Even though they are the hottest team in baseball, they are still only 1.5 games ahead of the Braves in the division. Atlanta has been another surprise team so far in this young season, so we should be set up for a pretty entertaining series. Youth will definitely be the storylines to follow during this series, with both teams having young talent that may be developing faster than the franchises expected.
The last loss for the Mets came way back on April 11th, which was ironically to this Atlanta Braves team. New York started their winning streak the next day against the Braves, which is the team that will be trying to put an end to it. Playing at home will help the Mets out, but getting a series sweep of the Braves may be too much to ask for.
Jon Niese will take the mound in the first game with his 1.59 ERA. Niese has been stingy in his starts, which includes a game against the Braves where he gave up one run in five innings and earned a no decision. If Niese is able to extend the Mets streak to nine games, then it will be up to Dillon Gee to keep it going in game two.
If the Mets are able to win the first two games and extend their winning streak to ten, then they have to like their chances with Bartolo Colon starting in game three. Colon has had a surprising start to the season and provides a good veteran presence for the young Mets team.
The Braves are fortunate that they can avoid seeing Matt Harvey in this series. Harvey has looked like a Cy Young award contender through his first few starts, so the Braves can relax a little easier knowing that they won’t have to face him. There probably isn’t a lot of pressure to extend their winning streak this early in the season, but you know that it is in the back of every Mets player’s mind. Our expert MLB predictions have the Mets winning the first game against the Braves to extend their streak to nine. But they won’t be able to hit double digits as they fall in game two. Regardless of what happens, what the Mets are doing right now is pretty impressive considering their expectations at the start of the season.
The Tigers were projected by many MLB betting experts to win the World Series. They look like a team that can do just that through two weeks of the season. Their pitching has been dominant and timely hitting has helped the bullpen out. Playing in a difficult division hasn’t slowed down the Tigers yet, so they could be atop the standings for quite a while. And they should be getting Justin Verlander back soon.
The surprise team through the first two weeks of the season is easily the New York Mets. The Mets are riding an eight game winning streak and don’t want to slow down any time soon. Having Matt Harvey as the anchor of the starting rotation again has been huge for their confidence. The rest of the team is energized and has them playing at a high level right now.
The Dodgers made several moves in the offseason in hopes of being built for the playoffs. Even though Clayton Kershaw hasn’t looked much like a Cy Young award winner, the Dodgers are still winning through his struggles. Injuries have been a little concerning for them, but as long as they can remain healthy, then they should be a threat in the National League.
The defending American League champions were the last team in the majors to lose a game this season. They struggled a little bit after losing their first game, but are getting back on track quickly. Playing in a division with the Tigers is going to be tough for the rest of the season, but they proved last season that they can still get the job done.
The Cardinals will almost always find themselves in any power rankings because of their consistency. They currently have the best team ERA in the league, and it also helps that their offense is pretty solid. In what looks to be a fairly weak NL Central division, there may not be another team that can compete with the Cards.
NBA Playoff expert betting picks for Western Conference Game 3: Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans got off to a better start in game two than they did in game one. Instead of having to claw back for virtually the entire game, the Pelicans enjoyed an early lead before Golden State turned on the jets. If the Pelicans are able to get another big lead at home, they should get the crowd energized enough to be able to keep the momentum going.
Anthony Davis has had a lot of success in this series, so you can figure that trend will continue at home. But it’s when the Warriors contain Davis that the Pelicans get in a little bit of a slump. It seems that the success of the Pelicans rides on Davis’ shoulders, so they will have to find a way to keep him effective when he’s on the court.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are playing with the attitude that they know they will win every game. Even when they were down by a fairly sizable margin in game two, they kept their composure and just wore down the Pelicans eventually. The game was close midway through the fourth quarter, before Curry turned it on and pulled away.
Playing in New Orleans could be tricky for the Warriors. They lost the last time they played there just a couple of weeks ago, so that had to be looming in the back of their mind. They played a determined and motivated team that night, and will be facing the same again. Hot shooting will keep the crowd out of the game, so that will rest on Curry’s shoulders again.
