Two leagues, two sports, and four teams play their second game of a best of seven series this weekend. The National Hockey League concluded game one between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers with L.A. narrowly emerging victorious on home ice in overtime. Their 3-2 win came 4:36 into extra time thanks to the stick of Justin Williams. The cold ice of the Staples Center would have been helpful to LeBron James in game one of Miami vs. San Antonio in the NBA, where the Heat were in fact wilted by the lack of AC in the AT&T Center of the Spurs. The 110-95 loss saw James only play 5 minutes of the fourth quarter due to cramps. Presumably the good folks of San Antonio will have the problem fixed for Sunday’s game, which tips off at 8 PM Eastern. Home court advantage and momentum seems to be favoring the Spurs with the odds makers, as the money line finds San Antonio to be a -210 favorite over +170 for LeBron and friends. They are also the favorite in the best of seven odds overall, -230 to +190. This is one of those times where I don’t necessarily believe the hype. Considering how heavily James has been criticized for failing in the clutch on Thursday I think he’s out to prove something in the second game. He’ll be well hydrated, he may even have a chill fan, but no matter how hot it gets in Texas he’s unlikely to cramp up or bow out. This battle has been pitted as age vs. youth by sports writers so it’s worth nothing that even with his problems James turned in 25 points, while Spurs team leader Tim Duncan managed only 21. As you ponder the option to bet the dog between now and then, you can watch the puck drop on the Rangers and Kings at 7:35 PM Eastern tonight. Again the book favors home ice and momentum as the Kings are -155 on the money line and the Rangers are +135 to beat the odds. Given we’ve already seen a game go into overtime you want to keep a close eye on that line as it’s -350 for no OT and +290 to go extra – I like that dog as much as the Heat rebounding (pun intended) from their first loss. Henrik Lundqvist kept things tight despite the Kings vaunted offense and barring an epic collapse it stands to reason he can do it again. What’s noteworthy about game one for me is that both Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick were stingy for the entire third period. but Lundqvist faced 20 attempts while Quick faced just 3. That says to me Lundqvist is more than holding up his end of the bargain and needs his teammates to crash the boards hard. Both teams are already playing physical with 18 minutes of penalties on Wednesday, but I think that #’s going up. I’d bet it if there was a line for it. The Kings are still the best of 7 favorite at -275 to +235, but I see little chance of the Rangers being swept in four straight. Remember that these previews are for entertainment purposes and you should only wager what you can afford. Enjoy the action this weekend!
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