Hi guys, I’m back with some hockey picks after not posting NHL write-ups for about a week. I’ve been very busy with my job, my NFL and NBA analyses, as well as “The Sports Investor” podcast. Let’s get back on track with 4 picks for tonight’s busy schedule:

PICK #1: Montreal Canadiens -127 (decimal 1.787) vs Florida Panthers

This pick is based in large part to the motivation level of each team. The Habs are on a 7-game slide after winning their opening game 3-2 in extra time at Buffalo. They came up empty from a 3-game road trip on the West Coast, getting outscored 16-5 in those games. Can you believe the Canadiens made 30 shots on goal in one period in Anaheim? Carey Price has only stopped 88.1% of the shots so far this season, which is stunning. How in the world could the Habs not be fired up for tonight’s game? They certainly won’t want to disappoint their passionate fans.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are posting a 3-4 record, and they are coming off a big 4-1 win in Washington. They are 1-3 on the road this year. Tonight’s contest could be a trap game for them after playing Pittsburgh and Washington, and looking ahead to a matchup against the Anaheim Ducks.

Florida went through a stretch where they had won 5 straight meetings against Montreal, but they have lost the last 3 by a combined 13-5 score.

Montreal native Roberto Luongo will miss the game, which is good news for Habs fans since he loves to play against his hometown team. James Reimer will be between the pipes against Carey Price.

PICK #2: Anaheim Ducks +127 (decimal 2.27) at Philadelphia Flyers

Before the season began, the Ducks were in the top 5 in the league in terms of total expected number of regular season wins according to Vegas lines, whereas the Flyers ranked 23rd. If I had told you back then that you could bet the Ducks at +127 in Philly you would have jumped on that line. Sure, the Ducks have not had a great start (3-3-1), but they have been plagued by injuries. Now, captain Ryan Getzlaf will be back in the lineup, as well as defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Even Sami Vatanen might play tonight. Cam Fowler won’t be available though, but the Flyers will be without Andrew MacDonald (third in terms of average time on ice among all Flyers players).

Anaheim does not seem intimidated by the Philadelphia crowd at all, as shown by their current 6-game winning streak over there!

Both teams should be well-rested (3 days for Anaheim, 2 for Philly). I’m baffled by the public pounding the line on the Flyers (65% of money line bets and 78% of puck line bets). The line has gone from -125 to -138 at Pinnacle. I don’t believe it will get even more inflated as the day goes on, so I would grab the current line right away.

PICK #3: Ottawa Senators -130 (decimal 1.769) vs Los Angeles Kings

The Kings suffered their very first regulation loss of the season last night in Toronto, and I believe they make it two straight. They have been overperforming thus far this season; they were expected to finish 21st in the NHL according to Vegas lines. I don’t trust this team to keep playing at such a high level, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on a losing streak. Jonathan Quick is a great goaltender, but the team lacks depth, and they are getting old and slow. Their lineup is not that scary. In my humble opinion, they are being way overrated right now.

The Sens have been playing well too; they are 4-1-3 right now. They are coming off two full days of rest, while the Kings will be playing the second leg of back-to-back games. Their starting goalie has not been announced yet, but it doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Many studies have shown that playing your starting goalie two times in two nights is a wash compared to going with your backup (because your starting goalie won’t be as effective as usual because of the fatigue factor).

From an injury standpoint, LA will be without Jeff Carter, while Ottawa will miss Bobby Ryan who broke a finger last Saturday.

The Sens had beaten the Kings four straight times before LA got a 4-1 victory last December.

PICK #4: Vancouver Canucks +171 (decimal 2.71) at Minnesota Wild

Let’s end this write-up with a big underdog. The Canucks are starting goalie Anders Nilsson, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you are betting them. He posted an impressive .923 save percentage last year with the Sabres. It will be his third start in the 2017-2018 season; he shutout the Sens 3-0 before losing 6-3 in Boston.

Vancouver is playing much better than many people expected; they are 4-3-1 so far. Meanwhile, the Wild were supposed to contend for the Central division title, but are currently dead last. Injuries have been a major issue, and they still are. Tonight Minnesota will be without Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise, three big pieces in their offense. Their leading scorer from last year, Mikael Granlund, will return from a 5-game absence following a groin injury.

