Bookmaker Sportsbook is all set and ready to go with Kentucky Derby betting action on this, the 137th Kentucky Derby! We’re all set to take one last look this morning at the live Kentucky Derby odds, and we’ll make our final free Kentucky Derby picks for the biggest race of the year, as 19 colts are set to take to the track at Churchill Downs!
The biggest development over the course of the last two days is that Uncle Mo, who was scheduled to start out of the No. 18 position, was scratched. This really leaves the door wide open for the big favorite of the race, #8 Dialed In to make a big time run without all that much competition in terms of favorites. Of course, there are a bunch of horses that are going to be trying to gun him down, but we know that this isn’t a horse that we are going to see in the lead at the top of the backstretch. Dialed In is going to try to make his move around the far turn, and for the most part in his career, when he has kicked it into gear, it has been all over but the crying. Thus far in his career, Dialed In has three wins and a second place finish, and he is absolutely the bona fide favorite right now on the live Kentucky Derby odds. If there’s a horse that can become the first Triple Crown winner in decades, Dialed In is the one that can do it.
Wet weather could be in the forecast on Saturday afternoon in “My Old Kentucky Home,” and with that most likely being the case, we are going to be looking for horses that can run in the slop and in the long distances. We know that #17 Soldat has a great history of races both in wet weather and on turf. He ran at Gulfstream Park in the wet conditions in the first race of his career on dirt, and he came away as a big time winner, capturing that particular race by 10 3/4 lengths. Whereas we’re not all that sure whether so many other horses can make the distance or not, we know that Soldat has already run three races at 1 1/8 miles, and there is no doubt that he’ll be able to get through this whole race. The question is whether he’ll be able to get position right out of the blocks from the far outside, which has to be the biggest concern of his Kentucky Derby betting fans, knowing that he is generally an on the pace horse.
The trickiest horse to handicap in this entire field might be #11 Master of Hounds. Here in the States, we really haven’t gotten any looks at this three year old, as he was raised in Great Britain and made a name for himself by running in a number of races on the other side of the pond. He was nosed out at the wire at the UAE Derby in March, his most recent prep race, and he has some decent results aside from that at some relatively longer distances as well. Again, rain isn’t an issue, and neither should the length of the race. Master of Hounds is definitely one to look for.
If there are two other horses that you are going to want to throw into your exotic boxes, they are #9 Derby Kitten and #7 Pants On Fire. Derby Kitten is going to go off as one of the longest shots on the board, and though he has never run at a level like this before, he definitely does have the turf background and the solid distance running to be able to get the job done. Our fear with this horse is that JJ Castallano, the jockey of this colt, has never been aboard him before. Pants On Fire has already built a great rapport with his jockey, Rosie Napravnik, who could become the first female jockey to win a Kentucky Derby if she gets the job done.
In the end, we are looking at a trifecta box and a superfecta box circling around the favorite, Dialed In, and the No. 17, Soldat. Don’t be afraid to put some coin down on Soldat to win, place, and show, knowing if Dialed In ends up off the board, we could see some very, very strong prices when push comes to shove.
Kentucky Derby Predictions: 7-8-9-11-17 Trifecta Box
Live Kentucky Derby Odds (As Of 9:45 AM ET)
#1 Archarcharch 13/1
#2 Brilliant Speed 30/1
#3 Twice The Appeal 7/1
#4 Stay Thirsty 16/1
#5 Decisive Moment 37/1
#6 Comma To The Top 42/1
#7 Pants On Fire 20/1
#8 Dialed In 5/1
#9 Derby Kitten 29/1
#10 Twinspired 21/1
#11 Master Of Hounds 19/1
#12 Santiva 29/1
#13 Mucho Macho Man 12/1
#14 Shackleford 2/1
#15 Midnight Interlude 10/1
#16 Animal Kingdom 23/1
#17 Soldat 17/1
#18 Uncle Mo (Scratch)
#19 Nehro 8/1
#20 Watch Me Go 26/1
In one of the biggest fights that we have seen in quite some time, boxing betting fanatics will get their chance to sink their teeth into the bout between “Sugar” Shane Mosley and the “Pac-Man,” Manny Pacquiao.
