NHL Second Half Face-Off: Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks

Expect a good, physical scrap between heated rivals as the Vancouver Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks.

After another fun and exciting NHL All-Star weekend, we return to NHL action with a fantastic showdown between perennial Western Conference powers, as the Vancouver Canucks (30-15-4, 64 pts) host the visiting Chicago Blackhawks (29-15-6, 64 pts) at Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

While Chicago will look to start off the closing part of the NHL regular season with a victory to snap a pair of losses suffered before the break, they’ll get an immediate boost tonight from the return of their captain and leading goal scorer Jonathan Toews (27 goals, 23 assists), who has been out since suffering a wrist injury back on January 20th against the Florida Panthers. Missing a pair of games before the break as well as the All-Star game, Toews will no doubt have a big impact at least on the psyche of the ‘Hawks players, who may also receive a boost of confidence if Patrick Sharp (20 goals, 20 assists) can also get back on the ice (listed as questionable for return tonight). Adding to the interesting footnotes for the Blackhawks ahead of tonight’s game will be the addition of former Vancouver center Brendan Morrison, recently acquired from the Calgary Flames, who makes his first start with his new team in his hometown. Though there’s certain to be some mixed reception for the beloved former ‘Nucks player at Rogers Arena as Morrison joins the much-hated Chicago Blackhawks tonight, the 36 year olds’ presence on the ice in Vancouver once again should provide an added bit of excitement, and for Chicago, give them a nice piece of veteran presence on the second line in between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp to come. Though its yet to be seen how much ice time he’ll log this evening, expect his presence down the road to be a significant leadership boost for the Blackhawks, as his experience and work ethic comes without question.

These two teams have been bitter enemies in recent years due to their continuing dominance at the top of the Western Conference, and after splitting two meetings this season with Vancouver blasting Chicago 6-2 at the United Center and Chicago rolling through ‘Couver with a 5-1 win shortly thereafter, tonight’s showdown figures to be another high scoring affair with plenty of shots on goal. With Chicago and Vancouver ranked 3rd and 4th in total goals respectively this season, and both averaging the exact same 3.16 goals/game, it’s easy to see that both these sides have the firepower to score big in any contest, on any given night. However, one area in which Chicago has struggled more than Vancouver is their goals against average per game, as the Hawks have allowed 141 goals on the season behind the tandem of Corey Crawford (18-12-4, 2.86 goals against avg., .902 sv%) and Ray Emery (11-3-2, 2.57 GAA, .907 sv%), while Vancouver has only allowed 118 goals. Though Crawford struggled in the first meeting with Vancouver, allowing all 6 goals in the loss at home, he recovered well in Vancouver on November 16th giving up just 1 goal in a 5-1 victory. Getting the start tonight with an overall 2-1 record with a 2.67 GAA and .916 sv% in 3 games during his career against the Canucks, Crawford’s main objective for the evening is to stay sharp enough to avoid letting in a flood of goals in any one period, as in this match-up the team that puts up crooked numbers in a given period usually prevails with the win.

On the other side of the goaltender coin tonight, back-up Cory Schneider (10-5, 2.30 GAA, .927 sv %) will try to continue his outstanding form this season, filling in for Roberto Luongo who will continue to get rest after a very active close to the first part of the NHL campaign. Schneider truly should be considered as a worthy #1 goalie, as he’s ranked 6th in the NHL in save percentage, 11th in goals allowed per game, and is building on his stand-out year as a back-up last season (16-4-2, 2.23 GAA, .927 sv%). Tonight he’ll look for redemption against a Chicago team that torched him for 5 goals at Rogers Arena in the last match-up, and key for the Canucks is Schneider finding confidence and staying strong in front of what will certainly be a barrage of shots coming his way (Chicago is 5th in total shots on goal, averaging 31.86/game). No doubt a strong defensive effort led by Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamuis and Sami Salo, especially against the power play (Van. ranks 6th in penalty killing at %85.4), will help Schneider to avoid seeing too many shots, but with a quick, agile and persistent attack like Chicago has, inevitably Schneider will have to step-up this evening and hold the ‘Hawks under 3 goals in the game.

Key to a Vancouver win will be their production on the power play, which ranks tops in the league at 23 percent with 44 goals scored on the man advantage. It almost goes without saying that the Sedin Twins must be involved in the offensive production tonight, and getting points leader Henrik Sedin (52pts) on the board with either a goal or an assist or two is important to the Canucks’ scoring attack with the man advantage. With no points and a minus 1 rating in his last 4 games, Henrik is due for a good game, and tonight would be an excellent time for him to put up a few points for Vancouver. His brother Daniel has certainly been on a roll lately, scoring 3 goals and adding an assist in the last 5 games, so if the twin redheads can come together on a goal or two, especially on the power play, the Canucks will definitely be in a good position this evening.

For Chicago, Jonathan Toews has been solid against Vancouver (14 points in 18 career games), but he’s especially important to have back in the line-up as his presence will help take pressure off of points leader Marian Hossa (20 goals, 33 assists, 53 pts) who has 15 points in 23 career games against Vancouver, along with Patrick Kane who also has 14 points in 18 games against the Canucks. Getting these three stars active and moving the puck around well in the Canucks zone is essential for the ‘Hawks, as they’ll need to pepper Cory Schneider with plenty of shots as often as possible to eventually see a few goals go in. Chicago does have an edge with their speed, and they work well from behind the opposing net, so getting the puck in deep and forcing Schneider to shuffle back and forth across the goal could give the Hawks an edge in tonight’s match-up. Also very important for the Hawks is shutting down the Canucks power play. Chicago has been very poor on the penalty kill (28th in the NHL at 77.9 percent), so they’ll need to be much sharper against the best in the league with the man advantage, and also use the Canucks’ 13.94 penalty minutes per game to their advantage (they have a solid 23.1 percent scoring rate on the power play, on the road). The team that prevails on the power play and plays the better penalty kill in this match-up of scoring- and shooting-happy teams will likely find a W in their pocket at the night’s end.