I must admit I’m a bit worried about the fact that this will be Vancouver’s fifth straight road game; will they be tired from such a long trip? The Canucks have won two of their last three visits in Minnesota.

Good luck with your plays and enjoy the games!

Professor MJ

Hello basketball fans, how are you doing? Today’s point spreads in the NBA are pretty much in line with my own projected lines, so we only have one small play. I cannot wait to have strong profitable bets again, but you can’t force these things (if it’s not there, it’s not there!). We need to stay patient.

PICK: Indiana Pacers +11 at Minnesota Timberwolves (rated 2 stars)

The Pacers are benefiting from two days of rest, while the T-Wolves only had one (and they had to travel too). Minnesota is coming off a dramatic win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, as Andrew Wiggins’ buzzer-beater sealed the victory. Playing at home against a mediocre Pacers team doesn’t sound as exciting at all, so I expect a letdown from Minnesota, especially in the first half.

Indiana’s starting center, Myles Turner, will miss his third straight game. Domantas Sabonis has been getting more playing time in his absence; he racked up 18 points in Indiana’s 4-point loss at Miami.

The Pacers have won the last 3 meetings in Minnesota! Over the past 9 matchups overall, Indiana is 6-3 against the Timberwolves.

The line has not moved yet, despite 62% of the wagers going on Minnesota.

Have a good Tuesday!

Professor MJ

Hello my friends, I hope you had a nice weekend! We went 0-1-1 a couple of days ago (took yesterday off); thanks New York for blowing a 21-point lead at home. Do you feel sarcasm? Our record thus far:

5 star bets = 1-0
3 star bets = 3-1
2 star bets = 0-1-1

TOTAL: 4-2-1

I don’t see any major play Monday night, as I’ve got one 2-star bet and our first 1-star bet of the 2017-2018 season. Let’s see the details!

PICK #1: Charlotte Hornets +6.5 at Milwaukee Bucks (rated 2 stars)

From an injury standpoint, the Hornets are relatively banged up. The following four players are out for tonight: Nicolas Batum (their second highest scorer last year), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Michael Carter-Williams and Cody Zeller (Dwight Howard has been playing well, so his absence doesn’t hurt as much). On the Bucks’ side they will be without Jabari Parker until 2018.

Now, the good news if you are considering betting the Hornets. They have benefited from two full days of rest, while the Bucks will be playing a third game in four night (also a fourth over the past six days). Granted, they will be playing a third straight home game, so at least they didn’t have to travel.

The Hornets had won 11 of 13 meetings against Milwaukee before dropping the last two (both by a 10-point margin).

76% of the bets have gone on Milwaukee so far; I don’t necessarily advocate rushing to place your bet because the line might improve later on (it could inflate even more).

PICK #2: San Antonio Spurs -3 vs Toronto Raptors (rated 1 star)

San Antonio has had Toronto’s number recently, especially at home where they have won the last 8 meetings! The last 29 matchups overall have gone 23-6 in favor of the team from Texas.

There are some important injuries worth of note in this game. The Spurs’ leading scorer last year, Kawhi Leonard, is out with a quad injury, while Tony Parker will miss several weeks, also with a quad injury. I have subtracted 13% to the Spurs’ estimated win probability to account for those injuries. Meanwhile, Toronto’s starting center Jonas Valanciunas has been ruled out of tonight’s game with a sprained ankle. I have penalized Toronto by 4%.

The Raptors have won their first two games pretty easily, but they haven’t faced strong opposition (Joel Embiid was resting against them). The Spurs are also 2-0 after handling the Timberwolves and the Bulls.

70% of the wagers are going San Antonio’s way, so you may not want to wait too long if you wish to back them.

Thank you very much for reading!

Professor MJ

Hi guys, I hope you are having a nice start to your weekend. So far our NBA picks have gone like this:

5 star bets = 1-0
3 star bets = 3-0
2 star bets = 0-1

TOTAL: 4-1

Let’s keep it up! I’ve got 2 plays to recommend tonight, enjoy the read!

PICK #1: New York Knicks +2.5 vs Detroit Pistons (rated 3 stars)

I’m not surprised by the fact that the public is betting the Pistons fairly heavily (more than 65% of the bets have gone their way). The Knicks have lost their only game by a 21-point deficit at OKC, while the Pistons have looked pretty good following a 102-90 win over Charlotte and a close 115-111 loss in Washington last night.

