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May 2, 2016

Two picks have been posted for tonight.

In addition, an NBA selection has been released early, a day in advance, for Tuesday.
 

1: Take OKC Thunder +8 spread against San Antonio Spurs for 3% of the bankroll.

To say the Spurs took care of Oklahoma City in Game 1 would be an understatement. They outplayed them from start to finish and recorded a blowout victory! As impressive as that was, it's unlikely to be repeated. Consecutive games rarely play out the same way. OKC will have a much better game plan going into this contest and it wouldn't surprise us if they were competitive. Stopping LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard is practically impossible but limiting them so they are more contained and not feeling as comfortable as they did in the series opener is doable and something that the Thunder will have focused on. 

San Antonio could hardly have played a better Game 1 as they shot a ridiculous 60.7% from the field! That is beyond efficient. And while they are a team that distributes the ball well and dishes out assists expertly, they are unlikely to be as freakishly efficient this time around. The Thunder do have good defensive players in their squad and will demand a better collective effort from everyone. After being embarrassed in the opener, look for this prideful team to make ammends and come out fired up! Westbrook, Durant, Adams, Ibaka, Kanter... are not only amazing athletes, they have competitive personalities and are not the type to take blowout losses lightly! We expect them to come out of the game with a chip on their shoulder as they were humiliated on national TV and have a point to prove. 

It took just one game but everyone is already writing Oklahoma City off! Given that casual fans and bettors alike are extremely fickle, that is not shocking news. People tend to make up their minds very quickly and often jump to rash conclusions as a result. After seeing the Spurs dismantle the Thunder in Game 1, they are giving OKC no chance even though this is an extremely talented and experienced squad. Westbrook and Durant are at the peak of their playing careers and Ibaka is much improved and a legitimate stretch-forward these days and still a good defensive presence and shot-blocker. Steven Adams has come a long way and is a defensive force while Turkish center, Enes Kanter is the X-Factor. Kanter finished third in the 6th Man of the Year award nomination and has had an outstanding season! He's a force to be reckoned with on the offensive glass and gives the Thunder an efficient scorer off the bench. He's often preferred to Adams in the 4th quarter, especially if Oklahoma City is chasing the game and has been a terrific addition to this squad, since coming over from Utah Jazz last year.

Oklahoma City is actually 4-1 after a double-digit loss this season! That means they tend to raise their level of performance and frequently 'win' games in situations like this. Tonight, we don't expect them to necessarily score an outright upset victory but we do believe they'll put up a good effort and keep things a lot closer than the betting public expects. This team has the tools to keep up with San Antonio and cover the generous point-spread. Let's not forget that the Thunder are the best rebounding team in the NBA and by winning the battle on the boards, they give themselves a chance to take most games right down to the wire.
 

2: Take Milwaukee Brewers (-115) on the ML against LA Angels risking 3.45% to win 3%.
(Nelson and Weaver must start for wager to have action)

It's an inter-league game tonight as the Los Angeles Angels take on the Milwaukee Brewers in game one of a three game set from Miller Park. The Angels have won the last six times these teams have faced off in Milwaukee and this is the Brewers chance to gain a bit of retribution as the Angels have struggled on the road this season. Milwaukee is also coming off of arguably their best performance of the season in their last game as they defeated the Miami Marlins 14-5. Their victory yesterday should have instilled a bit of confidence in the Brew Crew players and we expect that to carry over tonight in this contest.

The Angels have been playing well recently, however their offense has been inconsistent at best this season. On the year, the Angels come in ranked 26th in the league in scoring, averaging just 3.33 runs per game. They also rank 25th in the league in hitting at .231, which is somewhat of a disappointment given the number a big bats that resides on this roster. Albert Pujols has been the main culprit and has struggled badly to start the season. Despite leading the team in homeruns, he is batting just a paltry .176 on the season. Mike Trout is off to a solid start, hitting .291 with five homers and 13 RBIs but they are going to need even more production out of him if the offense continues to struggle.

The Angels will send Jered Weaver to the mound tonight. Weaver is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts this year; however we do believe he is playing a bit over his head at the moment. Weaver is not the pitcher that he once was and we expect his ERA to continue to rise as the season goes on. Last year he was 7-12 with a 4.64 ERA in 26 starts, including 3-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 15 road starts. Weaver also does not have the endurance that he once had as he has lasted an average of less than 6 innings in each appearance this season. If those numbers are any indication of how his season is going to end up, we can expect a regression to happen on the mound and it could start as early as tonight against what should be a confident Brewers lineup.

The Angels could also have problems with their bullpen tonight as well as closer Huston Street is on D/L which is why Joe Smith would get the closing job instead of being the 7th or 8th inning guy and we all saw that he did not fare well in that role yesterday. The Halos did manage to pull out the vicotry, but Smith was hittable and did give up runs late in the game. Of course, even if he does do well in 9th inning role, it does leave a hole in the 6th-8th innings in what is not a great set of relievers. The fact that Garrett Richards only last 4 innings against the Rangers yesterday only compounds that problems Mike Scioscia had to use a bunch of different pitchers to get through the game before travelling to Milwaukee. It's worth mentioning that the Angels are just 1-7 against teams with losing records this season!

There is no question that Milwaukee's biggest struggle this season has been with their pitching. They come into this contest ranked 30th in ERA at 5.64, while also ranking 30th in WHIP at 1.71 and 29th in strikeouts. Brewer starters have an ERA of 6.32, while their pen has an ERA of 4.82. Prior to last night’s victory vs the Marlins they have allowed four runs or more in 17 straight games. While their pitching has certainly struggled, we don't believe they are as bad as the month of April indicated. Just as we believe Weaver has been playing over his head, the Brewers' pitching staff has certainly underperformed. And those struggles certainly don’t have much to do with tonight’s starter, Jimmy Nelson.

Nelson has pitched well this season and comes into this contest 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA in five starts this season. A big advantage that we believe Nelson will have tonight is that he has never faced this LA lineup! This kid is a quality pitcher and has the pitches in his arsenal to punch guys out at the plate. With not too many in the lineup having seen his delivery or who are adjusted to his timing, we believe that will play to his favor. It will likely take a couple of plate appearances for the Angels bats to have success against him and by that time it could be too late.

This game is also being played under National League rules which mean that each pitcher is going to have to take their turn in the batter's box. For Nelson this is not a big deal as he has gotten used to swinging a bat. For Weaver however, this is something that he is not accustomed to and essentially takes a bat out of the Angels lineup as it is unlikely that Weaver does any damage at the plate.

Given Milwaukee's perceived struggles recently, we believe they have been under-valued in this particular instance however, we feel that they should have been installed as an (approx.) -135 favorite in these set of particular circumstances given the number of different edges they have going into this matchup. The Brewers will use yesterday's performance to motivate them in this contest and that should allow them to come away with the victory.




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