Super Bowl XLVII

The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are the only teams left standing in the NFL playoffs and after today only one will be called world champion. However, no matter who prevails, one of those champions will be named Harbaugh, as Jim and John Harbaugh square off against one another in the first ever Super Bowl with brothers as the opposing coaches.

“Well, I think it’s a blessing and a curse,” said Jim Harbaugh said via ESPN.com. Jim is 15 months younger than 50-year-old John. “A blessing because that is my brother’s team. And, also, personally I played for the Ravens. Great respect for their organization.

The Baltimore Ravens will represent the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers will represent the NFC in on football’s biggest annual stage in Super Bowl 47.  After jumping over every conceivable hurdle all year long, both teams have rightfully earned their spot in the finale, but the Niners will be the favorite by a four-point margin today.

“I would say this is the most talented team I have been on,” safety Donte Whitner said on the 49ers’ official website. “Not only talented, but guys come and work hard. When you mix talent and hard work, the results are the Super Bowl.”

With two weeks to prepare, the Ravens certainly know what they are up against, but after pulling out upset wins against Denver and New England in earlier rounds, they know they are capable of beating any team on any given Sunday, even in the Super Bowl.

However, stopping the 49ers’ dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be a new type of challenge for a team that struggled defensively at times this season.

Will Ray Lewis go out on the highest note of all?

“We’re going to have to keep him inside and in front of our defense,” John Harbaugh told the Ravens’ official website. “We’re not going to be able to run past him. He’s fully capable of putting 200 yards on you in a second.”

Playing in his final NFL game, Ray Lewis will carry much of the responsibility for helping to slow Kaepernick down, but it’s nothing new for the veteran. He’s been doing it for over a decade, leading the Ravens to their only Super Bowl win in franchise history back in 2000.

The Ravens will need to find a way to contain Kaepernick, but they will also need to find a way to establish the run game against the fourth best rush defense in the league. If they are able to find some room on the ground, they’ll have a better chance at opening up the playbook and more success throwing the ball downfield.

Considering the 49ers arsenal of offensive weapons, the Ravens will have too much to overcome in this game

The Niners should have the edge on both sides of the ball with a rushing attack that was also ranked fourth in the NFL during the regular season, but they’ll have to avoid turnovers because the Ravens haven’t made many during the playoffs and the team with the edge on the turnover margin usually ends up winning the game.

The Ravens overcoming all odds, Lewis playing in the final game of his career and the Hargaugh brothers making history create a myriad of interesting storylines, I don’t think Super Bowl 47 will offer too many surprises. Look for the game to be fairly low scoring, but for the 49ers to win by 4-6 points. The Ravens will battle hard and should have some success with their big receivers, but at the end of the day, the 49ers have too many weapons and the best weapon on the field in the form of Kaepernick.

 

Super Bowl Sunday Betting Tips

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday. Finally.

After a story-rich season that provided surprise after surprise, the NFL finally reaches its marquee game. It’s taken 22 weeks to get here, but now the 75,000– I would say fans but let’s face it, the corporate numbers eliminates the use of that particular term – in attendance and the millions of TV viewers get the chance to hear Alicia Keys belt out the national anthem, Beyonce shake her rump at halftime whilst lip-syncing (possibly), and those $4 million commercials.

Oh and there’s also the small matter of the game between Baltimore and San Francisco.

Welcome to Super Bowl XLVII: the event, the spectacle, the game nobody can pick.

It’s been a long time since a Super Bowl winner was this hard to pick. Ordinarily, there’s a decisive advantage for one team. That team might not live up to that advantage, but there’s an advantage nonetheless. But this year…

Trying to separate the Niners (the team of the stats) and the Ravens (the team of destiny) has been a nightmare. Numbers (they never lie, you know?) favor San Francisco, but Baltimore has been on a crusade to upset everybody this postseason.  Then there’s history. Three of the last five Super Bowls have gone to the underdog. It’s becoming common place to expect the unexpected.