A key factor in this game is rest: the Knicks were off last night, while the Pistons will be playing the second leg of back-to-back road games (also a third match in four nights). I am aware it’s still early in the season so players shouldn’t be extremely tired, but basketball is a tough game on the body and it’s never easy to be playing under such circumstances.

Over the last 7 meetings between these two teams, not only has the home club won, but they beat the spread every single time!

PICK #2: Milwaukee Bucks -3 vs Portland Trail Blazers (rated 2 stars)

All of my picks are based on a mix of statistical modeling and adjustments made based on certain factors like injuries and rest. I only discuss the statistical part once in a while, and I will do it in this case. Based on Vegas lines for total number of regular season wins by each team (which is, in my humble opinion, the best barometer of how good each team figures to be this season), Portland is expected to have .518 record versus .573 for Milwaukee. That translates into a 44.5% win probability for the Blazers facing the Bucks on a neutral court. After adjusting for home-field advantage: 36.3%.

That being said, I did not see any injury adjustment was necessary in this game. However, I felt like rest called for an adjustment; both teams are playing a second game in two nights, but the Bucks did not have to travel overnight because both of their contests were at home. I estimated that I needed to multiply Portland’s win probability by 95%, which reduces their chances of coming on top to 36.3% * 95% = 34.5%. That’s the equivalent of a 4.8 spread.

Since the actual line is 3 and my projected line is 4.8, I would normally grade it as a 1-star bet. However, I like how the Bucks have experienced quite a bit of success over the Blazers recently. First of all, they won both meetings last year (93-90 in Portland, 115-107 in Milwaukee), and four of the past five overall. Secondly, notice how the Bucks are 6-1 AGAINST THE SPREAD versus Portland over the last 7 matchups, which is even more convincing.

The Blazers are 2-0 so far, but have faced weak opposition: the Suns and the Pacers. They will quickly realize they are up against a much tougher opponent. Meanwhile, the Bucks have had good preparation after facing Boston and Cleveland.

It looks like I’m going against sharp money (like I did yesterday with my Charlotte pick) as the spread has gone down from 4.5 to 3 despite 50% of the bets going on each team. I would stay away from that game with a 4.5 spread, but at 3 I’m taking Milwaukee.

I wish you the best of luck in your plays this weekend, and don’t forget to take a look at my NFL picks (15-5-1 over the past 4 weeks). Have a great weekend!

Professor MJ

Hi NBA fans! So far we are 3-0 with picks rated 3 stars or above versus 0-1 on those rated 2 stars or less. We have 10 games on the menu, and I only see one value play.

PICK: Charlotte Hornets -4 vs Atlanta Hawks (rated 3 stars)

The only thing I don’t like about this game is the reverse line move that we have observed: the spread opened at 6, and has now gone down to 4 despite 54% of the bets going Atlanta’s way. I haven’t heard of any major injury update during the day, so we can only explain it on sharp money going on the Hornets. I rarely go against that, but I will make an exception today.

I like the fact that Dwight Howard will be facing his former team, an additional motivation for Charlotte. He was traded in exchange for Miles Plumlee who is out until November because of a strained right quad.

The Hawks have not had much success in Charlotte recently, having lost the last three matchups there (5 of the past 6). Over the past 8 meetings overall, the Hornets are 5-2-1 against the spread.

Charlotte’s bench is not as deep with injuries to Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Michael Carter-Williams, not to mention starter Nicolas Batum. On the Hawks’ side, they are thin up front with Plumlee’s injury.

Perhaps the public is overreacting to recent results, as the Hawks upset the Mavericks 117-111 in Dallas, while the Hornets lost by a 12-point margin in Detroit. I expect the Hornets to be much more focused after committing 17 turnovers in their opening game (which is a big surprise considering they have finished first in the league each of the past four seasons for the fewest giveaways in the league!).

Have a nice Friday night!

Professor MJ

Good day everyone, I’m back for my week #7 NFL picks! Last week we had an unusually low number of value plays, going 1-1 after losing badly on the Denver pick, but winning the New Orleans pick. Our record over the last four weeks is now 15-5-1. This week I’ve got five (5) bets that I believe will be profitable for you. Let’s discuss them one by one.

