Category Archives: Expert Free Picks
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
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
NBA Playoffs Betting Preview- Conference Semifinals
Last night the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the No.1 seed San Antonio Spurs 99-91 as a five-point home underdog to close-out that series in six games. The shocking upset sets the stage for the conference semifinals as the pairings are finally all in place.
The following is a look at all four matchups along with each team’s updated odds to win this year’s NBA title as provided by Bookmaker.com
No.1 Chicago Bulls (+350) vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks (+3500)
Chicago made short work of Indiana by taking out the Pacers in five games, but the average margin of victory was just over five points in three of the wins. The Bulls will need more production from Carlos Boozer, who was a non-factor in round one, but they still have Derrick Rose and his 27.6 points a game.
Atlanta rose to the occasion against Orlando to oust its Southeast Division foe in six games including an impressive 84-81 win in Game six as a 4 ½-point home underdog. Unfortunately, for the Hawks the Bulls are not the Magic.
Prediction: Chicago in five games
No.2 Miami Heat (+250) vs. No.3 Boston Celtics (+600)
Miami did beat Philadelphia four out of five times, but it is hard to say it looked impressive in doing so. The Big Three are still having trouble closing out games and the competition only gets tougher from here on in.
For as much concern as people had about Boston coming into the playoffs, the Celtics suddenly look strangely familiar to last year’s Eastern Conference championship team. The fact that they beat the Heat three out of four times both straight-up and against the spread in the regular season is a bonus.
Prediction: Boston in six games
No.2 Los Angeles Lakers (+200) vs. No.3 Dallas Mavericks (+1000)
The Lakers started this year’s playoffs in typical fashion with a couple of early losses and a six-game series win. All is well in LA as Phil Jackson’s team is coming together at just the right time; not to mention it took two out of three against the Mavericks both SU and ATS in the regular season.
Dallas got by the first round of the playoffs with a 103-96 win over Portland in Game 6 as a 3 ½-point road underdog which is a good sign given its past problems in the postseason. The big question is can the Mavs drag this series to seven games to have a shot at winning this one on the road?
The Prediction: Los Angeles in six games
No.4 Oklahoma City Thunder (+400) vs. No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies (+1500)
Oklahoma City proved it is for real with a five-game waxing of an outmatched Denver team. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are a two-man wrecking ball with a combined 56.2 points a game in round one and showing no sign of slowing down in the near future.
Memphis matched up well with San Antonio and it showed in its impressive upset in round one. The Grizzlies also match up well against Oklahoma City, having won three of four games in the regular season both SU and ATS.
Prediction: Oklahoma City in seven games
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San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs successfully staved off elimination once in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, but now, they have their toughest task of the playoffs to date: Beat the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum for the first time in the postseason to save their season.
San Antonio truly is lucky just to be in this series at this point, as it very easily could have been beaten by the Grizz in Game 5 both in regulation and in overtime on Wednesday. The good news is that Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili really came to play on the same night for one of the first times in this series, and as they both proved in the OT period, when they’re both on, this is a team that is a very, very difficult one to stop. Parker had 24 points with nine assists on the night, while Ginobili netted 33 points to go with six boards and six assists. He also had four steals, though the Argentine had six turnovers to lead the team in that dubious distinction as well. Tim Duncan didn’t have a great shooting night, going just 5-of-13 from the floor, but he did have 13 points and 12 rebounds for yet another playoff double-double. George Hill came off of the bench to score 12 points, but there were solid contributions from Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter, and Gary Neal as well.
Memphis has absolutely proven that it belongs here in the playoffs and that it can compete with the top seed in the West, and should it either win this game or Game 7 back at the AT&T Center, it will become the fourth No. 8 seed in the history of NBA betting action to knock off a No. 1. Game 5 really was a missed opportunity, though, as Memphis led for a good chunk of the second half thanks to a 26-15 third quarter. Zach Randolph arguably had the best game of his postseason career, shooting 10-of-17 from the floor for 26 points with 11 boards and six assists, while Marc Gasol wasn’t all that far behind with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Sam Young had a nice shooting day, going 7-of-12, and he had 18 points and six rebounds. Mike Conley had another solid outing as well, proving that he was most certainly worth the high draft choice a few seasons ago. Conley had 20 points, five boards, and five helpers along with two of the 12 steals that the Grizz had on the night. Memphis forced 15 turnovers in total and had 50 of the 95 rebounds in the game.
