25-Unit Play On Underdog Boston Gets The Cash 120-88 And Puts Celtics In Driver's Seat
25-Unit Play On Underdog Boston Gets The Cash 120-88
And Puts Celtics In Driver's Seat Against Cleveland
Celtics Up 3-2 With Game 6 Thursday Night In Boston
Lakers 6.5-Point Favorites Over Suns When Title
Round Begins Monday Night In Los Angeles
Lakers -350 To Win NBA Western Championship, Suns +290
Amazing Magic Stand 8-0 In Playoffs, 14-0 In Last 14 Games
And 28-3 In Last 31 And Have Not Lost Since April 4
Orlando Waiting, Resting For Boston-Cleveland Winner
By Kelso Sturgeon
The Cleveland Cavaliers went into the NBA playoffs the 3-5 favorites to win the Eastern Conference championship and the 8-5 favorite to win it all. The odds changed dramatically last night when they were blown away, 120-88, by the old and beat-up but quite wily Boston Celtics.
That embarrassing 32-point home loss means Cleveland heads to Boston for game six on Thursday night down 3-2 in this best-of-seven series and now the underdog to even get into the Eastern Conference championship round against red-hot Orlando.
Meantime the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns will begin the Western Conference championship round Monday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Lakers will take the court as 6.5-point favorites in that one. Los Angeles is the -350 favorite to win that best-of-seven series, while the price on the underdog Suns is +290.
While Los Angeles is focusing on Phoenix and Boston and Cleveland are doing battle in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic are home resting, healing up and getting ready for the winner of Celtics-Cavaliers. The rest has to put Orlando in the driver's seat in the east, regardless of the opponent and the way the Magic are playing my money says they will win it all.
To say Orlando has been a red-hot basketball team is a classic understatement.
Orlando is 14-0 straight up and 13-1 against the spread in its last 14 games, is 28-3 in its last 31 and has not lost a game since April 4. When the Magic beat Atlanta Monday night, they became just the sixth team in history to open the post-season 8-0.
Cavaliers Did Just As Boston Expected
I will never claim to be the smartest guy in the room but I called the shot perfectly on the Boston-Cleveland game last night. Cleveland did just as I predicted they would and for the record that 25-unit win on underdog Boston left me 8-2 with my last 10 NBA playoff selections.
For the record I believe I will be coming right back with another 25-unit play but have to first see both teams came out of the Tuesday night affair.
My mantra always has been and always will be, "winning is never an accident" and my analysis of the aforementioned game again proves that. Here is exactly what I wrote up about the game to show why I was going with the underdog. It was right to script.
Comments: Cleveland, the favorite to win the NBA championship, opened the semifinal round knowing it had to simply wear out three aging Celtics - Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen - and get the money. It has not quite worked out that way. A youngster named Rajon Rondo, a 6-1 guard from Kentucky who is in his third year in the NBA, is the man killing the Cavaliers. In Boston’s 97-87 win in game four, Rondo turned in a performance that was nothing short of amazing, scoring 29 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dealing out 13 assists. That performance was no one-shot wonder. Rondo is average 21.8 points, 13.0 assists and 8.3 rebounds for the series and the Cavaliers simply can't slow him down. It is against this background that I have handicapped this game, which is all-important for both teams, because the winner most certainly has the edge to advance to the Eastern Conference championship round. I have a feeling Cleveland is going to focus heavily on stopping Rondo tonight and in the process is going to leave the old guys open. Old or not, Garnett, Pierce and Allen can still get it done. My feeling is the game will bring out the best in both teams and that this one will go right to the money. Cleveland should win it but it won't be easy.
Cleveland focused on stopping Rondo and held him without a point in the first half and because the Cavaliers ignored Garnett, Pierce and Allen they were down 50-44 at the half. Rondo got lose and scored 16 points in the second half and the three old men also just kept scoring.
One thing that was obvious in this game: Cleveland Coach Lawrence Frank appeared lost. Things will be interesting in Boston Thursday night.
