Weekend Wagers Feature NBA, NHL Playoffs, Continued MLB Series

It’s going to be a great Saturday for sports fans and those looking to engage in some online sportsbook betting, as both NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey playoff action is set to get underway this evening, along with another jam-packed day of Major League Baseball! There’s no question that it’ll be well worth your while to head on down to one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here, and check out the best betting lines for the top competition in action across the U.S. today. Starting off as we do with a first-look at the NBA Conference Finals showdown set for today, the Oklahoma City Thunder once again take to their home court looking to further crawl out of an early 2-0 series hole against the San Antonio Spurs, and could reset the 7-game series basically back to nil-nil with a second consecutive victory tonight at Chesapeake Energy Center. After losing for the first time since April 11th, it’s going to be intriguing to witness how the Spurs try to bounce back after finally suffering defeat during at 20-game run of victories. With Oklahoma City finally improving their defensive play in a blowout 102-82 win on Thursday evening, San Antonio will have to come prepared tonight with another option on offense that runs in tandem with their usual pick-n-roll format, which the Thunder seem to have developed an answer for in Game 3. For the first wager of the day, spot the betting lines at TopBet Sportsbook, one of the top betting websites found on our website, and check out the best options for wagering on what is sure to be an exciting Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tonight.

NHL Hockey also heats up the action on the ice sheet this evening, with the Stanley Cup Finals resuming after a 2-day hiatus between Games 1 and 2. With the Los Angeles Kings nabbing Game 1 in overtime, and both teams showing some hesitation and an emphasis on defense, expectations should be high that this series will open up the offensive aggressiveness for Game 2 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, with an increase in physical play, more shots on goal, and more scoring to be had. There’s no question that for New Jersey, getting their top line led by Ilya Kovalchuck (just 1 shot in Game 1) going will be a key factor against the Kings. They must push harder on the forecheck in the offensive zone, to try and loosen up the puck recovered by the Kings’ top defensemen. Along with Kovalchuk, look out for Zach Parise and Travis Zajac to both be skating much harder and applying more pressure in the offensive zone, to establish some scoring chances in and around LA’s Jonathan Quick. For the Kings on the other side, they’ve been huge at coming out guns blazing in Game 2, in all three series prior to this one. Yet to lose a Game 2, or a road game, lots of pressure will be on the Kings top lines, with skaters such as Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards really needing to step up their form and get after quality scoring chances against a tough New Jersey defense. The Kings have won their Game 2’s on the road 4-2, 5-2 and 4-0 against Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix thus far, and it is looking like they’ll need plenty of goals again tonight against a Devils side that has lost its last two Game 1’s, but responded with early goals to get back into the series. Expect the 1st period of play to be extremely critical, and thus extremely fast and physical, and for this match-up between the Kings and Devils to be a great option for online sportsbook bets today.

Checking out the top options for betting on sports for Major League Baseball, the weekend series continue on with a number of great-looking match-ups across both the American and National Leagues, and plenty of opportunities for dropping wagers on lop-sided match-ups and great pitching duels. Starting in the National League, the top pitching duel of the day lies between Brandon Beachy (5-3, 1.77 ERA) of the Atlanta Braves and Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64 ERA) of the Washington Nationals, as two division rivals go head-to-head for the top spot in the NL East. Atlanta has won two straight games after a crushing 8-game slide, while the Nats have dropped three in a row and look to recover behind their staff ace tonight. Expect two solid pitching performances out of both teams, favoring wagers on the underside of the total points line. Next up in the NL, the Philadelphia Phillies’ home series against the Miami Marlins takes an exciting turn for Saturday, with the Phils’ Cole Hamels seeking his 9th victory on the season already. He’ll be up against Ricky Nolasco, who hasn’t been all that sharp over his last three starts (0-2, 11 runs in 17 innings), so look for a good opportunity for Philadelphia to pick up another win and to continue their ascendance from the bottom of the NL East.

Switching over to top games in the American League today, we have to keep tabs on the Chicago White Sox, who face the Seattle Mariners with a chance to secure a MLB-best 10-game winning streak, but will have to do it with their weakest pitcher in their rotation, Gavin Floyd (21 runs allowed in 13 2/3 innings over his last 3 games), up against an improving Hector Noesi, who despite getting no run support in his last three outings, has pitched very well after a sluggish start to the season. While Floyd may be struggling, the Mariners are always ones to fall flat in run production at the most opportune times, so a wager on the White Sox’ 10th straight win, with the game at home in Chicago, might not be a bad play today. Make sure to also spot a great AL West showdown between the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, as a great pitching duel gets set between Texas’ Yu Darvish and LA’s C.J. Wilson, and look out for the Tampa Bay Rays to continue to maintain a hold on the AL East after taking it over from the Baltimore Orioles, who they face once more today. With Baltimore sliding into a 6-game losing streak, and Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson at home opposing Brian Matusz, look for another low-scoring night with a good advantage for the Rays to grab a second consecutive series win this afternoon.

Lots of great sportsbook betting action lies in store for you at TopBet Sportsbook, or any one of the best reviewed sportsbooks found here at CR, so make your rounds, find the best bets available, and get set for a another fantastic day of sports competition to come!