What we have to remember about this fight is that there are a ton of boxing pundits making Pacquiao picks in this fight, which has pushed the line an incredible ways. Right now at Bookmaker Sportsbook, Pacquiao is a -1000 favorite on the boxing odds, and that might only get higher as the day wears on and there is more and more support coming in for the Philippine.
We have to admit that Pacquiao is, of course, the best pound for pound boxer in the world. There is no doubt that he is going to be the heavy favorite due to the fact that he hasn’t lost a fight in six years and that he is 52-3-2 for his career. There is no doubt that he is going to be the stronger boxer in the ring, especially knowing that Mosley is really pushing an age that boxers tend to disappear. Heck, the American has even threatened retirement if he gets beaten badly in this bout, almost insinuating that the possibility is there that he gets the you know what beaten out of him.
However, the sharpest of boxing betting pundits realizes that every boxer has his moment when he just fails in the limelight. We saw Roy Jones Jr. get taken down not once, but twice by Antonio Tarver, a man who really shouldn’t have been standing in the same ring with the man once known as the best pound for pound boxer in the world. We’ve seen all sorts of crazy things in the ring just like this.
Mosley has never been knocked out before in his career, but with 38 knockouts in 52 victories, many think that this is going to be the time that it happens. That’s why the boxing betting line features this fight to be under 11.5 rounds at -200.
However, take a look at the last few fights that Pacquiao has had. Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey both made it the distance with the Pac Man, while Miguel Angel Cotto ended up losing via TKO with virtually no time left in the bout.
We’re not saying that Pacquiao is going to be beaten in this match, but we know that the Pacquiao vs. Mosley odds just aren’t on his side. Mosley is a strong fighter that is at the tail end of his career, and he knows that he has to do everything he can to try to wear Pacquiao out to stretch this fight out as long as possible. It’s a heck of a lot easier said than done, but we do think that the end result is going to see this one going the distance. We might be seeing Sugar Shane for the last time, but it won’t be with him lying on his back.
The Boston Celtics are on the verge of disaster right now, and the Eastern Conference Semifinals clash that they are about to have with the Miami Heat in Game 3 could prove to be the beginning of the end of their dynasty if things don’t go their way for NBA playoffs picks at the TD Garden.
The Heat have really taken control of this series, and they certainly look like the best side right now in the league. After all of this is said and done, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have combined to make up a fantastic defense, and after a season chock full of losing out to some of the best teams in the league over and over again, it is Miami that is still in the best of shape, while the rest of those teams are either out of the playoffs or in some serious trouble. The Heat have allowed an average of just 85.8 points per game to the C’s in the last four games of this series dating back to February, and they have won three in a row now both SU and ATS, including the one that earned home court advantage in this juncture of the playoffs. The only bugaboo is that it is has been quite some time since Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and company have won a game in Beantown, but the good news is that Miami has earned the right to not have to do that to win this series. Instead, all of the pressure is squarely on the back on Boston to hold serve twice on its home court to have virtually any chance of extending this series too much further.
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The Celts are on the ropes for sure, and in spite of the fact that their injury report is about eight miles long, Head Coach Doc Rivers remains cool, calm, and collected about the whole situation. Rajon Rondo is battling a back injury, Ray Allen a chest problem, and Paul Pierce and Achilles issue, but we know that all three of these men are going to be playing, basically dead or alive. The questions are the O’Neal boys. Jermaine O’Neal has essentially had chronic issues of some kind or another this whole season, and now, it is his back that is acting up that held him to just 19 minutes in Game 2′s defeat. Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t played in a game since April 3rd, and that was his only game in the lineup since February 1st (and for the record, he has only played in five games since January 14th!). The Big Shaqtus did average 9.2 points per game when he was in the lineup this year, but we look at his return as a way to make a team that was already old and decrepit even more old and decrepit.
