A Pimlico potpourri to get you ready for Saturday’s Preakness. Plus, the Lightning strike for a second time in the same place! Basketball's about to resume…and college football's on the horizon. Details ahead as we close out a historic week in VSiN City.
Preakness Week: Now just a day away! Here’s how to get the news you need to win
So much going on at VSiN for the second jewel in the 2018 Triple Crown. Easiest if we just link to all the highlights.
*Once again, VSiN and TVG have produced a 30-minute preview show that will air Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, and Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET. Set your DVRs -- or watch the YouTube video below. Guests will include John Avello of the Wynn, Vinny Magliulo of Gaughan Gaming and Patrick McQuiggan, horse handicapper of the South Point.
*Ron Flatter will be reporting live from Pimlico Friday and Saturday on VSiN programming. Ron will make sure you’re on top of every race and market development.
*Click here to read Ron’s VSiN article Thursday on Bob Baffert and Justify. Look for Ron’s Friday article on our home page.
*Click here to listen to Ron’s “pop up” podcast from Thursday featuring Vinny Magliulo, Patrick McQuiggan, and Dave Tuley.
*Click here to watch Thursday’s edition of “A Numbers Game” hosted by Gill Alexander. Included is a lengthy Preakness preview featuring multiple guests.
*And, if you haven’t yet purchased our “Inside the Preakness” digital publication, you can do so by clicking right here. The cost is just $19.99. Very informative betting tips from editor Jordan Abrams of WinnersandWhiners.com, Ron Flatter, and Dave Tuley…plus selections from many popular TVG and VSiN personalities.
Enjoy the race! And remember that VSiN is your home for the biggest sports events on the calendar year round.
NHL Playoffs: Tampa Bay wins again to even Eastern Conference Finals at two apiece
We don’t want to beat the “Lightning Strikes” metaphor to death. But Tampa Bay followed up Tuesday’s 4-2 “must win” performance in Washington with another 4-2 “must win” performance in the same arena Thursday. AND…Tampa Bay scored an empty goal with two seconds left to push the Over/Under of six…one night after the Vegas Golden Knights scored with two seconds left to go Over the total in a 4-2 victory vs. Winnipeg.
If you’ve been rooting for the Caps or Unders lately, you at least feel tasered.
Tampa Bay (plus 110) 4, Washington 2
Shots: Tampa Bay 20, Washington 38
Power Plays: Tampa Bay 1/2, Washington 0/4
Amazing similarities to the last game. Washington won shot count in Game Three 38-23, compared to 38-20 here. Washington failed in three power play tries, compared to four here. Scoring didn’t follow the same pathway, though, as this was tied in the third period while the prior game was out of reach.
Power plays have been a key the past three games. Washington is 1 of 10. Tampa Bay is 5 of 11. It won’t matter much that the Caps are getting the best of even-strength scoring if that gets erased by the Lightning’s superior efficiency a man up.
Tampa Bay is back on serve, which means it’s once again the favorite to win the series. But Washington’s played very well on the road this postseason (would you believe 7-1 straight up?!). And, the road team has won every game so far in these Eastern finals. No sure things.
The Western Conference finals are back on the ice Friday night in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights lead a very competitively played series two games to one.
Winnipeg at Vegas Golden Knights (8:05 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, VGK leads 2-1)
Game One: Winnipeg (-140) 4, Vegas 2 (Shots: Winnipeg 26-21)
Game Two: Vegas (plus 130) 3, Winnipeg 1 (Shots: Winnipeg 31-28)
Game Three: Vegas (-130) 4, Winnipeg 2 (Shots: Winnipeg 35-30)
Game Four: Vegas -130, total of 5.5 (Over -115)
Sharps went with Winnipeg in the zig-zag Wednesday night, and regretted it. Jets are still the sharp play in Game Four because the pre-series favorite is thought to be the slightly superior neutral ice team…and this is obviously a critical game to get back in the series. That’s why the money line is only -130 even with so many locals in Nevada betting the home team to show their support.
Playing alternate days continues through the rest of the conference finals. Note that Washington/Tampa Bay Saturday night and Vegas/Winnipeg Sunday night will both be on NBC rather than the NBC Sports Network.
NBA Playoffs: Weekend mini-previews and estimated “market” Power Ratings
No games on the hoops schedule either Thursday or Friday night. Here’s a brief recap of what’s happened so far as you ponder the betting possibilities when play resumes…
Boston at Cleveland (8:35 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN, Boston leads 2-0)
Game One: Boston (plus 1.5/204) 108, Cleveland 83
Game Two: Boston (-1/205) 107, Cleveland 94
Game Three: Cleveland -6.5, total of 205.5
Boston has been dominant, but Cleveland has some betting “systems” pointing their way. This is the superior pre-series team in a must-win spot. Expect the first half line to be up near the full game line because of an angle that had been doing very well for years up until the last round.