It’s hard to imagine the Warriors sweeping the Pelicans, despite them being the best team in the league. New Orleans has proven that they can hang with them, but just haven’t been able to start or finish consistently. Expect them to be a more consistent team at home. With the crowd being energized for the first playoff game, we are going to ride that energy and take the Pelicans for our NBA picks for today. They may even open up a big enough lead that forces the Warriors to rest some players. New Orleans gets the big win at home.
NBA playoff predictions:
Betting predictions preview for Eastern Conference Game 3 Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have been playing with a ton of confidence in the first two games, which has fans wondering where that was during the season. John Wall and Bradley Beal have highlighted the success of the Wizards with their offensive play. They have definitely taken their games to a higher level now that the playoffs are finally here.
Washington players have done plenty of trash talking publicly, but they have also backed it up on the court with their play. Instead of being overconfident coming home with a 2-0 series lead, they insist that they will be playing like they are losing the series by two games. It’s safe to say that they are playing with an obvious chip on their shoulder.
On the other side, DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors insists that his team hasn’t lost any confidence. They have just simply gotten outplayed in the first two games, so they will be using the break to figure out a way to match the intensity that the Wizards are bringing. They have a huge obstacle to overcome, but if Washington can win two road games, then so can Toronto.
If nothing else, the Raptors should be able to use pride as a temporary motivating factor. They started the season near the top of the conference standings, but were still being criticized. Now those critics are out more than ever, so they will have a chance to prove them wrong by winning a game or two on the road.
Even though Washington players are saying that they are treating game three like they have their backs against the wall, they know deep down that they are in a pretty good position. Toronto is the desperate team, and we think they are going to play like it. This shouldn’t be a blowout either way in game three, but we really like the Raptors for our NBA picks for today. Getting a win will be huge for their confidence, so expect DeRozan to step up and lead his team to a close victory.
Considering the Yankees have played a pretty tough schedule so far, it’s not that terrible that they are hovering right around .500 this season. Of course, being average is never the standard in the Bronx. Having the Mets bringing more excitement in the state of New York also has to be burning up the fans and players alike.
The reality is, though, that the Mets are just playing better right now. When you look at their rosters, the Yankees probably have the best player in Rodriguez, but the Mets definitely have the best pitcher in Matt Harvey. Other than those two players, the rosters for both sides aren’t really stacked with a bunch of talent. That can only mean that the Mets are over performing right now and the Yankees are about where they should be.
Mets fans are hoping that their over performing team continues to win games instead of falling back down to reality. The good thing about it is that their roster has a bunch of young players that may not know any better. You can’t underestimate the power of a team that loves the game and plays well together. That’s why the Mets have been successful early in the season.
With the powerful Yankees franchise struggling in recent years, it’s easy to see why they are thinking about how to get better instead of just playing. Putting on a Yankees uniform doesn’t mean that they will be any better, so they have to get rid of any entitlement that they may have. Even though the Mets are better right now, it will be interesting to see if any entitlement shows up in the Yankees dugout for this series.
Returning home after a 10-game road trip should be beneficial for the Yankees. They fared pretty well on the road trip, so they should be ready to go for this three-game series against the Mets. The Mets, on the other hand, have been dominating anyone that has come in their path over the last couple of weeks. These games may be a little closer than what they’re used to, though. The rivalry between these two can’t be underestimated. You can almost throw out the records when these two play each other. For that reason, we are taking the New York Yankees to win the series for our MLB predictions, and take two out of three from the Mets to cool them down a little.
Despite losing their last game of the season and dropping from the second seed to the sixth seed, the Spurs were still one of the hottest team entering the playoffs. Lost in a lot of the discussion was how well the Clippers had been playing, though. They have usually fallen off a little bit late in the season, but they have stayed consistent this year. It has been a year of no excuses for Doc Rivers and his team, and that is continuing through the playoffs.
The Clippers play a different style of basketball than the Spurs, but it worked in game one. Los Angeles puts together highlight reels with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and that was the case again in game one. Getting the crowd into the game with high flying dunks may be the best chance that the Clippers have.
