2012 MLB Season Ramps Up, NBA and NHL Continues Surge Towards Playoffs

It’s an exciting week for sports fans as the 2012 Major League Baseball season officially gets off the ground, with more games coming online each and every day, subsequently making for even more wagering choices at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here on our website. Along with the host of new options for betting on sports derived out of Major League Baseball, the continuation of the drive towards the NBA and NHL playoffs makes sportsbook betting at this time of year an even more challenging and engaging experience on each passing day. For Thursday then, with online sportsbook betting choices ranging from baseball to basketball to hockey, let’s dive in and take a look at the best looking match-ups and the best betting lines to chase for Thursday night. Heading to another of the best sports betting sites reviewed here, we turn to the Intertops Sportsbook for our wagers today.

First up, as we have a reasonably full day of Major League Baseball on tap, it’s high time to jump in feet first for a host of great looking opening day match-ups taking place across the U.S., with the schedule loaded primarily with National League games on Thursday. For starters, a number of this year’s top teams picked to be in the playoff hunt are in action, as first the Philadelphia Phillies open play on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay squaring up against the Pirates’ newly acquired Erik Bedard, and secondly the Atlanta Braves begin their season against the New York Mets, with an outstanding duel set up between the Braves’ Tommy Hanson, and the Mets’ Johan Santana. Another very interesting battle takes place in Southern California tonight, as the Los Angeles Dodgers put their Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound against the San Diego Padres, who feature a new starter in Edinson Volquez. This match-up is perhaps the most favorable from a pitching standpoint, as you can bet Clayton Kershaw will be coming out blazing yet again in 2012, while Volquez has a ways to go to prove he can have better control and issue less walks than he has typically in the past. In a contest favoring the pitchers at PetCo Park in San Diego, look for a strong outing by Kershaw to keep the Padres’ bats in check, giving the already low 6 runs on the over/under a good challenge. Another outstanding pitcher’s duel to check out tonight is in the American League, as two of the perennial playoff contenders clash in Detroit with the Tigers hosting the Boston Red Sox. With AL Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander facing Jon Lester, you can be sure that this should be a fantastic opening night, as each of the highly-touted pitchers will have to contend with two of the most proficient batting orders in the AL. With a few additional games getting underway tonight, make sure to check out all the betting lines at Intertops Sportsbook and pick out the best looking bets for your betting ticket today.

Moving along to action in the NBA and NHL tonight, a short list of 4 games is available for basketball action, as is typical of a Thursday of online sportsbook betting. However, as is also typical, a number of the match-ups on Thursday are between marquee teams, and for tonight the pinnacle of the NBA offerings lie with the Chicago Bulls vs. the Boston Celtics in a classic battle from the United Center in Chicago. With Boston looking to get back on its feet after suffering a tough one-point loss at home to San Antonio to snap a 5-game winning streak, they’ll have a tough challenge on the road against Chicago, who may get star guard Derrick Rose back in action after an 11-game absence. His return can’t come soon enough for the Bulls, who have dropped 2 consecutive games and are starting to feel the pressure from Miami, the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, who sit just 2 games back of Chicago in the standings. Defense will be a major factor between these two teams tonight, as evident by the low 177 total points on the over/under, but I expect the Bulls to rally back and avoid a 3rd straight loss, just edging out the Celtics tonight. Catch other top action with playoff implications as the New York Knicks head to face the Orlando Magic, with the host team desperate to break out of a 4-game slide that started with a blowout loss to the Knicks in New York. There’s no better way to break a losing streak than by beating the team that put you in it, so look out for Dwight Howard and the Magic to get back to defensive basics and overcome the understaffed Knicks tonight.

In exciting NHL action tonight, the playoff push boils down to the final few games left on the schedule, and for tonight some extremely important games are on tap for a number of teams in the league still looking to solidify their place in the Stanley Cup playoffs. For starters, the biggest game I’m paying attention to tonight is out West, as the Los Angeles Kings host the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. I’ll be in attendance for this clash between heated rivals, as the Kings look to maintain the slimmest of leads over the Pacific division with a victory on home ice. With the final 2 games for both teams between one another, this home-and-home series is definitely worth following, as it will determine playoff seeding in the Western Conference, and will effect who reigns as champion over the Pacific Division. Also up for grabs is the final spot in the Eastern Conference, with the Washington Capitals tied on points with the Buffalo Sabres and both teams in action tonight. Buffalo gets a tough draw on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers, while Washington will host the Florida Panthers, the latter team having an opportunity to wrap up the Southeast division title, and end a 4-game losing skid at the same time. Desperation is sure to be a major factor in both games tonight, so expect high-flying action, and a good probability that at least one of these games goes into overtime tonight. Other great competition takes place as Dallas Stars try to stay playoff relevant needing a win against Nashville, and Colorado tries to win its final two games to have a shot at a playoff spot, provided they can avoid playoff elimination at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It’s a great night of sports and online sportsbook betting set up for you at one of the top sports betting websites like the one at Intertops, so jump into the action for the best available betting lines on the best contests featuring the most exciting competition, and enjoy both the start of the Major League Baseball campaign and the push to the playoffs in NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey.

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