A truly HUGE sports night in Las Vegas had bettors avidly following the NFL Draft, a home game in the NHL Playoffs, and an important Game 6 in the NBA. Let’s recap the highlights as we close out the week in VSiN City!
NFL Draft: Some surprises, but talent factories from the SEC and ACC dominate as expected
We hope you enjoyed VSiN’s live draft coverage Thursday night, hosted by Jonathan Von Tobel and Matt Youmans. All the networks provide knowledge and insights. Only VSiN can ALSO give you the sports betting angles on draft propositions and regular season impact. Great fun. The future of sports broadcasting is happening RIGHT NOW at VSiN!
On the twitter feed, we followed conference breakdowns through the evening. We were mostly focused on the “power five” conferences. But, the Mountain West impressed, so we’ll include them in the final tally.
Players Drafted by Conference
That’s right, the Big 12 had the first player drafted…Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma…but then nobody else in the whole first round. The SEC continues to dominate the sport, with almost a third of the 32 players taken Thursday. The ACC has been very serious about recruiting at SEC levels in recent seasons. Those two conferences accounted for more than half, crushing the rest of the power five by a count of 17-8. Notre Dame is a major independent that had two players taken.
Remember when colleges and universities in Texas used to produce NFL athletes?! Not only is that 17-1 loss by the Big 12 to the sum of SEC and ACC a huge indictment of football in the lower Midwest and Southwest. But the only player taken in the first round from a Texas college was Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio (#14 to New Orleans). Zero from Texas, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech from the Big 12, or Houston or SMU from major population centers.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for coverage online, on SiriusXM 204, or on twitter. Of course, VSiN’s NFL draft coverage was the “second” most exciting thing happening in Las Vegas Thursday night…
NHL Playoffs: Vegas Golden Knights crush San Jose Sharks to open second round in the West; earlier Pittsburgh powered past Washington
No respite yet for Las Vegas sports books sweating all the futures bets on the Golden Knights to make history. We’ll start with that huge story.
Vegas (-145) 7, San Jose 0
Shots: San Jose 33, Vegas 34
Power Plays: San Jose 0/5, Vegas 3/10
It was 1-0 before fans sat down…2-0 before fans sat down from cheering the first goal…4-0 before casual sports fans thought seriously about checking in on the game during the 2018 NFL Draft. And, then, who turns the channel over to a game that’s already 4-0 in the first period?!
Vegas was outshot 17-9 in the first 20 minutes, while racing to that 4-0 lead. A good sign for its intensity that it won shots on goal 25-16 the rest of the way while sitting on a lead. Obviously having so many Power Play opportunities helped with that.
An easy cash on the game line, and at -1.5 goals plus 200 on the puck line. Plus, of course, one step closer to the 16 total wins needed to lift the Stanley Cup and make futures supporters in Las Vegas very happy. Five down. Eleven to go.
Game 2 will be late Saturday afternoon in Vegas, nationally televised by NBC. If you live in Las Vegas, note the earlier starting time of 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. live.
Pittsburgh (plus 110) 3, Washington 2
Shots: Pittsburgh 25, Washington 34
Power Plays: Pittsburgh 0/2, Washington 0/1
Washington scored almost immediately to take a 1-0 lead. The Capitals carried that 1-0 lead into the third period. Then Pittsburgh exploded for three goals and a win. Washington knows how to play from behind after trailing Columbus 2-0 in the first round. But this is a much tougher opponent, and a proven playoff nemesis. Pittsburgh was a slight series favorite before this result even without home ice. Penguins now have home ice after this service break, and are more prohibitive favorites to advance to the Eastern Finals even as the second round is just getting under way.
Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon in Washington on NBC.
NHL Series Previews: Jets/Predators, Bruins/Lightning on the way
Yesterday we previewed the first two second-round series. Today, let’s run the key numbers in the other two. One starts Friday night. The other Saturday afternoon.
Winnipeg at Nashville (Friday: 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports)
Goal Differential: Winnipeg plus 59, Nashville plus 56
5x5 Goal Differential: Winnipeg plus 30, Nashville plus 39
Goal-per-Game Ranking: Winnipeg #2, Nashville #7
Goals-Allowed-per-Game: Winnipeg #5, Nashville #2
Series Price: Nashville -140, Winnipeg plus 120
Game 1 Price: Nashville -155, total of 5.5 (Over -115)
Winnipeg had great regular season stats, representing skill sets that should at least give the Jets a chance to compete against the Western and league favorites entering the elite eight. Winnipeg actually had the superior goal differential in the regular season. Nashville was superior in 5-on-5 play, though. Winnipeg had the #2 offense in the league, Nashville the #2 defense. Worth remembering that Nashville didn’t play to its lofty market expectations in the prior round vs. Colorado. Potential for a great series.
Boston at Tampa Bay (Saturday: 3 p.m. ET on NBC)
Goal Differential: Boston plus 56, Tampa Bay plus 60
5x5 Goal Differential: Boston plus 27, Tampa Bay plus 49
Goal-per-Game Ranking: Boston #6, Tampa Bay #1
Goals-Allowed-per-Game: Boston #4, Tampa Bay #13
Series Price: Tampa Bay -150, Boston plus 130
Game 1 Price: Tampa Bay -145, total of 6
Boston had time to get some rest off the Game 7 victory over Toronto. But, Tampa Bay is extremely well-rested, and was perceived as the superior team coming into the postseason. Wouldn’t be a shocker if Boston punted the opener in hopes of coming back strong to break serve in the second game. A “we only need a split” mentality sometimes takes over in tough fatigue spots. Tampa Bay brings the league’s best offense (via goals-per-game) into the series. Boston the fourth best defense.
NBA Thursday: Milwaukee forces a seventh game vs. Boston
Earlier this week we said that two of the most exciting words in sports were “Game 7.” Maybe not so much in this series! It still feels like a #8 seed playing another #8 seed in terms of overall execution and game flow. Milwaukee did find its aggression again with backs to the wall at home.
Milwaukee (-4.5) 97, Boston 86
2-point Pct: Boston 44%, Milwaukee 61%
3-pointers: Boston 10/36, Milwaukee 8/26
Free Throws: Boston 16/19, Milwaukee 13/21
Rebounds: Boston 39, Milwaukee 48
Turnovers: Boston 9, Milwaukee 9
Pace: 89.1 (for the series, 96.5, 93.2, 88.7, 89.3, 95.9, 89.1)
The best expectation of the night was that Milwaukee would shoot a lot better than 43% on deuces, their low outlier that happened in Game Five back in Boston. No doubt there. The Bucks shot 30 of 49 for 61%. But a poor night on three-pointers kept them below the century mark in what turned out to be an easy win anyway. The teams combined to miss 44 three pointers.
Boston didn’t do much of anything right, beyond avoiding turnovers. But, the Celtics weren’t forcing many turnovers either. Boston had owned the boards for the series. Not tonight, with a minus nine differential.
Pace has been noticeably slower in Milwaukee. Let’s break that down for you.
In Boston: 96.5, 93.2, 95.9
In Milwaukee: 88.7, 89.3, 89.1
The widgets that automatically calculate pace online for you pro-rate the action to 48 minutes in the case of overtime. So, that first game 96.5 in Boston is the right read. The third game 95.9 was inflated a bit by a free throw parade in the final minute. None of the three games in Milwaukee made it to 90. All three in Boston were still slow…but clear of 93.0.
In Over/Unders…four Overs (220, 226, 208, 206) have been followed by two Unders (179, 183).
Game 7 will be Saturday in Boston.
NBA Friday Previews: Toronto, Cleveland, Utah can advance with Game Six victories
Three Game 6s on tap Friday evening. Note that TV coverage switches over to ESPN…with a weird spot for the evening’s opener.
