NBA OddsThose checking out Belmont odds will be looking forward to a rematch between Animal Kingdom and Shackleford, the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. In the NBA, betting players and fans alike will be getting a rematch of the 2006 Finals, when Miami stormed back from two games down to defeat Dallas. Can the Mavericks avenge that controversial loss?

Mavericks vs. Heat Betting – Tuesday, 9:00 PM ET (Game 1)

The Mavericks have been incredibly impressive over the postseason, taking care of Portland in six games before a four-game demolition of the two-time defending champions from Los Angeles, including a 36-point rout in the final game of Phil Jackson’s coaching career. The Mavericks then beat Oklahoma City in a tough five-game series, and you could argue that Dirk Nowitzki has been the best player of the playoffs. His defenders would have more luck in an online casino than trying to guard Nowitzki’s unblockable fadeway jumper, and he’s averaging 28.4 points per game. The Mavericks get scoring off the bench with Jason Terry and J.J. Barea, and Tyson Chandler has made them a better defensive team than they have been in the past.

The Heat have won all three of their series in five games, dispatching of Philadelphia before an emotional win over Boston, and finally Miami topped Chicago, the top overall seed. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh dominate the team in scoring and take turns carrying the offensive load, while it looks like James has developed into the role of close. But it’s on the defensive end where the Heat really shine, as they have allowed 88.3 points, and they’ve been one of the best defensive teams in the league all season long. James may be the most versatile defender in the league, while the rest of the team has adhered to coach Erik Spoelstra’s principles.

Miami is a -175 favorite to win the title in your pay per head sportsbook, while the Mavericks are rated at +155, and since losing that 2006 series, Dallas is 10-0 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 against the Heat, with six games going over the posted total. Both teams have been very good to betting players in the playoffs, but only one can win this series. The Mavericks have been a good story, and a lot of people have been pulling for Nowitzki and Jason Kidd to get their first rings, but you know the saying: defense wins championships, and Miami’s defense is much better. Unless the Dallas bench can be vastly superior to their Miami counterparts, the Mavericks can’t win this series. Take the Miami Heat to go all the way in your online sportsbook.

Even Belmont Stakes betting players have had one eye on the NBA season, and surely they would have heard about the fuss that has surrounded Miami since the offseason, when they recruited LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade in South Beach. It’s been a tumultuous season for the Heat, but now they’re four wins away from the NBA title, and standing in their way is Dallas, who will be out to avenge their loss to the Heat in the 2006 Finals.

Mavericks Heat Betting – Game 1, Tuesday, 9:00 PM in Miami

The Mavericks needed six games to beat Portland, then they rolled over the two-time defending champions from Los Angeles in a humiliating four-game sweep, and then they stopped a young Oklahoma City team in five games. Through it all, Dirk Nowitzki has been the best player of the postseason, drawing some comparisons to Larry Bird, and he’s been absolutely unguardable. MLB baseball betting players would compare him to Josh Hamilton for Texas: the Mavericks are a good team without him, but they can beat anyone with him. The Mavericks also have an outstanding bench with Jason Terry and J.J. Barea leading the way.

The Heat have won each of their three series against Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago in five games, and they’ve done with stingy defense and newfound confidence at the end of games. LeBron James seems to have taken over the role as closer, although Dwyane Wade can surely hit some buckets, and Chris Bosh has played exceptionally well at points. When he’s on his game, the Heat are very tough to beat. They’ve also gotten some contribution from their role players as Udonis Haslem returned to give the Heat some quality minutes in the Chicago series, and Mike Miller also came on strong as well.

Miami is favored at -175 in your price per head sportsbook, while Dallas is listed at +155, and since losing in six games in the 2006 Finals the Mavericks are 10-0 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Heat. This series will boil down to a couple of matchups: the most important is Miami’s shutdown defense against Dallas’ explosive and highly efficient offense. Shutting down Notiwzki is a big part of that, but the Heat will have to focus on the Dallas bench, where the Mavericks have the edge. Also, look for James to guard Nowitzki in late-game situations, or if the German star gets hot. In the end, you have to go with the team who plays the best defense, and the Heat have the advantage in that aspect, so they’re the smart play when making a sports bet.

Horse BettingIt has been a problem that has plagued the final leg of the Triple Crown for the better part of the past couple of decades, somewhat of a stain on what is regarded as one of the premiere races of the horse racing season. It will get a ton of attention again this year without the potential for a Triple Crown winner once again after Shackleford narrowly beat out Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom at the Preakness Stakes to make sure that 1978’s Affirmed would remain the last horse to complete the prestigious sweep. However, there will be some added intrigue to the 2011 Belmont Stakes betting race with the fact that both winners are expected to run against one another in New York in what could be considered the deciding run that will determine which horse had the better overall season.

The potential rivalry race between Animal Kingdom and Shackleford would be interesting for several reasons, with the obvious one being the finishes that each horse has registered through the first two legs of the 2011 Triple Crown. Animal Kingdom came out of nowhere as a long shot to win the Kentucky Derby way ahead of the heavily favored Dialed In, and then nearly pulled off an incredible comeback at the Preakness Stakes when it emerged from the middle of the online sports betting pack to finish second by a half-length. The winner of that race was Shackleford which managed to barely hold on, but it could have a tougher time at the 1 ½ mile Belmont Park. The Preakness winner finished fourth at the Derby also behind Nehro and Mucho Macho Man, both expected to also compete in the early June race. Both in terms of breeding and prestige this final leg will mean a lot to both horses, and then there is the prize money that will go to the owner that finishes the pay per head race first. If that wasn’t enough incentive for these two horses when they clash against one another, then consider that the Eclipse Award has always gone to the horse that won the Preakness, as well as the Horse of the Year award for three-year olds on three separate occasions. If Animal Kingdom can win the Belmont it will surely spoil that streak.

