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What to bet on Friday, with handicapper’s NHL pick (updated)

Updated September 11, 2020 - 11:12 am

The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors put their season on the line Friday against the Boston Celtics in a Game 7.

The Los Angeles Clippers can clinch their NBA series, and the Tampa Bay Lightning can all but clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final with a win.

Here’s the betting menu for Friday (odds at the Westgate, updated at 11 a.m.):


(All games at Lake Buena Vista, Florida)

Los Angeles Clippers (-8½, total 216, -400 ML) vs. Denver (+330 ML), Game 5, 3:30 p.m.

The Clippers look to finish off a workmanlike series victory over the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. The Clippers are up 3-1 in the series but are 2-2 against the spread. They jumped out to a big lead in Game 4 as 8-point favorites, then coasted to a 96-85 victory. Every game in the series has gone under, and totals have gradually shifted down from Game 1’s 223½. The Clippers are -10,000 (bet $10,000 to win $100) to win the series. Denver is +2,000 to rally and win three in a row.

Line movement: Los Angeles up from -8. Total down from 217. Los Angeles ML up from -340.

Toronto (+135) vs. Boston (-3, 204½, -155), Game 7, 6 p.m.

The third-seeded Celtics have mostly controlled the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the No. 2 seed and defending NBA champion Raptors, but here we are at Game 7. Toronto pulled out a 125-122 victory in double overtime to force the final game. Boston’s three victories in the series have been by a combined 43 points; Toronto’s have been by 11. The Celtics covered the first three games of the series as underdogs, winning two straight-up. They’ve been favored in the three games since by 2 or 3 points and have lost two of them. They’re favored again for Game 7. Every game in the series has gone under the total in regulation, though double OT pushed Game 6 over. The total has plummeted from 217½ in Game 1.

Line movement: Boston up from -2½. Total up from 203½. Boston ML up from -140.


(At Edmonton, Alberta)

Tampa Bay (-140, 5 over -130) vs. New York Islanders (+130), Game 3, 5 p.m.

The Lightning dealt a crushing defeat to the Islanders in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, scoring with 8.8 seconds left to earn a 2-1 victory and 2-0 series lead. Will New York have anything left in the tank for Game 3? The price on Tampa Bay has dropped from -165 in Game 2. The total remains 5 after Game 1 went way over (10) and Game 2 stayed way under. The Lightning are -1,600 to win the series (Islanders +900). Look for more analysis and a handicapper’s pick on the game below.

Line movement: Tampa Bay down sharply from -155.


(Pitchers subject to change)

(Note: xFIP is an advanced stat that is a more accurate measure of a pitcher’s performance than ERA.)

Baltimore (+220) at New York Yankees (-250, 6½ under -115), 1:05 p.m. (first game of seven-inning doubleheader)

Probable pitchers: Baltimore’s Alex Cobb (RHP, 1-3, 4.33 ERA, 4.25 xFIP) vs. New York’s Gerrit Cole (RHP, 4-3, 3.63 ERA, 3.59 xFIP)

Baltimore (+175) at New York Yankees (-190, 6½ over -120), about 4:05 p.m. (second game of seven-inning doubleheader)

Probable pitchers: Baltimore’s Keegan Akin (LHP, 0-0, 2.08 ERA, 4.68 xFIP) vs. New York’s Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 4.38 xFIP)

Philadelphia (-155, 6 under -120) at Miami (+145), 2:10 p.m. (first game of seven-inning doubleheader)

Probable pitchers: Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (RHP, 4-3, 2.74 ERA, 2.52 xFIP) vs. Miami’s Trevor Rogers (LHP, 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 3.81 xFIP)

Line movement: Philadelphia up from -150. Total now juiced to under after being over -115.

Philadelphia (-120, 7½ under -115) at Miami (+110), about 5:10 p.m. (second game of seven-inning doubleheader)

Probable pitchers: Undecided vs. undecided

Atlanta (-148, 10½ over -120) at Washington (+138), 3:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Atlanta’s Josh Tomlin (RHP, 2-2, 3.77 ERA, 4.35 xFIP) vs. Washington’s Erick Fedde (RHP, 1-3, 5.29 ERA, 5.62 xFIP)

Line movement: Total down from 11 under -120.

New York Mets (-200, 8½ over -120) vs. Toronto (+180), 3:37 p.m. at Buffalo, New York

Probable pitchers: New York’s Jacob deGrom (RHP, 3-1, 1.69 ERA, 2.34 xFIP) vs. Toronto’s Chase Anderson (RHP, 0-0, 4.94 ERA, 4.23 xFIP)

Line movement: New York up from -190. Total now juiced to over after being 8½ -110.

Boston (+210) at Tampa Bay (-240, 8½), 3:40 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Boston’s Andrew Triggs (RHP, 0-2, 9.95 ERA, 5.81 xFIP) vs. Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell (LHP, 3-1, 3.74 ERA, 3.15 xFIP)

Pittsburgh (+122) at Kansas City (-132, 8½ over -120), 5:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Pittsburgh’s Steven Brault (LHP, 0-2, 4.37 ERA, 5.22 xFIP) vs. Kansas City’s Kris Bubic (LHP, 0-5, 4.89 ERA, 4.65 xFIP)

Line movement: Kansas City up from -120. Total down from 9 under -115.

