We're back with more Odds and Bets as we look to the NHL and dance with the Devils in Carolina, ask if the sun has set on Phoenix's season in the NBA and talk baseball with a first versus worst matchup in the AL East between the Rays and Yankees.
Welcome back to Odds and Bets. Today we’re looking at elimination games in both the NHL and NBA before heading to Major League Baseball and examining a key series from the AL East.
Devils @ Hurricanes Game 5: Devil of a storm in Carolina
The New Jersey Devils have dug themselves into a tough hole and history is not on their side. Not only is New Jersey trailing 3-1 and looking thoroughly outmatched through four games, their opponent, Carolina, is 5-0 in franchise history when leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series.
The hits keep coming for the Devils as they are just 1-10 all-time when trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven series. That single series victory came against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final. New Jersey would go on to beat Dallas in a six-game Stanley Cup Final series, so that means they’ll win the Cup this year if they survive the Hurricanes, right?
This series has been short on goaltending and heavy on goals. Every game has had at least six goals scored, with a goalie getting the yank all four games.
Goalies Akira Schmid and Vitek Vanecek have both seen action for the Devils in this series. Schmid is 4-3 in the playoffs with a 2.29 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Vanecek is 1-3 with a 4.64 GAA and .825 SV. New Jersey has pulled their starting goalie in three of four games this series.
Carolina has used Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov in net. Andersen is 4-0 in the playoffs with a 1.80 GAA and .930 SV. Raanta is 3-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .906 SV. Kochetkov’s only action was in relief of Andersen in Game 3 as he allowed four goals on 22 shots.
The Hurricanes have outscored the Devils a combined 21-11 through four games. Outside of a wild 8-4 Game 3 victory, New Jersey has scored just a single goal in each of the other three games.
NHL best bet: Carolina Hurricanes win Game 5
Bonus pick: Over 5.5 total goals
Nuggets @ Suns Game 6: Has the sun set in Phoenix?
The injuries keep piling up for Phoenix. Trailing 3-2 in their second-round series against Denver, the Suns lost Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker to injuries in Game 5. Phoenix was already without Chris Paul, who hasn’t played since Game 2 because of a groin injury.
Paul has already been ruled out of Game 6, while Ayton is listed as questionable with a rib contusion. Booker hasn’t been added to the Suns’ injury report although it’s believed he is dealing with a foot injury. Phoenix will likely have Booker in the lineup for Game 6 which is huge considering through 10 playoff games he is averaging 35.9 points, 7.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Nikola Jokic continues to lead things on Denver’s side. Through 10 playoff games, Joker is averaging team-highs in points (30.6), rebounds (13.1), assists (9.5) and blocks (0.7). He’s coming off his 10th career triple-double in Game 5, leading the Nuggets to victory with 29 points, 13 boards and 12 dimes. The feat broke a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for most career playoff triple-doubles by a centre in NBA history.
Let’s not forget, the Suns also have a superstar in Kevin Durant, who is averaging 29.6 ppg in the playoffs. Bottom line, Phoenix needs to slow down Jokic in Game 6 and Booker needs to have himself a game if the Suns hope to go the distance in this series.
NBA best bet: Devin Booker Over 31.5 points
Rays @ Yankees: First vs. worst in the AL East
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays kick off a four-game set in the Bronx on Thursday night.
The Rays have been the story of the year so far as they lead the AL East with a scorching 29-9 record. They’ve skidded as of late, however, losing three of their last five games. They head into the weekend off a series loss to the Orioles, dropping two of three games in Baltimore.
The Yankees sit last in the AL East with a 21-17 record, but they’re starting to heat up. New York has won four of their last five games and just swept a three-game series against Oakland. The bats were working against the A’s as the Yankees pumped 28 runs past Oakland pitchers in the three-game set.
MLB best bet: Yankees win Game 1