NBA Playoff Update and NFL Draft: LB’s
Exactly what is going on here with this year's NBA Playoffs?
Rewind to the first full day of the post-season - that was Saturday, April 13th - and there were three outright upsets among the four games on that menu:
Brooklyn (+ 8) downed Philadelphia 111-102;
Orlando (+ 9.5) toppled Toronto 104-101;
And San Antonio (+ 6) downed Denver 101-96.
Surely, this was gonna be a boon post-season for the underdog sides based on this opening day, right?
Ever since, NBA Playoff Betting Favorites have registered a dizzying 14-1-1 ATS (against the spread) record. Really!
We head into tonight's card - that's Toronto at Orlando, Boston at Indiana and Portland at Oklahoma City (all Game #3's) with NBA Playoff Betting Favs at 14-4-1 ATS overall (a scintillating .778 winning percentage) and you wonder when it's gonna end. Dang, there's been one outright upset in the last 15 games this post-season - see LA Clippers 135, Golden State 131 in Game 2 last Monday night - but ever since it's been an 8-0-1 spread run for the chalk-eaters.
Last night we had an easy winner - Golden State's 132-105 triumph against the overmatched Clippers was true garbage time by halftime (see 73-52) as Kevin Durant answered all his critics - he heard you, Stephen A. Smith! - with 38 points / 7 assists / 4 rebounds and a nifty at-the-rim blocked shot late in the third quarter. The price for Golden State's Game #3 win/cover went up, up and away from - 7.5 to - 9.5 points as all the money poured in on the two-time defending champs and things were quite easy for Steve Kerr's crew.
Meanwhile, San Antonio took back the home-court advantage with a 118-108 win/cover against 4.5-point pup Denver as Spurs' point guard Derrick White drained 12-of-17 field-goal tries for a career-high 36 points and did you realize that San Ant committed only six turnovers while all five of Denver's starters wound up -23 or worse in the plus/minus on-floor category?
Finally, Philadelphia - which was "bet down" from 3 points to - 1.5 points - simply blitzed Brooklyn 131-115 as C Joel Embiid (knee) sat it out but the Sixers still easily won the backboard battle 54-to-43 and Philly blocked five shots (including three by long-armed Ben Simmons).
So, we look to see this evening if dogs are gonna finally "have their day" ... what do you say?
The lineup for tonight is Toronto at Orlando (+ 4.5), Boston (+ 3) at Indiana and Portland (+ 7.5) against Oklahoma City ... will any of these point-grabbers stand up and deliver?
NFL DRAFT REPORT
The 2019 NFL Draft is set for April 25-thru-27 and we'll be bringing you position-by-position looks for the next few days and next Thursday it's our annual NFL Mock Draft. Note that in today's column, we highlight the top linebackers and edge rushers:
NICK BOSA, EDGE, Ohio State - Don't sweat it that this rangy 6-foot-4, 266-pounder didn't play at all for the Buckeyes last year because of some nagging ailments / to protect his draft stock as he's considered the best of an excellent group of edge rushers (could have five or six of 'em taken in Round I). Bosa is cat-quick to get on ballcarriers and he's super-quick to duck down and get past O-linemen in the pursuit of quarterbacks. All signs point to Bosa getting gobbled up by the San Francisco 49ers with the second overall draft pick.
JOSH ALLEN, EDGE, Kentucky - Most in-the-know folks believe there's no real difference between the above-mentioned Bosa and this 6-foot-5, 262-pounder who wreaked havoc in the SEC for the past few years. Allen has a great first step and can beat the double-team now that he added 15-to-20 pounds prior to his senior season in Lexington. Won't be shocked if someone trades up to the #3 overall pick with the New York Jets to get Allen - possibly the Carolina Panthers?
DEVIN WHITE, LB, LSU - There are some draft boards that actually rate this Bayou Bengals star as the best overall talent in this man's draft as he's a sideline-to-sideline terror with great pursuit angle. Speedy sort who has good size at 6-feet, 240 pounds and can handle larger RBs/WRs. White should go in the top half-dozen picks, let's say the New York Giants at #6.
MONTEZ SWEAT, EDGE, Miss State - We've seen this 6-foot-6, 260-pounder as getting drafted anywhere between the third pick and the 13th pick ... so, what gives? Sweat is super-strong and dominated at this past year's Senior Bowl but is he durable enough to hold up on this "next level"? Look for this former Bulldogs' star to go to Cincinnati with the 11th overall selection.
DEVIN BUSH, LB, Michigan - This former Wolverines' star runs a 4.43 time in the 40 and he's another great sideline-to-sideline speed guy who never dials it down. Let's plug in Bush at #13 with the always-rebuilding Miami Dolphins.
BRIAN BURNS, EDGE, Florida State - At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, this native Floridian has really polished up his game where he shows major strengths while rushing from the outside. Let's have 'em going to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th pick in Round One.
CLELIN FERRELL, EDGE, Clemson - One of the great D-line monsters on the champion Tigers, this 6-foot-4, 265-pounder actually may have dropped a few sports on recent draft boards yet expect 'em to be a top 20-25 pick. How's Seattle at #21 sound?