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May 8, 2016

There are 2 picks today.
 

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

The San Antonio Spurs will once again travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in Game 4 of their 7 game series. We will likely see the Thunder come into this contest in desperation mode as they need to come away with a victory before the series shifts back to San Antonio. It's essentially do or die time for Durant, Westbrook and company as a loss here tonight would force them to have to defeat the Spurs (twice) on their own court, a place where they have been nearly unbeatable this season.

Oklahoma City had their chances to come away with a victory in Game 3 as they managed to hold the Spurs to just 20 total points in the paint which is their lowest production in nearly a decade! Normally that would have spelled victory for the Thunder; however that wasn't the case as the Spurs were red-hot from behind the arc, shooting 50% on the night. While they are a proficient team from deep, that is certainly not their style of basketball and a style we don’t believe Gregg Popovich will employ in this meeting. They were somewhat fortunate that their shots were falling. But we don't expect them to have a repeat performance from deep in this contest. They averaged 37.5% from beyond the arc this season and is a more realistic percentage that we should see tonight.

The Thunder were in a great position to pick up the victory in their last game but three costly turnovers in the final minute sealed their fate. Westbrook and Durant cannot be happy with how they closed the game out and ultimately know that this is a must win situation for their team and we expect them to play like it. Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka did a great job in the painted area contesting the Spurs shots forcing San Antonio to earn every point that they put on the board. We have to give credit where credit is due and point out that the spurs made a lot of difficult shots in the previous game, which is a testament to them; however we don't expect those tough shots to continue to fall their way. Let’s not forget that OKC is the best rebounding team in the league and if they can continue to hold the Spurs in check in the paint and force them into some misses, they should be able to crash the glass and steal the possession. Holding the Spurs to single shot possessions will be critical for the Thunder in this game.

Enes Kanter was a breakout star for the Thunder during the regular season and early round of the playoffs. He was also completely dominant in the regular season meetings with the Spurs, yet has been fairly quiet this series. We expect the big man to step up in this situation and wouldn't be surprised to see him used in a much bigger role tonight. This is going to be a full team effort tonight as Westbrook and Durant cannot do it on their own. We expect to see the Thunder get some good production of their bench and that start with Kanter.

The San Antonio Spurs have been a dominant team at home; however on the road they have been beatable. They are 40-1 in San Antonio, but they have suffered 14 losses on the road. Not only have their proven to be beatable on the highway, but there is a huge disparity in their production numbers on the road compared to on the road. They have struggled in Oklahoma City in the past having lost 6 of their last 9 trips here, and now with the Thunder's backs against the wall, we expect them to struggle once again. The Thunder are 11-2 this season when seeking revenge for a home loss! They don't take too kindly to being beaten on their home court and we expect them to bounce back and even up the series tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Thunder are 17-9 this season against Southwest opponents!
  • The Thunder are 6-2 when trailing in a playoff series the last 3 seasons!
  • The Thunder are 20-10 this season when revenging a loss to an opponent!
     

2: Take LA Angels (-125) on the ML against Tampa Bay Rays risking 3.75% to win 3%.
(Tropeano and Andriese must start for wager to have action)

The Los Angeles Angels are in danger of being swept at home by the Rays after losing the first two games of this series! Mike Scioscia's side had a reasonable excuse at least given that Garrett Richards (now out for the season) missed the opener against Tampa ace, Chris Archer, meaning the Anaheim club had to give a rare start to Rasmus! Then in the middle game of the series, they faced another talented right-hander in Jake Odorizzi with veteran Jered Weaver on the mound for LA, who's past his best. Weaver actually lasted 6 innings and had a quality start, limiting the number of outs that the relievers had to get in that contest. That'll help the Anaheim club in this game when they take on Matt Andriese, a right-handed hurler that is a level below Archer and Odorizzi.

This is the 3rd and final game of this series and that gives the home team an added motivation to bounce back and avoid an embarrassing home sweep! The Halos are far from perfect and have a couple of injury issues to deal with right now but this is still a team with a lot of pride. We don't expect the likes of Trout and Pujols to simply roll over and allow Tampa to visit the West coast and take all 3 games. Andriese is making his first start of the season for the Rays and may be nervous in the earlygoings, especially since he grew up about 45 minutes away from Angels stadium and will have family and friends in attendance. Having to performan in front of them and up against the team he used to support as a kid, adds additional pressure on a young pitcher that has yet to establish himself at the Major league level and faces stiff competition for a rotation spot in the Rays organization! Andriese had several opportunities to impress last year but failed to capitalize on them and it wouldn't surprise us if he didn't take full advantage of this opportunity today.

Nick Tropeano had had a good start of the season and is suddenly an important arm in the LA rotation, given injuries to CJ Wilson, Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney. He sports a solid 3.42 ERA and has lasted at least 5 innings in each of his starts! He's earned the respect of his teammates and they'll no doubt want to give him proper run support to get that important 'W' in this matchup. Both pitchers are going against the team they're facing tonight for the very first time but Tropeano is more likely to have a solid outing in our opinion. That's because he's already been starting games at this level since the beginning of the season and has better rhythm and momentum going into this day game. Andriese meanwhile is looking to establish himself and has more to prove but that puts a great deal of pressure on him, especially since he's moving up a big step up in competition, going from Triple-A to having to face the likes of Escobar and Trout!

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Halos are 88-71 after a loss over the last 3 seasons!
  • Halos are 29-19 as a small home favorite over the last 3 seasons!
  • Rays are just 16-24 after 3 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons.



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