While the battle on the track between Animal Kingdom and Shackleford won’t have the prestige of the memorable rivalry between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta off of the track, the buzz that the idea creates will establish a sense of anticipation for the Belmont Stakes. With the Breeder’s Cup Classic also in the fold later on in the MLB betting summer, there will be a ton of races to watch and the rivalry could be something to follow that will attract more casual fans to pay attention. There is plenty incentive there for the owners and a ton of money on the line, which is why despite the fact that there will be no Triple Crown winner in 2011 there will still be a ton of excitement.

Belmont Stakes PicksEarly 2011 Belmont Stakes betting odds are out as sportsbooks aim to give their clients a jump on the final leg of the Triple Crown, and here is a look at five horses who should stand out and garner consideration when you’re looking to make your horse betting picks.

2011 Belmont Stakes Betting – Saturday, June 11th

Animal Kingdom (+400): He may wind up being the overall favorite after following up his Kentucky Derby win with a second-place run in the Preakness in which another late rally came up just short. He looks to get better as the race goes on, which is promising for his horse betting odds in the longest race of the Triple Crown at 1.5 miles.

Shackleford (+400): Shackleford faded in the Derby, and did just enough to hold off Animal Kingdom in the Preakness, but there are obviously going to be questions about his stamina. Shackleford was the toughest horse to get into the starting gate at the Preakness, and you have to be worried about a tendency to expend energy unnecessarily.

Nehro (+400): Nehro finished second in the Derby and was held out of the Preakness, so he’ll be well rested for the Belmont. He was one of the horses who made a late run to track down Shackleford at Churchill Downs, so again, his stamina will be a factor when he gets on the track at Belmont Park.

Mucho Macho Man (+800): WWE fans will likely put something down for Mucho Macho Man, who bears a close similarity to the name of recently deceased Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and he’s finished in the top six in the first two Triple Crown races (third in the Kentucky Derby, sixth in the Preakness). He’s a balanced horse, which bodes well for a long race like the Preakness, and he should be one to watch going into the final turn.

Jaycito (+1200): Jaycito hasn’t raced in any of the Triple Crown races, but he has an excellent trainer in Bob Baffert, who won the Preakness with Point Given in 2001. He did manage to finish second in a solid field at the San Felipe Stakes, and he’s finished first or second in three of his four stakes races that were classified as a Grade 1 or Grade 2, so the talent is there. He had a foot bruise that kept him out of the first two races, but he’s been off since March, so look for Jaycito to be raring to go when it comes to the Belmont, and he’s going to be a horse that should move up the ranks as we get closer to the big race at your favorite online betting sites.

Hockey OddsSports Betting Overview

Now that the 2011 Preakness betting is over, hockey fans in San Jose can start to wonder what is going on with the Sharks. To say that the Sharks’ performance in game four was a disappointment would be an understatement. The more accurate thing to say is that Stanley Cup champion goaltender Antti Niemi continues to concern Sharks fans with his playoff performances. Prior to the 2010-2011 season, the NHL news was buzzing about the release of San Jose Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and the signing of Antti Niemi. San Jose fans had long placed blame for the Sharks’ lack of playoff success on Nabokov. After game four, many Sharks fans were already trying to find ways to lure Nabokov back.

The Vancouver Canucks just keep doing what they do, and that is applying offensive pressure on the opposing net. The difference between game three and game four is that the Canucks could not get many quality shots on goal. But, what they did get on net seemed to go in. The price per head Canucks fans can stop worrying about goaltender Roberto Luongo. After Luongo’s performance in game four, it is obvious that Luongo has finally found a playoff groove that is conducive to winning. Luongo was brilliant in the third period of game four, despite giving up two goals. By that point, the game was already decided and Luongo’s to win.

San Jose Sharks

There is no nice way to put it; the Sharks lost their chances of winning a Stanley Cup when they released Evgeni Nabokov. Antti Niemi has been spectacular in streaks this season, but the playoffs have not been one of those streaks. In game four, Niemi faced 13 shots and allowed four goals. In the second period of game four, Niemi allowed three goals on four shots. The Sharks could not have played more desperate defense in game four. They blocked shots and tried to keep the Sedin twins away from the net. But bad positional play by Niemi undermined everything the Sharks tried to do defensively. Niemi has been a problem for San Jose this entire series. He will be the key to a San Jose win or loss in game five, and it is not looking good for the Sharks.

Vancouver Canucks

While Antti Niemi was allowing pretty much any shot on goal to go in during game four, Roberto Luongo was in the Vancouver net making 33 saves on 35 shots. Luongo stood up to a 17-shot third period from the Sharks to preserve the win. Luongo is the one element that the Canucks needed to see production from to go deep in these playoffs and, after a rocky start in the first two rounds, Luongo has become a solid force in net. The Sedin twins are causing all kinds of problems in the San Jose defense, which helps to offset the fact that the Vancouver defense does not seem to have an answer for the Sharks offense. If Luongo can hold up, Vancouver will win this series.

