As promised in Point Spread Weekly, I'm here to provide updates for second-round NHL & NBA series that were set after Issue No. 35 was available for download.
The Boston Bruins-Tampa Bay Lightning was the last NHL series to be set after we previewed the other three conference semifinals in the mid-week issue, so we’ll start there. The Golden State Warriors-New Orleans Pelicans series is the first second-round series to start on Saturday while we wait for three first-round series to conclude (each has its Game 6 on Friday night); if any other second-matchups get determined after those games, we’ll have another update here at VSiN.com, otherwise the rest of the series will be previewed in PSW Issue No. 36.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning
Series odds: Lightning -145/Bruins plus-125
Game 1 odds: Lightning -145/Bruins plus-125 (o/u 6)
Tuley’s Take: Tampa Bay beat New Jersey 4-1 and haven’t played since last Saturday. We saw how flat the San Jose Sharks came out flat off 8-days rest vs. the Vegas Golden Knights, though they were coming off 9-days rest. The rest vs. rust angle is a wash, though all things being equal I’d rather take the team that’s had to be playing at a high level the most recent and that’s the Bruins, who are coming off their 7-4 Game 7 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Besides, while I am scared a little by the great goaltending recently by Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (who shut out the Bruins the last time these teams faced on April 3), the Bruins still won the season series 3-1. With that in mind (and feeling these teams are evenly matched overall), there’s value in taking the Bruins plus-125 in the series. In lieu of making a bet in Game 1, I’ll bet the Bruins to win the series and re-up at a better price if they lose Game 1. Best Bets: Pass on Game 1, take Bruins plus-125 to win series and only bet them in Game 2 if they lose Game 1.
Pelicans at Warriors
Series odds: Warriors -950/Pelicans plus-625
Game 1 odds: Warriors -8.5 (o/u 223.5)
Tuley’s Take: I think we all saw the difference between “regular-season” Warriors and “playoff” Warriors as they beat the Spurs 4-1; however, while they won and covered the first three games, they did lost Game 4 outright and then failed to cover in Game 5 as the Spurs showed some pride. Still, they showed they were the superior team even without Steph Curry, who practiced Thursday and we’re expected to hear more about his status on Friday. I think the best advice is to take the Pelicans plus the points in Game 1 (if he’s declared out, the plus-8.5 will become a bargain). Obviously the Warriors are a better team with Curry, averaging 10.8 points more when he’s playing and hitting 7% more on 3-pointers. The Warriors won the first three meetings this season, but the Pelicans prevailed 126-120 in the last meeting on April 7 when Curry was out. However, I’m not saying that the Pelicans can’t win if Curry does return; the Pelicans have reeled off nine straight wins, including that prior win over the Warriors and a four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. Anthony Davis is clearly the key for the Pelicans, but they also have their own “playoff” upgrade with Rajon Rondo, who last year had the Bulls dominating the Boston Celtics before he went down with injury. The plan is to back the Pelicans in the road games in this series, and possibly also at home if they’re short underdogs. Best Bets: Pelicans plus-8.5 in Game 1 and whenever installed as dogs.
SUNDAY, APRIL 29
Jazz at Rockets
Series odds: Rockets -1500/Jazz plus-850
Game 1 odds: Rockets -11 (o/u 206.5)
Tuley’s Take: I really liked how the Jazz handled the opening-round series against the Thunder and wish I had backed them more in individual games. However, as tempting as it is to jump on them again here, especially getting double digits in Game 1, containing the Thunder is one thing but doing the same to the Rockets is a much taller order. I'm also concerned that the Rockets were 4-0 SU & ATS in the seaon series, so I'm going to sit out Game 1 and watch how that plays out and if I feel better about the Jazz defense being able to slow down Houston. If so, I might jump on them in Game 2, but more than likely I'll be waiting until getting them at home dogs when the series moves to Utah for Game 3. Best Bets: Pass for now, looking toward taking Jazz as home dogs later.
MONDAY, APRIL 30
Celtics at 76ers
Series odds: 76ers -550/Celtics plus-425
Game 1 odds: 76ers -5 (o/u 206)
Tuley’s Take: Philadelphia is the lower seed but is a heavy favorite in this series. The 76ers have also been getting steamed from -2 to -4.5 at most books and even -5 at VSiN’s host book at the South Point as of Monday afternoon. I would normally love to fade such a move, but the Celtics – who were already short-handed – now have Jaylen Brown listed as doubtful after suffering a pulled hamstring in Game 7 against the Bucks. I’m going to sit this one out and watch Game 1 with an eye toward how I’ll play the rest of the series. I’ll have those thoughts in Wednesday’s Point Spread Weekly. Best Bets: Pass on Game 1.
TUESDAY, MAY 1
Cavaliers at Raptors
Series odds: Raptors -190/Cavaliers plus-170
Game 1 odds: Raptors -6.5 (o/u 215.5)
Tuley’s Take: I still have my 15-1 ticket on the Raptors to win the NBA title (it was kinda scary when their previous series with the Wizards was tied 2-2, but they survived and advanced) and I’m also doing my Money Line Parlay Option (MLPO) with the Raptors’ series prices. After winning only $14 on my $100 bet in the first round, I’m glad to only be laying less than 1-2 here. Cleveland won the season series 2-1 as home teams won all three games with Cleveland getting to host twice, but now the Raptors have home-court advantage. As for the individual games, I’m going to pass on Games 1 and 2 and look forward to taking the Raptors as short road underdogs in Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland . Best Bets: Pass for now, perhaps Raptors when the series moves to Cleveland.