Coach Gregg Popovich knows how to play in and win playoff games. Don’t expect the Spurs to make many sweeping adjustments coming into game two. He may just put a different defender on guys or tweak their positioning on offense or defense. The Spurs style of basketball got them to where they are as a franchise, so they won’t be panicking at this point.
The Spurs really didn’t play a terrible game, but they just got outplayed and outhustled. They will be looking to keep the game closer early in game two and eliminate some of the big runs that the Clippers go on. When their crowd gets into the game, it brings out more intensity and aggressiveness. Controlling the tempo will be key for the Spurs in game two.
The Clippers haven’t been that great against the spread this season, but they easily covered in game one. San Antonio had won their first game of the series in their previous 11 playoff series. Now they will have to dig themselves out of a hole and try to steal a game to earn the split before returning home. The Clippers are on a mission to prove their doubters wrong and advance deep into the playoffs. They will have to get through the defending champions first, and starting the series 2-0 would be huge. This game will be closer, but you still have to take the Clippers at home for your NBA picks for today.
NBA betting predictions:
This matchup featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants is one you should go pay to see if you can. Last season’s most dominant pitcher will be squaring off against the pitcher who dominated in the postseason a year ago. Of course, that is Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Madison Bumgardner of the Giants. Neither pitcher has had their best stuff so far this season, but you can bet they will bring their “A” game against each other. San Francisco hasn’t quite looked like a World Series champion this season, but they will have to look like one when the Dodgers come to town.
Kershaw hasn’t been off to the best start this season, even with his standards. He comes into this game with a 1-1 record and a 4.42 ERA in three starts. His first three starts have come against other teams in the division, so now he will face the final remaining team with the Giants. It’s not very encouraging that he has struggled against division opponents, but he will have a chance to turn that around in San Francisco.
Bumgardner may seem like he’s having a poor start, but he really hasn’t been much of a dominant regular season pitcher in his career. He elevates his game in the postseason when his team gets there. Now that the Giants are missing some key pieces to last year’s championship team, they will be relying on Bumgardner to get them to the playoffs.
A 1-1 record with a 5.29 ERA through three starts is not what Giants fans envisioned after Bumgardner’s dominance in the playoffs. Two of his three starts came against Arizona, who will likely be at the bottom of the division when the season ends. The Dodgers pose a different type of challenge with the depth that they have in their lineup.
It is that lineup depth that has the Dodgers at the top of the division and looking like a World Series contender. Despite Kershaw not having a great start to the season, the Dodgers continue to win and are getting good production from the rest of the rotation. They may not be playing their best baseball right now, but they do look a whole lot better than the Giants at this point.
This rivalry always brings out the best in players. It’s usually even better when the season is nearing its end and both teams are in contention for the division or wild card. This particular game will come down to pitching. Expect both pitchers to lower their ERA’s just because they are going against each other. Kershaw likely feels like he has something to prove after the Dodgers early exit in the playoffs last year. We are taking Los Angeles to win a close game on the road, with Kershaw having a dominant performance.
MLB Betting statistics:
The Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is 8-2 with a 0.83 ERA over 12 career games at AT&T Park and is 1-1 with a 4.42ERA this season while the Giants ace Madison Bumgarner who is 1-1 with a 5.29ERA.
Bumgarner allowed 10 runs, 22 hits over 17 innings as the Giants have dropped two out of his first three starts. Yasiel Puig is 6 for 22 including two home runs in his career against Bumgarner, who has a record of 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 17 career games verses the LA Dodgers.
Gonzales bursted onto the scene a couple years ago, but he is having a slow start to the season. He is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia and Boston. He has faced some quality lineups so far, and this start against the Cardinals will be no exception. Gonzales got plenty of run support in his last start, but he can’t expect to get that kind of support against Lance Lynn, who can be stingy at times.
Lynn enters the game with a 1-1 record and a 1.64 ERA. The Cardinals pitching staff has the best ERA in the league at just over 2.00. The Nationals may have a hard time scoring runs this entire series, much less just this game. Lynn hasn’t gotten the most run support so far this season, so the Cardinals will be looking to get to Gonzales early so that Lynn can pitch with a lead.