Say goodnight to the top seed in the West. Memphis has been good… In fact, very, very good. The Grizzlies really might be the better team in this series, and our NBA playoffs picks call for them to dismiss the Spurs on Friday night once and for all.
NBA Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies
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Sports Interaction betting analyst Frank Doyle previews the highlight bouts of UFC 129.
Sixty thousand tickets have been sold for UFC 129, which is happening this Saturday night at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. If the Ontarian Government ever wondered if it was right to recognise the sport, that’s sixty thousand endorsements right there.
Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world and UFC 129 features some of the UFC’s most iconic fighters. The showpiece bout of the night is Georges St-Pierre’s defense of his welterweight belt against Jake Shields.
St-Pierre is a warm favorite against Shields, who was very successful as a Strikeforce fighter, but could there be more to this fight than meets the eye?
St-Pierre is hailed by many as the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world. He is the current face of the UFC, its greatest hero. Shields won’t have faced anyone like GSP before and St-Pierre’s striking ability is considerably better than Shields. Shields has been working on his striking but everybody knows that Jiu jitsu is where his strength lies.
Is that Jiu jitsu enough to allow Shields a chance against the multi-talented GSP? Shields trainer thinks it is – and he would say that, of course – but for all the aura surrounding GSP five of his last eight wins have been by decision. That suggests that GSP’s striking advantage might not be as strong as we’ve been led to believe, and the fight might be more even than some predict.
GSP to win by decision is the favorite in the MMA odds for the fight and a Shields win would certainly be a shock that would reverberate throughout the sport. But it’s not as far beyond the bounds of possibility as some would think.
On the undercard of the fight, local hero Mark Hominick takes on Brazil’s Jose Aldo for Aldo’s featherweight belt. Both these fighters are strikers, but Aldo packs quite some wallop. If he dings Hominick, it’s game over for the man from Thamesford.
One of the most intriguing fights on the card is at light heavyweight where two of the great names of the sport enter the Octagon with something to prove.
Brazil’s Lyoto Machida was a man whose star was on the rise after his first sixteen fights, racking up big, big wins against Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans and Mauríco Rua. But then Rua knocked out Machida in the rematch last March and controversially lost a split decision in November against Quinton Jackson to find his career at crossroads.
Randy Couture, Machida’s opponent in UFC 129, has nothing to prove to anybody. The man is a legend of the sport and is only fighting Machida because he likes it. Couture is still a tough, tough guy but he’s forty-seven years old while Machida is young, quick and nimble. Machida’s career will get back on track at UFC 129. As for Randy Couture – well, there’s always the movies.
Both the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators survived some wild Western Conference Quarterfinals series, but there is no time to rest for either team, as they are back at it at Rogers Arena on Thursday night for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals in NHL betting action.
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And a heck of a first round series it was for Nashville! The Predators were able to go on the road and steal not just one, but two games from the Anaheim Ducks, and they really had a great series thanks to a resurgent offense. Mike Fisher picked the grandest of times to really get rolling, as he had three goals and three assists in the series against the Ducks to reach this point in the second season. He got a lot of help from Joel Ward and Shea Weber, both of which had three goals as well. The assists were definitely coming from some relatively unlikely sources, as Jordin Tootoo, Cody Franson, and Sergei Kostitsynall had four helpers. The problem that Nashville is going to have in this series is that Pekka Rinne, a man which really single handedly carried it to the postseason, has really, really struggled. His 2.12 GAA in the regular season has long since been forgotten, and he had a whopping 3.30 GAA against Anaheim in Round 1. If he keeps that up, it’s going to be a very short series against a potent team like Vancouver.
In the end, no one is going to be asking the Canucks how they got into the second round of the playoffs, just whether they got there. It certainly wasn’t a pretty series with the Chicago Blackhawks, but the defending champs finally relented in overtime in Game 7 here at Rogers Arena. Roberto Luongo might have his confidence back now after playing incredibly hockey in the decisive game of that series against the Blackhawks, something that was direly needed after he was put on the bench in Game 6, only to ultimately give up the winner in OT after Cory Schneider was hurt. Still, two bad games don’t make a goalie, and they certainly don’t eradicate the four rock solid games that he played against the Hawks, and Luongo could really be in for better times here against a significantly slower Nashville offense. Over these last two games, Alexandre Burrows has really come on strong, scoring three goals and logging two of the three assists that he had in the series against the defending champs. He picked up both goals in the 2-1 OT victory on Tuesday night, and he’ll be the one expected to help carry the Sedin brothers to the finish line in this series.
