2014 NBA and NHL Finals Preview – Another Potential Cup Clincher

nba-finals_headerThe New York Rangers will live to fight another day. Teetering on the brink of extinction after losing three straight games in the Stanley Cup Finals, the New York Rangers rallied to a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Henrik Lundqvist turned into one of his strongest post-season performances this year, only allowing 1 out of 41 attempts shots to find the net on a breakaway charge by Dustin Brown in the second period. The Rangers have to be concerned going into game five though, and not just because the Kings will get back home ice at the Staples Center. Jonathan Quick only had to face 19 shots all game long, so to extend the series further the Rangers either need to create more scoring opportunities, or to severely limit the # of attempts the Kings get on Lundqvist – he’s only human. Remember as you examine the odds that the Kings are still a HEAVY favorite on the best of seven series odds at -1250 versus +800 for the Rangers. The Rangers were a narrow favorite on the money line to avoid elimination in game four, but I’m not sure I’d take them as a dog in a series clincher in hostile territory. Check that money line closely – it’s currently -165 Kings to +145 Rangers. Even if you expect the Kings to hoist Lord Stanley’s trophy for the second time in three years on Friday, you could put some money on it going to overtime at +305. With the notable exception of game three the Finals have been close every game. Meanwhile in the NBA playoffs the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs having been trading off wins, with the Spurs gaining the 2-1 series lead going into tonight’s game at the American Airlines Arena at 9 PM Eastern. San Antonio now owns the edge on the best of seven series odds, which much like these two teams seems to trade off from game to game. At -220 to +180 for the Heat, I can come up with a good reason to justify a bet either way, but a slightly better one to justify buying the Heat. Even though they are the dogs on the series as a whole, the Heat are a -245 to +205 favorite for tonight’s game, and that’s not just because the Spurs are playing in hostile territory or due to the arena having a fully functional AC system. The Heat were uncharacteristically flat on Tuesday, with LeBron James only turning in 22 points in a losing effort. Did you ever expect to see a game where Kawhi Leonard would outscore King James? I wouldn’t count on that happening twice. The good news for the San Antonio Spurs is that if they DO beat the odds again both on and off the court, they’ll take a commanding 3-1 lead back home to San Antonio on Sunday night. In that case I’d surely bet on Tim Duncan and friends to heft some hardware at home, in what could arguably be the swan song of Duncan’s illustrious NBA career. The one thing we know for sure though is that it’s going to take at LEAST five games for either of these championship series’ to crown a victor. Please remember all previews are for entertainment purposes only and to wager responsibly. Thank you!

Written by Stevie J

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