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Durant plays king-maker role

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

June 7, 2018 12:23 AM

Durant with the dagger! A dazzling 43 points and a game clinching trey put the Warriors one win away from another NBA title. In hockey, the Golden Knights are one loss away from elimination as the red-hot Caps visit Vegas. Championship analysis right now in VSiN City!

NBA Finals: Golden State’s just too good! Warriors pull away late to win and cover

There was a lot of sharp betting sentiment in the hours before tip off that Cleveland was going to make this a game and possibly tighten the series. Golden State was -5 earlier in the week, but dropped all the way to -3 right before play began. That’s a HUGE move considering how much “locals” support the Warriors get in the state of Nevada. Looked smart for a while…but Kevin Durant had already placed a big bet on himself to win championships when he left Oklahoma City for golder pastures. 

Durant ended the night with 43 points (including 6 of 9 on treys), 13 rebounds and 7 assists. More importantly, he stepped into a leadership role on a night where Steph Curry (3 of 16) and Klay Thompson (4 of 11) weren’t shooting well. On this night, the Warriors were Durant’s team. This was Durant’s win, and possibly the performance that locks up series MVP.

Golden State (-3) 110, Cleveland 102 

2-point Pct: Golden State 60%, Cleveland 51%

3-pointers: Golden State 9/26, Cleveland 9/31

Free Throws: Golden State 17/19, Cleveland 13/17

Rebounds: Golden State 37, Cleveland 47

Turnovers: Golden State 10, Cleveland 13

Pace: 93.8 (for the series, 90.5, 93.9, 93.8)

Golden State seemed happy to follow its standard script. Start slow (another first quarter loss, with the one-point margin a bit misleading given how much Cleveland dominated flow of play). Get serious in the third quarter (a 31-23 win laying anywhere from 3-4 points just in that quarter because everyone knows their tendencies). Tighten up on defense when it’s time to win a championship (just 44 points allowed after the break). 

LeBron James never got into beast-mode…yet still finished the night with 33 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. James turned his ankle midway through the evening. Also, defensive specialist Andre Igoudala returned for the Warriors and played 22 disruptive minutes (with a plus/minus of plus 14). What Cleveland needs from James to beat this GS roster isn’t achievable. 

This was the first Under of the series, though the second game that was below the market threshold at the end of regulation. Scoring at the end of 48 minutes has landed on 214, 225, and 212 so far, consistent with scoring volume failing to reach market expectations through the later rounds of the postseason.  

Dave Tuley of VSiN reported on twitter late Wednesday that the first numbers up for Friday’s Game Four were Golden State by 5.5 with a total of 216. We’ll preview what might be the NBA season finale for you tomorrow in VSiN City. 

NHL Stanley Cup Final: Washington can clinch Thursday, first Vegas look at elimination 

Given the unique expectations for the NHL’s Cinderella story occurring this season in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights have never really faced a combination of expectations and adversity. So little was expected of an expansion team, there was literally nothing to lose early in the season. Once the playoffs began, VGK never faced an elimination game, sweeping the Los Angeles Kings 4-0, beating the San Jose Sharks 4-2, and bouncing back from a poor opener to whip the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. 

Thursday, pre-series favorite Vegas trails Washington 3-1 in the championship round. And, it does so after getting largely outclassed on the ice in Games 2-3-4. There were moments of excellence. But, they were far outnumbered by Washington’s ability to create great scoring chances almost at will against an overwhelmed VGK defense. 

Washington at Vegas (8:05 p.m. ET on NBC, Caps leads 3-1)

Game 1: Vegas (-155) 6, Washington 4 (Shots: Vegas 34-28)

Game 2: Washington (plus 130) 3, Vegas 2 (Shots: Vegas 39-26)

Game 3: Washington (-130) 3, Vegas 1 (Shots Washington 26-22)

Game 4: Washington (-125) 6, Vegas 2 (Shots Vegas 30-23)

Game 5: Vegas -150, total of 5.5 (Over -115)

That’s 4-3-3-6 in goal count for the Caps, with additional opportunities that didn’t quite connect. This isn’t a case of a series underdog getting lucky. More like newcomers to the postseason being exposed as false favorites because of how the talent lines up in this particular matchup. Vegas needs to lift its game Thursday…and then TWO more times to finish its inaugural season with a victory and a championship. Midweek betting has been backing the must-win home favorite. Some of that is hometown sentiment. Some an expectation that Washington finally falters with so much margin for error, knowing that Game Six at home awaits. 

Scoring Through Four Games

In Vegas: Golden Knights 8, Capitals 7

In Washington: Capitals 9, Golden Knights 3

We’ll run the key numbers from Game Five for you Friday morning. Be sure you watch VSiN programming all day Thursday for market updates.

MLB Wednesday: Cubs and Astros bounce back from home losses, Indians win another pitching duel

Still three series in play right now featuring teams with winning records going head-to-head. Let’s take them in the order they appeared in the Nevada rotation. 