Houston at Golden State (8:05 p.m. ET. Sunday on TNT, series tied 1-1)
Game One: Golden State (plus 1.5/225.5) 119, Houston 106
Game Two: Houston (-1.5/225) 127, Golden State 105
Game Three: Golden State -7, total of 226.5
A pair of double-digits wins as each western power laid one egg. The market clearly sees Golden State as a few points clear on a neutral court based on that Game Three point spread. Will be great to see how each team handles taking a shot to the chin early in this much-anticipated battle.
Every Friday we update our estimate of how “the market” is rating the remaining teams. Based on weekend lines, it’s probably best to pencil in FOUR points rather than three for home court advantage. That a bit higher than we normally prefer. But it’s not out of line given recent numbers and on-court results. Boston hasn’t been nearly as impressive on the road as at home in the postseason. Golden State gets plenty of betting respect in the playoffs at Oracle.
90: Golden State
Those numbers look right for using FOUR points for HCA in this weekend’s action. And, Golden State was plus 1.5 in Houston the other night, Cleveland plus one. The winner of the West will obviously be favored over the winner of the East, regardless of who advances. You can make a great case that the market is being WAY too stubborn about lifting Boston out of the low 80’s. If the Celtics make it three straight over the Cavs, we may finally see those teams scoot closer together in the ratings.
WNBA: Season begins Friday night
The WNBA has always been a niche betting attraction in Las Vegas. It will be interesting to see if having a local team will drive more action toward the betting windows. The Las Vegas Aces are an expansion team that will begin their inaugural season on the road this weekend. We can’t expect a replay of what’s happened with the Vegas Golden Knights, either in interest or success. But if you think YOU can make money betting the WNBA, you should give it a go this summer.
Futures prices to win the WNBA title at the Westgate…
Minnesota: plus 125
Los Angeles: plus 175
New York, Phoenix, Washington: 12/1
Las Vegas, Connecticut: 18/1
Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas: 30/1
Here’s this weekend’s schedule…
Dallas at Phoenix (on NBA TV)
Chicago at Indiana (on NBA TV)
Las Vegas at Connecticut
Indiana at Washington (on NBA TV)
Atlanta at Dallas
Los Angeles at Minnesota (on ESPN2)
New York at Chicago
Phoenix at Seattle
If you didn’t skim, you noticed that the two favorites to win the title open the season against each other Sunday on ESPN2. That game will tip off at 5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. Las Vegas time.
We’ll try to pick our spots with coverage when the overall sports schedule allows. You should know that there are sharps who specialize in this sport. Betting limits aren’t as high as in other sports, because sports books know its mostly “oddsmakers vs. sharps” in this endeavor. If you want to start betting like a sharp instead of a casual “a beer and a bet” TV viewer, this is a great sport to get started. Or, if you live in Las Vegas and want to learn more about the WNBA because there’s a local team…see if you can take what you learn to the betting windows to enhance your enjoyment.
Here’s a link to an article from Todd Dewey on the WNBA that ran Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
College Football Betting: South Point will post College Football Week One lines on Monday
Thursday on twitter, South Point Sports Book Director Chris Andrews announced the upcoming release schedule for college football point spreads and win totals.
*Week One of the 2018 season will go up this coming Monday, May 21
*Game of the Year lines will go up Thursday, May 24
*Season Win Totals will go up Sunday, May 27
The action starts at 11 a.m. Las Vegas time each day. For the first hour, you can bet ONLY at the South Point windows. After an hour, betting will be opened on the app and at the Rampart sports book. Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point tweeted later in the day that betting limits will be $1,000 on those attractions.
Here’s a quick look at some of the featured games during the first full weekend of 2018 college football action…
Thursday August 30
Northwestern at Purdue
Friday August 31
San Diego State at Stanford
Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver)
Saturday September 1
Michigan at Notre Dame
Auburn at Washington
Alabama vs. Louisville (in Orlando)
Tennessee vs. West Virginia (in Charlotte, NC)
Texas vs. Maryland (in Landover, MD)
UNLV at USC
Sunday September 2
Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, TX)
Monday September 3
Virginia Tech at Florida State
Some blockbusters in the mix to be sure, particularly the renewal of the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry. We included UNLV at USC because of local interest. You can deduce that’s Labor Day weekend with the Sunday and Monday action.
If you live in Las Vegas, or are planning to travel there this weekend to bet next week’s openers…the countdown clock on your research has begun!
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. Be sure you check out this week’s “Total Handicapping” article on pace factor in the NBA Playoffs.
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Have a great weekend. See you Monday.