Betting Lines for Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Sportsbetting Sportsbook

As we circle through some of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here on our website, the needle stops at the Sportsbetting Sportsbook for today’s top NHL contest, where you can always find the most competitive lines and easy access to the days’ top games for betting on sports. With Vancouver hitting home ice tonight, they get the nod as a -140 favorite on the money line, and expecting a tight game the Canucks will get -1.5 goals at +200 odds. As the visiting underdog, the Chicago Blackhawks get +120 odds to win on the money line, and have 1.5 goals to play with against the spread, though with lofty -240 odds. With both games this season between these two teams going north of tonight’s 5.5 goals on the over/under, this might be a good game to expect a tighter performance, as both sides will look to their defenses to limit the production of the opposition, and both goalies will be rested and prepared to put on a great performance against their bitter rivals.

Our Pick to Win:

Vancouver has an edge in tonight’s game as Chicago will be working Jonathan Toews back into the line-up, and with Patrick Sharp still questionable, the Hawks may be unable to put enough offensive pressure on the stingy Canucks defense at home. However, if Chicago can find similar success against Cory Schneider such as they did in the last meeting between the two teams, the Blackhawks might just squeak out a win on the road. Though both teams are certainly amongst the best in the league, Vancouver finds itself in a good position on home ice, with a healthy team and a great power play, that should be enough to get it past the Blackhawks in a tight match-up. I like the Canucks to pull out a win this evening, by a score of 3-1.

NHL Returns to Action, NBA, NCAA Basketball Add Excitement to Sports Betting

As we grow ever nearer to the final game of the NFL’s 2011-12 season, sports fans get treated to the always interesting spectacle known as Media Day, where the players, coaches, and various staff from both teams get inundated with questions and share plenty of humorous and playful moments with the public before the seriousness of the game really begins to take hold. I for one always love a good Media Day leading up to the biggest football game of the year, as although it’s all about bringing hype to the game taking place on Sunday, there’s always a good laugh to be had, and interesting side stories all around. With just a few days left before the Super Bowl gets underway between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, and all the analysts, amateurs and the like have thrown their calls for who will win the game, now is as good a time as any to head down to one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here, and place your wager ahead of the weekend. With two great quarterbacks leading the interest of the press corps, undoubtedly the actual game will also focus on Eli Manning and Tom Brady as they attempt to lead their respective teams to the promised land this year. Though we’ll be breaking down this match-up later on in the week, looking for more of the best betting lines and interesting props bets to come, I’ll stand firm on my position taking the New York Giants to win the big game, as their powerful offense combined with a resurgent defense will be the balance needed to take home the trophy over Tom Brady and the defense-less Patriots.

However, with the action for today alive and well in the NBA and NCAA for basketball, a host of games in the NHL as the season cranks back up after the All-Star break, and a touch of English Premier League matches to throw in the mix, sports fans can head to one of the top sports betting sites, and find a ton of great games to watch and wager on today. For starters, I’m heading today to one of the best online sportsbooks, at Sportsbetting Sportsbook for the top sportsbook betting options on the day, with a few basketball games between the NBA and NCAA taking a center stage, as well as a couple interesting matches in the EPL and NHL to go over as well. For the first look to the NBA tonight, 7 games get underway with a couple decent games worth looking into as the Boston Celtics look to regain a .500 record on the year if they can pull out a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road, and the Los Angeles Lakers try to shake their road woes off with a game at home against the punch-less Charlotte Bobcats. Check out the Indiana Pacers as they seek to stay hot at home with a victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets, and expect the high-scoring Denver Nuggets to keep the Memphis Grizzlies’ woes alive as their talented offense becomes simply too much for the home side Griz tonight.

NCAA Basketball also has a few fun match-ups for betting on sports, including #1 Kentucky trying to defend their 47-game home winning streak against visiting Tennessee, while #6 North Carolina heads into a tricky road match-up against ACC foes Wake Forest, and a great match-up takes place with #15 Marquette hosting the slumping but still threatening Seton Hall. For the final few wagers of the day, check into NHL Hockey with 13 games coming back on tap at the Sportsbetting sportsbook, featuring great games such as the Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa on the road at the Boston Bruins, New Jersey hosting the New York Rangers, as well as Toronto battling the Pittsburgh Penguins. As we enter the home stretch in the NHL season, definitely take your time to squeeze in a wager or two on all this exciting Hockey action as all the top teams in the league should come out swinging after a nice week-long break. Make sure to also catch the English Premier League action available early on as Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool are all gearing up for important matches today, which should make for some great additional bets for all you soccer fans out there. With sports action like this every day at one of the best online sportsbooks like the one at the Sportsbetting sportsbook, add a dose of excitement to your daily routine, and hopefully come out a winner today!

Oklahoma City Thunder Battle Los Angeles Clippers in Top NBA Match-up

NBA Superstars Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant face off as the Los Angeles Clippers host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA’s best team by record, the Oklahoma City Thunder (16-3, 8-2 away), head into a tough road match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers (11-6, 9-2 home) in what should be an exciting contest between two of the league’s best squads. Coming into tonight’s match-up as the top road team in the league and riding a 4-game winning streak, Kevin Durant and the Thunder will look to overcome the strong home attack of Blake Griffin and the Clippers, but regardless of the outcome there should be plenty of scoring and action to make this one of the best options for online sports betting at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewedright here.

