Preakness Stakes, Thunder vs. Lakers Game 4 Predictions, MLB Free Picks

The Preakness Stakes winners are up and so are locks from Matt Rivers and the Canadian Crew. For the real Matt Rivers it’s the Chicago White Sox (+140) to the Cubs.

I took the visitors yesterday at Wrigley at a similar price, won and on principle will go back to that well here.

What is that principle? It’s that the Cubs are one of the weaker teams in the league and therefore can’t be laying a decent price to anybody. I like Ryan Dempster and have actually backed him a few times this season. The righty has been phenomenal as the ERA proves but his mates aren’t very good and therefore we have seen a lack of run support over and over and over again.

The White Sox aren’t great and probably will be without their best player in Paul Konerko who was injured yesterday. But Adam Dunn and the rival Sox have enough to beat what is a bad Cubs squad. If Dempster is on his game once again then certainly the home boys have a great shot to win the game but it’s not like John Danks is exactly chopped liver.

Danks is a professional who has had a few rock solid years. This season hasn’t been great as 2-4 with a 6.46 ERA isn’t exactly solid but the southpaw is a lot better than that and I trust the track record more than this small sample of a record.

Either team can win this game and in a price that feels a bit too large I’ll back the south siders.

Now to The Canadian Crew. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Odds: Los Angeles -2.5, 195 o/u

Oftentimes, the factors that make a winning team can’t be measured with statistics and this series seems to have a lot of those intangibles in play. For starters, there’s a serious revenge factor in motion. OKC players had to have been hoping for a shot at humiliating the Lakers after Metta World Peace threw a decidedly unpeaceful elbow in James Harden’s face earning a seven-game suspension in the process.

In the first round of playoff action we saw the Lakers get seriously challenged by an upstart Denver team that wouldn’t go down quietly, forcing a grueling seven game series. LA benefited from the return of World Peace in Game Seven, but wasn’t exactly playing inspired ball before that.

Against OKC, Kobe and company were blown out in Game One, and gave up a huge lead to lose Game Two. Of course both of those games were played in the Sooner State. They went 3-1 at home in the last series, but are just 1-2 against the Thunder in the regular season. LA has also dropped four of their last five in the playoffs so far. All this speaks to another intangible factor, heart. It seems like the Lakers just don’t have a lot of it.

If a lack of heart too esoteric, how about the Thunders’ thundering offense? In Game One OKC went 44-83 (.530) and hit 7 of 17 from three-point land. Slowed down a bit in Game Two, they hit a mere 29-69 (.420) as the Lakers woke up a bit. Also, the Thunder had yet to lose a game in this postseason until last night.

The Lakers are showing every sign of a team that just doesn’t have what it takes to be champions, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get swept. Watch for LA to come up with a home court victory, before losing the rest and going home to their mansions. 

The Pick: LA -2.5

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About the Author

Grandmaster Sports Handicapper Joe Duffy got his start in the sports handicapping industry with the Dial Sports (Communications Team) audiotext network. It was owned by sportswriter, broadcaster and handicapping pioneer Mickey Charles. Dial Sports was the sister company of the popular Sports Network Wire Service. Upon graduating California University of PA, where he was a play-by-play announcer on student radio station WVCS (now WCAL) and cable channel 29 (now CUTV), he became a full-time sports announcer and handicapper for the Sportsline scorephone network. He learned from NFL legends coach Hank Stram and broadcasting icon Ray Scott the ins and outs of the sports betting world. His Amazing Cadillac Club became the most successful 900-number in sports betting history. He left to become the first General Manager of the Freescoreboard scorephone network broadcast all over North America. His articles have appeared on several dozen websites and hard copy publications. He is now CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com, the top sports betting site in the world. Email: contact@joeduffy.net

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