Welcome to another edition of “Best Bets of the Day.”
Last week we were close to a winning record, but the NHL's Colorado Avalanche doomed the Arizona Coyotes’ hopes with less than three minutes left in a pivotal Game 2.
Today marks the official start of the NBA Playoffs, the NHL postseason rolls on, soccer has intriguing Europa League action, and baseball has some interesting match-ups with a nearly full slate of games.
With so much going on, it may seem hard to know what and where to put your money on, so here are three marquee events to consider focusing on.
NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE Playoffs, GAME 1
Upset Pick of the Day:
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
The Celtics are favourites to win this game and the series, as they rightly should be, but Game 1’s usually provide us with some outliers. Last year we saw the seventh seeded Orlando Magic take an unexpected lead over the eventual champion Toronto Raptors, the Sixers fall behind against the sixth seeded Brooklyn Nets, and the seventh seeded San Antonio Spurs take a 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets.
This year should be even weirder with the bubble factor and no home court advantage, and we see Joel Embiid dominating for one night in an effort to make a point about how he can indeed succeed without Ben Simmons.
Embiid averaged 30.2 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in the bubble before his ankle injury on August 7, and he hasn’t played more than 23 minutes in a game since. He should be fresh if he is healthy, and ready to prove his worth.
Pick: 76ers [+185]
Europa League SEMIFINALS
Inter vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
An Italian giant that has won three UEFA Cups and 3 Champions Leagues that looks to advance to its first continental final since 2010 goes up against a Ukrainian side that won this tournament in 2009 back when it used to be the UEFA Cup and has reached three semifinals in the past 12 years.
Shakhtar had the most convincing win of any of the quarterfinalists, a 4-1 rout over Swiss side Basel. However, Inter has the dynamic duo of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku. We expect Lautaro to get off the schneid and score for the first time in the tournament and for Inter’s overall talent to overwhelm Shakhtar.
Pick: Inter [-140]
MLB REGULAR SEASON
Oakland Athletics @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen has a 2.74 ERA and hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in any of his starts so far this season. In fact, he hasn’t given up more than 3 earned runs in any of his 19 career starts (103.0 IP).
Madison Bumgarner was supposed to be the D-backs’ ace this season, but Gallen is emerging as one in Arizona. Go with the home team and Gallen at Chase Field, where Gallen is 3-1 and had back-to-back quality starts (6.0 IP, 2 ER) against the potent Dodgers and Astros this season.
Pick: Arizona Tightly handicapped game at around [-110] for each. Check closer to first pitch.
Previous Day’s Record: 1-2
Overall Record of Best Bets of the Day: 1-2
Headline Photo Credit: Las Vegas Review Journal