Blake Griffin (21.0 points, 11.3 rebounds/game) has thus far been the better of the two biggest stars in this match-up, as in the 4 meetings between the two teams he’s been involved with, Griffin has amassed 26.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game on just over 60 percent shooting. Kevin Durant meanwhile, last year’s scoring champion (26.3 points, 7.6 rebounds this season), has been more subdued against the Clippers than most other teams in the league having generated an average of 22.3 points and 6.8 boards over the same 4-game stretch, and it’s evident that L.A.’s game plan has been to put plenty of pressure on him, indicated by his relatively weak 35.9 percent shooting performance in those games. However, as the series is tied at 2 games apiece over the last 4 contests against one another, Los Angeles has had at least some difficulty stopping the rest of the Thunder, including OKC’s talented point guard Russell Westbrook (20.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists).

This year though may perhaps be the first time in a very, very long spell that the Clippers truly have a team capable of competing into the playoffs, as the addition of elite point guard Chris Paul 17.4 points, 8.5 assists) has them looking like a true threat for the long run, and in this match-up at home Paul will get his first crack at the OKC Thunder as a member of Lob City, as he too has had good success with the ball against them, averaging 18.5 points and 8.0 assists per contest in his last 4 meetings as a member of the New Orleans Hornets. What stands out for the Clippers this year versus previous lackluster seasons is their scoring depth, as 5 players are averaging 14.7 points or better per game, and without a doubt the veteran presence of Caron Butler (14.7 points) and Chauncey Billups (16.0 points) have further helped to take the load off of Blake Griffin to carry his team to victory.

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, the Clippers must continue to hound Kevin Durant, who comes off his biggest scoring night of the year amassing 37 points and 14 rebounds in a 120-109 win over Golden State. Also, the Clippers must take advantage of turnovers tonight, which the Thunder are prone to struggle with, averaging 16.5 giveaways per contest. The Clippers rank as one of the league’s best with the ball, giving it away 13.3 times per game, so converting any extra opportunities the Thunder give them will certainly aid them in the bottom scoring line this evening. Conversely, OKC has a big advantage on the glass, ranking 8th in the NBA with 43.1 boards per game, while Los Angeles struggles a bit with their smaller line-up to pull down loose rebounds, accumulating 40.8 rebounds a contest. The Clips’ top rebounders, Blake Griffin, center DeAndre Jordan (8.7 boards) and bench contributor Reggie Evans (5.3 boards) must get more help from the rest of the team to pull down errant shots, especially on the offensive side of the spectrum. While the Thunder are good overall at rebounding, they haven’t been especially good on the offensive glass, sitting close to last in the league with just 9.8 offensive rebounds a game. Finding a way to dominate the paint and pull down a few extra offensive rebounds could help give L.A. a positive edge against a very good road team in OKC.

For the Thunder, scoring hasn’t been tough to come by lately as is evident by their 11 wins in their last 12 games, in which OKC has averaged 101.4 points per contest, but with L.A. averaging nearly 100 points a contest while going 9-2 at home, they are going to have to do a better job protecting the ball and avoiding costly errors. A key match-up tonight though will be the battle between Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul at the point, as Westbrook comes off a game with a season-high 7 turnovers, and Chris Paul averaged almost 4 steals a game in 4 contests against the Thunder last year. Westbrook committed 24 turnovers (6 per game) during that same stretch, so the turnover margin between these two players could factor highly into the outcome. Also, Oklahoma City did not win either of the games played at Staples Center last year, and low shooting percentage was a big part of the reason as the Thunder shot just 39.5 percent from the floor in those two meetings, and averaged just 4 3-pointers made per contest. The Clippers aren’t much of better team around the perimeter than the Thunder are, but in a game that will likely see a lot of scoring and a close finish, the 3-pt ball is going to be a critical factor. That is where James Harden (16.9 points, 39.3 percent from 3-pt range), the Thunder’s candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, will have to be involved more for OKC. As the Clipper’s Chauncey Billups comes into the match-up off last night’s 32 point performance with 6 3’s, Harden’s production around the arc needs to be there for the Thunder especially late in the game.

Betting Lines for Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers at Bookmaker Sportsbook

The Bookmaker Sportsbook, one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here on our website, lists the lines for this game in favor of the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, who get -130 odds to win on the money line, and a tight -2 points (-110 odds) against the spread. The home side Los Angeles Clippers will be a slight +110 underdog to win straight up, and get 2 points to play with at home, in what is being billed by every analyst and sports picker as a very tight game. With so many great players on the court, a fast-paced game is highly likely tonight, and with both sides scoring next to 100 points per game (98.5 points/game on the road for the Thunder, 99.2 points/game at home for the Clippers), the 199 points on the over/under total points could be a tough mark to choose a side against. Nonetheless, with the way OKC has been lately, and with the Clippers determined to win a third straight game at home, expect points to rain and the over total points to be the better of the two betting options tonight.

Our Pick to Win:

It’s going to be a tough bet to pick the home side Clippers in tonight’s game, regardless of how well they’ve played at Staples center, as the Thunder are simply the hottest team in the NBA right now, and have shown that they have the confidence and the depth to win in any arena, on any night of the week. A big advantage for the Thunder is that they’ve had a few days’ rest since their win at Golden State on Friday, while the Clippers had to travel from Denver last night for the game at home tonight. Being well rested and hot-handed to begin with, it’ll be a tough task for the Clippers to overcome OKC, especially considering the road form the Thunder have played with so far this year, winning 8 games out of 10 played away from home. However, I like the trend to continue in this series, with both teams winning their games on home court, especially as the Clippers have greatly increased their stock with the veterans Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler, and their star point guard Chris Paul looks to be the key difference maker in tonight’s game if he can smother Russell Westbrook and win the turnover margin for the Clips. I’ll bank a bet on the underdog at home here tonight, taking Los Angeles to win their third straight game, snap the Thunder’s 4-game winnings streak, and prevail with a 102-98 victory in an exciting game that any type of sports fan should be watching this evening.