Matt Holliday may be one of the reasons why the Cards get an early jump on Gonzales. He is currently on an eleven game hitting streak, including reaching base in the first inning in eight out of those eleven games. He has been a spark for the Cardinals offense early in the season, so they will be relying on him again in this game.
The Nationals are hoping to continue riding their wave of momentum that they’ve generated over the past week or so. They have won four out of five games and start this three game series against the Cardinals at home. Washington needs to get a big win in the opener of the series to keep their confidence up as they play one of the top teams in the National League.
Just because the Nationals have gotten off to a slow start doesn’t mean you have to write them off completely. They still have a proven pitching staff that can get the job done. Look for Gio Gonzales to bounce back from a couple of tough starts and have a good performance at home. The Nationals will jump on Lynn early and force the Cardinals to go to their bullpen. Washington will get a big win, according to our MLB predictions, to start their series with the Cardinals and get them back to the .500 mark on the season.
MLB betting predictions:
The Rockets have gone as far as James Harden has taken them so far this season. But in game one, that wasn’t the case. Harden only scored 24 points in that game, but it was the contributions by the entire team that lifted Houston to victory. In fact, a total of seven players scored in double figures, which is unheard of the way the Rockets season has gone.
Of course, the Dallas defense has made opposing offenses look good all season. If that continues through the rest of the series, then there’s a good chance that they won’t need Harden to put together heroic performances. That should also help the rest of the team get some confidence going as they move deeper in the playoffs.
It’s obvious that Dallas has enough talent on defense to slow down one player, but they don’t have enough to control the rest of the team. Holding Harden to 24 points is exactly what the Mavs wanted to do, but they also expected to win the game by doing that. Now that they know that the Rockets can win without Harden solely running the show, they will have to alter their defensive gameplan.
The Mavs shouldn’t have any problems offensively, no matter if they are playing in Houston or Dallas. They have been able to score a lot of points for most of the season, so that shouldn’t change in the playoffs. Team defense is what will win playoff games and series, so the Mavericks are running out of time to figure that out.
The concern for the Houston Rockets entering this series was whether they could win if Harden got hurt or was slowed down by the opposing defense. That concern got answered in game one, so Rockets fans feel a little more confident about getting through the opening round. Now that the Mavericks will have to spread out their defense a little more, we expect Harden to have a bigger impact in game two. He is playing with a chip on his shoulder, so it’s hard to see the Mavs containing him for an extended length of time. Take Houston to win game two and go up 2-0 as they move the series to Dallas.
Answers may be hard to come by when the Cavs big three plays as well as they did in game one. The Celtics just don’t have the size or talent to match up with the Cavs, and that proved to be true in the first game. They have guys that can score and they have some pretty good depth, but that’s no match for what Cleveland has with their big three.
The mentality of coach Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics is that this is still a long series. If Boston is able to steal game two in Cleveland, then they will have a little momentum as they head home to continue the series. If they are able to eliminate some careless mistakes and make some defensive adjustments, then Boston may be able to compete a little more in game two.
LeBron praised the work of Irving and Love after the game. We have heard him praise them before, but also criticize them. Consistency hasn’t been the strength of this team for the majority of the season, so we will see if they can continue their high level of play throughout the rest of the series.
If Irving and Love play like they did in game one, then the Celtics probably won’t have a chance to win a single game this series. It was just their first playoff game, though. It’s easy to get hyped up for the first game, but they will have to realize that a seven game series can be long and they have to be consistent in each game.
The Cavaliers clearly outmatch the Celtics at virtually every position on the court. LeBron didn’t have to be a hero in game one, but it might be in the Celtics best interest if they forced him to be. Coach Stevens knows that he doesn’t have anyone that can defend LeBron for an entire game, so their efforts should be more focused on slowing down Irving and Love. If LeBron beats them, then they can’t hang their heads too much. Expect the Celtics to clean up some mistakes and play a closer game in game two, but still take the Cavaliers to win for your NBA picks for today.