Washington at Toronto (7 p.m. ET. on ESPNews, Toronto leads 3-2)
Game 1: Toronto (-7.5/214) 114, Washington 106
Game 2: Toronto (-7/214) 130, Washington 119
Game 3: Washington (-1/217.5) 122, Toronto 103
Game 4: Washington (plus 1/217) 106, Toronto 98
Game 5: Toronto (-7/216.5) 108, Washington 99
Game 6: Washington -2, total of 214.5
You have all day to find where ESPNews is on your cable or satellite package! Washington won its first two home games of the series by 19 and 8 points. The market doesn’t quite know what to make of home court in this matchup…with the five hosts all winning comfortably. If you believe that’s going to continue, then the Wizards are a gift. No sure thing of course. Toronto is supposed to be the kind of team that can take care of business vs. opponents this vulnerable. Handicappers will learn a lot about what to expect from the Raptors in the next round based on what happens here.
Indiana at Cleveland (8 p.m. ET. on ESPN, Cleveland leads 3-2)
Game 1: Indiana (plus 7/212.5) 98, Cleveland 80
Game 2: Cleveland (-8.5/213.5) 100, Indiana 97
Game 3: Indiana (-1.5/208) 92, Cleveland 90
Game 4: Cleveland (-2/206) 104, Indiana 100
Game 5: Cleveland (-6.5/205) 98, Indiana 95
Game 6: Indiana -1, total of 204
Very tight series, with four straight tight finishes after that opening blowout from the Pacers. Does Indiana have what it takes to win a close game “on purpose?” They’re really not showing that down the stretch. That blowout was keyed by a poor 8 of 34 performance on treys from Cleveland side-by-side with 16 turnovers. If Cleveland isn’t THAT bad, Indiana only knows how to “stay” close. Maybe Cleveland will relax with a Game 7 at home in its pocket if needed. (Oh, don’t forget that every game in the series has gone Under thus far.)
Oklahoma City at Utah (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, Utah leads series 3-2)
Game 1: Oklahoma City (-4.5/205) 116, Utah 108
Game 2: Utah (plus 3.5/208.5) 102, Oklahoma City 95
Game 3: Utah (-5/209) 115, Oklahoma City 92
Game 4: Utah (-5.5/209.5) 113, Oklahoma City 96
Game 5: Oklahoma City (-3.5/207.5) 107, Utah 99
Game 6: Utah by 6, total of 205.5
Utah got way too complacent with that big lead that other night. Then, the Jazz didn’t seem all that concerned that they had blown the lead! Sure, a 3-1 lead was nice. This isn’t a roster that’s earned the right to be ultra-confident yet. And, it’s not one that’s a sure thing to score points in crunch time. Can OKC force a crunch time after expending so much energy in that amazing come-from-behind win? The market sure respects the heck out of Utah with the prices we’ve seen in Salt Lake City so far. Can this dog finish?
NBA Playoffs: Updating our estimated “market” Power Ratings
We want to do this every Friday through the postseason (at least). Golden State is being priced this weekend like Steph Curry is returning to the floor. He did go full speed at practice by all reports. So, we’ve bumped the Warriors back to the top of the heap. These are “neutral” court estimates. Adjust three points for home court…possibly four with Utah…and then add in “intangible” points as you wish for the back-to-the-wall teams.
90: Golden State (early betting suggests he’ll play G1)
84: Toronto, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Utah
83: Cleveland, Oklahoma City
80: Boston, Indiana, Milwaukee
Looking forward to seeing the market pin things down in the second round once we’re down to eight teams.
Have a great weekend. Game-day playoff coverage continues on our live broadcasts (with bonus market news from Major League Baseball, golf, and NASCAR). If you missed Friday afternoon’s announcement about the new joint effort to produce big race programming with horse racing network TVG, please click here for complete details. See you Monday!
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