PICK #1: Buffalo Bills -3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bills are coming off their bye week, which is a good starting point from a betting perspective.

Moreover, Buffalo’s head coach Sean McDermott knows how to game plan against the Bucs after having spent six years as Carolina’s defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2016. He faced quarterback Jameis Winston on four occasions, whose statistics looked like this in these games: 93 of 155 (60%) for an average of 258 yards per game, 4 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. Tampa Bay only scored an average of 16.8 points per game in those four contests.

As you may already know from previous write-ups, I also like to back the home team in games involving clubs coming from different conferences. The main reason is the lower level of motivation for them since the playoff implications are reduced, whereas the home team is still excited about the game because they are feeding off their home crowd. The Bucs may also be looking ahead to a couple of divisional matchups against the Panthers and the Saints over the next two weeks.

The Bills have only played two home games thus far in 2017, winning both of them: 21-12 over the Jets and an impressive 26-16 victory against the Broncos. Meanwhile, the Bucs have lost their two road games: 34-17 at Minnesota and 38-33 in Arizona, a game in which they trailed by as many as 31 points.

PICK #2: Cincinnati Bengals +5.5 at the Pittsburgh Steelers

Here is one more play where I’m taking a team coming off their bye week. Don’t underestimate the importance of this factor, please. A good game preparation is key in the NFL, not to mention the extra rest on the body. Of course, that doesn’t mean picking every single team after their bye week, but it’s an important variable to consider when handicapping NFL games.

The Bengals will also be looking for revenge after losing their two matchups against the Steelers last year. They lost 24-16 in Pittsburgh and 24-20 at home. After two horrible performances to start the season, Cincinnati canned its offensive coordinator. The results were immediate: after scoring just 9 points in their first two games, they have scored an average of 25 points since then, going 2-1 in the process with the only loss occurring in overtime at Lambeau Field.

Like him or not, lineback Vontaze Burfict is a hard hitter and he always makes his presence felt. He was suspended for the first three games of the season. The Bengals defense has allowed just 7 and 16 points in their two games since he got back on the field, but these games were against the Browns and the Bills, two of the weakest offenses in the league. Burfict recorded 19 tackles and one sack during those matches.

It’s been an up and down season for the Steelers thus far. They have been alternating good and bad performances all year long. They barely beat the Browns in the season opener, then got a great 26-9 win over the Vikings. They were then shocked by the Bears in overtime, only to rebound nicely with an easy win in Baltimore. They followed that up with a crushing 30-9 loss at home against the Jaguars, a game in which Roethlisberger threw five interceptions. Once again, Pittsburgh came back strong last week by handling the Chiefs their first loss of the season. I’m betting on this trend to continue, as I expect the Bengals to at least keep it close (or even win it).

PICK #3: Cleveland Browns +6 against the Tennessee Titans

I hope the Browns won’t make me regret it like they did against the Jets a few weeks ago, where they basically gave the game away with many bonehead plays. I know, I know, the Browns are 2-31 over their past 33 games (if you can believe that!) so it’s hard to get excited when you are picking them.

The Titans are losing one day of preparation because they were playing last Monday night against the Colts. This week’s game will also mark their third road game over the past four contests (although not back-to-back).

The Browns will try to avenge a 28-26 loss in Tennessee last year. Not only was this game close, but you might be surprised to learn that Cleveland had won the previous two matchups (28-14 at home in 2015, and 29-28 at Tennessee in 2014).

The Titans have a good rushing attack, but Cleveland’s run defense matches up well, as shown by their #1 ranking in terms of rushing yards allowed per attempt (tied with Denver). Also, the #1 overall pick from last year’s draft, defensive end Myles Garrett, will not be limited for the first time since coming back from an injury. He was still able to lead his team with 3 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season and being limited in his first two.

Meanwhile, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota did not look very mobile in his return from an injury last Monday night, but he should be feeling better this week. The Browns will be going back to DeShone Kizer after benching him last week, while Kevin Hogan threw three interceptions.

