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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres NHL Betting Odds & Pick from Will Rogers: March 21st 2017

| March 21, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres
NHL Betting Pick: Pittsburgh -185 odds (March 21st 2017)

The set-up: The 45-17-9 Pittsburgh Penguins can clinch a playoff spot with a road win over the 30-31-12 Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night. What’s more, with some help from the Calgary Flames (who play at Washington), the Pens could find themselves in the lead for the Presidents’ Trophy (more in a bit). The Sabres won 2-1 last night in Detroit but won’t have any time to savor the victory, with this quick turnaround against the defending champs.

Pittsburgh: The Caps and Blue Jackets each own 100 points atop the ‘loaded’ Metropolitan Division, with the Penguins checking in with 99 points. The Caps host the red-hot Flames, winners of 12 of their last 13 tonight, while the Blue Jackets are idle. Therefore, a Pittsburgh win and a Washington loss would leave the Pens with 101 points and the Caps and Blue Jackets at 100. Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 10-4 in the last two games as the Pens have moved closer to their franchise record-tying 11th straight postseason berth. Captain Sidney Crosby recorded half of those goals to raise his season total to a league-high 40 and move within two points of Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (82) for first in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

Buffalo: The Sabres are looking for their third consecutive victory, after concluding a four-game road trip with 2-1 triumphs in Anaheim and Detroit.However, it’s no rest for the weary with this game tonight against the defending champs. Jack Eichel opened the scoring for Buffalo in Monday’s win on the power play, with his 21st goal of the season. He missed the start of the season with a high ankle sprain but has been producing at a top-notch rate since returning; he has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 52 games. Goalie Robin Lehner turned away 34 shots in the win and has been one of the few positives for the Sabres through this trying season. He owns a 2.64 GGA & .922 save percentage in 52 games.

The pick: Pittsburgh can’t control what happens in Washington with the Flames and Caps but expect them to win here, clinching that 11th straight playoff berth.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers NHL Odds & Pick from Will Rogers: March 20th 2017

| March 20, 2017

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers
NHL Betting Pick: Edmonton -135 odds (March 20th 2017)

The set-up: The 34-30-7 LA Kings lost 5-2 in Calgary last night, after completing  a seven-game homestand 4-2-1. The loss leaves the Kings six points behind Nashville for the second wild card spot in the West. Meanwhile, the Oilers beat the Canucks 2-0 at home on Saturday and will host the Kings tonight, as they wrap up an eight-game homestand in which the team has gone 4-2-1 at Rogers Place.

LA Kings: The Kings won a pair of Stanley Cups (2012 & 2014) and have been a perennial contender for much of the past decade. However, they are currently below the playoff cut line and if they miss the playoffs, there certainly would be speculation that an aging group may have reached the end of the line. The Kings have just 11 games left on the schedule but three of them are against the Oilers. So, how the Kings do against the Oilers will have a major bearing on if they gets back to the post-season or not.

Edmonton: The Oilers enter on a three-game winning streak after that 2-0 win on Saturday. Edmonton currently owns the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but is only six points behind San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division. With a victory Monday, Edmonton can leap past both Calgary and Anaheim and move into second place in the Pacific.

The pick: The Oilers can ‘sniff’ ending their 10-season playoff drought and have outscored opponents 16-5 during their current three-game winning streak. I say Edmonton makes it four straight wins, here!

Larry Ness betting the Washington Wizards +3 points over the Boston Celtics on March 20th 2017

| March 20, 2017

Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
NBA Betting Prediction: Washington +3 (March 20th 2017)

The 42-27 Washington Wizards will play at TD Garden tonight against the 44-26 Boston Celtics. The Celtics enter this contest 1 1/2 games up on the Wizards for the No. 2 seed in the East and know a win means a 2 1/2 game lead and a loss means it’s down to a half-game lead, as both teams chase the top-seeded Cavs. The teams have engaged in some heated matchups this season, with the home team winning each of the first three.

The Celtics blew a 13-point lead Sunday in Philly, falling 105-99 to the 76ers. Boston was playing its second straight game without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas (29.2-6.0 APG), who is hoping his knee is good enough for him to return for this one. The Celtics were on the brink of tying an NBA record when they visited Brooklyn on Friday night, as they had 26 straight games with at least 10 three-pointers, one shy of the mark set by the Houston Rockets earlier this season. However, without Thomas, they were 7 of 29 Friday to end the streak Boston was then 6 of 29 from behind the arc on Sunday, for a combined 13 of 58 in the past two games (22.4%) playing without Thomas.

Washington had gone 25-6 from Jan 3 through Mar 11 but enter this game having lost three of four. PG John Wall has had two straight poor outings (9 of 29 shooting), since suffering a foot injury Wednesday against Dallas. Markieff Morris (14.1-6.7), who had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the previous meeting with Boston, has missed the last two games due to illness and is day-to-day. The Wizards’ entire starting-five averages in double digits and the team’s trade deadline pickup of Bogdanivic (15.4 PPG in 14 games with Washington) has been huge.

The Celtics have been able to use their preferred starting-five just 28 times this season, going 21-7 (.750) but with a variation of that lineup they are a more modest 23-19 (.545). No guarantee Thomas plays tonight and I’ll take the Wizards.

Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs NBA Point Spread Pick from Will Rogers: March 19th 2017

| March 19, 2017

Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs
NBA Point Spread Pick: Sacramento +13.5 (March 19th 2017)

The set-up: The 27-42 Sacramento Kings have all but dropped out of playoff contention in the West, having gone 3-9 since they traded Cousins right before the All Star break. Meanwhile, the 52-16 Spurs have fallen 2 1/2 games back of the Warriors in the battle for the West’s top record and will look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they host the Kings on Sunday.

Sacramento: The Kings had their first two-game winning streak since before the All-Star break snapped with Saturday’s 110-94 loss at Oklahoma City. Their starters shot a combined 14-for-45 from the floor. Sacramento dressed just 11 players Saturday, giving Arron Afflalo and Ben McLemore the game off for personal reasons and sitting Tyreke Evans because of an ankle issue. Georgios Papagiannis (2.4 & 2.4), who has the unenviable task of taking over for the traded DeMarcus Cousins, had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento while his backup, Skal Labissiere (7.5 & 4.2), added 13 points. Buddy Hield, who was the guy the Kings wanted most from the Pelicans in the Cousins deal, scored 11 points. Hield is averaging 13.3 PPG in his 12 contests (five starts) with the Kings, shooting 49.2% overall, including 45.0% on threes.

San Antonio: Kawhi Leonard (26.3 & 6.0) and LaMarcus Aldridge (17.4 & 7.5) combined for 43 points but their fellow starters had a total of 10 in the Spurs’ 104-96 loss at Memphis on Saturday, giving the squad its third two-game slide of the season. PG Tony Parker (10.3 & 4.7 APG) did return from a four-game absence Saturday night (due to back issues) but was limited to four points on 2-of-8 shooting. The Spurs limp home after a late Saturday night loss against the Grizzlies in Memphis, their third in five games, after winning nine straight and garnering the top record in the league and the Western Conference.

The pick: When K.D. went down, many felt as if the Spurs could catch the Warriors for the West’s top seed. However, games haven’t come easy for SA since Durant was lost in a Feb. 28th game at Washington. The Spurs may be 7-3 in March but ATS the team is a money-burning 2-8! San Antonio has won all three of its games this year with the Kings, plus has won eight meetings in a row in San Antonio against them. However, winning and covering are often two different ‘animals.’ Take the points.