Another NBA upset! Plus, Derby delights, Gill makes it right, and the Sharks bite the Knights. All right now in VSiN City.
Sports Betting: If you bet Baker Mayfield 7.5 over Lamar Jackson at William Hill, go cash that ticket!
Hope you caught Gill Alexander’s segment Wednesday on “A Numbers Game” outlining his difficulty cashing winning tickets from sports book operator William Hill on NFL Draft bets. If you missed the broadcast, you can watch the segment by clicking here.
Later in the day, David Purdum of ESPN posted an article with statements from Michael Grodsky, vice president of marketing for William Hill; and from Karl Bennison, chief of enforcement for Nevada gaming control. You can read David’s article by clicking here.
The short version, William Hill was grading bets on Baker Mayfield to be drafted at least 7.5 spots earlier than Lamar Jackson as a loser, even though Mayfield was drafted 31 spots earlier than Jackson. Mayfield was the first player taken in the 2018 draft. Jackson went at #32 to the Baltimore Ravens, the final player taken in the first round.
Honestly, the LONG version is the one you should hear. Watch Gill’s explanation for a full sense of the lengths he had to go to rectify this mis-grading. Thanks to everyone who sent or tweeted in their thoughts on the episode. Here are a few comments from Wednesday on twitter.
Great job Gill and @VSiNLive for being there for the bettor and telling your story. Without your voice we would be silent in this forum. Keep up the great work.
Without a doubt the most important and meaningful segment ever done on VSiNLive. Terrific!
Great segment on your NFL draft props. Thanks for standing up for the bettors!
Great job! Getting tired of casinos treating successful gamblers as if they committed a crime by winning.
Congratulations on becoming the official advocate for degenerates:) and I mean that with the utmost respect.
We’ll let you know in the future if there are further statements from William Hill regarding their error.
NBA Playoffs: So much for “avoiding complacency,” Rockets stunned by Jazz!
We talked about this in our preview yesterday. Houston has been showing a tendency toward playing at three-quarter speed on the assumption that everything would take care of itself on the way to the Western Conference finals. The Rockets could get away with that against Minnesota, a #8 seed that didn’t offer much of a matchup challenge. Against Utah? The team that just dispatched Oklahoma City in surprisingly dominant fashion? You can’t beat the Jazz staying dressed as Clark Kent all night.
Utah (plus 10.5) 116, Houston 108
2-point Pct: Utah 54%, Houston 48%
3-pointers: Utah 15/32, Houston 10/37
Free Throws: Utah 15/25, Houston 22/27
Rebounds: Utah 48, Houston 50
Turnovers: Utah 16, Houston 7
Pace: 103.2 (for the series, 96.8, 103.2)
Ultimately, three-pointers were the big story. That 15-10 edge for Utah is almost a reverse of regular season norms (15-11 for Houston). The Jazz won long-range scoring by 15 points in a game it only won by eight. But, if you watched the TNT telecast, you know it was more about effort, intensity, and the visitor playing to win while the host never played with any sense of urgency.
Utah led by eight at the end of the first quarter. Whenever Houston made it close or took a quick lead, the Jazz would regain control. Joe Ingles was 7 of 9 on treys (10 of 13 overall), with many shots coming on wide open looks as Houston watched from a distance. Houston must have missed the OKC series, where Ingles was 21 of 45 for 47% (equivalent of 70% on two’s). You can’t leave that guy open!
Utah’s offense still felt the absence of Ricky Rubio with that ugly 16-7 turnover loss. But, ballhandlers were aggressive enough to draw five fouls on both James Harden and Chris Paul. Harden wasn’t exactly missing in action, given 32 points and 11 assists in 36 minutes. He went most of the second half without shooting any free throws…which means he wasn’t as aggressive as you’d normally expect when it was time to win the game.
Game 3 will be Friday in Utah, where the Jazz swept Oklahoma City by scores of 115-102, 113-96, and 96-91 (without Rubio for most of the finale).
Probably the most surprising thing about Utah this postseason has been its excellence at a fast pace. It was one of the slowest teams in the NBA during the regular season. Normally “defense and rebounding” teams like Utah (#2 in defensive efficiency this season, #5 in rebound rate) prefer slow paces so they can dominate in the half court. Utah was fine at a fast pace vs. Oklahoma City in the prior round, and just won the faster of the two games in this Houston series.
Forget what you used to know about these teams. Houston played very slow basketball down the stretch, and may be best served by walking the ball up in this series. Utah’s youth and enthusiasm, keyed by Donovan Mitchell, parties at a fast pace. Will be very interesting to see if Utah can keep the petal to the metal these next two games at home.
NBA Previews: Toronto and Philadelphia hope to bounce back after Eastern Conference upsets
A lot of early upsets so far, with only Golden State avoiding a service break against New Orleans. We have an Eastern Conference doubleheader Thursday night, with the pre-series favorites both desperately in need of equalizers. Let’s take them in tip-off order.
Cleveland at Toronto (6:05 p.m. ET. on ESPN, Cleveland leads series 1-0)
Game 1: Cleveland (plus 7, 214) 113, Toronto 112 (in OT)
Game 2: Toronto -6.5, total of 212.5
Cleveland has been known to take games off in the playoffs when it can afford the luxury. Or, not exactly break their backs in a rally if they fall way behind early. Two of Cleveland’s losses in the prior round were by 18 and 34 points to Indiana. So, even if you think the market has underrated Cleveland entering the series, there may be better times to make a stand. Toronto’s four wins over Washington were by margins of 8, 11, 9, and 10.
The Over/Under has dropped 1.5 points from the opener because regulation scoring only reached 210 at a slow 90.0 pace factor. Don’t forget the weird starting time here. Tip off is an hour earlier than most playoff nights…6:05 p.m. ET, 3:05 p.m. in Las Vegas.
Philadelphia at Boston (8:35 p.m. ET. on TNT, Boston leads series 1-0)
Game 1: Boston (plus 4.5, 205) 117, Philadelphia 101
Game 2: Philadelphia -4, total of 206
Boston is still undefeated on its home floor in the playoffs, beating the market by 2.5, 15.5, 0.5, 11.5, and 20.5 points. And, you get the sense that the Celtics are going to get the best of tactical personnel matchups in this series. Will Philadelphia make the right adjustments? That would mean forgoing the launching of treys (5 of 26) to take advantage of inside advantages. We can assume Boston won’t go 17 of 36 on treys again. They don’t have to match that to cover.
NHL Playoffs: Tampa Bay, San Jose, what a day!
Blowout wins Wednesday for the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks to get their second wins of the second round.
Tampa Bay (plus 140) 4, Boston 1
Shots: Tampa Bay 37, Boston 29
Power Plays: Tampa Bay 1/5, Boston 1/1
An explosive first period (3-1 TB) was followed by two periods with almost nothing. Tampa Bay scored very late on a power play to finalize the scoreboard. Tough luck for Over bettors who were counting their winnings two-thirds of the way there in the first period.
Important to note that Tampa Bay won shot count handily despite Boston playing from behind most of the night. Trailers often have the edge in that stat because the game leader goes into a shell. Tampa Bay still won shots 18-15 after the first period. The series-to-date edge for the Lightning is 103-73.
This win puts TB back on serve with a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Friday at this same site.
San Jose (- 140) 4, Vegas Golden Knights 0
Shots: Vegas 34, San Jose 34
Power Plays: Vegas 0/5, San Jose 1/4
Vegas had a game to relax with a 2-1 series lead after playing consecutive overtimes. Knights knew they still had two home games in their pocket if needed. San Jose took control early. Felt like both teams were running out the clock and sending some physical messages over the last two periods.
We’re knotted at 2-2. Vegas is still a series favorite given the win percentage likelihoods we outlined before the series.
Game 1: Vegas wins
Game 2: San Jose wins
Game 3: Vegas wins
Game 4: San Jose wins
Game 5: San Jose .43 wins, Vegas .57 wins
Game 6: San Jose .55 wins, Vegas .45 wins
Game 7: San Jose .43 wins, Vegas .57 wins
Sum Total: Vegas Golden Knights 3.59 wins, San Jose 3.41 wins
It takes four wins to advance. Game 5 is pivotal because it pushes the winner’s projected sum within arm’s reach of the magic number. That will be played Friday night in Las Vegas.
NHL Thursday Previews: Washington’s Wilson suspended three games; defending Cup finalists Pittsburgh and Nashville in must-win situations
There are big stories every night in the NHL Playoffs. Tonight’s double-header features both of last year’s finalists battling to equalize their second round series. We’ll go in the order they’ll take the ice.
Washington at Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, series tied 1-1)
Game 1: Pittsburgh (plus 110) 3, Washington 2 (Shots: Washington 34-25)
Game 2: Washington (-140) 4, Pittsburgh 1 (Shots: Pittsburgh 33-32)
Game 3: Washington (plus 150) 4, Pittsburgh 3 (Shots: even at 22)
Game 4: Pittsburgh -165, total of 6
The league announced Wednesday that Washington’s Tom Wilson had been suspended three games for the hit that broke Zach Austin’s jaw and caused a concussion. That means the Caps’ enforcer won’t be able to return to this series until Game 7 if it goes that far. If Washington wins the series in five, Wilson would miss the first game of the Eastern Conference finals.