So, who do you pick?

If you’ve waited this long to pick your side, fear not. You’re not the only one. For now, let’s see what Casino Review can conjure up for you.

 

Opening Lines

Two weeks ago, the line opened with San Francisco as the favorite, with the spread at 5. The total opened at 49.

 

Current Lines

Sunday morning sees the spread at four with most bookies, although Bet Online has it at 3.5. The total is 47.5 with most online sites, although Bovada has it at 48.

 

Betting Straight Up

Statistically speaking, San Francisco (11-4-1, 2-0 postseason) has a slight advantage when it comes to the numbers.

Offensively, the Niners compiled more total yards this season, including a whopping 155.7 rushing yards per game (4th in the league). Towards the end of the season – the part where Colin Kaepernick took over quarterbacking duties – the Niners really started putting numbers up.

Baltimore (10-6, 3-0 postseason) was no offensive slouch though. The Ravens outranked the Niners in passing yards and points per game, although the one tenth of a point difference proved these sides would need a well-oiled crowbar to separate them.

These trends have continued during the postseason, although San Francisco has scored 6½ more than the Ravens.

Defensively, San Francisco was a juggernaut. The side limited teams to just 17.1 points per game, second to only Seattle in the regular season. It was the sort of defense we’ve come to expect of Baltimore, only this year’s Baltimore side was middle of the pack when it came to defense. Until this postseason.

Baltimore has allowed just 19 points per game in its three playoff games, while San Francisco has allowed 27.5. It appears that the feared Baltimore defense (and Ray Lewis) turned up at just the right time.

Historically speaking, San Francisco has been to five Super Bowls and won all five. That includes Super Bowl XXIV (Jan. 28, 1990), a game in which the Niners defeated Denver 55-10 at the Super Dome in New Orleans, making for the most lopsided in Super Bowl history.

Baltimore has made one Super Bowl appearance, defeating the New York Giants 34-7 at Super Bowl XXXV (Jan. 28, 2001). One team’s undefeated Super Bowl streak is coming to an end tonight.

Baltimore currently owns a three-game winning streak over San Francisco, with the average game score coming out at 19-6. Some would argue that Baltimore hasn’t faced the 49ers side currently on show, and in terms of the Kaepernick offense, that’s true, but remember: the Ravens took down the Niners last season (Nov. 24, 2011) 16-6. Add to that the fact that San Francisco has only beaten Baltimore once (Nov. 17, 1996; a team that included Steve Young and Jerry Rice) and you have an historical advantage for Baltimore.

Want the waters to get even murkier?

Consider that the NFC representative has the superior record (23-19 since 1970 merger) in the Super Bowl, has won three straight, and is 18-5 when beginning the game as favorite, you surely have to come down in favor of the Niners, right?

But then again, the underdog has won four of the last five Super Bowl games and eight of the last 11. Add to that, the AFC has gone 9-6 in the Super Bowl since snapping a 13-game losing streak in 1998 and things suddenly look to be favorable to Baltimore.

See what we mean by impossible to pick?

And all of this without considering those unfathomable anomalies: will Ray Lewis win a Super Bowl in his final season? Will Colin Kaepernick finish off a fairy tale story? Will an injury play a part? Which Harbaugh brother has the advantage? Or any number of other factors that could impact the game.

So your pick essentially becomes a tossup. Which brings us to…

Take: BALTIMORE – There’s just something about this team that draws you to it. Huge underdog wins against Denver and New England, as well as experience, gives the Ravens a slight edge. An almost indecipherable edge in all fairness, but this just seems like the Ravens’ year now. It certainly didn’t earlier in the year.

 

Betting Against the Spread

Picking Baltimore means we’re automatically taking the side to cover the spread. But if you still inching towards San Francisco, here’re the numbers you need to know.

San Francisco was 9-7-0 against the spread during the regular season. The Niners covered the spread in both playoff games also.

Baltimore recorded a 6-9-1 tally against the spread during the regular season, but the Ravens have gone on to cover the spread in all three postseason games, including two as the underdog.