Boston Celtics Host Miami Heat for Game 3, Eastern Conference Finals

In Wednesday’s Game 2 clash with the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics’ quartet of stars including Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were able to score the most points combined during any contest played together. With 96 points between them, nearly 5 points more the team’s total playoff scoring average, most would think that surely the Celtics would have walked away from Game 2 with the series tied and home-court advantage washed away for the Heat. Despite one of Boston’s best performances on offense, including an all-time best showing from Rajon Rondo (44 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds), the Celtics defense suffered as a result, and the game wound up in the hands of the Heat, 115-111 in overtime. Evident of the fact that Boston can’t expect to go toe-to-toe offensively with a more dominant and more talented Miami Heat team, tonight at home at the TD Garden in Boston, the Celtics will have to put everything on the line defensively, in an extremely critical Game 3 that will make or break Boston’s chances in this series. With tip-off set for 8:30 PM ET, get your wagers set for what should be the most physical, most vocal, and most exciting match-up of this series so far.

Breaking down the numbers from Game 2, Miami was able to outlast the onslaught of the best combined Boston scoring effort by getting a few stand-up performances on offense, and winning key areas of the basketball game throughout the evening. Once again the Heat produced more points of fast-breaks (18-10), won the battle of the offensive glass (13-8), and outscored Boston in the paint (40-30). Despite being outshot from the floor on the evening and suffering a lousy night at the free-throw line, Miami’s core of Dwayne Wade and LeBron James got help from Mario Chalmers (22 points) and Udonis Haslem (13 points, 11 rebounds), who as their own scoring quartet managed a combined 92 points to all but nullify the outstanding efforts of Rondo and the Celtics. Bench scoring ended up being a critical factor in Game 2, with Miami getting 25 points off the seats to Boston’s 7. For Boston to rebound, and to have any chance at a comeback in this series, Game 3 must shift the focus from trying to run with the Heat, to simply stopping the Heat on offense, something they’ve been very good at doing this year while at home. History bodes well for the Celtics in Game 3 at the Garden tonight, as in the two match-ups played against Miami this year, the Celtics held the Heat to an average of just 69 points, winning each meeting by at least 12 points while holding the Heat to no better than 38.4 percent shooting from the floor. It’s evident that in order for Boston to make this a series, they have to get back to playing their style of basketball; dominant on defense, slowing down the pace, and forcing the opposing team into making tough shots. The tide of fast-break points, rebounds and points in the paint must turn in Boston’s favor this evening, or a 3-0 deficit will all but signal the death knell for the Celtics in this year’s playoffs.

Miami on the other hand, while matching up extremely well against the Celtics down in South Florida, will have to adjust for what most likely will be Boston’s most aggressive game of the year. With a group of savvy veterans like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen well aware that this could be the last chance to salvage this series, and possibly the last series the Boston core plays together, there’s no doubt that head coach Erik Spoelstra will have his guys prepared for the full onslaught of a rallying Celtics team. There is no question that Boston is a wounded animal heading into tonight’s match-up, but the Heat will have to focus on taking the Celtics crowd out of the equation early by establishing their style of basketball in a tough road environment. That means overcoming a Boston defense that will try to hound Miami’s top scorers, including LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers, and getting into transition whenever possible, to press the pace against an older, more weary Celtics team coming into tonight’s match-up. Interestingly enough, it’s been Boston’s lack of solid defense against the Heat’s half court offense that has really hurt them, which factors well for the Heat who have been able to shoot the ball well from outside the paint as well as within. Miami has done a good job and finding defensive mismatches and penetrating the lanes with crisp passing to open scorers, and will have to continue that trend from the get-go if they want to keep Boston in check. Momentum will be everything for the Heat in a hostile environment. They take the crowd, and the confidence out of Boston’s game plan from the early moments of the game, they’ll stand a good chance at overcoming in an arena where they have struggled this year. If they allow Boston to set the tone on offense and succumb to a more physical defense effort from the Celtics, the Heat will wind up with a double-digit loss as they have already suffered twice this year.

What will be interesting for Boston backers tonight, is how the Celtics are able to rebound from a deflating Game 2, where their best scoring efforts were matched and overcome by the Miami Heat, and where Boston’s veteran players were taxed to the extreme in a tough overtime contest. Key for the Celtics is the health of Ray Allen, who despite playing on an injured ankle, turned in north of 40 minutes in Game 2. Allen’s presence from beyond the arc, and from the free-throw line, has to be improved over what he’s done so far in this series and the playoffs. Interestingly enough, Allen did not play in either home game this year against the Heat, so expect him to be a factor one way or another, as the Celtics must have their long-range sharp-shooter providing key 3-pointers that give them a boost in front of their home crowd. Now more than ever Boston also has to find a way to improve their performances around the paint, as outside Kevin Garnett, only Brandon Bass managed to contribute anything to the Celtics bottom line (8 points, 10 rebounds). Boston is really thin on both sides of the ball underneath the bucket, and despite the fact that Garnett will likely take charge physically in tonight’s game and look to be the team leader down low, the Celtics have to find contributions at the low post from someone else as well. That puts added pressure on Brandon Bass to step up and have a huge game, as without his efforts and him taking focus away from KG, Boston is once again going to struggle to win key areas of this match-up, including points in the paint, offensive rebounds, and second-chance points. It will be interesting to see if Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers does more rotating down low with his bench players, including Ryan Hollins and Greg Stiemsma, if only to give their two main big men more rest. That would however be a huge gamble to make, but one that may be worth it provided that the Celtics can get ahead and get their inside players a little rest before the final push in the 4th quarter.