We could see the Celtics winning this game and making this a series, but it really feels like it would be a bit of a miracle if that were to actually happen. The Heat have been playing the better ball of these two teams for sure, and we think that it’ll show again in the form of a mild upset on Saturday night to give Miami a commanding 3-0 series lead on the defending Eastern Conference champs.
Free NBA Pick: Miami Heat
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t won a heck of a lot of road games in the playoffs since moving from Seattle (in fact, the number is 1), but on Saturday night, they’ll be looking to up that number against a team that hasn’t won a heck of a lot of NBA playoffs betting battles at home in their lives either (in fact, the number is 3) in the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder seemingly woke up from their Game 1 slumber and ended up putting a licking on the Grizz right off the bat in Game 2. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both of which were given bad raps after an iffy first game of this series, came out with a lot more gusto in a game that looked a lot more like a traditional up and down OKC game with a lot less physicality. Durant score 26 points and had five boards, while Westbrook had 24 points and six assists. The real difference makers came off of the bench on this night though, as James Harden and Eric Maynor had 21 and 15 points respectively. Harden was a pillar at the line, going 11-of-11. Maybe was the three point assassin, coming up with three triples and a total of 6-of-7 shooting from the floor. Nick Collison also had seven points and seven rebounds. Serge Ibaka battled foul trouble the whole night and ended with eight points and six rebounds. Nazr Mohammad and Kendrick Perkins were both relatively unseen with a combined two points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies have to be concerned about the way that Game 2 panned out. OKC rumbled to 17 fast break points and had 38 points in the paint, numbers which could be very, very bad for their future in this series. The defense allowed the Thunder to shoot 52.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from downtown. On the other side of the court though, Memphis only shot 44.3 percent overall. If you take away the three long range shots that Mike Conley Jr. knocked down, the rest of the team only went 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. The good news is that Marc Gasol had another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Conley looked great as well, going 10-of-15 from the field for 24 points and eight assists. The big man that was missing in action was Zach Randolph. Z-Bo went absolutely bananas in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, but for as great as he was in Game 1, he was that dreadful in Game 2. Randolph shot 2-of-13 from the field and had just 15 points and nine rebounds. OJ Mayo and Darrell Arthur came off of the bench to have respectable games, scoring 16 points and nine points respectively.
On Friday, we saw the Chicago Bulls really assert themselves as the better team in their second round series against the Atlanta Hawks. We expect to see this play out the very same way for the Thunder against Memphis. Expect the new kids on the block to fold under the pressure of a very, very big Game 3, and Oklahoma City will end up prevailing by a relatively comfortable margin.
NBA Free Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder
Boston Red Sox
A day after breaking a seven game drought at Fenway Park, the Minnesota Twins will look to get back in the saddle once again in MLB betting action against the Boston Red Sox.
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Needless to say, the Twins aren’t really doing much to help out their chances of making the playoffs this year, as they are just 12-18. However, what we do have to remember is that this is a team that is playing its 21st road game of the year on Saturday. It only has 10 games played at Target Field, and some of those have come against some absolutely red hot opponents. Dating back to last season, Manager Rod Gardenhire’s club is just 14-29 though, and that doesn’t bode well for the future. Thanks to a solid pitching performance by Scott Baker and the fact that the team was able to get to Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball quite a bit, Minnesota picked up a 9-2 win on Friday night. Brian Duensing will need to turn in the same type of performance to beat the MLB betting lines on Saturday. At 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA, one could argue that Duensing has been the best pitcher for the Twins all season long. He hasn’t had a start this year in which he has allowed more than four runs, and he has conceded just seven earned runs in his last four starts. The southpaw also has thrown 34.0 innings in five outings, making him a consistent relief on the bullpen to boot.