Historically, the favorite is 26-18-0 against the spread. On only six occasions has the favorite won the game and failed to cover. The favorite is 5-3-1 ATS when the Super Bowl is played in New Orleans. Those are advantages that favor San Francisco, and well worth considering if you’re going to take the Niners straight up.

In this instance, we’re taking Baltimore to be the 14th underdog to cover and win outright.

Take: BALTIMORE – By default.

 

Betting the Total

The total is a really bitch to predict. Consider this; the total has gone over in 22 Super Bowls and under in 23. The more keen-eyed of you will realize that only equates to 45 of the 46 Super Bowl games. Well, there was no total in the first Super Bowl.

During the regular season, San Francisco was 10-6-0 in favor of the total going over. The total has also gone over in both games involving the 49ers this postseason. All told, San Francisco has seen the total go over 66.7 percent of the time.

Meanwhile, Baltimore was 8-7-1 in favor of the over during the regular season. This postseason has seen two Ravens games (vs. Indianapolis, at New England) go under, with one (at Denver) going over. All told, the Ravens have seen the total go over 47.4 percent of the time, the same as it has gone under.

Take: UNDER – Both teams may have favored the over this season but the two defenses take the field in New Orleans can shut a game down. The two previous playoff rounds have seen the total go over in all games, which suggests the under is about to rear its ugly head. There’s a historical presence here also: six of the nine Super Bowl games played in the Big Easy have seen the total go under. Meanwhile, six of the last eight Super Bowls have also seen the total go under. Smart bettors should be thinking knockdown, drag out affair, not offensive spectacle.

 

So there you have it. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the final football game of the season.

#1 Michigan vs. #3 Indiana

Regular season college basketball match-ups don’t get much bigger than this.

Today, the newly named No. 1 team in the land – the Michigan Wolverines (20-1) – will take on a familiar Big Ten foe in Indiana (19-2) and a team held the top spot in the polls for much of the season. However, at No.3 the Hoosiers are still not a team to take lightly. In fact, some feel they are still the best team in the country. The match-up will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, but there’s little doubt that considering their current rankings, this will be the most significant battle for either squad during the regular season schedule.

The Hoosiers will build an intimidating home atmosphere in Bloomington for the Wolverines and will bring in the nation’s top scoring offense, captained by guard Victor Oladipo and big man Cody Zeller. Oladipo is a multi-talented threat who can score from anywhere on the floor, as he leads the nation in true shooting percentage, which takes into account three-pointers, two-pointers and free throws – no dunks or lay-ins. Then you have Zeller to deal with, an inside presence who dominates the painted area with 16.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest on the year.

Of course, by now the Wolverines already know this and they’ll be ready.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of hype. It’s going to be a really hectic crowd and atmosphere,” Michigan’s leading scorer Trey Burke said, via ESPN.com. “I know guys are ready. Indiana’s a really good team. We’ll be ready for them. It should be a fun game.”

The Wolverines aren’t too shabby on the offensive side of the floor either. Burke, who scores 17.9 points per game, leads an attack that is ranked 13th in the country, scoring 78 points per contest. Not only that, but Michigan is coming off one of their finest offensive performances of the year. Although they only scored 68 against Northwestern on Wednesday, they only turned the ball over twice all game, a feat almost unheard of in college or pro sports.

With two powerful teams colliding, the home court advantage may just be enough to give the Hoosiers the edge. On the other hand, both of the Hoosiers’ two losses this season came on their own floor. Can Michigan make it three?

I think so. The Wolverines are playing extremely well at the moment and although not many picked them to be in this position at this point in the season, they’ve certainly earned their place with their play. On the flip side, Indiana was a preseason No. 1, so you could argue that they’re No. 3 ranked is not as warranted, even though they’ve had an incredible season as well.

Bottom line: This will be an extremely close game; certainly one of the most heated battles of the year, but at the end of the day, I like the Michigan Wolverines to prevail and cover +4 on the road.