PICK #4: Denver Broncos +1 at the Los Angeles Chargers

I like Denver to rebound after a pathetic performance at home on primetime television against a depleted New York Giants team. How could they not be fired up following such a poor outing, especially facing a divisional opponent? Granted, the Chargers won’t take this game lightly either, but they are coming off a big win in Oakland and might not put their foot on the accelerator as much.

The Chargers have lost all of their home games so far this season, going 0-3. Playing at StubHub Center has not felt like home not only because of the record, but also because fans from opposing teams have literally invaded the stadium more often than not. Meanwhile, the Broncos have lost their only road game in 2017 by a 26-16 score in Buffalo.

I’m a bit concerned about Trevor Siemian’s shoulder injury he suffered last week. He is still expected to play, but how much is it bothering him? He will also be without wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders because of an ankle injury. On the Chargers side, running back Melvin Gordon is having a good season with 7 touchdowns in 6 games, but he was limited at Wednesday’s practice because of a shoulder injury.

Much like my first pick, we have a coaching connection worth of note in this game. Denver’s offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, was the Chargers’ head coach from 2013 to 2016. Denver has other coaches who know Philip Rivers pretty well (like the offensive line coach Jeff Davidson who was with San Diego last year).

PICK #5: Atlanta Falcons +3.5 at the New England Patriots

If you believe in teams being fueled by a desire for revenge, then this pick could not be more perfect for you. Do I need to remind you that the Falcons led last year’s Super Bowl 28-3 in the third quarter before allowing the Patriots to pull off the biggest comeback among all Super Bowl games? Atlanta fans had probably circled that game a long time ago.

On top of that, the Falcons are coming off two consecutive home losses against the Bills and the Dolphins, who certainly don’t qualify as powerhouses. What happened to their high-octane offense? They can’t put the blame on injuries as they have been relatively healthy, except for Julio Jones who has been slowed down by a hip injury but has not missed a full game. Atlanta played without wide receiver Mohamed Sanu last week, but he is expected to return. What better way to get your offense back on track than playing the porous New England defense? They rank 30th out of 32 teams in points allowed, and are dead last in yards allowed per game (way behind the next-to-last team). They have been atrocious.

The Patriots are 4-2 right now, but they lucky their record isn’t worse. They should have lost against the Texans. They could have easily lost against the Bucs. And they were down 14-0 against the Jets last year before rallying once again. It’s not going to work out well every time. I’m betting the Falcons to either win, or keep it very close.

LEAN

I was considering taking the San Francisco 49ers +6 against the Dallas Cowboys, but I decided to stay away. Did you know the Niners are the first team in NFL history to lose five straight games by three points or less? Unbelievable! Many sports bettors put too much emphasis on win-loss records, and will therefore underrate San Francisco based on their 0-6 record. One more argument in favor of the Niners is the fact that Dallas will be travelling two time zones out west. You could also argue this is a sandwich game for the Cowboys after having played an exciting game against the Packers and awaiting divisional opponents Washington next week.

However, a few things play in favor of Dallas. They are coming off their bye week. And they have lost two straight games at home, so I don’t necessarily see them taking this game lightly. Will running back Ezekiel Elliott play or not? His status is unclear. Am I the only person who is sick of hearing about this story week after week?

CONCLUSION

That’s it for this week’s NFL predictions; I hope you found this article insightful. I do my very best to help you grow your bankroll in the long run.

I really want to thank all of you who have been following my work over the past few months. I usually have between 200 and 400 unique visitors on my website every day, but for some reason it went up to 605 yesterday, which is mind-blowing for me! Thank you so much for your support!!

Professor MJ

Hello NBA fans, we got off to a nice start of the 2017-2018 season by taking the Houston Rockets +9.5 at the Warriors last night. Let’s try to keep it up tonight. Out of the 11 games on the menu, I see three value plays including our first 5 star bet of the season!

PICK #1: Sacramento Kings +8 vs Houston Rockets (rated 5 stars)

The Rockets are coming off a big upset on opening night in Golden State against the defending champions after being down by 13 points through three quarters. The bad news is Chris Paul is dealing with a bruised left knee. Officially, he is “questionable” to play, but coach D’Antoni might decide to play it safe against a weaker opponent, especially playing the second leg of back-to-back games.

