The Phive - 5 Daily Sports Bets (8/1)
We're off to a solid start! Day 2 saw us go 3-2. Not a bad mark, especially when you consider the bets we won and the bets we lost.
First, the losers. Look, I warned you the MLB is not my thing. After "On The Card" started 2-0 Thursday, I decided to push my luck and give it one more try. I was wrong. I thought the Yankees would shell Weber, and I thought the Red Sox would shell Montgomery. Both teams had their chances, but nothing panned out. A 5-1 final isn't pretty and, again, is why I very rarely try to make reads on baseball.
The other loss. A +240 longshot. This is why MLS is so dangerous. Orlando is not a better team than LAFC, yet they frustrated them all game long and it ended up forcing a 1-1 tie. LAFC had a goal called back just before the half. Had that counted, the game would have had a whole different feel the rest of the way. Unfortunately, the game never really opened up. It's a loss, but it's not a loss equal to that of the Yankees/Red Sox over. Longshots are longshots for a reason.
But the winners were huge. Portland stormed back to knock off the Grizzlies in overtime, and it was massive for anyone who has been following along with me here or "On The Card", because of what it means for our futures. The Blazers are now three wins away from hitting the four wins needed for their over, and they are in the driver's seat to secure at least the nine-seed and force a playoff with the Grizzlies. And, because of the records coming into the seeding games, the Pelicans now need to win two more games than the Blazers from here on out in order to be in a position to even have a shot at the final playoff spot. It's huge.
The other wins were my favorite bets of the day, and both of them hit so early we all probably got good night's sleep. The Rockets/ Mavericks had 160 points at halftime and Kristaps Porzingis has 21. We needed over 228 and over 22. We got 302 and 39. The game was great, our bets were snoozers. Just how we like it.
Portland -2 (W)
HOU/DAL over 228 (W)
Porzingis over 21.5 (W)
ORL/LAFC over 4.5 +240 (L)
NYY/BOS over 10.5 (L)
Record to this point:
Futures in the mix:
Trail Blazers over 3.5 wins (+120) - 1 win
Trail Blazers 8-seed (+400) - 2.5 games back of Memphis
Bucks under 6.5 wins (-250) - 1 win
NHL is back!
Hockey fans rejoice! We've made it to the opening day of what is sure to be one of the coolest hockey tournaments ever created. I have two bets for the NHL today. One of them was already discussed on "On the Card" Thursday, so this may be repetitive for some.
I love the Oilers here at -1.5 for +165. The Oilers are the fifth-best team in the West and the Blackhawks are just happy to get the invite to the tourney. But what I think will be most important is that these games are being played in Edmonton. This may not seem important to some, after all, all these teams have been in Edmonton for a while now, but look at what a difference mileage has made in the other bubble leagues. Orlando City is moving on to the semifinals of the MLS Is Back tournament, despite many thinking they would struggle to even get out of the group stage. Meanwhile, the Magic just destroyed the Nets. Yes, the Nets were shorthanded which was a large reason for the mismatch, but the Oilers are a lot better than the Blackhawks, too. I think this is going to be a trend we see for all these sports early on. Give me the better team at a good number.
BET: Edmonton Oilers -1.5 (+165)
For my second bet, I'm going to take a bit of a chance. The Rangers owned the Hurricanes in the regular season, yet find themselves underdogs in the series opener. In fact, they find themselves dogs in the entire series. Carolina is the sixth-seed and the Rangers are the 11th, which definitely explains the current number, but I think seeding is playing too much of a role in this line. The Rangers are a younger team, and while I don't know if that will matter, I don't know a lot coming into this tournament. I'm going to side with the younger side off a long playoff, especially since they dominated the regular season. I'm going to give myself five chances and take the series line instead of the game. However, if you like the Rangers to win their fifth straight over the Hurricanes, I wouldn't fault you for also taking their ML tonight.