Chicago Cubs (-130) 7 Philadelphia 5 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Philadelphia 16, Chicago 20

Starting Pitchers: Nola 6 IP, 3 ER, Quintana 5.2 IP, 2 ER

Bullpen: Philadelphia 3 IP, 4 ER, Chicago 2.1 IP, 3 ER

You probably know by now that Jason Heyward hit a walk-off grand slam home run to win the game for the Cubs. Phillies had scored two in the top of the ninth to take a 5-3 lead. A few mutli-run homers in the mix. The total of offensive bases should have yielded a 5-4 type game (divide total bases plus walks by FOUR to get a rudimentary runs created estimate…it takes four bases to get a run, and that approach is surprisingly accurate in very large sample sizes). 

Chicago’s dramatic rally moved its record to 34-24, back within a game of Milwaukee. Philadelphia falls to 32-27, still way above preseason expectations. Cubs are down about four betting units for the season even with a straight up record 10 games above the .500 mark. Phillies are showing a profit of about six betting units. 

Houston (-185) 7, Seattle 5

Total Bases Plus Walks: Seattle 24, Houston 23

Starting Pitchers: Leblanc 4 IP, 3 ER, McCullers 6 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: Seattle 4 IP, 3 ER, Houston 3 IP, 1 ER

Wade LeBlanc struggled in his four innings of work. Then, the fact that he could only go four innings eventually forced vulnerable relievers into the mix. Even with that, Seattle won the “football score” represented by offensive bases. Good showing in a loss against a league power. Seattle’s continuing to suggest it’s for real rather than a fluke. Lead in the AL West is now one game, with Seattle at 38-23, Houston 38-25. In money terms, huge edge to the Mariners. Seattle is still up about 12 betting units for the season after this loss. Houston’s still down a couple of units even while 13 games over .500 straight up. 

Cleveland (-210) 3, Milwaukee 1

Total Bases Plus Walks: Milwaukee 11, Cleveland 10

Starting Pitchers: Anderson 4.1 IP, 3 ER, Carrasco 7 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Milwaukee 3.2 IP, 0 ER, Cleveland 2 IP, 0 ER

This was an afternoon game, and another reminder that get away day games can be low-scoring yawners because teams have a plane to catch and lineup regulars sometimes get a day off. (Wednesday afternoon’s games went 2-3 to the Under, and it would have been 1-4 to the Under but the Giants scored two in the bottom of the ninth to force an Over vs. Arizona.) Carrasco lowered his ERA to 4.23, which is still well above his career average even in a down year for scoring. Cody Allen got save #11 for the Tribe. Two important wins in this series for Cleveland after it had lost three straight to Minnesota. 

Cleveland moves to 32-28 on the season, but the projected AL power is still down about 7.5 betting units because it’s often heavily favored. Milwaukee stays atop the NL Central at 37-25, and is up about 12.5 betting units this season. Congrats to any of you who got on the Philadelphia, Seattle, and Milwaukee bandwagons early…though none of those three won Wednesday. 

Hey! We have some time right now to explain how total bases plus walks...divided by four...equals runs. We know that sounds way too simple to be accurate. And, we’re not going to pretend you’ll become a millionaire from knowing that. But, it is a reminder that the simple fundamentals of offense created “at the plate” produce runs. That means it’s a good idea to spend some of your handicapping time studying what each offense can do at the plate. 

Using the stat pages at ESPN through the games of Tuesday night (Wednesday’s action wasn’t completed as we finished this report), here are Major League per-team averages in these key stats. 

Per-Team Averages (thru Tuesday’s games)

Bases on Singles: 320

Bases on Doubles: 208

Bases on Triples: 30

Bases on Home Runs: 272

Bases on Walks Drawn: 198

Grand Total: 1,028

So, “Total Bases Plus Walks” add up to 1,028 per team. Divide that by four, and you get 257. You know what the actual per-team run average was through Tuesday’s action? Drumroll please. The actual run count was 263. Almost exactly on the money, even though we left out:

*Stolen Bases

*Bases gained by runners who were ON BASE when these happened

*Bases gained on sacrifice bunts or sacrifice flies

*Bases gained on fielding errors

*Batters who got on base after a hit-by-pitch

Weird that you can leave all those out, and just divide “Total Bases Plus Walks Drawn” by four to get runs. But you can. And, you probably wouldn’t have known that if you weren’t a reader of VSiN City!

Belmont Week: Ron Flatter reports as we fast approach race day

If you didn’t get a chance to enjoy these yet…

*Click here to listen to Ron’s pop-up podcast on the Belmont, featuring Vinny Magliulo of Gaughan Gaming, South Point horse racing handicapper Patrick McQuiggan, and VSiN’s Dave Tuley.

*Click here to read Ron’s update on the weather forecast and the ramifications for Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown. 

Don’t forget to purchase our digital Belmont preview publication for just $19.99. Subscribers to Point Spread Weekly will receive it for no charge. If you’re not yet a subscriber, take care of that now for a calendar year at $149.99…and the Belmont preview will automatically be included in your purchase. 

Back with you Friday to review Game Five of Capitals/Golden Knights…to preview Game Four of Warriors/Cavaliers…and to gear up for another day at the races and a weekend of bases! 

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