on even terms without the services of one of their best players in David Backes. Ryan Miller was supposed to be the saviour of this team and push them over the edge as Cup contenders and while he has shown signs of brilliance, especially in game one he hasn’t stolen any games for the Blues as they thought he might.

The Blackhawks played very well in games one and two and ended up on the losing end of both games and then played mediocre at best in game three and came away victorious which is sometimes the case in the playoffs as teams take time to feel each other out. Chicago is a very well rounded team that can beat you at both ends of the rink and while Corey Crawford often gets pushed aside when talking about the best goalies in the league he showed on Monday that he can swim with the sharks and come away alive.

The Hawks need this one as they don’t want to head back to St. Louis down 3-1 and while the David Backes incident was an ugly one and now the Hawks are without Brent Seabrook because of it we think Chicago is in a better position than the Blues as the Hawks are very deep defensively and Backes is one of St. Louis’ best players. All of the games in this series so far have been close but as we said, the Hawks could very well be up 3-0 in this series and we expect a full on breakout in this one as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp take over. Hawks in a romp.

St. Louis is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road. St. Louis is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games. Chicago is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against St. Louis and 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home.

Take the Blackhawks here in our 2* NHL Free Play.

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Phillies vs. Dodgers MLB Betting Prediction from John Ryan: April 23rd 2014

PHILLIES VS. DODGERS PREDICTIONPhiladelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB Prediction: Philly +147 odds (April 23rd 2014)
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He is on a 14-5 ATS run in the NBA for 74% ATS winners. He also gave you an incredible FREE pick on the +225 Houston Astros as they destroyed the Seattle Mariners Monday.

5* graded play on the Philadelphia Phillies as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in MLB action set to start at 10:10 PM ET. The simulator shows a high probability that the Phillies will win this game and take the first three of this four-game set with the Dodgers. Cole Hamels makes his first start of the season and this will be the first time the Big Three have started three consecutive games. We already know how good Lee has been and Burnett pitched very well last night and also went 3-for3 at the plate. Arguably one of the best LH starters in the NL, Hamels had a fantastic rehab and looks to be in mid-season form. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a?56-34 mark for 62% winners since 1997. Play against home favorites with a money line of -125 to -175 (LA DODGERS) inconsistent NL offensive team scoring <=4.1 runs/game and is now facing a team with a below average bullpen posting an ERA>=4.50 and after scoring and allowing 3 runs or less. Hamels is 6-1 with an 8-3 team record when starting against Dodgers with an ERA of 2.41 and a WHIP of 1.018. Take the Phillies.

MLB Pick: Good value with the Royals as a road underdog on April 23rd 2014

MLB PICKS APRIL 23RD 2014Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals
MLB Pick: Kansas City Royals +124 odds (April 23rd 2014)
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Great value here for the Kansas City Royals as a road underdog to the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night. This team has really been playing solid baseball of late, winning six of their last eight games overall. The Indians have dropped eight of their last 12.

My biggest reason for backing the Royals tonight is the edge they have on the mound. Jason Vargas has gone 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 0.931 WHIP in four starts this season. The left-hander has been dominant in his last two starts against Cleveland, going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA while allowing just one earned run over 14 innings.

Justin Masterson had a career year last season, but he certainly overachieved compared to what he has done lifetime. That has shown thus far in 2014 as Masterson is 0-0 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.569 WHIP through four starts. The right-hander is 5-5 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.459 WHIP in 14 career starts against Kansas City, including 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA in his last three starts against the Royals, allowing 13 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings.

The Royals are 21-8 in their last 29 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30. Kansas City is 18-8 in its last 26 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. The Indians are 1-4 in Masterson’s last five home starts. Cleveland is 0-5 in its last five vs. a left-handed starter. Bet the Royals Wednesday.

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San Diego Padres vs. Milwaukee Brewers Prediction from Steve Janus: April 23rd 2014

PADRES VS. BREWERS PREDICTIONSan Diego Padres vs. Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Prediction: Under 7.5 -110 odds (April 23rd 2014)
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There’s some great value on the under in tonight’s matchup between the Brewers and Padres. Milwaukee will send out Kyle Lohse, who is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.111 WHIP over 4 starts. San Diego will counter with Tyson Ross, who is 2-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 1.224 WHIP over 4 starts. We should be looking at a total closer to 6.5 with these two on the mound. On top of that we get both offenses off a poor showing last night, as they teams combined for just 3 runs over 12 innings.

The UNDER is a 10-1 in Ross’ last 11 starts versus a team with a winning record and a perfect 6-0 in his last 6 starts on the road in this spot. We also see that the UNDER is 13-3 in the Brewers last 16 home games against a team that has won less than 40% of their games on the road and a 4-0-1 in Lohse’s last 5 starts at home. BET THE UNDER 7.5!