This showdown of epic proportions will likely decide who one of the No. 1 seeds will be coming into March Madness, so with so much on the line, this is one game on the NCAA that you simply cannot miss.

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar Preview

UFC returns to action on Saturday night with UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar. The explosive bill will see Jose Aldo make the fourth defense of his UFC Featherweight Championship against former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, a match eagerly anticipated by not only fans but everybody involved.

The pay-per-view event will come live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip. Preliminary bouts start at 8:00 PM ET with the main event commencing at 10:00 PM ET.

The event will be the 23rd event UFC has hosted at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, and the first since Feb. 2012, following the cancellation of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson last September.

The event will mark the third straight weekend the UFC octagon has been active. Last weekend’s UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson mainly stuck to the script, with seven of 11 favorites scoring a victory. This included a successful flyweight title defense by Demetrious Johnson.

The only bout on the main card to go to the underdog was Ricardo Lamas’ second round knockout of Erik Koch. Bettors taking Lamas at 13/10 were rewarded.

UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping – held one week earlier – saw both the main and preliminary cards split down the middle in terms of favorites and underdogs scoring the victory.

Read on for Casino Review’s preview of the UFC 156 main card.

 

Aldo vs. Edgar

Since being crowned the first ever UFC featherweight champion in September 2010, Jose Aldo (21-1-0) has owned the division, taking down Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, and Chad Mendes in succession. It’s been over a year since the champ took to the octagon though.

On Saturday Aldo will face former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (14-3-1) in what promises to be one hell of a fight.

Edgar is coming off consecutive losses to Benson Henderson in the lightweight division. Edgar dropped his title to “Smooth” on Feb. 26 last year, before failing to regain it in August. Now the New Jersey native has set his sights on the lighter division, and poses a real threat to Aldo’s title.

It won’t be easy though. Aldo has won 14 straight contests. His last loss came on Nov. 26, 2005, and he has gone 3-0 since joining UFC. Aldo won his only previous bout in Las Vegas, a knockout of Mike Brown at WEC 44 on Nov. 18, 2009.

Meanwhile, Edgar compiled an impressive 9-1-1 record in UFC before hitting the brick wall that is Henderson. Edgar is 4-0-1 when fighting in Las Vegas, including a 1-0-0 record at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. That victory came on Feb. 3, 2007 at UFC 67: All or Nothing against Tyson Griffin.

Bookmakers favor Aldo (10/21) in this one, with Edgar (17/10) looking to score the upset win.

 

Evans vs. Nogueira

In a bout worthy of headline status, Rashad Evans will clash with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the light heavyweight division.

Evans (22-2-1) failed in his bid to capture the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship last April, losing a unanimous decision to champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The loss snapped Evans’ four-bout winning streak which began after he lost that same title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida.

It’s unlikely that a win on Saturday night will immediately catapult Evans back into the title picture, but it certainly won’t do him any harm. A win on Saturday will be hard to come by.

Nogueira (20-5-0) defeated Tito Ortiz to close out 2011 and to snap a two-fight losing streak. “Little Nog” returns to the octagon for the first time since on Saturday. The former gold medalist boxer will look to pick up an upset win over Evans, and perhaps insert his own name into the title conversation.

Nogueira is 2-1 when fighting in Las Vegas. He scored a knockout victory over fellow Brazilian Luiz Kane in his only fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Evans has never fought at the venue, but he has compiled a 6-1 record in Las Vegas, the city he both won and lost the light heavyweight crown.

Evans (2/11) is a heavy favorite over Nogueira (15/4).

 

Overeem vs. Silva

A pair of heavyweights collides as Alistair Overeem (36-11-1) takes on Antonio Silva (17-4-0).

Overeem has won eight straight fights and has not lost in his last 12. His last loss came on Sept. 17, 2007. In his UFC debut (Dec. 30, 2011), the “Demolition Man” handed Brock Lesnar a retirement-welcoming TKO defeat. Overeem is 1-1 when fighting in Las Vegas.