Boston just hasn’t figured it out as of yet. It has dropped three in a row, all of which have come at Fenway Park, and it is only batting .247 and averaging 4.09 runs per game as a team. Only Jed Lowrie and Adrian Gonzalez are batting anywhere near .300 on the season, and only David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury are batting batter than .237 beyond that. Now it’s up to Clay Buchholz to start to turn the tide in the other direction. Buchholz really hasn’t pitched well in his career against the Twins, going 1-1 with a dud of a 6.57 ERA. This year though, the 26 year old has been awfully consistent, yet not he hasn’t been pitching up to his full potential. Last year, Buchholz had a 2.33 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. This year, his ERA is 4.81 and his WHIP is 1.78. Walking 18 batters against just 17 strikeouts is bad, bad news for Buchholz, and six homers allowed in six starts is nowhere near the nine he conceded in 28 starts a season ago. Buchholz has also given up 20 hits in his last two starts, which is why batters are hitting a stunning .311 against him for the year.
At some point, things are going to turn around for the boys from Beantown. Perhaps we’re overpaying to get the Sox on our side, but we are confident that this is the right MLB pick, knowing that Buchholz should be improving and that the Twinkies have still had absolutely no luck here in Boston.
MLB Free Pick: Boston Red Sox
The Reds have been the dominating team in this series over the course of the last eight games, taking care of the Cubs in seven of the eight duels. To make matters worse for the hosts, Cincinnati is 21-6 in its last 27 games played on Saturday. The bullpen really pitched well in the game on Friday night, and Jay Bruce blasted his seventh home run of the season to help lead the team to victory. Now, Bronson Arroyo hopes that he can get that type of help as well. Arroyo really hasn’t been anything all that special this year, especially of late. He is only 1-3 in his last four starts and has watched his ERA jump from 2.08 to 4.17. Arroyo does have some decent splits though, with a K/BB ratio of better than 4/1 and a 1.31 WHIP. We know that batters won’t hit .277 against him all year as well. There’s also something about the Cubs that brings out the best in this righty, as he is 9-7 with a 2.80 career ERA against them. On the road, Arroyo has been remarkable as well, going 2-0 with a svelte 0.73 ERA.
The Cubs clearly have some major pitching problems right now. They have a 4.70 team ERA and a 1.45 WHIP as a team. Both numbers rank second to last in the league. There are only 10 quality starts in 31 games, and none of those have come from Saturday’s starter, Casey Coleman. We’d like to say that this is a last chance of sorts for the 23 year old from Fort Myers, but we really don’t know what other directions that Manager Mike Quade can turn to if this project doesn’t work out. Coleman is just 1-2 this year with a 7.36 ERA in four starts. He has more walks (13) than strikeouts (12), and he hasn’t made it through six innings yet on the season. In his one previous start at Wrigley Field this year, he allowed six runs in 2.2 innings of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers and got the hook quickly. About the only thing that can save Chicago is a solid offense, which is headed up by Alfonso Soriano and his 11 dingers on the campaign.
It’s so hard to back Cincinnati as road favorites, but we know that the Cubbies are being overvalued right here at just +100. Coleman looks absolutely lost right now and overmatched by some of the best bats in the game, and Cincinnati’s hitters should be able to make mincemeat out of him. As long as Arroyo keeps his head on straight and comes up with a respectable start, the Reds are the right play on the MLB odds.
MLB Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds
Does this look familiar, Philly? The Philadelphia Flyers are in a 3-0 series hole against the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season. However, the B’s will look to eradicate last year’s issues on Friday night once and for all at home by taking care of any ideas of a comeback in Game 4 in NHL playoffs betting action.