The Bottom Line

Luongo has a long history of falling apart in the playoffs. As bad as Niemi looked in game four, the Vancouver defense looked even worse. The big difference in game four was Luongo. He should also be a big difference in game five as well.

BSNblog Pick: Vancouver Canucks

NHL Odds17 years after the Vancouver Canucks fell short in the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers in 1994, the franchise has the chance to earn their shot at redemption now one win away from earning their spot in the championship series. The Canucks have San Jose on the ropes up three-games-to-one heading into game five of their Western conference final series Tuesday night, the first of three potential chances to punch their ticket.

San Jose Sharks @ Vancouver Canucks

Tuesday May 24, 2011 – 9:00 PM ET

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia

Online Sports Betting
Odds: Vancouver Canucks – 110

Three second-period powerplay goals powered Vancouver to a 4-2 game four-win Sunday afternoon, forcing the Sharks to the road to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Canucks have outscored San Jose 14-7 in three wins, and as long as the offense continues to click the Presidents trophy winners could have more pay per head hardware headed their way.

NHL Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks

The Sharks did an excellent job of keeping up with Vancouver through the first 20 minutes of game four after earning their first win of the series in game three, but untimely penalties and an inability to capitalize on their own chances ultimately cost them. San Jose failed to capitalize on five consecutive powerplay opportunities to open the game, and then fell apart after taking four straight penalties in the middle frame. The Sharks allowed three goals in a span of less than two minutes, each of them netted when they were two men down. San Jose will need to do a better job on special teams to have a chance to claw their way back into the series, and they won’t have much time to prepare.

NHL Betting Preview: Vancouver Canucks

Henrik Sedin and company needed just 13 shots to pull out the critical game four-win, becoming the first team in NHL scores history to score three goals with a two-man advantage in the playoffs. Henrik assisted on all three of those goals and added another helper on the Canucks’ third period goal to set the franchise record for assists in a game, which increased his total to 19 points to lead all scorers this postseason. Brother Daniel finished with three assists of his own, giving the Sedins a total of 15 points in four games for the series. One more big game could have Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals, and they will get the opportunity to perform on home ice.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The Sharks failed to capitalize on their opportunities in the opening frame of game four, and then looked fatigued in the second as they began taking unnecessary penalties as they fell apart. Two nights later San Jose will be asked to rebound on the road, and it may be a case of not having enough left in the tank to compete with one of the most complete and dominant teams that the league has seen in recent years, leaving the in-state MLB betting teams as California’s only spring hopes.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Vancouver Canucks - 120

NBA OddsFor as strong as the Oklahoma City Thunder have looked so far this postseason, they have never faced the problem that they are now, as one of the game’s elite superstars challenges their very playoff survival. Dallas Mavericks’ forward Dirk Nowitzki dropped an incredible 48 points on the Thunder in a 121-112 game one win in which the Thunder simply didn’t have an answer for the All Star, and unless they can find a way to slow him down soon they could find themselves in big trouble for the series very soon with the Preakness Stakes betting race approaching.

While Nowitzki’s size presents an obvious sports betting mismatch for opponents each and every time that he is on the floor, the way he has elevated his level of play this postseason has made him an unstoppable force. Oklahoma City tried in vain to slow him down in the opener, but regardless of who was marking him Disco Dirk continued to dance around them. Nowitzki made 10 of his first 11 shots from the field and finished with a 12-for-15 mark, while setting a playoff record by nailing all 24 of his free throws. The Maverick’s top scorer also made his presence felt on the boards with six rebounds and registered four blocks at the defensive end, easily establishing his self as the most dominant presence in the game. But the statistics weren’t the only story for Nowitzki, as he also really hurt the Thunder by drawing a ton of fouls. That includes five whistles for Serge Ibaka, three from Thabo Sefolosha, and two each from Kevin Durant, Nick Collison, and Russell Westbrook. Nowitzki has never looked so dominant, and until Oklahoma City finds an answer to slowing him down the Mavericks should continue to roll.

The Thunder have more problems than just Nowitzki to deal with, as Jason Terry and JJ Barea came off the bench to combine for an incredible 45 points. Anytime the reserves get going that way team’s should be able to get into the win column, and the space that they gained from Oklahoma City chasing Nowitzki was an added sports betting bonus. The Thunder had no answer off their bench with James Harden scoring 12, but little else coming from anyone else, and the fact that they are losing key battles to do with depth is something that is making another difference.

Unlike in the first two rounds when Oklahoma City had its way with the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies, this opponent has a superstar go-to player and relies on its depth as a secondary option rather than as a difference-maker. The Thunder will go back to work in practice on Wednesday looking for the answers, and until they find a way to at least slow Nowitzki down they will have trouble winning a game in this series. Dallas is firing on all cylinders and the extra week off between series’ has them looking fresh and ready to play, and finally Dirk is getting his pay per head due as the superstar player that he is.

NBA Odds:Look For More Scoring in Game 2 Of Thunder-Mavericks

Basketball PicksThose checking out Preakness odds can appreciate the matchup in the NBA’s Western Conference finals between Oklahoma City and Dallas, as there are thoroughbreds all over the place in this series, and they raced out of the gate in Game 1. If you’re a fan of high-scoring games, you should get another one in Game 2 in Thursday.

Thunder vs. Mavericks Betting – Thursday, 9:00 PM ET

Kevin Durant had a huge night with 40 points, eight boards and five assists, but it wasn’t enough for the NBA odds as the Thunder fell 121-112 in Dallas in Game 1. Russell Westbrook added 20 points, but he had just three assists with four turnovers, and even those watching NHL highlights will tell you that isn’t a good enough ratio for a point guard, especially at this point in the playoffs. The Thunder managed to get to the line 43 times, making 37 of their free-throw attempts, but they couldn’t slow down the Dallas offense and in particular, their bench was outscored 53-22.

Jason Terry and J.J. Barea combined for 45 of those bench points, and the Mavericks will need more of those as the series goes on, but the story of Game 1 was Dirk Nowitzki, who went insane on the Thunder with 48 points, going 12-of-15 from the floor (without attempting a single three-pointer), and he was a perfect 24-of-24 from the foul line, which is an NBA playoff record. Nowitzki and the Mavericks picked up right from their four-game sweep of the two-time champion Lakers, shooting 53.4% from the floor, and if they keep that up, it’s tough to imagine anyone beating them in the last two rounds of the postseason.

Your sports bookie software will find the Mavericks as a 5-point favorite at home in Game 2, and NBA betting players have probably fallen in love with Dallas, who is a staggering 11-0 ATS so far in the playoffs, and they have yet to lose at home. The Thunder need to shore up on defense to slow down the Mavericks, and they shouldn’t feel too bad about giving up all of those points to Nowitzki; that’s going to happen because he’s just playing too well right now. Where the Thunder really have to pick it up is with the second unit, and they can’t allow Terry and Barea to drop another 45 points on them. Also, in what has been a running theme, Westbrook has to do a better job of distributing and taking care of the ball. He shot 3-of-15 from the floor, and that’s discouraging, but the assist-to-turnover is a bigger issue. Look for him to have a better game, and the bench will step up too, so lay a sports bet on Oklahoma City.

2011 Preakness Stakes Betting2011 Preakness Stakes betting is about to kick up a notch as the big race is on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, and after an exciting Kentucky Derby, horse racing fans should get ready for another thriller. Here is a look at the favorites for Saturday’s “Run For The Black-Eyed Susans”.

Animal Kingdom (+270): This horse came out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby with a fantastic closing kick as he caught up to the front three horses at the final turn and blew by everyone. History could be on his side as four horses have won the first two jewels in the Triple Crown since 2002: War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown. Animal Kingdom won’t be able to sneak up on horse betting players after his performance at Churchill Downs, and he’ll get a lot of action this week.

Dialed In (+400): Dialed In was one of the Kentucky Derby favorites, but he got off to a poor start before bouncing back for an eighth-place finsh. Everyone knows Dialed In can close; see his phenomenal run to a win in the Florida Derby as proof. But jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Nick Zito have to do a better job of getting something out of Dialed In early in the race, because his top-end speed is very comparable to the rest of the field. Zito won the Preakness with Louis Quatorze in 1996.

Mucho Macho Man (+425): You may not find a more consistent horse than Mucho Macho Man, who hasn’t finished lower than fourth in nine races, and he was one of the three horses who were battling for the lead at Churchill Downs before Animal Kingdom stole the show. Mucho Macho Man is just a very balanced horse, and even though he lost a little time in the final turn, he stormed back on the stretch, and that’s something your price per head bookie loves to see.

Nehro (+500): Nehro was right there with Mucho Macho Man and Shackleford going into the final turn at Churchill Downs, and he finished second for the third straight race, and it’s not like he’s running in subpar fields: the Louisiana Derby is a Grade-2 race, while the Arkansas Derby is a Grade-1 race along with the Kentucky Derby. With a few breaks, Nehro could have three consecutive wins, and he has a great stable. Jockey Corey Nakatani is very experienced, while trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Preakness on two occasions, with Curlin’ in 2007 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009, so he knows how to get his horses ready for Pimlico, Nehro could be the best pick in this list for sports betting players.

Preakness Stakes Odds: Five Horses You Should Bet On at Pimlico

Preakness Stakes OddsPreakness Stakes odds will be the hot play this week as the second jewel in horse racing‘s Triple Crown will be up for grabs on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Animal Kingdom was a longshot bet in the Kentucky Derby, but that didn’t stop him from taking the “Run For The Roses”. Now, how will he fare in the “Run For The Black-Eyed Susans” as a favorite? Here is Animal Kingdom and four more horses to watch on Saturday.

Animal Kingdom (+270): His closing kick at Churchill Downs wasn’t all that surprising, but still, no one expected this horse to come as it did. Horse betting players will give Animal Kingdom a long look as four horses in the last nine years have won the first jewels in the Triple Crown, and he’ll have a very good chance to become the fifth.

Mucho Macho Man (+425): This horse has finished out of the top three in only one of his nine races, and he’s probably the most balanced horse in the entire field. The Kentucky Derby was his first Grade-1 race, and he should earn some strong consideration at Pimlico as well.

Nehro (+500): Nehro finished one spot ahead of Mucho Macho Man at Churchill Downs as the two battled with Shackleford heading into the final turn, and he has now finished second in his last three races, including a pair of Grade-1 races. Like the above horse, Nehro is very balanced, but he may be a little bit better when it comes to closing.

Shackleford (+1000): If pressed for a pick, Shackleford would be the way to go after his performance at Churchill Downs, in which he finished fourth, but he led a large portion of the Kentucky Derby. Shackleford’s problem has been closing races as Dialed In (who is rated at +400 after an eighth-place run in the Derby) caught him in the Florida Derby, but he may not be exposed as badly at Pimlico, which is shorter and faster than Churchill Downs. He should be the play in your sports bookie software.