BET: New York Rangers Series (+110)
Enough hockey! You're undefeated in the NBA!
That I am! Though things have not always been easy. Both the Jazz and the Trail Blazers made me want to throw my remote at the TV more than once, but ultimately they pulled out victories in thrilling fashion. So how about we try to find some bets that are a little more similar to the snoozers last night rather than the nail biters? Sounds good! Here are the two bets I like most for today's slate.
I swear I'm not just fading Zion. I swear. But come on. The Jazz played as bad as a New Orleans fan could have hoped for, and yet the Pelicans still managed to rip defeat from the jaws of victory. Now, I need to stress that this is not Zion's fault. Seriously. The coaches have him on a minute count and that's fine. But it's weird to not see him on the court when the game is on the line. While Brand Ingram and the rest of the team played hard, the team just isn't going to manifest into what everyone wants if Zion is on limited minutes.
Meanwhile, the Clippers gave it everything they had against the Lakers and, even without Lou Williams, proved they can compete with the best in the league. All the NBA teams are going to be tired with all these games being played every other day, and both of these teams have short rosters. But I like the better team to get it done here and pull out the cover.
BET: Clippers -5
But this makes the Phive a six! True, but with the NHL starting today, I wanted to look at both a series and a game, so I'm going to go ahead and give you another bet for this game. The Pelicans and Clippers both "struggled" to score in their first game. However, the Lakers have one of the best defenses in the league, while the Jazz like to slow down the pace. This feels like the perfect game for both offenses to play loose and put some points on the board. The last three times these teams met the totals have been 259, 243, and 263. The total is set down at 227. Much like with the Rockets and Mavericks last night, I think Vegas is scared to go too high, and this time has an excuse because of the scores of each team's first game. I really like this over.
BONUS BET: LAC/NOP over 227
The Clippers aren't the only LA team on my mind right now. The Lakers got out of their first game with a W, and have all but clinched the number one seed in the West. Today they take on the Raptors, a team that hasn't seen any action in Orlando yet. This could go one of two ways. The Lakers have already got a game in this weird environment under their belt, and they don't have to work out the kinks of starting to play together again. Or you could say that the Raptors are going to be fresh because they haven't played a meaningful game yet. I'm going with the second option here. Toronto is one of the three best teams in the East, currently sitting in the second position, and I think they're more motivated than the Lakers right now. Sure, they're not going to catch the Bucks, but that doesn't mean they can't put the Celtics away early so they can focus on other, more important series coming up.
BET: Raptors +3.5
Back to the MLS!
Please don't. Please. As Kanye West once said, "I guess I've gone to the well one too many times." There's a chance that could be me tomorrow. But I actually really like the first game in this slate. I was completely wrong about the Orlando vs LAFC game, but Orlando controlled the game which was unexpected. What am I learning watching this league? Defense generally wins out. Today, I expect things to be that way again when San Jose takes on Minnesota in the third of four quarterfinal games. Minnesota United has played stout defense throughout this tournament, and I said on the show on Thursday that other than LAFC they've looked like the best team in the tournament thus far. San Jose can score, but they haven't taken on a defense like Minnesota's yet and it should make all the difference. When it comes to MLS, I don't like to bet the full-time ML, just because these teams can provide disastrous moments late in games (see Portland, LAFC, etc...) . So for this one, I'm going to play it somewhat safe and take the slight underdog Minnesota United to advance. This allows me to still win the bet if regulation ends in a tie and Minnesota advances on penalty kicks, something they've done once already this tournament.
BET: Minnesota United to advance (+120)
So there you have it. Today's edition of The Phive. I took three longshots, which I won't normally do; it's a surefire way to lose money. But I'm feeling really good about these three, and want to avoid the MLB to heal my wounds.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for another edition of The Phive! If you want more, please be sure to check out my first episode of "On the Card" on the TRHS Sports YouTube channel, and follow me on Twitter @Phil_Wood_Jr.