The Flyers just don’t have a goaltender that can be trusted right now. It’s anyone’s guess whether it’ll Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, Michael Leighton, Ron Hextall, or any of the goalies during the Broad Street Bullies era that takes the ice on Friday night for Head Coach Peter Laviolette, but almost one thing is for certain. Whomever that starting goalie is will be getting the hook at some point along the way. All three of Bobrovsky, Boucher, and Leighton have GAAs above 3.00 in the playoffs, and it is truly a remarkable happening that Philly is even still in the postseason with stats like that. Of course, not all hope is lost due to the fact that this is an offense that can drop five or six goals on anyone that it runs across. Daniels Briere and James Van Riemsdyk both have seven goal in the postseason, and Claude Giroux has 11 assists to lead the league in that category. The power play has already produced seven goals in the playoffs, and the team is doing a great job of keeping up, all things considered.
We keep saying how important closing this series out quickly is for the Bruins, and the argument could be made that this is the most important Game 4 for a team up 3-0 in a series in the history of the league after last year’s debacle from up 3-0. The more we see out of Boston, the more that we think it will be alright in this series, as the stars are really starting to align. Zdeno Chara scored twice, once 30 ticks into the game and once just over a minute away from the death in the 5-1 win on Wednesday night. David Krejci also scored just over a minute into the game, putting the Flyers in that 2-0 hole that they would never be able to recover from. Of course, the man of the hour is Tim Thomas. Thomas was the one man that had nothing to do with blowing that 3-0 series lead, as he sat on the bench and watched as Tuukka Rask was lit up seemingly night after night. Thomas stopped 37 of the 38 shots that he faced in Game 3, and he really is looking like the most dominating goaltender in the league once again.
In another season, in another situation, with any two different teams, and perhaps we would be making different NHL picks. However, we just have to go with the Bruins, and we aren’t afraid to play them on the puck line. There is no way that the B’s are going to miss out on this chance to take out the brooms and bust them over the Flyers’ heads after last year, and that’s exactly what will happen at the TD Garden on Friday night.
Free Hockey Pick: Boston Bruins
The Atlanta Hawks salvaged a split in the Windy City in the second round of NBA playoffs betting action, and they’re back at it back at Phillips Arena on Friday night for Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls.
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As we’ve said time and time again for the Hawks, the key is going to be getting off to a good start. In Game 1, Atlanta opened up on a 9-0 run and never really looked back. In Game 2, it was down 25-19 after one quarter and 48-37 at halftime, and it never really seriously posted a tremendous threat beyond that. The really bad news though, is just how bad this team was outside of Jeff Teague on Wednesday night. Teague, filling in for the injured Kirk Hinrich, definitely proved his worth, shooting 7-of-14 from the floor and accounting for a team high 21 points. The rest of the team shot just 19-of-63 from the floor, a dreadful 29.7 percent. Jamal Crawford was one of the bigger offenders, going just 2-of-10 off the bench and scoring just 11 of the bench’s 13 total points in the game, while Al Horford wasn’t much better at 3-of-12 shooting. The only positive that Horford can say is that he did have six assists and 14 rebound to show for his work. Getting 16 points out of Joe Johnson just wasn’t enough in a game in which one of the team’s top stars wasn’t in the fold. Hinrich will once again miss Game 3 with his hamstring injury, giving more time once again to Teague.
It’s not like Chicago really did anything all that remarkable offensively in Game 2. It only shot 39.3 percent from the floor and 22.7 percent from beyond the arc. The only notable number that stands out on the page from a scoring perspective was the 25 points put up by Derrick Rose, but then again, we’ve come to expect that sort of performance from the league’s newly crowned MVP. Joakim Noah scored 19 points, while Luol Deng had 14, but no one else scored more than eight points. Kyle Korver had his worst shooting night of the playoffs, going 1-of-9 from the floor and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Carlos Boozer made just four of his 12 shots. The real difference though, came on the glass. The Bulls absolutely cleaned up, grabbing 44 defensive rebounds, five more on the boards than the Hawks had in total. Chicago also had 14 offensive rebounds, seven of which came from Noah. The former Florida Gators had 14 rebounds, but Deng and Boozer both reached double digits as well. Rose had six rebounds and 10 helpers.
We are now at the point that the Bulls should be taking this series over. Home court advantage will be key for the Hawks, but missing Hinrich is going to hurt more than Head Coach Larry Drew probably wants to admit. Beat the NBA betting odds by taking the visitors on Friday night.
NBA Free Pick: Chicago Bulls
Bookmaker Sportsbook is back with a slew of Kentucky Derby betting options for you for this, the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon! A wet track is expected for the Run for the Roses this year, and Mother Nature doesn’t end up cooperating, we could end up with some wild results in the biggest race of the season. The road through the Triple Crown starts with us here at Bang the Book, and our expert horse handicappers are diving right into all of the action, as we are analyzing the morning lines for all of the horses in the field!
1: Archarcharch (10/1) – A horse without a ton of background, Archarcharch is coming off of the biggest race of his life, a win at the Arkansas Derby against some tremendous odds.
2: Brilliant Speed (30/1) – Joel Rosario has only been aboard this colt one time in his career, and it happened to be a huge run at the Blue Grass Stakes in which Brilliant Speed dodged around six horses in the stretch run to nose out a victory at 19/1.
3: Twice the Appeal (20/1) – The one time that Twice the Appeal ran in wet conditions, he romped to the biggest victory of his career. He’s coming off of a win at the Sun Derby, but that was only a G3 race. This is his first shot with the big boys at the G1 level, but he does have legendary jockey, Calvin Borel on his back.
4: Stay Thirsty (20/1) – Ramon Dominguez had a rough ride above Stay Thirsty at the Florida Derby, finishing 16+ lengths off of the pace. He has run in three G1 races in his career, making him one of the most experienced colts at this level, but he has finished at least 14 lengths back in two of those three races.
5: Decisive Moment (30/1) – There have been two runs for Decisive Moment on wet tracks before, a win and a third place finish, and this could be the year that a horse like this one comes out of nowhere to be victorious.
6: Comma to the Top (30/1) – With 13 races under his belt, Comma to the Top is the most experienced horse in this field in terms of races ran. However, what does it say when his jockey for the last six of those races, Corey Nakatani, has elected to run on a different horse in the Derby?
7: Pants On Fire (20/1) – Anna Napravnik can become the first female jockey to win the Run for the Roses with a win. Pants On Fire’s most recent run at the Louisiana Derby proved to be his best, a win by a neck with a whopping 94 speed rating.
8: Dialed In (4/1) – With Uncle Mo in doubt, Trainer Nick Zito has the new Kentucky Derby favorite, especially after that win at the Florida Derby in April. Dialed In is legit and is a huge closer that can make some big time moves at the wire.
9: Derby Kitten (30/1) – The Kentucky Derby odds will probably end up seeing Derby Kitten as one of the longest shots on the board, but JJ Castellano isn’t going to let this two time winner down.
10: Twinspired (30/1) – We are inspired by Twinspired after that great run at the Blue Grass Stake, but we are definitely a bit cautious over the fact that he was beaten by almost two full lengths in the final furlong of the race. He needs to go a quarter mile more than that 1 1/8 mile run in this one on Saturday.
11: Master of Hounds (30/1) – The lone horse that ran in the UAE in this race, Master of Hounds might be more suited to run in the wet weather and the iffy conditions. He is the only horse to run nearly 1 1/4 miles to date, and he came up just short by a nose at the UAE Derby in March. He’s also got some absolutely stunning pedigree, led by Mr. Prospector in his bloodlines.
12: Santiva (30/1) – Though the run at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile last year had to be considered a big time ‘W’ for Santiva, we are leery of the fact that this is a colt that has already had three different trainers and five different jockeys in just six races in his career.
13: Mucho Macho Man (12/1) – Man are loving what they are seeing in Mucho Macho Man because he has a great Kentucky Derby post position and is coming off of back to back speed ratings in the 90s at the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby.
14: Shackleford (12/1) – Shacklford was 69/1 at the Florida Derby, and he only ended up losing by a head when push came to shove at the wire against the bona fide favorite on the Kentucky Derby betting lines, Dialed In.