Speaking of injuries, George Hill is likely to be in the lineup for the Kings, while the status of Zach Randolph is less clear. Sacramento is not super deep at the power forward position, so they may have to rely on Labissiere and Koufos to pick up the slack in case he cannot go.

The motivation level won’t be nearly as high for the Rockets after such an intense game in Golden State yesterday, so a letdown is possible.

The Kings have missed the playoffs 11 straight years, and they are highly unlikely to end the drought this year. They finished the 2016-2017 season on a good note by going 5-5 over their final 10 games. They lost their two home meetings with the Rockets by 13 and 7-point margins. As a matter of fact, Houston has beaten Sacramento in 12 of the last 13 matchups. However, the games played in Sacramento did not end by wide margins, except the 13-point loss last season.

In summary, I like the Kings mainly based on a possible letdown by the Rockets, the back-to-back games for Houston and the likelihood of Chris Paul being out or limited.

PICK #2: Milwaukee Bucks +3 at Boston Celtics (rated 3 stars)

My statistical models plus my manual adjustments have the Bucks as 1-point favorites. Why? Based on the lines for regular season wins by each team, Milwaukee has a 42.7% chance of beating Boston on a neutral court. I subtracted 8.2% to account for the home-court advantage, which reduces the Bucks’ win probability to 34.5%, or alternatively Boston’s win probability becomes 65.5%.

Let’s now account for injuries. Milwaukee is missing Jabari Parker, while the Celtics are without Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward who suffered a horrific injury last night. You may or may not agree with my own assessment, but I penalized Boston 5% which brings their win probability down to 60.5%.

We have one final step to do. Based on a Harvard study, a team playing the second of back-to-back games has a probability of winning which is roughly 80% of what it would be if rested. I used this little piece of information throughout the 2016-2017 season and it worked out just fine. In this case: 60.5% * 80% = 48.5%. In other words, Boston becomes a slight underdog.

The Bucks have made few offseason moves and are therefore featuring a similar team. They won’t need time to gel together as they are already familiar with each other. They were a young team that acquired quite a bit of experience from last season. They finished the season with a 16-7 record before losing their first round series against the Raptors in six games.

The money is evenly split on both teams as 52% of spread bets have gone on Milwaukee thus far.

PICK #3: Denver Nuggets +2.5 at Utah Jazz (2 stars)

There are few injuries worth of note in this game. The Nuggets were plagued by many injuries last season, which probably cost them a playoff spot after finishing just one game back of the final and eighth spot. They finished the season strong with a 26-19 record. Nikola Jokic is an underrated star that can do it all on the field. The Nuggets have added Paul Millsap to complement him.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are entering this season without their two leading scorers from last year, Gordon Hayward and George Hill. Only the Grizzlies and the Mavericks scored fewer points per game in 2016-2017. Thankfully, they acquired point guard Ricky Rubio. It will be interesting to see how rookie Donovan Mitchell does coming out of Louisville.

The Jazz have won the last 5 home meetings against the Nuggets. The two teams split the season series last year, each team winning its two home games.

Good luck on your plays!

Professor MJ

Good Tuesday everyone, we have a busy night in the NHL with a total of 11 games! However, the lines seem reasonable to me, except for a couple of plays that I could recommend. But basically, there is only one bet that I really like.

PICK #1: Florida Panthers +128 (decimal 2.28) at the Philadelphia Flyers

The Panthers are off to a 2-2 start, which is fine considering the strength of opposition so far: Tampa Bay twice, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Their combined record is 12-5-1.

Meanwhile, the Flyers have exceeded expectations with 3 wins out of 5 games. They are coming off an impressive 8-2 beating of the Washington Capitals. To me, that’s one of the reasons I’m going with Florida because I feel like Philly might relax a little bit. This is certainly not one of the most motivating games for the Flyers these days; they have just faced Nashville and Washington, and have Nashville and the high-powered Edmonton offense up next. That can be viewed as a “sandwich” game, in my opinion.

All three meetings last season were won by the Flyers, but two of them occurred in extra time. Prior to that, the Panthers had won three out of the previous four contests, including a couple in a shootout. I do expect a close game, which is good news when you are betting the underdog.

I like the fact that 76% of the bets have gone on Philly so far, yet the line has not moved much. People are overrating the Flyers because of their last outing, and the fact that they have scored 13 goals over their previous two games. I’m taking the Panthers.

Leans

Though not an official pick, I am leaning towards the New Jersey Devils +113 (decimal 2.13) against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa has stormed out of the gates with a 5-1 record to this 2017-2018 season. I don’t mean to downgrade what they have accomplished so far, but please note that all of their games have ended with a one-goal deficit (except their season opener where they beat the Panthers 5-3, thanks to an empty-net goal). The Lightning are playing the second leg of back-to-back games and are sending backup goalie Peter Budaj in net for the first time of the season. After getting a one-game rest, Cory Schneider goes back between the pipes for the Devils.

I’m also considering taking the Colorado Avalanche +154 (decimal 2.54) at the Nashville Predators. The Preds are still without Ryan Ellis, while the status of Roman Josi and Nick Bonino is unclear for tonight. Nashville is coming off an emotional match against the Blackhawks, whom they eliminated in four straight games in the first round of the playoffs last year, so the emotions won’t be running as high tonight. However, I’m worried about the fact that Colorado has lost six straight meetings with Nashville.

Thank you for your time, I appreciate a lot!

Professor MJ

Hi guys, I’m super stoked about the NBA season getting under way tonight! We have a couple of interesting matchups tonight, but from a betting perspective I only see one value play.

PICK: Houston Rockets +9.5 at Golden State Warriors

Let’s start with the statistical justification. The consensus line on the number of regular season wins by the Golden State Warriors is 67.5 versus 55.5 for the Houston Rockets. Those numbers translate into win percentages of .823 versus .677. I’ll save you the details, but based on my statistical models a home team with a .823 win percentage facing a road team with a .677 win percentage should win 72.8% of the time. That being said, I have decided to penalize the Warriors by 2% because of injuries/illness to Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green. They are all expected to be ready to go, but I felt like their effectiveness may not be the same. So my final win probability for the Warriors at home against the Rockets ends up at 72.8% – 2% = 70.8%. Converting such a number into point spreads yields the following projected lines: Rockets +6.2 versus Warriors -6.2. Since the Dubs are favored by 9.5, I’m taking Harden’s squad.

Note: if you disagree with the 2% penalty, please note that the projected lines become Rockets +6.7 versus Warriors -6.7.

It will be interesting to watch two of the league’s best floor generals on the same team: James Harden and newly acquired Chris Paul. If you combine this acquisition with P.J. Tucker (a very hard-worker), you have a recipe for an improved defense, despite losing Patrick Beverley in the process.

The two matchups between these two teams in Golden State last season ended 132-127 in favor of Houston in double overtime and 107-98 for the Warriors, so in both cases the Rockets would have covered a 9.5 spread.

The public is evenly split on this game as 52% of the bets have gone on the Warriors.

Thanks for reading and I wish you a very profitable and enjoyable NBA season!!

Professor MJ

Hello all! The best play of the day in the NHL, in my humble opinion, is:

PICK: Buffalo Sabres +152 (decimal 2.52) at the Los Angeles Kings

The Sabres are still looking for their first win of the season after four unsuccessful tries. They came fairly close in their last game in a 3-2 loss at San Jose. One of the league’s top young prospects, Jack Eichel, expressed his frustration after the game by mentioning he was really sick of losing. I feel like the motivation level will be high for Housley’s squad. In terms of shots on goal, the Sabres have not been bad at all so far this season: they have outshot Montreal by 5, while they have been outshot by 4, 6 and 1 versus the Islanders, the Devils and the Sharks, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Kings are boasting a 2-0-1 record, but they haven’t faced a top team yet. To me, they are a middle-of-the-pack team at best because of a lineup filled with players who are relatively slow in a game that is becoming more and more oriented towards speed.

Here is one amazing fact that might concern you if you are considering taking Buffalo like me: the Sabres’ last four trips at Los Angeles all ended with the same 2-0 score in favor of the Kings! In other words, Buffalo hasn’t scored a single goal there over the last four meeting in California. However, the Sabres have dominated the Kings when playing at home, as shown by their 8-game winning streak in Buffalo. Only 34% of the bets have gone on Buffalo as of Saturday morning.

Have a great Saturday hockey fans!!

Professor MJ