We know that the likelihood is there that the Canucks are winning Game 1 of this series, but as we have seen all postseason, we have to take teams that are catching +190 in virtually any situation. We don’t want to make our NHL picks on Nashville to win this series, but there is a heck of a chance that it gets out of the Great White North with a split, which makes this price on the NHL odds a can’t miss.
NHL Free Pick: Nashville Predators
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Tampa Bay Lightning
Having fended off one do or die situation in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to force a Game 7 on Monday night in what could be the last NHL betting battle of the season at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If you want to look at the definition of a throw away game, just look at the effort that the Pens put out on Saturday night at home. It’s almost like this was a team that was just destined to do things the hard way, by having to win a Game 6 on the road or to finish things off with Game 7 back at the New Igloo. Marc-Andre Fleury certainly wasn’t at his best, allowing four goals on 14 shots before getting run out of the game, but the good news for Head Coach Dan Bylsma is that he doesn’t have the same sort of goaltending controversy that some of the other teams across the country do at this point. Fleury is the man that the black and gold will ride come hell or high water in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and there’s nothing that will change that. The offense might have only put up two goals, both of which came well after the NHL betting proceedings were already decided in Game 5, but it marked the eighth time this season in which Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay in a game, including all five efforts in the postseason.
Head Coach Guy Boucher knew that his whole team really needed to show up with one collective effort to be able to tame the Pens in the Steel City, and that’s exactly what he got. The Bolts dropped a snowman on the board, something that you don’t see all that often, especially in playoff hockey. Martin St. Louis has now put up eight points in this series after picking up two assists in the season saving victory on Saturday, while Simon Gagne, who scored twice, has six points. The important contributions of note though, came from Vincent LeCavalier and Steven Stamkos. Two of the most important players on the Lightning had largely been MIA before Game 5. LeCavalier had a goal and an assist to help lead the charge, while Stamkos, who had looked absolutely horrible in the majority of the first four games in this series, had two goals and a helper in the only truly solid postseason game of his young career. The pressure, at least relatively speaking, was off of Dwayne Roloson, something that isn’t normal in this series, especially after he had to make 50 saves in Game 4.
Still, we’re just not convinced that Tampa Bay is the better team. Road teams have been hot all postseason long, and we don’t know why that should all of a sudden change this week. Take Pittsburgh to finish off this series for your Stanley Cup picks.
Free Hockey Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Things are looking bad right now for the Philadelphia 76ers, as they are on the verge of elimination against arguably the best team that the league has to offer. The Miami Heat will try to complete the sweep in NBA betting action on Sunday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Heat had to turn on the jets at the end of Game 3 to put aside the Sixers in Game 3, but as long as they don’t turn around, they should be able to finish off this series. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh just continue to really pour on the pressure to the big boys of the 76ers. Wade really didn’t have that fantastic of a start to this series in Miami, but he came alive in Game 3, accounting for 32 points, 10 boards, and eight assists to go with two blocks and a steal. LeBron has already had two major double-doubles in this series, coming up with 21 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1 and then having 24 points and 15 boards in Game 3. Bosh is coming off of his worst game in this series in which he had 19 points and six rebounds, but he had double-doubles in each of the first two games. Miami had a whopping 20 offensive rebounds in the third game of this series, and if this keeps up, the Sixers just don’t stand a chance of survival.
If you’re Head Coach Doug Collins, you really have to be running out of options about how you go about beating this Miami team. Philadelphia has really gotten great play out of its bench, namely from Thaddeus Young, who has had three straight double digit scoring games. Louis Williams has also really had a nice series to boot. However, the starters really haven’t been anything to write home about. Jodie Meeks has yet to log double digits in a game in this series, while Andre Iguodala has really been nowhere to be seen. Iguodala is getting his rebounds and dishing out his assists, but he has just done absolutely nothing in terms of scoring. He has scored a total of 19 points in the series in three games, which is a far cry away from the man that we are used to seeing that scored 14.1 points per game in the regular season. The good news is that Jrue Holiday has at least picked up the slack just a bit, and Elton Brand has been solid, but if it doesn’t really come all together, Philly just doesn’t have a chance.
Sorry, Philly. Your time in the playoffs is done. Had the Sixers finished off Game 3, perhaps we could have seen them sticking around in NBA playoffs betting action, but knowing that they are in this 3-0 hole, they really aren’t going to be able to get out of it. The Heat will take care of this series without having to come back to South Beach.