Sportsbook Betting Action on NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey at Bookmaker

This month certainly has flown right by, and in reflection we’re confident that the month ahead will bring us even more exciting options for online sports betting, as both the NBA and NHL seasons continue onward, College Basketball gets closer and closer to March Madness, and for the coming week, Super Bowl XLVI continues to keep the best online sportsbooks buzzing with more traffic than any other time during the NFL season. With that exciting event in mind for the days to come, make sure to set a reminder to get your wager(s) in for the biggest sports betting day of the year, as the match-up set in Indianapolis between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will provide football fans with a great cap to another fantastic season of NFL play, and getting to see a rematch between two rivals on the East Coast will be an excellent treat for us all. While we’ve already gotten into a bit of wagering for the big game ahead, we’re kicking off the week with another take on the Super Bowl match-up, this time at the top online sports betting site at Bookmaker Sportsbook). With props available for literally everything you can think of in addition to the actual betting lines, take a look over all the options Bookmaker Sportsbook has set up for you, as without a doubt you’ll be able to find something worth wagering on in addition to the typical betting lines you’re used to seeing across every sportsbook out there. Heading into the week of the big game, New England has remained the favorite with 3 points against the spread for the game, but with New York getting +120 on the money line, plenty of cash will be flowing towards the Giants this week, in the hopes that this match-up will once again turn out for the underdogs as it did in Super Bowl XLII.

With a couple wagers laid down on Monday taking some fun props bets on the Super Bowl, we’ll move on towards the other options for online sports betting at Bookmaker on Monday, starting off with continued action in the NBA featuring another 9 games on tap. In our first wager on the day, I’ll have to put down some cash on a great clash between the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, which is one of three top games between top teams in the NBA tonight. Make sure to take a look over key showdowns between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as the Portland Trail Blazers taking on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, and also expect the Memphis Grizzlies to give the road wary San Antonio Spurs a tough challenge tonight as they take to home court. With the Orlando Magic suffering from poor offensive shooting form, they come into tonight’s contest as a heavy underdog at +280 odds on the money line, but having success against the 76ers (winning 6 straight games) could bode well for taking the Magic with the points, set at a lofty 7 1/2 for the game. For the OKC Thunder vs. L.A. Clippers match-up, the favored Thunder look to be too hot for even the stout Clippers on home court, as they look for their 5th straight win and a continuation of their league-leading record both on the road and overall. Lastly, in the battle between two teams struggling to find their form, the Memphis Grizzlies may yield a rare home loss to the San Antonio Spurs due to the fact that their offensive attack has dwindled, mainly on the loss of Zach Randolph, and as such I like a small money wager taking the Spurs as +200 underdogs on the chance they overcome their poor road form and poor play at Memphis in tonight’s contest.

Finishing off the wagering today, I have to take a stab at the pair of good match-ups in NCAA Basketball, as first the Texas Longhorns play host to the #4-ranked Missouri Tigers in Big 12 competition, and secondly the West Virginia Mountaineers take to home court against the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers. I’ll back Mizzou to just squeak out a win and cover the tight 1 1/2 points against them on the spread, and will lump in West Virginia to prevail at home and cover the 5.5 points set against them as well. Make sure to also set aside a little room for the upcoming restart of the NHL Hockey season tomorrow, as 13 games get underway and should be prime opportunities to capitalize on a couple of teams looking to start the second half off right. Until tomorrow, enjoy your wagering at Bookmaker, one of the best sportsbooks we’ve ever reviewed, and we’ll catch you again soon for more of the best picks available at the top sportsbooks found right here.

NFL Pro Bowl, NHL All-Star Game Lined Up for Online Sports Betting

Though the weekend has already come and gone all too quickly, at least Sunday presents us sports fans with an opportunity to indulge in the speculation of games without actual meaning, but with the best players in a given sport showing off their talents in a light-hearted atmosphere rarely seen in professional sports throughout the year. With only a few great options for online sports betting available for bettors today, we’ll turn to the playful contests getting underway this afternoon, including the NFL Pro Bowl, and the NHL All-Star game, followed by a bit of wagering on the NBA Basketball games scheduled and even a couple of NCAA College hoops games as well. For betting on sports on whatever action is available, we’re traveling to the Intertops Sportsbook for all bets placed today. One of the finer online sports books reviewed, Intertops can be relied on for great service, easy betting, and sure payouts each and every time. If you’ve yet to get into the world of online sportsbook betting, make your first stop at a classic, at Intertops, an industry leader for almost two decades, and one of the very best options for online sports betting sites we’ve found after years of searching.

Starting off the wagering with the options available on the Pro Bowl and the NHL All-Star Game, we’ll make a couple quick decisions in these two coin flip contests, as you never really know to what end the games will turn out. Typically however, scoring is the name of the game as defense slacks off, and the offenses show off their skills in the midst of a care-free atmosphere of laughs and rare intra-team camaraderie. I’m sticking once again with the NHL All-Star game on the over/under, which is set at 15.5, a monster total during a regular season game, but for the All-Stars, an easily reachable feat as in years past it’s been common to see 10 + goals per side in this competition. Having no reasonable stats to back either Team Chara or Team Alfredsson, we’ll stay away from speculation on who’ll come out on top, and root for both teams to simply score at will throughout the contest today. Onto the Pro-Bowl, a typically much less exciting game as the hits disappear and joking around trumps professionalism, look for big plays to push the points total clear of the over/under at 74.5 points for the football game as well, as the top passers, rushers, and receivers dominate the attention in Hawaii this year. Though we’ll miss seeing Eli Manning and Tom Brady in action, as they’ll be held out due to them making the Super Bowl, with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees helming the NFC squad, look out for the NFC to come away with a victory as offense overcomes defense. Always fun fanfare for either football or hockey fans, take a small stab at these two games for a playful introduction to the options available for betting on sports today at Intertops Sportsbook.