Silva scored a victory over Travis Brown last time out (Oct. 5, 2012) to make up for a UFC debut loss to Cain Velasquez. He’ll look to score a winning record with Saturday’s bout, less than four months after last stepping in the octagon. Silva is 1-0 when competing in Las Vegas.

Overeem (1/4) is favored over Silva (3/1) heading into this one.

 

Fitch vs. Demian Maia

Jon Fitch faces Demian Maia in a welterweight clash at UFC 156.

Fitch (27-4-1, 1NC) scored a fight of the night award his last time out, defeating Erick Silva at UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 13, 2012. It was Fitch’s first victory in three fights, and moved his record to 14-2-1 since joining UFC.

Maia (17-4-0) picked up a win – his second in a row, and third in four bouts – at that same event, using a neck cramp to force Rick Story to submit. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native is now 11-4-0 when fighting for UFC.

Fitch has gone 8-2 in Las Vegas and 2-0 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Maia meanwhile is 4-0 in Vegas and 1-0 at Mandalay Bay.

Fitch (10/21) is favored over Maia (17/10).

 

Benavidez vs. McCall

The main card’s opening bout sees a flyweight battle between Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall.

Benavidez (16-3-0) lost out to last week’s headline winner Demetrious Johnson the last time he took to the octagon (Sept. 22, 2012). That lost cost him the inaugural UFC Flyweight Championship. The loss was also the San Antonio native’s first loss in UFC (3-1).

McCall (11-3-1) also fell to Johnson. Having fought to a draw on Mar. 3, 2012, Johnson scored the semifinal victory on Jun. 8. McCall will now look for his first UFC win on Saturday, as well as the opportunity to get another shot at Johnson.

Benavidez owns a slight advantage in Sin City, having gone 3-2 in the city. McCall is 1-1.

Benavidez (2/5) is favored over McCall (39/20).

 

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar Full Card

Saturday 2 February, 10:00 PM ET

Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV

All odds supplied by Bovada.

 

MAIN CARD

Jose Aldo (21-1-0) vs. Frankie Edgar (14-3-1)

Class: Featherweight (UFC Featherweight Championship bout)

Odds: Aldo (10/21), Edgar (17/10)

 

Rashad Evans (22-2-1) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5-0)

Class: Light Heavyweight

Odds: Evans (2/11), Nogueira (15/4)

 

Alistair Overeem (36-11-1) vs. Antonio Silva (17-4-0)

Class: Heavyweight

Odds: Overeem (1/4), Silva (3/1)

 

Jon Fitch (27-4-1, 1NC) vs. Demian Maia (17-4-0)

Class: Welterweight

Odds: Fitch (10/21), Maia (17/10)

 

Joseph Benavidez (16-3-0) vs. Ian McCall (11-3-1)

Class: Flyweight

Odds: Benavidez (2/5), McCall (39/20)

 

PRELIMINARY CARD

Gleison Tibau (35-8-0) vs. Evan Dunham (13-3-0)^

Class: Lightweight

Odds: Tibau (5/6), Dunham (10/11)

 

Tyron Woodley (10-1-0) vs. Jay Hieron (23-6-0)^

Class: Welterweight

Odds:  Woodley (5/7), Heiron (11/10)

 

Jacob Volkmann (15-3-0) vs. Bobby Green (19-5-0)^

Class: Lightweight

Odds: Volkmann (5/19), Green (29/10)

 

Yves Edwards (42-18-1) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (13-3-1)^

Class: Lightweight

Odds: Edwards (5/14), Vallie-Flagg (11/5)

 

Chico Camus (12-3-0) vs. Dustin Kimura (10-0-0)*

Class: Bantamweight

Odds: Camus (20/33), Kimura (27/20)

 

Edwin Figueroa (9-1-0) vs. Francisco Rivera (8-2-0, 1NC)*

Class: Bantamweight

Odds: Figueroa (49/20), Rivera (20/63)

 

^These bouts will air on FX

*These bouts will air live on UFC’s Facebook page.