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Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors Playoffs Pick & Odds from Steve Janus: April 22nd 2014

BROOKLYN NETS VS. TORONTO RAPTORS PLAYOFFS PICK APRIL 22ND 2014Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors
NBA Playoffs Pick: Under 190.5 points -110 odds (April 22nd 2014)
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These two teams combined for just 181 points in Game 1, finishing well below the total set of 192.5. While oddsmakers have adjusted with a slightly smaller number in Game 2, I still think there’s a ton of value on the UNDER. Both of these teams strong defensively and matchup well with each other on that side of the ball. They are also very familiar with each other, as both teams come from the Atlantic Division.

Both teams ranked in the bottom 10 in pace and I look for the Raptors to look to slow down the tempo even more after committing 17 turnovers in Game 1. Brooklyn ranks just 11th in points allowed (99.5 ppg) and 19th in defensive efficiency (104.9), but anyone who has watched the Nets play since the start of the new year, knows this team is a lot better than the numbers on that side of the ball.

I expect to see a very similar score to what we had in Game 1. The UNDER is 18-7 in the Nets last 25 games against division opponents, 31-16 in their last 47 when playing just their 2nd game in 5 days and 4-1 in the Raptors last 5 games when playing on a full 2 days rest. It’s also a strong 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in this series. BET THE UNDER 190.5!

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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Betting Line & Pick from Jack Jones: April 22nd 2014

YANKEES VS. RED SOX BETTING LINE PICKNew York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Betting Pick: Yankees +104 odds (April 22nd 2014)
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Rarely ever will you get the New York Yankees as an underdog going forward with Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. I’ll take advantage Tuesday and back him as a dog against the Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox.

Tanaka (2-0, 2.05 ERA) struck out 10 for the second straight game Wednesday in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander gave up two bunt singles – including one awarded after a replay – and one walk over eight innings.

Tanaka has 28 strikeouts and two walks in his first three starts. The strikeouts are the most by a Yankees pitcher in his first three career starts, and Stephen Strasburg’s 41 strikeouts in 2010 are the most by any pitcher in his first four MLB starts since at least 1914.

The Red Sox are hitting just .238 this season while scoring 3.8 runs per game. They also have one of the worst slugging percentages in the American League at .361. The Yankees are 6-1 in their last seven road games vs. a left-handed starter. New York is 5-0 in its last five during Game 1 of a series. Bet the Yankees Tuesday.

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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Prediction: April 22nd 2014

PHILLIES VS. DODGERS PREDICTIONPhiladelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers -173 odds (April 22nd 2014)
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The Dodgers were shutout yesterday 7-0 by the Phillies, but you can expect them to come back and even the series up tonight as Hyun-Jin Ryu will be getting the starting nod. All Ryu has done thus far in 5 starts is allow zero runs four times.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Ryu – Interestingly enough, it was his only start here at Dodgers Stadium where he struggled. But that poor outing is looking more and more like an aberration as he’s tossed 26 scoreless innings otherwise. He’s allowed only six hits in his last two starts with the team winning both games. All four hits he allowed last Thursday against the Giants were singles.

2. Don’t Believe in ‘Em – Though the Phillies have won two straight, they have allowed more runs this season than every other NL team besides Arizona. Starter A.J. Burnett has been solid, but has no wins to show for it. He has a 7.80 ERA his last three times starting against the Dodgers and is also putting off hernia surgery, which eventually could be a problem. So too is a Philadelphia bullpen that has a 5.69 ERA.

3. X-Factor – Philadelphia is 0-2 when coming off a shutout win this season. Last week after being Atlanta 1-0 (with Burnett pitching), they lost the following day to Colorado 12-1.

Selection: This is a free play on the Los Angeles Dodgers (1*).

NHL Playoffs: Rangers vs. Flyers Betting Odds & Pick from Heath Mac: April 22nd 2014

NEW YORK RANGERS VS. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS PLAYOFFS BETTINGNew York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers
NHL Playoffs Betting Pick: Rangers +110 odds (April 22nd 2014)
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In Game 2 the New York Rangers seemed to pick up exactly where they left off after a dominating performance in the series’ first game. New York came out and fended off an initial surge from the Philadelphia Flyers, then capitalized on a neutral zone turnover. Rick Nash took the puck and skated it over the blue line, making a pass to the middle of the ice and Derek Stepan, who then found Martin St. Louis on the right side for a one timer that beat Ray Emery for an early 1-0 lead. Later in the period on their second man advantage the Rangers found the back of the net again when Benoit Pouliot’s flubbed shot fooled Emery and put New York up 2-0. It was another sky is falling moment for the Flyers who had lost nine straight games at Madison Square Garden heading into Sunday’s contest.

The result was a 3-2 lead for the Flyers despite being outshot 17-9 and having to rely on their goaltender to make some really big saves. In the third period it was a Philadelphia team that was saw take zero chances, doing everything in their power to protect their one goal lead. They limited New York to just seven third period shots and Wayne Simmonds’ empty net goal gave the Flyers a 4-2 win and a 1-1 series tie heading back to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. It wasn’t the most deserving win but for a Philadelphia club that was fighting off a lot of demons in that building on Sunday it was still a win.

