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May 3, 2016

Two picks have been released. The NBA selection was posted yesterday, a day in advance.

1: Take Tampa Bay Rays (-150) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 4.5% to win 3%.
(Moore and Kazmir must start for wager to have action)

Tampa's record currently sits at 11-13 going into this matchup and yet they find themselves as fairly signifcant favorites against the Dodgers! Some would be surprised, we aren't. It makes sense but you'd have to scratch beneat the surface to see why the odds have shifted as much as they have from the opening number. After missing nearly the entire 2015 season, Matt Moore is a forgotten man to many. The once rising Tampa star is starting to regain his old form from before the long layoff and is a talented southpaw that can baffle even the best lineups on his day! The 'Big Blue' bats aren't exactly firing on all cylinders and could find it tough tonight. They scored 3 or less runs in all 7 games of their recent homestand and really struggled with runners in scoring position. Yasiel Puig has looked lost in the batters' box and he's not the only one. The Dodgers lost 6 of those 7 home games and even their lone victory, which was a Clayton Kershaw start was fortunate as they scored only 1 run in that game to win 1-0! They had only 3 hits against San Diego lefty Drew Pomeranz and may find Moore even more challenging to deal with.

Normally a day of rest would be a good thing for a struggling ball club that is low on confidence but the Dodgers haven't fared well in such situations in recent years. They own a losing record after a day off over the years and are 0-2 in this situation under new manager Dave Roberts, this season! We also believe that any momentum they gained from that narrow victory on the final game of their homestand, which snapped their 6-game losing skid will have evaporated after not playing on Monday. They would have much rather had a scheduled off day in the midst of that losing streak, so they could regroup and come back out refreshed. Instead, they had to play a bunch of home games on consecutive nights, and lose them all before finally winning one, and then as soon as they did, the Monday break came.

The Dodgers have never faced Matt Moore before and it might take them a couple of orders through the lineup to get used to his pitching style and delivery. By then, the Rays may have a lead against Scott Kazmir who has struggled against his former team and is not looking as sharp this season. The veteran lefty owns a bloated 5.76 ERA against the Tampa Bay Rays and has been hit hard by the likes of Evan Longoria! Matt Moore on the other hand has lated 6+ innings in each of his last 4 starts and is coming off a solid April. Look for him to outduel Kazmir tonight and give the Rays a chance to win the opener of this 2-game interleague series.

Given that the games will be played under American League rules and not NL ones, the home side has another edge tonight as it is used to playing with a designated-hitter and making the most of it! In the outfield, Tampa will have Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr. and Desmond Jennings which makes for an incredibly speedy trio that runs down just about any ball hit past the infield and they have strong arms as well. Defensively, they own the edge there and on the basepaths, they should as well as Tampa is a team that has a lot more speed and has stolen 12 bases compared to 7 by Dodgers! The Rays have numerous advantages in this matchup and should win this game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Dodgers are just 2-7 as a road underdog +125 to +150 over the last 3 years.
  • Right-handed hitters are batting just .194 against the lefty Matt Moore!
  • Dodgers are an ugly 0-11 since September 2014 after they left more men on base than their opponent!

2: Take Portland Blazers +10 spread against Golden State Warriors for 3% of the bankroll.

The Portland Trail Blazers once again travel to Oracle arena tonight to take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of their seven game series. Portland will be looking to put in a much more inspired effort in this contest as they came out flat in the opener, going down 37-17 and simply could never recover. The Blazers didn't get much production out of their role players as both Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu struggled, with Plumlee being held to just a single point in Game 1. We expect both players to have much better performances tonight.

While the Blazers struggled in the series opener, Golden State arguably could not have played better. Draymond Green came away with a triple double, scoring 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in 37 minutes of action. Klay Thompson also played 37 minutes as well and matched his minute output with 37 points. It was his career postseason best for him as he connected on 14 of 28 shots, including 7-for-14 from 3-point range. With his effort, he became the first player in NBA history to hit seven 3-pointers in three straight postseason games. Both Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes also each recorded double-doubles with 10 points and 12 rebounds respectively, while Shaun Livingston, starting in place of Curry, had 12 points and six assists. It was an impressive effort from everyone on the floor; however we don't believe they will have such a flawless performance yet again.

Terry Stotts will no doubt make adjustments for this contest. Portland gave up 16 offensive rebounds leading to too many second chance opportunities for the Warriors, which is something that is certainly correctable. We don't expect to see as many in Game 2. The team also shot just 40% from the field and that number is likely to climb a bit as well. All in all, the Blazers couldn't have played much worse as right from the beginning they fell behind by 20 after the 1st quarter and never could quite recover! We don't expect that to be the case tonight as we don't believe Stotts will allow his team to lose by double-digits in back to back games.

We feel that the spread in this contest is inflated. The general public has been heavily backing the Warriors with reckless abandon and has been successful throughout the process. They backed the Warriors in their opening series with the Rockets and again against the Blazers in Game 1 and were paid off. They are no doubt going to go back to the well for Game 2 and we believe that is a mistake. Where believe this is the time where the public is going to get burned as the Blazers are likely to have a bounce back performance. We saw a similar situation play out last night where the OKC Thunder were completely dominated by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1, only to bounce back and steal Game 2 on the road. Now, we are not saying that the Blazers will win this game outright; however we do believe they have the talent and motivation to keep this game within single digits. Golden State will likely pull off the victory, but this one should be a closer and more competitive matchup. All the value is with the precious 10 points which we believe is a generous amount.

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