King Congie (+2000): King Congie has a very strong stable that has motivation; jockey Robby Albarado was taken off Animal Kingdom in favor of John Velazquez after breaking his nose, even though Albarado says he could have raced. He has also won the Preakness before, claiming the black-eyed Susans with Curlin’ in 2007, and his trainer Tom Albertrani won in 2006 with Bernardini. King Congie finished third in the Grade-1 Blue Grass Stakes, and even though he hasn’t raced on dirt in four races, it shouldn’t bother him too much. King Congie is definitely the darkhorse to watch in your online sports book.

Diamondbacks 4-1 Win against Dodgers

Baseball PicksThe Dodgers dropped a 4-1 decision at Dodger Stadium on Sunday as Diamondbacks legged out a betting win behind winning pitcher Ian Kennedy.

The Diamondbacks were a -115 favorite in the win in the baseball lines . The combined score dipped UNDER the total, which closed at 7.5.

Ian Kennedy earned the victory for the Diamondbacks, throwing 6 innings of work, striking out 8, walking 1, and allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run. That effort was supported by 2 RBIs from Xavier Nady in the win.

Los Angeles' starting pitcher Ted Lilly worked 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 earned runs while striking out 5 in the loss. They got 3 hits from Aaron Miles in a losing cause.

The battle of the bats favored Arizona as they had 8 hits, while Los Angeles only had 6.

The game was closed out by J.J. Putz who got the final outs in the victory. He allowed 1 hit, 1 walk and fanned 1 batter to earn the save.

Next game, Arizona takes its act home to face San Diego looking for another win. For Los Angeles, they head home to face Milwaukee.

Sports Betting at the Sportsbook

Baseball OddsChicago grabbed a 4-3 win over Oakland on Sunday, as Mark Buehrle was credited with a win at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Chicago was an underdog by +142 and came through for bettors backing them. The MLB betting game went UNDER the consensus closing total of 7.5.

Chicago got 6 1/3 innings from Mark Buehrle, who gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 6. He earned the victory, while the White Sox got 2 RBIs from Alexei Ramirez in the win.

Oakland's starting pitcher Trevor Cahill worked 7 innings, giving up 10 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 1 in the loss. They got 3 hits from Mark Ellis in a losing cause.

The battle of the bats favored Chicago as they had 11 hits, while Oakland only had 10.

Sergio Santos pitched the final 1 inning for the save. He struck out 0 and allowed 0 hits in his outing.

Chicago looks to continue its winning ways next game with a battle against Texas. Oakland will aim to get back on the winning track vs Los Angeles.

Bet on Baseball

Basketball Betting: Heat Will Burn Through Thunder in NBA Finals

Baseball OddsWhen the big three assembled for the Miami Heat in the summer, everybody knew that group had what it took to compete for an NBA title. The only problem was whether or not that they would be able to find the supporting cast to help them get there. Through the first two series’ of the Eastern conference playoffs it has become very apparent that the trio of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh don’t need much pay per head help at all to get the online sports betting job done. That is why when they reach this year’s NBA Finals, they won’t have any problem knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Even the casual fan can understand how strong the big three and Miami have been this season, but in order to get a true appreciation for just how good this group has been you would have to look at the online sports betting numbers that they have put up together. Take game four of their best-of-seven conference semi final series against the defending Eastern conference champion Boston Celtics as the perfect example, as the big three absolutely put on a clinic in a 98-90 win in one of the toughest venues to play in at the TD Gardens. Lebron James scored a game-high 35 points in that win, with Dwayne Wade dropping 28, and Chris Bosh chipping in another 20 as they moved within one game of eliminating Boston from the postseason. Those numbers would look impressive regardless of when they were registered, but the fact that they were able to score like that in a playoff game, against a Celtics’ team with its back against the wall, and on the road is truly amazing, and it only gets more incredible the deeper you go on. The big three for Miami scored the final 31 points for the team while taking the final 20 shots in the win, including all seven shots they took in overtime. Aside from the trio of James, Wade, and Bosh, not a single Heat player scored in the fourth quarter or overtime. The fact that the Heat can get by against the team that nobody thought they would be able to beat with those three scorers doing all of the heavy lifting is a sign of just how strong they are, and the more that their confidence builds the more that they will be able to get the job done in the NBA scores.

While the heavy statistics are huge when it comes to MLB betting, they are every bit as important to prove how strong the Heat have been in these playoffs. The Thunder will get through to the NBA finals after struggling on what seemed like a fairly easy road, but they will be in tough to stop the trio of James, Wade, and Bosh. Those three have been dominant at both ends of the floor, and that will continue as they surprise the world by bringing home a championship in their first year together.

Basketball OddsOnline Preakness betting players could be in line for a rematch of sorts as Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom may have to go through a few of the same horses in order to come away with a victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. If you’re trying to look ahead to the NBA Finals, you may foresee a rematch of a hotly contested matchup from five years ago.

In the East, Miami has looked very impressive as they stand on the brink of putting away the defending conference champions from Boston. Simply put, the Heat are a younger, more athletic version of Boston’s Big Three, and the injury to Rajon Rondo can’t be helping the Celtics at all. Chicago hasn’t looked impressive in this postseason run, and the more you watch them, the more you wonder: how far can Derrick Rose take them? They’re having a lot of trouble with Atlanta, and while they should make it past the Hawks, those watching NBA scores know the Bulls won’t make it past Miami if they continue to play like this.