15: Midnight Interlude (10/1) – The Santa Anita Derby winner doesn’t have a heck of a lot of races in his career, but the few that he has run, he has been in the money every single time. This is a rare three year old that didn’t end up running at all as a two year old.
16: Animal Kingdom (30/1) – Jockey Alan Garcia elected to ride Soldat instead of Animal Kingdom, and we never think that it’s good for a horse to deviate from the jockey that he most recently ran with.
17: Soldat (12/1) – The most recent run that Soldat had has to be concerning, as he finished 10+ lengths off of the pace at the Florida Derby, but aside from that, this is a horse that has run incredibly well in his career, especially with jockey, Alan Garcia aboard.
18: Uncle Mo (9/2) – Once figured to be the runaway favorite to win the Derby, Kentucky Derby betting pundits are backing off on Uncle Mo due to his iffy injury status, his recent questionable workout times, and the fact that he was caught at the wire and fell apart at the Wood Memorial in April. Still, it’s hard to ignore that absolute romp at the Breeders Cup Juvenile when he turned in a 4 1/4 lengths win and had a 108 speed rating.
19: Nehro (6/1) – Jockey Corey Nakatani could have had his pick of the litter for horses in this race. He hasn’t been able to get Nehro to the winner’s circle quite yet, as he was beaten by a neck at the Arkansas Derby and was just short at the Louisiana Derby, but regardless, this is still a colt that has a ton of potential in this race.
20: Watch Me Go (50/1) – Poor Watch Me Go probably didn’t stand much of a chance with Luis Garcia riding him, but now that he has had to switch jockeys and has to start from the far outside, we really can’t see his chances being anything notable, especially after finishing 17 lengths out in the Illinois Derby.
Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals goes off on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, and here at Fastline Sports, we’re making our Stanley Cup picks on the duel between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver really hasn’t flexed its muscles yet in this series, which has to be considered awfully scary for the hosts. The Canucks haven’t gotten much out of either Daniel Sedin or Henrik Sedin, though the man of the hour from Game 3, Ryan Kesler did enough to carry the weight of all three of them. Kesler not only scored two goals and had an assist, but he also drew the penalty in overtime that set up his game winner just 40 seconds later. Roberto Luongo hasn’t been absolutely stellar, but his numbers are solid from this series. His defense has only allowed him to face more than 30 shots on goal once in this series, and he hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of the three games. We know if he keeps up like this, having won three of his last four starts and having not been beaten in regulation since Game 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks, the rest of the NHL is in a heck of a lot of trouble. Luongo has allowed just six goals on his last 141 shots since getting yanked from Game 5 in the conference quarterfinals.
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Pekka Rinne is doing absolutely everything his can in this series, short of standing on his head, but the bottom line is that he isn’t the problem. The offense is a huge concern right now for the Predators, just like it was during the mass majority of the regular season. The difference is that Mike Fisher has just more or less disappeared over the course of this series, and it seems like the only shot that we have seen of him is one where he is sitting in the penalty box and the “Green Men” in the Vancouver crowd are shoving a picture of his wife, Carrie Underwood in a Canucks jersey in his face. Of course, Luongo has been great, but when push comes to shove, four goals in three games just isn’t enough to get the job done, especially for a team that really did play some tremendous hockey offensively in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks. The good news is that the Predators have only lost 10 games at home in regulation this year, so if you’re looking to back this team on the puck line, there is definitely something to say about that.
Nashville certainly isn’t the better team in this series, but there is no doubt that it has put forth the effort to be up 3-0 in it. The Predators just need to find a tad bit more offense in their arsenal… maybe just two goals will do on Thursday night. Regardless, they have to at least put more pressure on Luongo than is on Rinne on the other end of the ice. Do that, and there will be an upset brewing in Game 4.
Free Hockey Pick: Nashville Predators
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