Reds Beat Pirates 9-0 In 25-Unit NL Game Of Week
My Personal Best Club got the money again last night when the Cincinnati Reds (-125) knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-0, in my 25-unit National League Game of the Week. The winning continues tonight with my 25-unit American League Game of the Week.
Here are all the baseball games I released last night, with the results, and with all the comments I shared with clients when they received the game. As always I believe the comments offer insight into how one must handicap baseball.
Seattle Mariners (12-19) -155 over BALTIMORE ORIOLES (9-23)
Pitching for Seattle: LH Cliff Lee (0-1, 2.40)
Pitching for Baltimore: RH David Hernandez (0-4, 5.74)
Seattle 5, Baltimore 1 (W)
Starting Time: 7:05
TV: Fox Sports Northwest, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network2
Comments: The Orioles and Mariners are both suffering from a major lack of run production and that puts this game in the hands of the pitchers and in that element of the handicapping process it is no contest. Seattle starts Cliff Lee, one of the best pitchers in baseball, while Baltimore sends to the mound David Hernandez who is 0-10 in his last 15 starts dating back to August of last year. I rest my case.
Florida Marlins (15-17) +105 over CHICAGO CUBS (14-19)
Pitching for Florida: RH Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 4.08)
Pitching for Chicago: RH Randy Wells (3-1, 4.86)
Florida 3, Chicago Cubs 2 (W)
Comments: This is as much a play against the Cubs as it is a play on Florida. Chicago has gone 1-6 in its last seven games and in those games has been outscored 48-26. Take out the 14 runs the Cubs scored in a 14-7 win and the scoring slump is even more exaggerated. While Florida has not been an offensive dynamo the Marlins remain focused and should make it two in a row at Wrigley Field. For the record, the starting pitchers grade out as dead-even.
Toronto Blue Jays (19-15) +150 over BOSTON RED SOX (17-16)
Pitching for Toronto: LH Dana Eveland (3-1, 3.82)
Pitching for Boston: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1, 9.90)
Boston 6, Toronto 1 (L)
Comments: Boston is 10-4 in its last 14 home games after starting the season 1-6 there but they still have an Achilles heel. The Red Sox pitching staff has an ERA of 5.16 and tonight starts a very inconsistent Daisuke Matsuzaka who started the season on the disabled list. Matsuzaka and been outstanding and absolutely terrible in his first two starts and is going to have to prove to me he can again get it done before I get on the bandwagon. Toronto starter Dana Eveland has had his troubles in the past against Boston but is right now pitching as good as we’ve seen him.
Washington Nationals (18-14) +125 over NEW YORK METS (17-15)
Pitching for Washington: LH Scott Olsen (2-1, 3.54)
Pitching for New York: LH Jon Niese (1-1, 3.60)
New York Mets 8, Washington 6 (L)
Comments: The baseball world is aware of just how well Washington pitcher Livan Hernandez is doing this season but has missed the contributions made by Scott Olsen to the Nationals cause. Olsen gets better with each game and in his last three starts is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.44—and flirted with a no-hitter in his last outing. Olsen’s presence and the fact Washington is playing its best baseball right now should give the Nationals the edges they need to get it done against a New York Mets team that the figures suggest is on the downside of its form.
National League Game Of Week
Cincinnati Reds (17-15) -125 over PITTSBURGH PIRATES (14-18)
Pitching for Cincinnati: RH Johnny Cueto (1-1, 5.18)
Pitching for Pittsburgh: RH Charlie Morton (1-5, 10.30)
Cincinnati 9, Pittsburgh 0 (W)
Comments: Cincinnati opened the season rather weakly because of a pitching staff that could not get it done. In the first 18 games the Reds played this season their starters went 1-7 and had an ERA of 6.55. But that is history. In their last 14 games, the starters have turned it around and gone 7-2, with an ERA of 3.83—and that is why the Reds are in second place in he NL Central, just three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. There is no question Cincinnati has a big pitching edge tonight with Cueto who is 6-2 with an ERA of 3.88 in nine starts against the Pirates and is 4-0 in his last four starts against them.
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