As for the West, Dallas has been, by far, the best team in the playoffs, and their four-game destruction of the two-time defending champions from Los Angeles was mind-boggling. Dirk Nowitzki looks toughened by past playoff failures, and he’s really been aided by the pickup of Tyson Chandler, who gives the Mavericks a defensive presence that they haven’t had inside in, well, ever. Memphis and Oklahoma City are staging a war in the Midwest, while the Mavericks are at home, resting up and watching out for who they will meet in the West final. The Thunder and Grizzlies may not have anything left in the tank for Dallas, especially after Monday’s triple-overtime marathon.

Even those making NFL betting picks will remember the 2006 NBA Finals, which was won by Miami, but it came with some controversy as many feel the officiating was biased towards the Heat and specifically, Dwyane Wade, who was in the process of turning himself into a superstar. The Heat also had a still-productive Shaquille O’Neal, and everyone knows about the tension between NBA commissioner David Stern and Dallas owner Mark Cuban, which added another layer to the series. The two could be on a collision course as the Mavericks would love to avenge their six-game loss, and a title for the likes of Nowitzki and Kidd would validate their greatness, although they don’t need it. On Miami’s side, the team that everyone loves to hate would quiet a lot of critics, especially LeBron James, whose “Decision” may be the single biggest story of the past year in any sport. If these two meet, it’s going to be a very hot ticket in your sports betting book.

Baseball OddsFlorida Against Philadelphia

Philadelphia got 1 inning of work from Kyle Kendrick en route to a 5-3 victory over Florida on Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium.

Philadelphia won as a -110 favorite, while Over-Under bettors who played OVER the total of 7.5 were rewarded at the payout window.

Philadelphia got 6 innings from Cliff Lee, who gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 4. Kyle Kendrick earned the victory, while the Phillies got 2 RBIs from Jimmy Rollins in the win.

Florida's starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 1 in the loss. They got 2 hits from Hanley Ramirez in a losing cause.

The battle of the bats favored Philadelphia as they had 9 hits, while Florida only had 8.

Ryan Madson pitched the final 1 inning for the save. He struck out 2 and allowed 0 hits in his outing.

Next baseball betting game, Philadelphia takes its act on the road to face Atlanta looking for another win. For Florida, they head on the road to face Washington.

Atlanta vs. Washington

Atlanta lost in extra innings on Wednesday, falling 7-3 to Washington in 11 innings.

Washington won as a +188 underdog, while Over-Under bettors who played OVER the total of 7.5 were rewarded at the payout window.

Washington got 6 innings from John Lannan, who gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits, while striking out 3. Drew Storen earned the betting victory, while the Nationals got 2 RBIs from Alex Cora in the win.

Atlanta's starting pitcher Tommy Hanson worked 5 2/3 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 1 in the loss. They got 2 hits from Martin Prado in a losing cause.

Washington enjoyed an edge at the plate with a 13-8 advantage in hits.

Hockey OddsSports Betting Overview

San Jose Sharks fans are wondering if it is the fact that the Detroit Red Wings are so good, or that the Sharks are choking in the playoffs again that is aiding the Red Wings comeback in this series. The online casino wagering for his Western Conference semifinals series has been difficult to predict. The Sharks were up in this series three games to none, but now Detroit could force a game seven with a win at home. This is all starting to look too familiar to the NHL fans in San Jose.

The worst part is that the San Jose Sharks were leading game five 3-1 heading into the third period. But then the pay per head Sharks fans had to watch as the Red Wings scored three goals in the third period while the Sharks scored none, and that allowed Detroit to live for another day. Once again, this is all getting too familiar to hockey fans in San Jose. It also seems that the goaltending is wavering just a little bit in San Jose in the playoffs, and that also looks very familiar. It looks like both the Sharks and the Red Wings are following familiar patterns in this series.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings got the only kind of break they could hope for in this series; game six in Detroit. The Red Wings can force a game seven and see if they can keep their collective foot on the collective neck of the San Jose Sharks. The Detroit goaltending has been absolutely outstanding in the last two games. In game five, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard faced an onslaught of 42 shots and only allowed three goals. In game four, Howard made 25 saves to preserve the win for Detroit. The Detroit goal scorers have come to life while the defense seems to have fallen asleep. If Detroit can cut down on the number of shots on goal against Howard, then they can win this series and move on to the Conference Finals. But if the Sharks are allowed to keep peppering Howard with shots, then more will eventually find their way to the back of the net.

San Jose Sharks

The goaltending in San Jose that was so brilliant in the first series and a half of the playoffs is starting to fall apart. Antti Niemi faced 40 shots in game four and gave up four goals. You could hardly blame him on any of the goals, and the San Jose defense was nowhere to be found. In game five, Niemi faced 22 shots and gave up four critical goals. The San Jose defense played much better in game five, but it was not good enough. The game winning goal was a screen shot from the point that Niemi never saw. Niemi was either out of position for the other three goals, or he just missed them. The Sharks will need stronger play out of Niemi if they want to close out this series, but they may have to wait until they go home to do that.

The Bottom Line

The Detroit Red Wings will be so pumped up to play game six that it is difficult to see the Sharks being able to put up a fight in this game. Jimmy Howard is finding his groove while Antti Niemi is fighting the puck. There will be a game seven in this series, and it is something that Sharks fans have seen too many times before.