Betting Lines for the Boston Celtics hosting the Miami Heat at Sportsbetting Sportsbook.

Despite the struggles of the Miami Heat on the road at Boston this regular season, the Heat come in as only slight underdogs at the TD Garden tonight, with +115 odds to win straight up and take a commanding 3-0 series lead. With Boston’s back against the wall, they’ll get the nod as favorites on the money line, receiving -135 odds to win.

Against the spread, the lines move even tighter, with Boston just a 2 point favorite, and Miami getting only 2 points to play with as the underdog. Give even odds to the Heat, and -110 odds to Boston to cover the spread.

For the total points line, the over/under has been drawn in at 180.5 points, to indicate the improved form that Boston plays under while hosting games on their own floor. In order for Boston to win tonight, they simply must keep Miami around the average that the Celtics are giving up to opposing offenses this postseason, 86.6 points. With an expected lower scoring game, but a low over/under coming after a huge breakthrough in score for Game 2, look for the bulk of wagers to continue going towards the upside of the total points line.

In this crucial Game 3, make sure to check out all the betting options across any and all of the top online sports betting sites reviewed here to get a hold of the best betting lines that suit your wagering style. No doubt this will be the most exciting sporting event on the docket for Friday night, so choose those bets wisely and hopefully come out a winner today!

End of Week Wagers on NBA Playoffs, New MLB Series

The options for online sports betting just got a huge boost on Friday, with new series in Major League Baseball kicking off in preparation for another great weekend, as well as the NBA Conference Finals continuing on with another top showdown between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Heading for wagers at another one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here, we turn to Sportsbetting Sportsbook for all the action on Friday, starting off with a look at the betting opportunities around the Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 taking place in Boston this evening. Like yesterday’s match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder, this contest is a make-or-break scenario for the home team, as the Celtics find themselves in a 2-0 hole with little chance of survival if they can’t pull off a win this evening. While Oklahoma City prevailed on a much stronger defensive effort, and ran away with last night’s game in surprising fashion winning 102-82, we can’t expect the Heat to suffer a similar fate on the road, despite Boston’s strong form at TD Garden. Miami clearly has the upper hand on the offensive scoring front, and it will take a superb effort from the Celtics on defense tonight to shut down LeBron James and the Heat, who certainly can taste the opportunity to take this series out of reach. Catch all the betting lines for tonight’s Game 3 match-up, where Boston is a slight 2 point favorite against the spread, at Sportsbetting Sportsbook today.

Moving along to the new action across the Major League Baseball landscape, a number of great series-opening games are set to get underway, with a wealth of 15 contests available for checking out betting lines on. The top series to watch for in the National League this weekend lie between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves (Stephen Strasburg vs. Matt Minor, favorable for Washington pickers), the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins (Kyle Kendrick vs. Mark Buehrle), and the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the New York Mets (Adam Wainwright vs. Johan Santana. The latter match between the Mets and Cardinals features the most anticipated pitching match-up for the NL tonight, as both pitchers have thrown complete game shutouts in the past 10 days, and look to be back on top form heading into Game 1 of their series together. Other quality pitchers worth following tonight include Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants, who faces the lowly Chicago Cubs and Paul Malholm, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Capuano, who goes for his 8th win on the season in a favorable draw against Josh Outman and the Colorado Rockies, and Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who faces Clayton Richard and the San Diego Padres.

Shifting focus over to American League series set up this evening, start off with a great playoff rematch between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, as C.C. Sabathia goes for his 7th win on the season, up against call-up starter Casey Crosby. Crosby is a talented young kid by what the scouting reports say, but against a Yankees’ ace in Sabathia, expect him to struggle to contain a tough Yankees batting order that will be anxious to rudely welcome the young kid into the majors. Checking out other top AL series underway tonight, a great AL West battle takes place between the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers, as the Angels look to resume their top form after finally snapping an 8-game winning streak. Colby Lewis vs. Jerome Williams should make for a solid match-up on the mound, to kick-start what should be a highly competitive series between division rivals. Other games to watch for include the Tampa Bay Rays hosting the Baltimore Orioles, as both teams are in deep slumps but will battle for the AL East lead over the weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox, in another AL East clash that features the Blue Jays trying to extend a 3-game winning streak, and the Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners, as the White Sox try for a 9th straight win but will have to get past Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez to do so. Catch all these great games and more for betting on sports at Sportsbetting Sportsbook today, have a great Friday night, and a great weekend loaded with sportsbook bets to come!