With attention turned back to basketball action today, you can find 8 games in the NBA, including key match-ups like the Miami Heat playing host to the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers getting a rematch with the Orlando Magic, and a big brawl in Texas between the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs. Check out some other fun match-ups today as the Los Angeles head into a tough road match-up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Denver Nuggets bring in the Los Angeles Clippers for what should be a high-scoring, intense battle between two exciting young teams. For NCAA Hoops action at Intertops today as well, find a couple of Top 25 teams in competition this afternoon, first with a great pairing as #3 Ohio State gets into a home clash with Big 12 rival #22 Michigan, and also a fun contest pitting #19 UConn against Notre Dame, who has proven they can beat the best in the NCAA at home, but haven’t shown consistency on the road yet. As the 2011-12 NCAA basketball season is quickly entering the waning phase of regular season play, make sure that you’re getting into all the available action, as with each passing week, it’s one step closer towards March Madness, and consequently the end of weekends chalk full of NCAA Hoops excitement. Nonetheless, with these games and more available at the top sportsbook at Intertops Sportsbook, close our your weekend with a few exciting wagers, kick back for a relaxing day filled with playful competition in the NHL All-Star game and NFL Pro Bowl, and get set for another great week of sports and online sports betting in the days to come.

NCAA Basketball, Future Wagers on NHL All-Star Game, Pro Bowl at TopBet

NCAA College Basketball gets underway bright and early to start off the weekend, with a couple of great opening Top 25 match-ups available for betting on sports at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here on our website. To ring in another action-packed weekend, we’re rotating around the top sportsbooks once again, and the wheel of destiny for today lands us at the TopBet Sportsbook), a new favorite for our staff this year, and hands down one of the best sportsbooks in the business right now. As we’ve got two very early games in store today (especially for those residing on the West Coast of the U.S.), we’re on and popping for the best contests of the morning, first with #4 Syracuse taking home court against the visiting West Virginia Mountaineers in an exciting Big East clash, and second for a fun match-up between #6 Baylor and in-state rival Texas in a Big 12 showdown. Also in early Big 12 play, catch the game with the highest upset potential as the Iowa State Cyclones host the #5 Kansas Jayhawks, who look to maintain their pristine undefeated run in conference play (as well as their 10-game winning streak) with a win on the road today. Having beaten Iowa State at home by 9 two weeks ago, Kansas has to expect Iowa State to play them well on their home court, and as such I’m backing the Cyclones to cover the points as an underdog at TopBet Sportsbook today, with a good possibility of seeing an upset if ISU can shore up its defense better than in the first pairing between these two schools.

Sticking with NCAA Basketball for a few additional wagering possibilities early on Saturday, we’ll start with another great match-up featuring Top 25 teams, as #14 Florida takes a stand at home against visiting #18 Mississippi in an SEC clash. This would be a huge win for the Bulldogs on the road, as they could move into third place in the SEC with a victory, but they’ll have to find a way to limit the high scoring capabilities of Florida, led by star guard Kenny Boynton (18.3 points/game), who are averaging north of 82 points per game to rank 7th in scoring in the nation. However, with Florida entering this match-up as a favorite behind their 12-0 record on home court, and having dismantled their last 8 visiting opponents by at least 12 points, look for Florida to be a good candidate to pick up another win, and prevail with a double-digit victory today. Make note of some other worthy games in NCAA Hoops action this afternoon at TopBet Sportsbook, including the match-up between #22 Kansas State and Oklahoma, #19 Virginia looking to avoid a road upset at North Carolina State, #25 Louisville getting a tough battle at Seton Hall, and a road test for #1 Kentucky at LSU in another SEC showdown.

Finishing off our wagers for the afternoon, we turn over to the NBA for a few choice picks amongst the lopsided match-ups in play. Look for an interesting clash this evening between the Los Angeles Lakers, who have played terribly on the road this year, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who have at least looked good on home court, but will have to play back-to-back games after their visit to Chicago last night. With the Laker offense struggling to produce points away from Staples Center, they’ll be thankful that Bucks center Andrew Bogut will miss the game due to ankle injury, and without the big man clogging the lanes this evening, we can expect the Lakers to regain some confidence on the road with a victory at Milwaukee tonight. In other sports betting options on NBA Basketball today, check out the Houston Rockets hosting the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers will try to string together back-to-back wins tonight if they can overcome the Detroit Pistons, and the Memphis Grizzlies look to cap off a west coast road trip with a win at Phoenix this evening. With great basketball action all over the place on Saturday, don’t miss out on an opportunity for some fun bets on tomorrow’s high-scoring NHL All-Star game, as well as the likely boring, but similarly high-scoring NFL Pro Bowl from Hawaii. Remember, no matter what you’re wagering on, you can find the best betting lines, the best customer service, and some of the best bonus opportunities around at the TopBet Sportsbook, one of the top online sports betting destinations we’ve found over the many years here at CR.

Friday Night NBA Clash: New York Knicks at Miami Heat

King James could be in for a big night for Miami as Carmelo Anthony sits for the New York Knicks

The New York Knicks (7-11, 4-5 away) have been struggling to find form in the early goings of the 2011-12 NBA season, and things may not be getting much easier as they travel to South Florida to take on the Miami Heat (13-5, 7-2 home) without the presence of leading scorer Carmelo Anthony.