You can see the market expects Pittsburgh to break back after Tuesday’s home loss. The problem for the Penguins is…Pittsburgh has to win that AND one more in Washington because the Caps entered with home ice advantage.
Nashville at Winnipeg (9:35 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, series tied 1-1)
Game 1: Winnipeg (plus 150) 4, Nashville 1 (Shots: Nashville 48-19)
Game 2: Nashville (-175) 4, Winnipeg 3 in OT (Shots: Winnipeg 50-41)
Game 3: Winnipeg (-130) 7, Nashville 4 (Shots: Winnipeg 45-30)
Game 4: Winnipeg -145, total of 6
Telling indeed that Winnipeg’s price went UP even though Nashville is in the must-win spot. Important market forces have been impressed with the Jets, and continue to back them. Winnipeg won home ice shot count 109-67 in three games vs. Minnesota in the first round. Then, that 45-30 edge you see above in the only home game vs. Nashville.
MLB: Yankees shut out Astros for the second straight night
The New York Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball (now 11-1 their last 12 games). Wednesday, their second straight shutout of the defending World Champion Houston Astros. Here’s what’s happened in the series so far, with the finale of the four-gamer starting Thursday at 2:10 p.m. ET (McCullers -120 over Tanaka on the early line).
Monday: Houston 2, NYY 1 (10-7 in total bases plus walks)
Tuesday: NYY 4, Houston 0 (11-8 in total bases plus walks)
Wednesday: NYY 4, Houston 0 (20-7 in total bases plus walks)
Obviously, a pitchers series so far…in what’s been the best pitchers park in baseball the past two full regular seasons. As we’ve talked about often, the perception of Minute Maid as a bandbox has hidden it’s run-reduction qualities for years. Tough visibility for hitters, and other influences appear to be in play.
Only 11 total runs in three games with these loaded offenses! Might be time for the tea kettle to boil over in the series finale Thursday.
New York’s Wednesday win moved the Yankees to 20-10 for the season, still two games behind the hot-starting Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Houston fell to 20-12, being chased in hot pursuit by Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Kentucky Derby: Preview publication now available for just $19.99…and set your VCR’s for our joint broadcast with TVG!
You’re already getting comprehensive Kentucky Derby coverage across the full spectrum of VSiN outlets. Just a quick reminder here in VSiN City before we jump into NBA and NHL Playoff coverage that our “Inside the Derby” electronic publication presented by VSiN and TVG is now available. Just $19.99 for this issue, or $39.99 for the full Triple Crown series (a 33% savings).
This 45-page special edition features:
*In-depth handicapping tips from Jordan Abrams, editor of our Triple Crown series and editor and publisher of WinnersandWhiners.com.
*Thoughts and tips from broadcasting Hall-of-Famer Brent Musburger.
*Ron Flatter’s comprehensive look at the “Final Fractions Theory.”
*“Tuley’s Takes,” from Dave Tuley.
*Win, Place, Show and longshot selections from nearly 30 VSiN and TVG personalities and other industry experts.
*Best Beyer Speed Figures and Brisnet Speed Ratings for every Derby entry so you do-it-yourselfers can map out the race.
A quick reminder to set your DVR’s for our special VSiN-TVG joint Derby preview broadcast. It will air on TVG Friday and Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET (4:30 a.m. in Las Vegas). If you’re not an early bird, just record that Friday edition and watch it at your leisure when convenient later in the day! Legendary oddsmaker and horse racing expert Roxy Roxborough is among the featured guests.
If you missed Wednesday’s “pop up” podcast from Ron Flatter featuring Vinny Magliulo, Patrick McQuiggan, and Dave Tuley, please click here to listen. Ron’s Wednesday article on Mendelssohn can be read by clicking here.
We’ll see you again tomorrow to finish out the week. Thanks for visiting VSiN City!
VSiN Business Center
*Click here to subscribe to Point Spread Weekly for just $149.99.
*If you haven’t had a chance to sign up for the FREE subscription to VSiN City, please click here to do so. Subscribers also get links to handy sports betting sheets from the South Point that are very helpful during the baseball grind.
*Click here to follow us on twitter for programming snippets and news bulletins. Click here to download our app. Click here to purchase a VSiN T-shirt or baseball cap for yourself or your favorite sports bettor. It’s baseball season and you don’t have a cap yet! If you have any comments or questions about anything in the VSiN universe, drop us a note or leave us a comment on the Facebook widget below.