It gives the Flyers home ice advantage against a team that was extremely good at winning on the road this year, so games three and four won’t be any easier. Steve Mason has been ruled out for Game 3 of this series as well, and with the way Emery is playing one might wonder if they’re both trying to buy Mason some extra time to recover as well as ride the hot hand. If Emery puts in another performance like that one on Tuesday night it’s going to be hard to go back to Mason at this point regardless of his health for Game 4.

These two teams are so evenly matched that a lot of these games will be determined by an individual play or an individual players. Voracek settled the tide for the Flyers on Sunday with his goal and Emery took over from there. Back in front of their home crowd the Flyers are going to do everything in their power to play their style of hockey, draw power play opportunities, and try and jump out to an early lead. Lundqvist wasn’t terrible on Sunday but for Rangers fans to have to watch their team lose what amounted to a one goal game because Emery outdueled him on his home ice, it’s a tough one to stomach.

The Rangers are one of the best road teams in the league and Sunday’s loss doesn’t do much to rattle their confidence in the series but more just amounts to disappointment for a club that has absolutely no success at taking a two game lead in a playoff series over the years. New York will have their own opportunity to take home ice advantage back with a win in Game 3 or 4. Philadelphia should have the edge early on in this game but if Lundqvist can make some saves and keep his club in it we like the Rangers to bounce back.

Philadelphia is 5-14 SU in their last 19 games when playing the Rangers. Philadelphia is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games at home. The Rangers are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games. The Rangers are 13-6 SU in their last 19 games on the road.

Take the Rangers here as our 2* NHL Free Play.

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Jimmy Boyd’s MLB Prediction: Bet against the overvalued R.A. Dickey on April 22nd 2014

ORIOLES VS. BLUE JAYS PREDICTIONBaltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Prediction: Baltimore Orioles +124 odds (April 22nd 2014)
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The Orioles should not be this big of an underdog against the Blue Jays. Toronto will send out 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who continues to be overvalued. Dickey hasn’t even looked close to an ace with the Blue Jays and he’s off to a miserable start to 2014. Dickey is 1-3 with a 6.26 ERA over his first 4 starts. While he threw 6 and 2/3 shutout innings against the Yankees for his lone win, he’s allowed at least 5 runs in each of his other three starts.

With Baltimore coming off a series in which they scored 22 runs, I’ll take my chances that this won’t be one of Dickey’s stronger performances. Adding to this is the fact that Dickey has a 4.34 ERA over 7 career starts and has allowed 12 runs on 16 hits and 5 walks over his last two home starts against the Orioles.

Baltimore counters with Miguel Gonzalez, who has improved with each start this season. In his most recent outing, Gonzalez allowed just 3 hits over 5 shutout innings against the Rays. In his seven career starts versus Toronto, Gonzalez has an impressive 3.02 ERA and 0.963 WHIP. The Orioles are simply showing too much value to pass up.

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild NHL Playoffs Odds & Pick: April 21st 2014

AVALANCHE VS. WILD BETTING PICKColorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
NHL Betting Pick: Minnesota -118 odds (April 21st 2014)
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The Colorado Avalanche had some shaky moment in each of their first two playoff games to open up their series against the Wild but the resilient bunch that thrives on its youth has a 2-0 series lead and have just two victories to claim in order to move on to the Western Conference semi-finals. The Avs fought off a 4-2 third period deficit in the series opener before claiming an overtime victory and their game two win came down to the wire as well with a bizarre scene involving a disallowed empty netter and a short handed tally from the Wild with little time remaining. Nonetheless, the Avs are feeling comfortable and head to the road where they were very strong this season but they know that Minnesota will be in desperation mode. Semyon Varlamov continues to be the workhorse in the Colorado crease and he will face off against Ilya Bryzgalov who was benched in favour of Darcy Kuemper in the late going of Saturday night’s loss.

The Wild have had two heartbreaking defeats and find themselves in a 2-0 hole heading back to the Xcel Energy Center where they’re hoping some home cooking will serve them right. Minnesota is a good team that was right in the mix in the Western Conference all season long but I am still scratching my head as to why the front office didn’t make a stronger push to acquire a more substantial goaltending option as it is clear that is the team’s weakest link. Bryzgalov has shown he can win in this league but his play in the last couple of seasons has been suspect at best and it is hard to believe they will prevail against a team like Colorado without getting some help from the back end. Minnesota needs to grab both games here and instill some confidence in their lineup and while the Avs were strong on the road this season the Wild were even more impressive at home. While the Avalanche are getting a ton of value here and will be a popular pick I think that Minnesota makes a series of this thing as they’ve been competitive in both contests and I think this one goes in their favour.

Take the Wild here.

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