Nonetheless, the Knicks will have their sights set on overcoming adversity, in the hopes of securing a third straight win against the Heat, and make strides to break out of a funk that has found them dropping 7 of their last 8 contests.

With so few things going right for the Knicks right now, who have allowed more points (95.3) than they’ve scored on average (94.5) in their 18 games played thus far, perhaps a shuffle of the line-up might not be the worst thing that has happened to them. As Carmelo Anthony will sit with a multitude of injuries including a sprained wrist, ankle and banged up right thumb, the Knicks will have to find a way to fill the scoring gap against the NBA’s second highest scoring team that is generating 104.4 points per game. However, with Anthony’s injuries becoming more of a burden on the team than anything (he’s a combined 5-for-21 for only 16 points in his last 2 starts), perhaps a shake-up in the rotation is just what the Knicks need to get back on track. What’s even more interesting, is that New York has won only twice in games where ‘Melo has taken 20 or more shots, so seeing some balance on offense might not do the Knicks any worse than what they’ve been doing lately. However, with scoring relatively limited to Anthony (23.6 points, 6.9 rebounds/game) and Amare Stoudamire (17.8 points, 8.4 rebounds), certain Knicks players including Tyson Chandler (10.6 points, 10.1 rebounds), Landry Fields (9.4 points) and Iman Shumpert (11.3 points) are going to have to stand up and fill the void. Expect power forward Jared Jeffries (3.9 points, 2.3 boards in 19.1 minutes/game) to also be more involved in tonight’s game with Anthony out, but as he’s been one of the leaders off the bench amongst a relatively thin group, unless he has a standout game tonight in Miami, it could be a long game for the Knicks to come.

Miami too will be short one Dwayne Wade (19.6 points, 5.4 assists/game) for seventh straight game, and undoubtedly the Heat will miss their star guard who has played very well in games against New York, averaging 28 points and 10 rebounds over the 4 meetings against the Knicks last year. However, Miami has more than proven they have the depth this year to overcome the absence of one of their Big Three, as the Heat have won 5 of 6 games, and have been stepping up on the defensive side of the ball without Wade in the line-up contributing the extra points. Looking for their third straight win, and also trying to snap a 2-game slide against New York tonight, Miami has been on an interesting trend this year that could bode well for them knocking out a victory on home court; they’ve yet to win less than 3 straight games before suffering a loss, having secured a 5-game streak to open the season, and two 3-game winning streaks thus far. Sitting on two piled up wins heading into the start of a 3-game home stand, the trend looks likely to continue especially if the Heat continue to get outstanding play from Chris Bosh (28.8 points in his last 4 games), and if LeBron James (29.1 points, 8 rebounds, 7.1 assists) continue to shoot the ball well and often. How’s this for a telling stat? In all five games Miami has lost this year, LeBron James took 20 or less shots. When James takes 21 or more shots, the Heat are 7-0. Giveth King James thy ball, and he shall delivereth thee a victory henceforth.

Betting Lines for Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks at Betonline Sportsbook

Miami waltzes in to their 3-game home stand tonight with plenty of confidence and an 11 point favorite against the spread versus a New York Knicks team that simply hasn’t been able to find consistency shooting the ball, or playing defense. With the money line for tonight’s giving huge -780 odds to the Heat to win straight up and +600 odds to New York for the win, there’s very little chance many online sports bettors will find either wager there worth the effort. Instead, your best bets on tonight’s match-up lie with the spread, or the over/under, which stands at a reasonable 195 points. That takes into consideration Miami’s recent stingy defense (allowing just 91.8 points per game in their last 6 games) and New York’s inconsistent scoring against teams with better than .500 records (88 points/game in those match-ups), not to mention the absence of Carmelo Anthony. However, we can be pretty certain that the Heat, who are averaging a league-best 106.6 points per game, will have little difficulty putting up serious points against New York, even without Dwayne Wade in the lineup, which even with subdued scoring input from the Knicks, could result in a breakout of the 195 over/under margin tonight.

Our Pick to Win:

It may not be a question of who’s going to win this match-up tonight, but rather a question of how much the Miami Heat are going to win by. Even if New York gets step-up play from their bench, and plays much better defense than typical, Miami is hot right now, and definitely wants to get off on the right foot at home for the first leg of their three-game home stand. Look for LeBron James to have a stand-out night as New York puts extra emphasis down low on Chris Bosh, and for the peripheral Heat players including point guard Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller to possibly stand out as well. Miami picks up the win for their third straight, taking the game handily 110-91.

NBA Basketball Front and Center for Sportsbook Bets at Betonline.com

As the NHL Hockey season sits on hiatus for a few more days due to the All-Star break, and with little action occurring in NCAA Basketball, luckily enough for sports fans there is a full plate of action available for betting on sports as 13 NBA Basketball games give just enough options to squeeze in a wager or two before we settle into another well-deserved weekend. As with any other day, we’ll be rotating through the top online sports betting sites reviewed here, and the wheel of destiny today lands on another staple sportsbook, at Betonline Sportsbook. Though taking a bit more effort to navigate through, due to a bevy of options thrown at the doorstep as soon as you arrive, once acclimated to this top sportsbook, you’ll be betting in no time at one of the sharpest looking websites we’ve reviewed over the past 5 years. When it comes to depositing money, and more importantly getting paid out, Betonline Sportsbook is one of the fastest and best in the business, something that is truly comforting when considering how many fraudulent, or just plain bad sportsbook there are on the web these days. Thus, for today’s sportsbook picks, join me at this long-standing and trusted destination for a round of great sportsbook betting on NBA basketball, and perhaps even some wagers for tomorrow’s overwhelming dose of 140 NCAA College Basketball games.