BSNblog Pick: Detroit Red Wings

Hockey free picksThe San Jose Sharks will take their second of three straight shots at eliminating the Detroit Red Wings in their 2011 Western conference semi final series on Tuesday. While the Sharks looked good while building a three-game series lead, all five contests have been decided by just one goal and the last two have gone in Detroit’s favor. San Jose will not want to go to a seventh and deciding game against a veteran team that knows what it takes to be a champion, but they will be in tough to get the job done in the hostile Joe Louis Arena.

San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings

Tuesday May 10, 2011 – 8:00 PM ET

Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

Online Sports Betting
Odds: Detroit – 120

The Red Wings have been one of the toughest teams to beat on home ice over the past few years, and another sellout crowd will try to help them earn a decisive game seven and avoid leaving the MLB betting Tigers as the city’s only hope this spring.

NHL Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks

While the offense has been consistent throughout the postseason, the Sharks have had trouble at their own end in allowing eight goals in consecutive losses after conceding just five combined through their first three wins. San Jose will need to tighten up at it’s own end in front of Antti Niemi to avoid letting a three-game series lead evaporate, and will need to play with a greater sense of urgency after letting up somewhat over the past couple of games. Slowing down the line of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Tomas Holmstrom will be a key factor, while the Sharks’ powerplay will need to get going after being blanked the past two NHL games.

NHL Betting Preview: Detroit Red Wings

After struggling through the first three losses, that top line of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Holmstrom has really found its rhythm including a five-point night in their 4-3 game five win. The addition of Nicklas Kronwall at their own end has provided an immediate physical presence that has changed the complexion of the series the past couple of games, while goaltender Jimmy Howard continues to exceed pay per head expectations with his strong play. Howard has been the team’s best player for most of the series as Detroit has been outshot in three of the five games, including a 42-22 margin in game five.

NHL Betting: Matchup & Pick

The Sharks lead Detroit in scoring for the series 14-13 and two of their wins have been clinched in overtime, which is testament to just how close this series has been. Red Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock will have the final change again and after finding the right forward combinations in consecutive wins he will watch as his team books a game seven to decide the series back in San Jose.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Detroit Red Wings - 120

Basketball PicksNBA fans waited all pay per head season for the chance to see what the Miami Heat could do against the defending conference champions in a postseason series, and after the first two games the message is clear. The Heat will not take prisoners with a much more aggressive and confident style than they showed during the regular season against the Boston Celtics, and that has led to complete domination through the first two games.

Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics

Saturday May 7, 2011 – 8:00 PM ET

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Online Sports Betting
Odds: Boston Celtics - 130

The Celtics head home looking for answers and hoping that their best players will be available to provide them for game three. Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen all suffered injuries in their 102-91 game two loss, and whether or not they can provide that elite level of play that Boston will need will be an essential factor to them staying alive in the series and keeping them with the MLB betting Red Sox and Boston Bruins as the city’s sporting hopes this spring.

NBA Betting Preview: Miami Heat

The Heat have looked like what many thought that Boston would through the first two games of the series, with their stars controlling the tempo and their bench outperforming that of the Celtics. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade looked dominant at home, while James Jones has come alive to lead Miami’s bench including a franchise postseason record 25 points in game one. The Heat have actually been the more physical team so far in the series, and have earned the chance to push Boston to the brink with another win.

NBA Betting Preview: Boston Celtics

Pierce and Allen both left game two at various points with injuries, while Rondo pushed through tightness in his back to finish game two. All three starters are expected to be ready for game three, and each will need to be able to perform at a high level in order to avoid falling behind three games in the series. Kevin Garnett has been a force at both ends of the floor but he can’t get the job done alone and it will be up to Pierce and Allen to control James and Wade. The hometown crowd should provide a momentum boost for a determined Boston team, but health could be the biggest factor going forward in the series.

NBA Betting Matchup: Heat vs. Celtics

The pressure will be on the Celtics to respond at home down two-games-to-none, but injuries to key players will keep them from reaching their potential. Miami has looked solid through the first two games, and the physical style and bench play that were supposed to be weaknesses in this series have actually ended up being strengths. With the chance to push Boston to the brink the Heat will bring their best effort, and earn four straight chances to earn a spot in the conference finals ahead of this year’s Kentucky derby betting race.

BSNblog Pick: Miami Heat + 120

NBA Betting: Celtics Aim to Cool Off Heat in Boston

NBA OddsEven those who are online betting for Kentucky Derby odds are checking out the NBA playoffs, and in the series that everyone has been waiting for, Miami is showing why many picked them to win the title as soon as LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade in South Beach, racing out to a 2-0 series lead against Boston. The Celtics return home to face the Heat on Saturday, in what is their game of the season.

Heat vs. Celtics Betting – Saturday, 8:00 PM ET

James poured in 35 points to lead the way in a 102-91 win for the Heat on Tuesday at home, while adding seven boards, while Wade followed up a 38-point performance in Game 1 with another 28 points. Bosh notched 17 points and 11 boards for the Heat, who outrebounded the Celtics 44-38, and they’ve dominated this series over the first two games. Those watching NBA scores may be a bit surprised to see the Heat not backing down from the physical play of the Celtics and in fact, they may even be embracing it. That being said, it’s going to be a different story when they go to Boston, and that is when we’ll see how good the Heat are.