NBA Free Pick: Miami Heat
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The Indiana Pacers have done absolutely everything known to man to try to outlast the Chicago Bulls in this best of seven series, but they just haven’t been able to win a game. Now, it’s do or die time in Game 4 in NBA playoffs betting action, as the two meet at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
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The Bulls might be not winning games in the prettiest of fashions, but they are finding ways to get the job done when it matters most. This is playoff time, and no one asks you how you got your wins, just whether you did or not. The race to 16 wins is certainly on for Chicago, and it knows that it is just 13 more victories away from claiming the team’s first glory since Michael Jordan retired. Derrick Rose is putting on a bit of a Jordan-esque performance of his own this year in the postseason, as he really has been the difference maker in a number of these games. He only scored 23 against the Pacers in Game 3, but he is still averaging well over 30 points per game, and he has a total of 14 assists, 17 boards, three blocks, and seven steals to finish filling up the stat sheet. Considering the fact that the bigs, at least in terms of scoring, really haven’t been all that productive, Kyle Korver has been vitally important. He just keeps knocking down dagger after dagger from the outside, and he really has been the one that has broken Indiana’s back in all of this. He is shooting 64.7 percent from the field and a just absolutely stunning 87.5 percent from long range in the series.
The Pacers knew that they were in for a long, long battle in the first round of the playoffs just to win a game, and the truth of the matter is that they could get beaten by 30 in this game and swept out of the playoffs, and everyone will consider the season, and the postseason a success. Indiana really has tried to bring a physical nature to the Bulls, and though the strategy usually isn’t all that wise, it certainly is admirable. The battles on the glass are just all going the wrong direction. Dealing with Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer (not to mention all of the balls off the glass that Rose is collecting) is just proving to be too difficult, and men like Roy Hibbert and Paul George are really struggling. Danny Granger has represented himself well along the way in these playoffs, accounting for 21.3 points, 4.0 boards, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, but he just can’t do everything for this team and will need some help to win the game.
The time has come for the Bulls to finally cover a game in this series. They darn near got the job done on Thursday night in Game 3, and they’ll finally get it taken care with one last push in the fourth quarter to put Indiana out of its misery once and for all.
NBA Free Pick: Chicago Bulls
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Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
The Los Angeles Kings are on the ropes, as they are down there games to one in NHL betting action in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and they’ll hope to live to fight another day in a do or die Game 5 at HP Pavilion against the San Jose Sharks.
The Kings really look like a deflated bunch right now. They’ve been dominated in virtually every aspect of this series from a few minutes into the second period to the present time. San Jose has outscored them 12-4 in just about five total periods of action, numbers which obviously aren’t going to get the job done when push comes to shove. The fact that Anze Kopitar is missing in the lineup really isn’t the problem, which would be a much more explainable situation. Instead, Los Angeles is really reeling in terms of its defense and its net minding. This is a team that was carried by its ‘D’ and its keeper, Jonathan Quick all season long, making up for an offense that was ranked in the 20s for the mass majority of the season amongst the teams in the league. Quick has a GAA of an absolutely atrocious 3.49, which is right there on par with the 3.50 he had last year against the Vancouver Canucks in that six game series. This is a real problem for the team right now, and it might even be time to give Jonathan Bernier a shot in the pipes if Quick can’t get it figured out in a hurry in Game 5.
San Jose hasn’t really been all that stellar defensively either. Antti Niemi was run out of Game 3 in favor of Antero Niittymaki, and it wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise if he too, has a relatively short leash in Game 5 after allowing three more goals on Thursday night. Niemi actually has a worse GAA than Quick does at 3.63, but there are some big time differences here. Niemi won the Stanley Cup last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, proving that he knows how to get the job done when push really comes to shove in the postseason crunch, and he has an offense now that is arguably second to none in the league in terms of current form. We’ve always known that the Sharks can skate. After all, they have put in six goals in back to back games. Ryane Clowe leads the team with four goals and a total of seven points, while Logan Couture is just behind with two goals and three helpers. The noticeably absent names from this list are those of Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton. Sure, the big boys have all gotten their names on the stat sheet, but their combined three goals and five assists seems to pale in comparison to what the rest of the team has done in this series.
Turn out the lights. The party’s over. The Kings look like a team that has just had it, and any last bit of energy that they had to fight the Sharks was drained in Game 4. The fifth and final game of this series will go to San Jose.
Free Hockey Pick: San Jose Sharks
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