For the featured NBA games of the day, we actually have a number of solid match-ups for placing on your sports betting ticket, and for starters, we’ll turn to a fun contest between the Boston Celtics, who play on back-to-back nights after traveling up from Orlando, and the Indiana Pacers who will put their stingy defense on display in the hopes of keeping this road match-up close up until the finish. While Boston has struggled this year to find consistency, they’ve shown that they can be an difficult team to score against while at home, but it’s yet to be seen how they handle playing and traveling to play again with a veteran lineup. With the Pacers rested, and playing well on the road this season, look out for Indiana to snag a victory in this match-up tonight. Moving on to the next top match-up in NBA hoops, the Minnesota Timberwolves could make for a tough challenge for the San Antonio Spurs and their poor road form, but nonetheless the Spurs will look to make it 3 in a row with a victory over Kevin Love and the T-Wolves tonight in a fun contest. After already beating the Spurs once at home on January 2nd on fantastic %57.7 shooting, San Antonio will try to use its bench depth and a better defensive effort to claw back some road dignity this evening. Expecting a tight game that may hinge on whether Minnesota forward Michael Beasley can go (he’s been out since Jan. 6th with an injured foot), make sure to check the injury report ahead of this game before delving in to any wagers on this game.

With a few other good-looking picks available for NBA Basketball bets at the Betonline sportsbook today, check out the betting lines for a clash between two of the east coast’s most high-profile teams, the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. Losing 7 of their 8 heading into tonight’s match-up in South Florida and struggling to find consistency on offense, the Knicks may be in line for a beat down at the hands of LeBron James and company, and thus taking the Heat to cover the points as a favorite on the betting lines at Betonline Sportsbook might be the best play in this match-up. Make sure to wrap your head around a couple other options for online sports betting on NBA hoops tonight, as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns, and the Dallas Mavericks bring on the Utah Jazz in what should be a pair of exciting contests for NBA fans tonight. Until tomorrow, have a happy and hopefully profitable Friday, good luck in your sportsbook betting today at Betonline Sportsbook, or any of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here, and we’ll catch up with you again for Saturday’s top sports betting picks featuring tons of NCAA Basketball and more!

Big Ten Tussle Finds #25 Wisconsin Hosting #16 Indiana

Jordan Taylor looks to lead his #25 Wisconsin Badgers to their 11th straight win at home over the #16 Indiana Hoosiers.

The #25 Wisconsin Badgers (16-5, 5-3 Big Ten) will attempt to keep their winning streak alive against the #17 Indiana Hoosiers (16-4, 4-4 Big Ten) at home tonight, but will bring in a tough test for their top-rated defense as the Hoosiers have vaulted back into the elite levels of NCAA basketball on the back of a high-scoring, high shooting percentage offense.

After being snubbed in Madison for nearly a decade and a half, there’s no question that Indiana has its sights set on retribution tonight, but will have to find a way to get their potent offense going in the face of a defense that is allowing a miniscule 49.6 points per game. While Indiana has become a great story on the road to reemergence as a top team in college basketball, there are signs that the luster is beginning to fade, as the Hoosiers have lost three of their last four games, and have struggled away from home court especially against strong and/or ranked opponents. For the first key to Indiana’s success tonight, it’s all about maintaining their high shooting percentage, ranked 5th in the nation at exactly 50 percent behind the leading effort of freshman standout forward Cody Zeller (%65.9 percent from the floor, 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds/game).

The most glaring difference for Indiana in their recent string of poor form has been the lack of efficiency from junior forward Christian Watford (12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds/game), who has failed to shoot better than %37.5 percent in the last 5 games, and is showing signs of fatigue down the stretch. Despite playing a huge role in games against top ranked opponents during the middle of the season, scoring north of 20 points against the likes of Kentucky (20 points), Michigan State (26) and Michigan (25), Watford has failed to reach double figures in two of his last 4 games. Without a big step-up in performance from Watford against a very stingy Wisconsin defense, Indiana will be faced with a ton of pressure mounted on the young Cody Zeller to carry the scoring load this evening. Though Watford is certainly a key performer who has to step it up tonight, the onus will also be on junior guard Jordan Hulls (12.4 points, 3.4 assists/game) who hasn’t shot better than %37.5 percent either in his last 3 games despite an overall %50.6 clip for the year, as well as Victor Oladipo (10.5 points, 5.2 rebounds) who has only scored in double digits once in the last 6 games. Indiana has relied on strong shooting to get them past top teams in the NCAA this season, but without these three guys stepping up their game, Wisconsin may have an easy time locking down on defense for the win.

On the Wisconsin side of the ball, holding the Indiana offense to poor shooting will be essential for them to pull out another win in Madison, and if they can limit Indiana to anywhere close to the 35.9 percent shooting they’re holding opponents to this year (lowest in the nation), the Badgers certainly will have the upper hand in a defensive battle tonight. While the Badgers themselves suffered a poor run of form recently, losing 3 straight games between December 31st and January 8th, they’ve also run off 4 straight victories in which no opponent has scored more than 63 points, and they’re allowing only 42.2 points per game in 12 wins on home court. However, it’s very interesting to note when looking down the Badger schedule that they’ve yet to beat a ranked team at home this year (losing to then-#16 Marquette, and then-#11 Michigan State) and are just 1-4 against ranked opponents overall. That usually points to the lack of offense the Badgers have been able to muster in those games, and for Wisconsin to prevail it’s going to be imperative to get leading scorer Jordan Taylor (14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists/game) playing consistent ball throughout the 40 minutes, as Wisconsin doesn’t have much in the way of scoring depth behind him. Big man Jared Berggren (11 points, 5 rebounds/game) is the only other Badger in double digits in scoring, so to have success, both these guys are going to have to turn in solid shooting nights against a pretty stout Indiana defense, and Berggren especially is going to have to find a way to shut down or at least limit the contributions in the paint made by Indiana’s Cody Zeller.