Friday Betting Tips: NBA

LeBron James and the Miami Heat may have cruised past Brooklyn on Wednesday, but Friday's trip to Indianapolis will be a very different affair.

Pinch, punch, first of the month. Get your February off to a bang with a piece of the NBA’s 12-game schedule on Friday night. With 24 teams in action, there’s plenty of storylines to take in, not to mention betting options. Casino Review has filtered through the slate and come up with three games we think could be very fruitful.

 

Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers

7:00 PM ET

Back on Jan. 8, Miami (29-13, 11-10 road) scored its lowest point total of the season. The South Beach side came unstuck against a relentless Pacer defense that night, scoring just 77. The Heat will look to avoid a similar fate on Friday night.

Indiana (27-19, 17-3 home) has won 12 straight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and will be looking to notch another win against the Heat. The last time the Pacers lost at home was on Dec. 7 against the Denver Nuggets.

Indiana’s stifling defense ranks No. 1 in opponent’s field goal percentage (.419) and No. 2 in opponent’s scoring (89.9 PPG). Only Memphis has given up fewer points. The Heat meanwhile are the league’s best shooting team (.489) and second best three-point shooting side (.386). Those numbers have led to 102.7 points per game, good enough for fifth in the league.

Miami has struggled on the road this season, but things have looked a little more positive of late. Wednesday’s thrashing of Brooklyn moved the side above .500 on the road, and marked a third road win in four games. However, Bankers Life Fieldhouse is a fortress, and only three sides (Toronto, San Antonio, Denver) have gotten out with a win.

Favorite: Miami Spread: Total: 185½

Take: INDIANA – That stifling defense has already worked once against the Heat, and while LeBron James and Co. will be looking to approach this game very differently, Miami has yet to prove it’s worth backing on the road. Both sides have seen the total go under more times than over this season – Indiana has gone 28-18-0 in favor of the under – so take the under in this one.

 

Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets

7:30 PM ET

Having been embarrassed by Miami on Wednesday, Brooklyn (27-19, 17-8 home) will look to get back to winning ways on Friday as the Bulls travel to the Boroughs. Reggie Evans is sure to keep his mouth quiet before this one.

The Nets have lost three of the last four, having gone 10-2 following Avery Johnson being replaced by P.J. Carlesimo.

Chicago (28-17, 13-6 road) meanwhile is in fine form, having won two straight, five of six, and eight of 10. The Bulls hold a slender lead over Indiana in the Central, a lead they will look to maintain on Friday.

The Bulls scored an 83-82 victory over the Nets at the United Center on Dec. 15. That low-scoring affair was typical of a Chicago side that is limiting opponents to 90.9 points per game (3rd) and .425 shooting (2nd). The Nets have been fairly solid defensively too, holding opponents to 94.7 points per game (5th), but teams have shot well against the team (.463). Neither team is dynamite at the offensive end of the floor, so don’t expect this to be anything but a defensive struggle.

Chicago is one of the NBA’s best road teams, and has won six of the last seven away from the United Center. In a bizarre turn of events, the Bulls are actually better on the road than at home. Brooklyn has been tough at home. In fact, Wednesday’s loss to Miami broke a streak of eight straight home wins.

Favorite: Brooklyn Spread: 3 Total: 182

Take: CHICAGO – Brooklyn is good at home; Chicago is better on the road. The Nets’ recent form is something to get worried about, while the Bulls continue to not only play consistently, but better than expected. Take the underdog Bulls with the total going under, as is generally the case when either of these sides takes the court.

 

Washington Wizards @ Memphis Grizzlies

8:00 PM ET

Forget Thursday night’s 106-89 loss in Oklahoma City. The first real test for a Rudy Gay-less Memphis (29-16, 17-7 home) side will be the visit of the Wizards.