Rajon Rondo led Boston with 20 points, 12 assists and six assists, while Kevin Garnett was next with 16 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who got a combined 20 points from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on 7-of-18 shooting. Boston looks very old compared to the athletic stars on the Heat, and the trio of Pierce (Achilles), Allen (chest) and Rondo (back) all suffered injuries, but continued to play. Outside of Rondo, age may finally be catching up to the Celtics, and those watching NBA scores will tell you that Father Time finds everyone at some point. They’re going to need all of their championship experience to gut one out on Saturday.

We’re not sure who will be favored in Game 3, which may continue the feeling of a WWE Raw episode, although Boston may get a slight edge at home as they won both games at the TD Banknorth Garden against the Heat during the regular season. Word is, the Celtics will be getting Shaquille O’Neal back in the lineup, but if Boston is hanging their hopes of winning in the postseason of an injured Shaq, they’re going to be in trouble. This is the Celtics’ last stand, and they have to be even more physical than they have been in the first two games, but they have to be disciplined as well. We think the crowd will be a factor for Boston, and we’re not sure that Bosh, in particular, will be able to handle the atmosphere in the Garden. Take Boston to grab a lifeline in your sports book.

NHL OddsOnline Sports Betting Overview

The Washington Capitals have lost both of their first two home games in this semifinals series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Before the online betting for Kentucky Derby favorites is even over, the NHL news for the Capitals is not very good. The problem for the Capitals is that they are following the same pattern that got them knocked out of the playoffs last year, and the year before that. The shame of it is that there is very little the Capitals can do to break their bad habits.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seem to have come to life in front of veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson. The pay per head goaltending situation in Tampa was a bit complicated prior to Roloson’s arrival. The Lightning had Dan Ellis and Mike Smith, who were both playing well. But the team was not playing well in front of either goaltender. Despite impressive stats, Ellis was shipped off to Anaheim and Smith was benched in lieu of Roloson, who was picked up from the Islanders during the season. It turned out to be the right move as the team has responded and now they have a 2-0 lead on the Washington Capitals in the playoffs.

Washington Capitals

Two years ago, the Capitals entered the playoffs with an impressive rookie goaltender named Semyon Varlamov. The Caps got through the first round, but found things a little difficult in the second round. Varlamov cracked under the pressure, and the Capitals started playing like individuals rather than a team. That meant that the Capitals lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Last year the Capitals tried Varlamov again, but the results were worse as the Caps dropped out in the first round.

This year’s playoffs looks like an exact repeat of 2009-2010. The Capitals entered the playoffs with rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who played well in the first round, but is experiencing problems in this round against the Lightning. In response, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals are playing like individuals rather than a team. The same actions will yield the same results for the Washington Capitals.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning simply came to life when the playoffs started. After struggling for much of the season, the top scorers for the Lightning are now putting the puck in the net. Vincent LeCavalier, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are being the leaders they are supposed to be in the playoffs. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson is playing solid in the nets for the Lightning. The formula is pretty simple for the Lightning, and it looks a lot like the same formula Tampa followed to win the Cup in 2003-2004.

The Bottom Line

Alex Ovechkin is a great player and a fine motivator, but he is not a leader. When Ovechkin tries to lead by example, he tries to do everything himself. The Capitals all follow suit, and then get knocked out in the playoffs. The pattern will sustain itself in this game.

BSNblog Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL OddsSports Bet Overview

The 2011 Kentucky Derby betting is heating up just as the Detroit Red Wings are cooling down. Any sportsbook promo expert will tell you that this Red Wings team just does not look at all like the Cup wining teams in the Red Wings’ history. This team is either too old, or too young. By the time the youngsters reach their prime, the veterans will be gone. The 5dimes reviews of the first two games of this series show a Detroit team that cannot dominate the middle of the ice like they used to, and a Detroit team that is consistently losing races to the puck. The Detroit defense is old and slow, and none of the factors that have led to a Stanley Cup championship in the past are in place.

The San Jose Sharks are taking every opportunity to get under the Red Wings’ skin. From spraying snow at goaltender Jimmy Howard to pushes in the back after the whistle, the Sharks are showing signs of that confidence and swagger that the Red Wings used to be famous for. The Sharks are winning battles in the corners and keeping the Red Wings out from in front of the net. On the rare occasion that San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi is screened on a shot, he seems to be unaffected by it. This looks like a San Jose versus Detroit series, but the roles are reversed from previous years.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are relying too much on goaltender Jimmy Howard. The defensemen are so used to getting up into the offensive play, that they are leaving Howard exposed to odd-man rushes and breakaways. Howard is simply not that good. He is not Dominic Hasek or Chris Osgood, and he cannot hold down the defensive zone play by himself. The Red Wings are going to have to collapse in around Howard to have a chance at coming back in this series. But that is just not the way that this veteran team plays hockey, and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks this late in the game.

San Jose Sharks

When the season started, the Sharks looked disorganized and goaltender Antti Niemi looked like he was going to be the biggest bust in San Jose history. But Niemi is a playoff goaltender, just like Billy Smith and Grant Fuhr used to be. In the regular season, Niemi is an average goalie at best. But when the playoffs start, he is one of the best in the business. The Sharks are also helped by the fact that players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are finally becoming factors in games. Even in the quarterfinals series against the Los Angeles Kings, it seemed like Marleau and Thornton were drifting around the ice. In this series, they are all business.

The Bottom Line

Things will be changing in Detroit after this season. Many of the remaining Stanley Cup players will retire, and the Red Wings will be left looking to rebuild. It will be interesting to see if the team can rebuild around a goaltender like Jimmy Howard. But, for now, the Red Wings are just no match for the Sharks.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: San Jose Sharks