Oakland (-174, 9½ over -115) at Texas (+162), 5:05 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Oakland’s Mike Fiers (RHP, 4-2, 4.93 ERA, 5.93 xFIP) vs. Texas’ Luis Garcia (RHP, 0-1, 3.68 ERA, 4.09 xFIP)

Detroit (+240) at Chicago White Sox (-270, 8 over -115), 5:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Detroit’s Casey Mize (RHP, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 5.31 xFIP) vs. Chicago’s Lucas Giolito (RHP, 4-2, 3.29 ERA, 2.97 xFIP)

Line movement: Chicago down from -280. Total down sharply from 9 under -120.

Chicago Cubs (+160) at Milwaukee (-170, 9 over -115), 5:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Chicago’s Jon Lester (LHP, 2-2, 5.80 ERA, 5.48 xFIP) vs. Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff (RHP, 2-3, 3.91 ERA, 3.77 xFIP)

Line movement: Milwaukee up from -150. Total up from 8½ -110.

Cleveland (-107, 7 under -120) at Minnesota (-103), 5:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (RHP, 7-0, 1.25 ERA, 1.72 xFIP) vs. Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda (RHP, 4-1, 2.77 ERA, 2.78 xFIP)

Cincinnati (-115, 8 under -115) at St. Louis (+105), 5:15 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo (RHP, 1-5, 3.95 ERA, 3.01 xFIP) vs. St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright (RHP, 4-0, 2.68 ERA, 4.50 xFIP)

Line movement: Total now juiced to under after being over -115.

Los Angeles Angels (+120) at Colorado (-130, 12 under -115), 5:40 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Los Angeles’ Griffin Canning (RHP, 0-3, 4.54 ERA, 5.14 xFIP) vs. Colorado’s German Marquez (RHP, 2-5, 4.58 ERA, 3.94 xFIP)

Line movement: Total now juiced to under after being over -115.

San Francisco (+149) at San Diego (-159, 9), 6:10 p.m.

Probable pitchers: San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto (RHP, 2-0, 4.56 ERA, 4.68 xFIP) vs. San Diego’s Garrett Richards (RHP, 2-2, 4.50 ERA, 4.26 xFIP)

Line movement: San Diego up from -150. Total now 9 -110 after being 9 over -115.

Seattle (-107, 9 over -125) at Arizona (-103), 6:40 p.m.

Probable pitchers: Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, 2-2, 5.23 ERA, 3.09 xFIP) vs. Arizona’s Caleb Smith (LHP, 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 10.44 xFIP)

What happened Thursday


— Kansas City (-9½) began its Super Bowl title defense with a 34-20 home victory over Houston in the NFL season opener. The game went over 53½ on a 19-yard Chiefs field goal with 30 seconds to play, handing under bettors the first bad beat of the season. Early under bettors won with numbers from 56½ to 54½. After the Texans took a 7-0 lead, the Chiefs ripped off 31 straight points before the Texans tacked on two touchdowns in the last seven-plus minutes.

College football

— Miami (Fla.) (-15½) eased past UAB in a 31-14 victory. The game stayed under 55. The Hurricanes dominated on the ground, outrushing the Blazers 337-80. UAB backers weren’t happy to see the Blazers punt on fourth-and-8 from the Miami 42 with 4:27 to play.


— The Los Angeles Lakers (-5½) moved within one win of the Western Conference finals, taking a 3-1 series lead with a 110-100 victory over Houston that wasn’t as close as it appeared. The game stayed under 218½. The Lakers led by 16 entering the fourth quarter and held that same lead with just over four minutes to play. Houston then made a late run, getting within five in the final minute before the Lakers closed out the cover. Los Angeles crushed Houston on the boards, 52-26. The Rockets had one offensive rebound in the game. James Harden had 21 points for Houston, but 16 were on free throws. He was only 2 of 11 from the field and 1 of 6 on 3-pointers.


— Dallas (+150) scored 31 seconds into overtime to beat the Golden Knights 3-2 and take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. The game stayed under 5½. Vegas outshot the Stars 40-23 in the game and is outshooting them 97-72 for the series, but Dallas holds the series lead, cashing twice as a sizable underdog. Despite being down, the Knights are still -125 to win the series in a line reposted overnight by Circa Sports (Stars +105).


Favorites split 5-5, with Phillies-Marlins closing pick’em and Orioles-Yankees postponed because of weather. Kansas City (+200) pulled off its third straight upset of Cleveland at a big price (+185 and +190 the previous two games). Arizona (+210 vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers), Boston (+180 at Tampa Bay) and Detroit (+175 at St. Louis in the second game of a doubleheader) also cashed a big numbers.

Totals went 6-5 to the over.

Hot Corner handicapper selection

Over 5 Lightning-Islanders (-130)

Dana Lane (@DanaLaneSports, 5-6, -1.37 units): Teams that have a 2-0 series lead win the series 87 percent of the time, including 5-0 this year. However, Barry Trotz is no stranger to being down 2-0. In 2018, his Capitals rebounded to knock out the Columbus Blue Jackets in six.

That was then. If you like the Lightning, like I do, you simply have to play the over as well, because when Tampa Bay wins it will be because it was the superior offensive team, never allowing the Islanders to get comfortable in their desired defensive game.

Although Game 2 was an easy under, almost half of the total combined shots never made it to the net. If the accuracy improves, there will be more than enough scoring chances to put this game over. I expect the teams to have more than 50 shots on goal combined because I believe Tampa Bay will carry the play, meaning a higher-paced game, with or without the injured Brayden Point.

Look for the Lightning to extend their six-game unbeaten streak while improving their +17 margin over that time.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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