The Grizzlies are not as good as the Thunder. We all know that, so grading the side’s midweek trade on that result alone is fruitless. While the Wizards might not have been a good yardstick for any team at the start of the year, a side that has gone 7-5 over its last 12 games does make a good place to measure.

Washington (11-33, 3-19 road) may not be a contender this year, but the team is becoming respectable. Prior to the side’s last two losses, it had struck four wins from six. This is no longer the whipping boy of the Eastern Conference (Charlotte, Orlando; over to you).

Memphis will need to refocus and beware of the Wizards. They may only have won three road games, but all came against Western Conference opposition (New Orleans, Denver, Portland).

Favorite: Memphis Spread: Total: 179

Take: WASHINGTON – Firstly, Washington (27-16-1 ATS) is the best team in the league at covering the spread. Memphis (26-18-1 ATS) is no slouch, but the Wizards have a knack for frustrating bookmakers. Now, Memphis is unsettled and looking to mold itself into a very different team. That takes time, and Friday won’t be soon enough. Both teams have favored the under considerably this season, so take the total to go under.

 

Remaining NBA Schedule (Wednesday)

LA Clippers @ Toronto (7:00 PM ET)

Orlando @ Boston (7:30 PM ET)

Milwaukee @ New York (7:30 PM ET)

Sacramento @ Philadelphia (7:30 PM ET)

Cleveland @ Detroit (7:30 PM ET)

New Orleans @ Denver (9:00 PM ET)

Portland @ Utah (9:00 PM ET)

Dallas @ Phoenix (9:00 PM ET)

LA Lakers @ Minnesota (9:30 PM ET)

Sharks Stay Perfect in Win Over Oilers

It took an extra frame and a shootout, but the San Jose Sharks can still call themselves perfect.

The Sharks improved to a 7-0-0 record on the young NHL season Thursday night, knocking off the Edmonton Oilers for the second time in less than 10 days, this time in San Jose. They are now the only team left in the league with an unblemished record, as the Chicago Blackhawks dropped their first game to the Minnesota Wild in a Wednesday night shootout.

The win didn’t come easy, as San Jose blew an early two-goal lead, but was able to score twice in the shootout, securing the win.

“That’s what good teams do, but we cannot make a habit of it,” Michal Handzus said, via ESPN.com. “Obviously, we’ve got to be better than the last two games. We’ve got to work on it. The wins matter, for sure, but you cannot let it slide. You’ve got to still play well.”

The Sharks became only the third team in NHL history to win the first five games of the season by two goals or more, but they’ve had to earn these last two the hard way – in shootouts – showing a resilience that they will likely need come later in the season.

The loss is a tough one to swallow for Edmonton, who falls to 4-2-1 on the season, but the Oilers were proud of the fact that they battled back and at least earned a point out of the trip to San Jose, and a hard-earned point it was against one of the finest teams in the league.

“When you are on the road and you come back from 2-0, you’ll take the point for sure,” said Taylor Hall, who tied the game at 2-2 with a goal in the first minute of the third period. “They are a team that’s not going to give away many points at home. It seems there have been parts of our game this year where we let up for several shifts and you saw that tonight where they got the two quick goals.”

The Bay Area is loving its sports teams at the moment, as the Sharks are only one team in the area that is seeing success recently. The Giants are the reigning World Series champions, the Warriors are playing much better than expected in the NBA and are looking at a playoff berth, and of course, the 49ers will playing in the Super Bowl in a few short days.

After Logan Couture scored for the Sharks in the second, he couldn’t help but show some love to the Bay, as he kissed his bicep in celebration – a move patented by 49ers star QB Colin Kaepernick.

“It’s a Bay Area team that’s in the Super Bowl,” Couture said. “Just show some support for those guys.”

If the Sharks keep playing the way they are, maybe other athletes will be paying tribute to them soon enough.

Needless to say, now is a good time to jump on the San Jose bandwagon, that is if you don’t already have a seat. Keep putting those wagers down in favor of the Sharks until they show some weakness.