Sometimes, everything goes according to plan…and sometimes, you have a night like the Seattle Sounders did. For an hour, Seattle looked like everything was back to normal, rolling to a 3-1 lead on San Jose and seemingly putting itself in control of the contest. And then the Earthquakes pulled out two goals in a matter of two minutes, turning the match completely on its head. With my bet already a loser, Seattle went and made matters worse by conceding a late penalty, finishing with a 4-3 setback that they had no business losing.
And that is what makes it so dang hard to do what we do: you can make the smart pick, watch it look great for most of the game and then watch it all fall apart for some bizarre reason. Lose one like that, and all you can do is write it off and move on to the next day. Here are my best bets for April 24.
WARRIORS -4, -115
Am I an NBA betting expert? That would be a “hell no”. But one thing I do believe is that when a team repeatedly shows you who they are, you should believe them. That was the logic I used in 2007, when I told anyone who would listen that the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks had no shot against the No. 8 Golden State Warriors, on the basis that the Mavs were 67-12 against the rest of the league and 0-3 against the Warriors. Unfortunately, sports betting wasn’t legal back then, so I only won $10 off Patrick Daugherty for a prediction that would have cashed $250 at a sportsbook.
These days, the Warriors are a lot more dominant, and they’ve been exactly that against the Nuggets, cashing on the spread on five straight matchups with Denver. They’ve cashed ATS on five of six visits to the Mile High City, so I’ll back them to close the deal on this series.
CARDINALS -1.5, +110
The Cincinnati Reds’ offense is 16 shades of pathetic, as they’ve now failed to score more than two runs in eight consecutive games. And now they’re going up against Adam Wainwright, who bounced back nicely from a rough outing with Milwaukee by holding Miami to a single run. St. Louis doesn’t need to have a great day to cash this one; the Cards just need to score four runs against Nick Lodolo and company. With Lodolo’s ERA at 8, I like their chances.
HAWKS +1.5, -110
The Heat don’t like going to Georgia. In fact, few teams do like going to Georgia, as Atlanta has cashed ATS at 71-48-2 when playing at home. The Heat have just one cover in their past five visits to the Peach State, and the Hawks have won the game outright in each of their past five times that they’ve been a home dog.
However, the best play is probably the moneyline and not the spread, because we are now 86 games into the Hawks’ season and Atlanta has yet to cover even once in a game it did not win outright. With such a small spread, that likely doesn’t change here.
PENGUINS -1.5, +110
Maybe Pittsburgh should ask the NHL to let them move to the Wells Fargo Center for the rest of the year, because the Penguins have been deadly in Philadelphia as of late. Granted, part of that could have something to do with the sad state of the Flyers, but in recent games, the Flyers have shown up in Pittsburgh and folded on home ice. Over their past four meetings, the Penguins have outscored the Flyers 13-5 in Philadelphia but just 8-6 in Pittsburgh. It’s a weird stat, but I’ll ride it here.
BREAKERS +2.5, -110
At some point, a USFL underdog is going to cover, and I think today’s the day. The favorite is 7-0 SU and ATS in the USFL so far, but the Breakers looked pretty good against Philadelphia last week and should put up a much stiffer challenge to Tampa Bay than Pittsburgh did after the chicken salad fiasco. I think New Orleans is a better team than Tampa Bay because it has a strong defense and should be able to control the game.