Friday Night Trio
April 28, 2023
Three bets worth considering when the weekend kicks off
Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors
Chase Center – San Francisco, CA
8:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Golden State -7.5
When the Warriors were down 2-0 in their first round series against the Kings, many presumed the champs would soon be eliminated. It marked the first time in the Steph Curry era that Golden State had fallen down 2-0 in a playoff series.
But the Warriors have four championships since 2015. Meanwhile, the Kings haven’t won a playoff series in 20 years. Eleven days later, the series is now 3-2 in favor of Golden State. The tables have turned, as Sacramento is now in desperation mode.
Nobody on the Kings roster has ever played in an elimination game. Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have played in 11 of those pressure cookers, boasting a record of 7-4.
While the Warriors may not be facing elimination in this game, they are in a closeout situation, something they have done 35 times. Their record in those games? Golden State is 23-12.
Based on history, they have an approximately 65% chance to win this game. Or do they?
Fourteen of those 35 closeout games were played at home. Of those 14 games, they’ve won 11. Meaning their true chance of winning is just about 80%.
The oddsmakers seems to think so, as well. Currently, the Warriors are 7.5-point favorites against the Kings. The moneyline is currently at -290 for Golden State. The spread is the largest of the series.
Sacramento can’t be counted out with the likes of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis on the roster, but it sure seems like they will be heading to Cancun after Friday night’s game.
Simply put, the Warriors are proven. They have experience, statistics and four trophies to back it up. The Kings on the other hand, haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and while they may have two All-Stars and the Coach of the Year, it won’t be enough to stop the ongoing dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors.
Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Golden State -7.5 (-110)
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
crypto.com Arena – Los Angeles, CA
10:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Los Angeles -4.5
The Lakers struck gold when they were matched up with the Grizzlies in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs. The drama that surrounds Memphis is unprecedented.
Between Ja Morant’s off-court issues and Dillon Brooks’ petty altercations with anyone and everyone with a pulse, it has been a never-ending saga of preposterous incidents. As always, drama surrounds the Lakers too, but it is nothing compared to the Grizzlies.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both questionable to play in Game 6, both with foot injuries. However, they are both likely to play, per reports. This comes as no surprise as the Lakers have a chance to finish off the series with the Grizzlies in front of their own fans.
Lakers fans have been on a bit of a rollercoaster lately. In 2020, they won the Finals in the bubble. In 2021, they were ousted by Phoenix in the first round. And in 2022, they failed to reach the playoffs. In 2023, however, they can get back to the second round with a win.
It certainly won’t come easy, though. Despite his off-court issues, Morant is one the best players in the world and is an elite scorer. Desmond Bane is a sharpshooter, who put up 33 points in the win over Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Obviously, they have talent, they wouldn’t be the No. 2 seed without it. But talent only gets teams so far.
The Grizzlies may have loads of talent, but do they have winners? As of now, the answer to that question is no. The Lakers, though, have proven winners.
LeBron James has won four titles and 175 total playoff games. He is an all-time great and a player that no team wants to face in a win-or-go-home scenario.
The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites for good reason. A victory is very likely for them on Friday night.
Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Los Angeles -4.5 (-110)
Colorado Avalanche at Seattle Kraken
Climate Pledge Arena – Seattle, WA
10:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Colorado -160
The Avalanche finished the regular season on an incredible tear that elevated them to a Central Division title. When matched up with the Kraken, an expansion team in its second year, many believed the series would go no more than five games.
But after that many games, Colorado is down 3-2 and the series would need to go 7 for them to win it. Needless to say, the Avs aren’t the same team they were just a year ago when they won the Stanley Cup.
The absence of Captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee) hasn’t been helpful, but the Avalanche’s struggles go beyond that. For starters, star player Valeri Nichushkin is said to have been involved in an incident that involved the police when the team was in Seattle for Games 3 and 4. Nichushkin hasn’t played since Game 2.
Cale Makar, winner of the Norris and Conn Smythe trophies in 2022, was also unable to go in Game 5 due to a one-game suspension for his hit on the Kraken’s Jared McCann in Game 4. The drama, coupled with the lack of roster depth has had an evident effect on Colorado’s ability to win.
Meanwhile, the Kraken have been playing lights out. Seattle has scored the first goal in all five contests and has out-skated the Avs on both ends of the ice. Philipp Grubauer, in a revenge series for him, has allowed an average of 2.8 goals per game. Take out Game 3 and that average becomes just 2.0. He has been by far the better goaltender and has been a huge factor in the Kraken’s success, especially considering that the Avs have had more shots on goal in three of the five games.
On Friday night, Seattle has a chance to close out the series against Colorado. It would be the first playoff series win in their existence and would be huge for a city that has fully embraced their new hockey team.
However, it is worth noting that the Avalanche are favored in this game. Despite the drama that has surrounded them, they are still the defending Stanley Cup champions. They still have Nathan Mackinnon, Makar and Mikko Rantanen on the roster. And they still have much more playoff experience than the Kraken do.
For that reason, the right pick in this one is in fact the Avalanche. Teams like Colorado don’t just go away that easily. When star players are faced with elimination, they shine brightest. Expect the big three of Mackinnon, Makar and Rantanen to go crazy in this one and send the series back to Colorado for a Game 7.
Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Colorado M/L (-160)
A Friday night combination of winners
- Minnesota Twins M/L (-255)
- Texas Rangers M/L (-200)
The two biggest home favorites on the MLB board today offer a chance to get a little better than a 1-to-1 payout. The Twins face Jordan Lyles, a pitcher that is 0-4 on the season, in an afternoon game. Meanwhile, the Rangers trot Jacob deGrom to the mound for their showdown with the Yankees. The pitching matchups seal the deal.
Richard DeMala’s Two-Leg Parlay = +109