Betting Lines for Indiana vs. Wisconsin at Intertops Sportsbook

With Wisconsin not yielding a win to the Indiana Hoosiers in Madison since 1998, there is a big hurdle for the Indiana Hoosier to get over tonight, and many questions have risen as to whether IU can weather the storm of the last part of the season, or if they will simply fade away into Big Ten obscurity and miss out on another NCAA tournament. The bookmakers at Intertops certainly don’t have any faith in them being able to overcome a tough home side in Wisconsin, as the Badgers are -370 favorites to win on the money line, while Indiana comes in as +295 underdogs. What really stands out is the fact that despite Wisconsin’s inability to score well against ranked opponents, they are still listed as an 8 point favorite (-110 odds), and as such Indiana has a comfortable cushion against the spread for underdog pickers at +8 points. Also interesting is the over/under for tonight’s game, which stands at 126 points, which certainly accounts for the expected lockdown defensive style both these two teams will engage in. Both sides are very adept at holding the opposition to low percentage shots, and with a slow tempo likely initiated by the home side Badgers, the under total points could be the best way to go in this gritty Big Ten match-up tonight.

Our Pick to Win:

While Wisconsin has been outstanding on home court against lesser opponents this year, they have yet to prove they can take down a ranked opponent via their defense alone, and as such will need a good scoring effort combined with their usual solid defense tonight against Indiana in order to prevail with a victory. Though Indiana has had a year filled with potential, as they’ve knocked off the #1 and #2 teams in the nation, they are showing signs of regressing to the average and now find themselves in a must-win situation to avoid a 5th conference loss on the season. In a game that likely comes down to the final minutes of play as scoring will be at a premium, the Badgers definitely have the upper hand at home, but it will be essential for them to stay strong against perimeter shooting to avoid letting Indiana squeak out a win. With 8 points against the spread working for them, Indiana is a great pick as an underdog in that regard, but could find themselves frustrated near the end of the game as Wisconsin continuously applies pressure on each and every shot. Look for the Badgers to nab win number 11 in a row over the Hoosiers, albeit in an exciting and close 67-64 victory for the home team.

Oddsmaker Sportsbook On Call for NBA, NCAA Hoops Wagers

Today’s online sports betting might be a little light, especially with the NHL season reaching the halfway point and no games scheduled until Sunday’s All-Star game, however with a little bit of digging at the Oddsmaker Sportsbook this afternoon, sports fans should be able to conjure up a couple of solid online sports betting possibilities, in the hopes to make Thursday yet another profitable day in the making. At Oddsmaker, you can always find quick and easy access to the most competitive betting lines available online, as well as betting trends, fun proposition wagers, and a host of other games in their casino and poker rooms. Being a fan of simplicity, we find Oddsmaker to be one of the easiest website in which to sign-up, make initial deposits, and get a hold of your winnings whenever you need them; something many competitors struggle with, especially when dealing with U.S.-based sports bettors. Thus, with a relatively simple day of online sports betting on tap, we’ll dive into some basketball action in the NBA and NCAA, and sprinkle in some soccer wagers just to make things interesting this afternoon.

As is typical for NBA hoops on Thursday, only a few select games are available for betting on sports at the top sportsbook at Oddsmaker.com. However, as is also the case, the games offered usually add more excitement to sportsbook betting, as each of the two match-ups slated feature playoff-worthy teams, or at the least have good rivalries put together to make for a fine night of watching and wagering on basketball. Checking out the first pairing of the day, the Orlando Magic get another crack at the Boston Celtics, this time hoping to score quite a few more points than the franchise-low 57 they were held to in their visit to Boston on Monday. With the Celtics struggling on the road this year, and the Magic certainly poised to have a better showing on home court, look for the Magic to one-up their East Coast foes this evening. Next up for NBA action, find the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the Memphis Grizzlies in what should be an exciting match-up between two teams playing well in 2012, but coming off recent losses. With the Clippers holding down the fort well at home this season (8-2), the Griz are in for a tough challenge as they look to start another winning streak, and could be at risk for fatigue after playing 4 games in 5 nights. As such, the Clippers look like a solid pick to cover the 3.5 points as favorite this evening, and prevail at home against a weary Memphis squad.

Checking in to the best action in the NCAA today, #7 North Carolina hosts N.C. State for a fun in-state match-up, while #14 Florida heads to face Mississippi in a match-up with plenty of upset potential. The Gators have a surprisingly poor road record of 1-4 this year, and against a good rebounding, physical team like Ole Miss, this could be a great match-up to take the Rebels with the +5 points at home against the spread, as it could come down to the wire or end in another upset for the visiting Florida squad. For the Top 25 match-up of the day at Oddsmaker, make sure to take a peek at the betting lines for #16 Indiana at #25 Wisconsin, with the Hoosiers trying to overcome a 10-game losing streak to the Badgers in Madison and also trying to reclaim their status as a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. Wisconsin had suffered the pains a recent 3-game losing streak but has bounced back with 4 straight victories, and knocking off Indiana at home via their stingy, NCAA-leading defense (allowing just 49.6 points/game) is the key to the ballgame. If Wisconsin can limit the shooting percentage of Indiana’s top scores, including Christian Watford and Cody Zeller, they should be able to make it 11 straight wins over Indiana at home, and push the Hoosiers further down the standings in the very tight Big Ten conference race. Make sure to check out the betting lines for these exciting NCAA basketball contests and more at Oddsmaker Sportsbook today, and secure a few bets for the pair of NBA hoops games on tap for Thursday as well. Until tomorrow, good luck, happy betting, and thanks for stopping by our website for the best online sportsbooks reviewed anywhere on the web!