May 15, 2023
Three suggestions for early-in-the-week action
Seattle Kraken at Dallas Stars
American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
8:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Dallas -210
Seattle has already won an unlikely Game 7 in these playoffs, taking down the defending champion Avalanche 2-1 in a stunner to advance to the second round. And the NHL’s newest team has battled against Dallas, scoring at least five goals in all three of their wins in the series thus far. The Kraken stole Game 1 against the Stars 5-4 in overtime, blasted them 7-2 in Game 3 and forced a pivotal final showdown with an easy 6-3 win in Game 6.
It’s no secret road teams have dominated these playoffs so far, posting an insane 31-19 record in round one, a league record, and at least one away team taking a game in every series in round two. Seattle won three games away from home against Colorado, and now sits with a 4-3 road mark in this postseason.
They have four players with at least 10 points and a crazy eight players with at least three goals in the postseason. Sure, the Kraken are lacking superstars, but their depth could challenge any team in the NHL.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer has given up two or fewer goals in five of his 13 starts and has been on the ice for more than 700 minutes. That’s the most of any goalie in the playoffs so far.
This game certainly looks like a coin flip on paper, yet the oddsmakers have the home team as a big favorite, something that hasn’t mattered at all over the last month. The Kraken already pulled off one wild victory in a Game 7 and they’ll do it again, as the Stanley Cup could be headed to Seattle for the first time in the history of the most iconic trophy in sports.
Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Seattle M/L (+175)
Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD
6:35 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Los Angeles -130
Shohei Ohtani is one of the most-electric players in baseball, but he’s not unhittable when he’s pitching. At least, not of late.
Ohtani has given up at least three earned runs in each of his last three starts and a staggering five home runs in those outings. Over his last 18 innings, he’s given up 12 runs and is 0-1 during that stretch with two no decisions.
Meanwhile, the Orioles have the second-best record in the American League at 26-14, while the Angels hover around .500 at 21-20. For Baltimore, it’ll be Grayson Rodriguez on the mound, who hasn’t lost yet this year with his 2-0 record over seven starts.
The Orioles are 6-1 in games he takes the baseball. Rodriguez has surrendered two or fewer earned runs in three of his last four outings, including shutouts in five innings of work twice against the Tigers. He beat the Rays on May 9, which is impressive considering Tampa Bay has lost just 11 games all year.
The Orioles are 13-6 at home, while the Angels are a pedestrian 11-11 on the road. Baltimore had a four-game winning streak snapped on Sunday by the Pirates, but had outscored Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay 14-6 in the four games prior. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is just 2-6 over their last eight games, including losses by scores of 10-1 and 16-8.
It’s a rare gift to get juice on the better team, but that’s the Ohtani effect in this one. Take it and don’t think twice, as the Orioles will be the latest team to find a way to produce a few runs off the superstar.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Baltimore M/L (+115)
Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies
Coors Field – Denver, CO
8:40 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Cincinnati -125
Don’t look now, but the Rockies are red hot? Colorado dispatched Philadelphia 4-0 on Sunday to move to 9-4 in their last 13 games. The Rockies have nearly climbed out of the NL West basement, right on the heels of the Giants.
They’re still not going to do anything of note this year, but the early talk about 100 losses appears to have been premature. Meanwhile, the Reds are just 6-13 on the road, the worst mark away from home in the entire National League.
Cincinnati will start Hunter Greene on Monday night, a pitcher with an 0-3 record this season. His 3.69 ERA certainly isn’t bad, but Greene has only gone six innings in two of his eight starts. He’s lost three of his last four outings and the Reds are just 2-6 this year when he gets the baseball.
The Rockies will counter with Connor Seabold, who’s been perfectly adequate after getting moved from long relief to Colorado’s starting rotation. Seabold earned his first win of the year in his last outing, going five innings against the Pirates, giving up just three hits and one run. He only needed 77 pitches, so clearly manager Bud Black was being cautious and Seabold could have gone a little longer.
The Rockies went on to pound Pittsburgh 10-1 in that game. They also beat Milwaukee 9-6 in Seabold’s first start, an outing he also went five innings in and gave up three runs.
The Reds were in Miami on Sunday, an uneventful 3-1 loss to the Marlins and had to take a long flight to Denver and arrive late. Meanwhile, the Rockies slept in their own beds feeling good about themselves and their recent hot streak.
Take Colorado while you can. It’s a rare stretch of the season where betting on the Rockies as underdogs actually makes sense.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Colorado M/L (+105)
Three Things We Learned…
Takeaways from a weekend full of great games and performances
Strike while the iron is hot
After winning two games in Boston, taking the opener of the series and then stealing the always-pivotal fifth title, Philadelphia had a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. All they had to do was hold serve, winning on their home court in Game 6. But they couldn’t do. The Celtics rolled into Philly, even the series and headed home for the finale. In that one, a terrible third quarter did in the 76ers, ending their season. It was another example of how important it is to bury a team when they’re down. If given a little bit of life, they’ll come back to bite their opponent, as Boston proved again.
The Canadian drought continues
Hockey may be a religion in Canada, but the sport’s holy grail hasn’t visited the country in decades. With Edmonton falling on Sunday night to Vegas, eliminating the Oilers from the playoffs, it guaranteed that the Stanley Cup won’t be heading north of the border yet again. It’s now been 30 years since a Canadian team hoisted the championship trophy, with Montreal being the last to do so in 1993. The Maple Leafs were eliminated by the Panthers on Friday night, adding to the misery. It’s been a long dry spell for America’s northern neighbors.
The bubble was legit
A lot of people don’t consider the playoff results from the NBA’s bubble in 2020 to be on par with other postseasons. After all, the games were played in empty gyms, with no travel required between games. That certainly changes the dynamic; there’s no doubt. But three years later, the same four teams that advanced to the conference finals in Orlando are back in that spot during a regular postseason tournament. Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami were the final four in the bubble; they’re the four teams left standing right now. And by and large, the rosters are very similar; the stars remain the same. So it might be time to add a little more credence to what happened in the bubble, including the Lakers championship run.