Zion provides immediate spark for Pelicans, and the NBA bets you need to make this Wednesday

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It’s a huge night in the Association with 24 teams in action today which includes marquee matchups between the 76ers and Raptors, and a battle of two of the best in the West, as the Rockets host the Nuggets. However, all eyes will be on New Orleans as Zion Williamson finally makes his NBA debut.

Monique Vág is here to bring you the must-read betting notes from around the NBA to help you make the day’s best wagers.


The finally healthy Toronto Raptors are 7-point favorites as they host the Philadelphia 76ers, who will be without Joel Embiid. The 76ers have won four straight games by playing stellar defense holding two of their last four opponents under 90 points. But despite that good defensive play, the Sixers have struggled mightily in Toronto, having lost 16 of their last 17 games at the Scotiabank Arena.

Look for a slower pace out of the gates as both teams rank in the middle of the pack in terms of first half points per game, and seem to up the intensity when they face off. Over the last three head-to-head meetings they have struggled putting up points early with the average score at halftime being 48-45. Bet Under the first half total of 112.


The Sacramento Kings hope to snap their five game losing streak as they travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons. Detroit has struggled at home this season covering the spread only once through its last nine tries, but has played well at home versus the Kings posting a 7-2 record.

Although they have yet to meet up this season, in two meetings last season Buddy Hield averaged 26.5 points per game on an insane 60 percent shooting from the floor and 64 percent from beyond the arc. Look for similar numbers today and bet Over his points total of 18.5.


The Orlando Magic are 1.5-point home favorites as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Orlando has struggled offensively being held under 100 in two of its last three games. And both teams play at a very slow pace with Orlando ranking last in the Association at home averaging 100 possessions per game, while OKC ranks 26th on the road averaging 101.9.

The Under has hit in seven straight at home for the Magic and the slower pace should keep this one low scoring. Take the Under 210.


The Denver Nuggets will once again be shorthanded as they travel to Houston to take on the Rockets. Denver will be without Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Mason Plumlee, and Jamal Murray. Despite the injuries, the Nuggets have split their last two games. However, they face a real tough task versus a Rockets team that can put up points in a hurry and recently defeated the Nuggets on December 31st by a score of 130-104.

Over their last three games the Nuggets have only averaged 50 in the first half and rank 22nd overall in that category. Expect a quick start out of Houston who rank as the highest scoring first half team in the Association averaging 60.6 points.  Bet the Rockets on the first half spread laying 4.5-points.


It’s a day of celebration in New Orleans, as it’s not only the debut of Zion Williamson for the Pelicans, but they also receive another healthy dose of offense as JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday are upgraded to probable. As a result, the Pels are 3.5-point home favorites as they host the San Antonio Spurs.

The Pelicans have been the highest scoring team in the Association over their last three games averaging 131.3 points per game on an excellent 52.1 percent shooting. With the Spurs giving up 115.8 away from home, and the Pels finally getting to full health, look for the New Orleans offense to prove to be too much. Take the Pelicans on the spread laying 3.5-points.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1


Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.


Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.


The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)


Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)


Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook